Monday, July 30, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 is a further revision and refinement of my Lectionary Ruminations and Lectionary Ruminations 2.0.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 draws on over thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without over reliance on commentaries, I intend with sometimes pointed and sometimes snarky comments and Socratic like questions, to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to lead a Bible study, draft liturgy, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.

2 SAMUEL 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
I think there is a very entertaining historical novel or mini-series in this passage. 
18:5 We met Joab two weeks ago in the First Reading.  Who are Abishai and Ittai?  Who is Absalom?  What difference does it make that all the people heard the king’s orders to his commanders concerning Absalom?
18:6 Against Israel?  What army is fighting against Israel? Where is the forest of Ephraim?
18:7 Were twenty thousand Israelites killed or twenty thousand Israelites and Judeans?
18:8 Why are we told that the forest claimed more lives than the sword? How could the forest claim victims?
18:9 This sounds like a comedy of errors but might there also be some symbolism at work?
18:15 Ten to one are rather overwhelming odds. Did they know it was Absalom they were striking, against David’s orders?
18:31 Does this Cushite have no name?
18:32 I think this is not the news David was hoping to hear.
18:33 What if David had died instead of Absalom?

BEWARE: It was only six weeks ago, the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, that this Psalm appeared in the Lectionary.
You may want to consider and consult Oscar Wilde's De Profundis as you consider this Psalm.
130:1-7 Could this Psalm describe David’s psychological and spiritual state in 2 Samuel 18:33
130:1 What and where are the depths how deep are they?
130:2 The Lord has ears?
130:3 What does it mean to mark iniquities? Does God mark, or not mark, iniquities?
130:4 Keep in mind that this “forgiveness” precedes the ministry of Jesus. How else might “revered” be translated?
130:5 What does it mean to wait for the Lord?  Have you ever waited for the Lord?”  I am inclined to think of contemplative prayer.
130:6 What imagery is being used here? I think the imagery is military but watch is also a nautical term.
130:7-8 Note how the psalm transitions from a personal focus to a communal focus. What were Israel’s iniquities?

EPHESIANS 4:25-5:2
One may want to consider and consult Seeking to be Faithful:Guidelines for Presbyterians in Times of Disagreement  as a contemporary expression of some of the concerns expressed in this passage. 
4:25 What falsehood might the author have in mind? How do we read and hear this passage in a culture filled with counterclaims of official lies and false news?
4:26 Anger is okay as long as it is managed and dealt with before sundown. In other words, it is not a sin to become angry, but one should not be consumed by anger.
4:27 How does one make room for the devil? Must we anthropomorphize evil?
4:28 Thieves in general or thieves in the church?
4:29 Perhaps silence is the better option.
4:30 How does one grieve the Holy Spirit?
4:31 How do you reconcile the way this verse deals with anger with the way 4:26 deals with anger? Did the author mean for this list to be exhaustive?
4:32 I have known some claiming to be Christian who were anything but what is described here.
5:1 I can understand a call to imitate Christ, but imitate God?
5:2 What is a fragrant offering?

JOHN 6:35, 41-51
6:35 Since when did bread alleviate thirst?
6:41 Were they complaining among themselves or to others? Why were they complaining?
6:42 What do you make of the fact that Joseph but not Mary is named?  This verse sounds like both his father and mother were still living.
6:43 Jesus answers my question for 6:41.
6:44 What does this verse say about predestination and free will?
6:45 Where in the prophets is this written?
6:46 According to the Jewish Scriptures, what would happen to a person who saw God?
6:47 Believes what? Is there a difference between eternal life and everlasting life?
6:48 What does Jesus mean by this? Note that this is one of the “I am” sayings in John. This time, nothing is said about bread alleviating thirst, as in 6:35.
6:49 True.
6:50 But Christians still die.
6:51 What is the significance of these three images and do they all mean the same thing: the bread of life (6:35, 48), the bread that comes down from heaven (6:41, 50), and the living bread(6:51)? Is it possible to read and interpret these verses without doing so through Eucharistic lenses?
I am a Minister Member of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and am serving as the Interim Pastor of the Richmond United Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Ohio. Sunday Worship at Richmond begins at 11:00 AM. Some of my other blog posts have appeared on PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS and The Trek.

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