Monday, September 17, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 26th 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.

ESTHER 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
7:1 Who is the king and what is he king of?  What is the relationship between Haman and Esther?
7:2 On the second day of what? Can you think of any other passage in Scripture where a king offers half his kingdom?
7:3 Who are Esther’s people and why does she ask for her life and the life of her people?
7:4 Can you think of any other story in the Jewish Scriptures about someone being sold? How shall we read this in light of The Shoah?
7:5 How could the king not know about this?
7:6 Imagine the scene!
7:9 Does it matter that Harbona was a eunuch?  How could Harbona know what was going on when the King did not know?
7:10 The height of irony.
9:20 Why did Mordecai record these things?  Why did he send letters?  I think it would be a find of great historical significance if one of these letters or the court records were ever discovered.
9:21-22 The feast on these days commemorating all these events is called what?

124:1 Must the LORD be on any one’s side?
124:1-2 This sounds like a call and response. What enemies attacked?
124:3 Thus, the victory belongs to the LORD.
124:4-5 Is this a reference to the Exodus?
124:6 Would the Psalmist still be praising the LORD if some or most of Israel had been given up as prey?
124:7 What is a fowler?
124:8 This is not the confession of a national security state.

JAMES 5:13-20
5:13 Is this an admonition?  Shall the suffering only pray?  How many congregations on Sunday morning really sound cheerful?
5:14 How many PC(USA) Elders do you know who anoint with oil when they pray for healing?
5:15 Is this a reference to faith healing?  What is the relation, if any, between faith and healing?
5:16 Why do we not practice mutual confession, or does a corporate prayer of confession count? How is the prayer of the righteous powerful and effective?  What about the prayer of the unrighteous?
5:17-18 What is the point, that we should pray it doesn’t rain? Can prayer affect the weather?
5:19-20 How do we wander from the truth? How do we bring truth wanderers back into the fold?

MARK 9:38-50
9:38 What do you think of the situation John describes?  What is your take on “demons?”
9:39 What do you think of Jesus’ advice?
9:40 Is the enemy of my enemy my friend?
9:41 What reward?
9:42 What is a stumbling block?  Of the sixteen occurrences of “stumbling block” in the NRSV, consider especially 1 Cor. 1:23.  Who are “these little ones?”
9:43-47 How do children and others who understand Scripture literally understand these verses?
9:48 Why do many of our contemporary images of hell include flames but not worms?
9:49 What does it mean to be salted with fire?
9:50 How does this verse follow from the verse that precedes it.
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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