Monday, August 13, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 22nd 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.

2:8 Regarding “beloved”, see James 1:19. Who leaps upon the mountains and bounds over the hills?
2:9 Is it time for a stag party?  Whose wall? Is this stag a peeping Tom? To what would you compare your beloved?
2:10 Come away where?
2:11 What is so special about the springtime?
2:12 What are all these signs of? Whose land?
2:13 Look for “fragrance” in Psalm 45:8. I think we have a refrain at the end of this verse.
2:8-13 Can we classify this passage as spiritual erotica?

PSALM 45:1-2, 6-9
45:1 What is a goodly theme?  Why the king?   Sometimes it is easier to speak than write. See James 1:26 for more about tongues.
45:2 Who is speaking to the king?
45:6 The Psalmist was addressing the king but is now addressing God. What is the significance and symbolism of the royal scepter?
45:7 After addressing God, it seems the Psalmist is again addressing the king. What is the oil of gladness?
45:8 Do you recall the fragrance of Song of Solomon 2:13? If you wear a robe when you lead worship, is it fragrant?
45:9 What is a lady of honor? What is gold of Ophir?

JAMES 1:17-27
1:17 I am beginning to appreciate Luther wanting to omit James from the canon. I wonder where James got the “Father of lights” language.
1:18 Who gave us birth? What is the word of truth? How are we first fruits of God’s creatures?
1:19 Does the use of “beloved” in the NRSV justify pairing this reading with the First Reading? See Song of Solomon 2:8.
1:20 Do you recall any words about anger appearing in the lectionary the past few weeks? Does righteous indignation not produce righteousness?
1:21 How do you understand the reference to “the implanted word?”
1:22 While we can “hear” but never “do,” can we “do” without, in some sense, first, or at the same time, also “hearing”?
1:23 What are people who look at themselves in a mirror like? How might this relate to taking a selfie?
1:24 Is this true in your experience?
1:25 How does “the perfect law” function like a mirror? Does this verse point suggest a works righteousness?
1:26 Does this verse invite a comparison of religion to spirituality?
1:27 Is it possible to keep oneself unstained by the world without withdrawing from the world?

MARK 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
7:1 If they came from Jerusalem, where did they come to? What is the difference between a Pharisee and a scribe?
7:2 What does it mean for something to be defiled? Were some of the disciples washing their hands before they ate and others not?
7:3-4 In the NRSV, these two verses are in parenthesis.  Why?
7:5 Was this an open ended question or one designed to trip up Jesus?
7:6 Was Jesus over reacting? Does this tie into James 1:23-26
7:7 Is any worship ever in vain?  Are not all doctrines nothing more than human precepts?
7:8 Which commandment?
7:5-11 These verses could raise an interesting dialectic between our understandings of and reliance on scripture and tradition.  While Protestants might point to the Roman Catholic reliance on tradition as something alien to Protestantism, as a protestant I readily confess that Protestants often appeal to their tradition, but it is a tradition that is not canonized and often not written down.
7:14 What is the difference between listening and understanding?
7:15 A young child once asked me if it were a sin to poop?  I did not appeal to this text when I answered “no.”
7:21-22 What is the difference between intentions and actions?  Another interesting dialect might be a comparison between ontological and teleological ethics.  Is everything in the list comparable to murder?
7:23 Juxtapose this verse with 7:15. If this is the case, can anyone be undefiled?
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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