Monday, December 10, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 4th Sunday of Advent Time (Year C)

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.

PREFACE: There are a couple of options this week. One could use the Canticle (Luke 1:46b-55) rather than the Psalm (80:1-7) and the shorter Gospel Reading (Luke 1:39-45), or one could use the Psalm (80:1-7) rather than the Canticle (Luke 1:46b-55) and not use the Canticle at all, or one could use the Psalm and include the Canticle as part of the Gospel Reading (Luke 1:39-55). I will use the Canticle rather than the Psalm and then use the shorter Gospel Reading.

MICAH 5:2-5a
5:2 What is the meaning of “Bethlehem?”  What is the significance, or insignificance, of Ehhpratah?  What sort of origin is from of old? When were ancient days?
5:3 Who is giving whom up?  Who is in labor?  Whose kindred shall return?
5:4 What does it mean to feed a flock in the strength of the LORD?
5:5a What does it mean to be “the one of peace”?

LUKE 1:46a-55
1:46b What is the first word in the Latin Vulgate translation of this verse?  How does one’s soul magnify the LORD?
1:47 When and why does your spirit rejoice?
1:48 What is the nature of this lowliness?  What does it mean to be called blessed?
1:49 What great things has the Mighty One done?
1:50 What is the nature of this fear? Is there no mercy for those who do not fear?
1:51 What does “in the thoughts of their hearts” mean? Do we think with our hearts or minds? Do we feel with our hearts or minds?
1:52 What powerful have been brought down from their thrones? What lowly have been lifted up?
1:53 This reads like a 99% passage. What good things have been fed to the hungry? What does it mean to be rich but empty?
1:54 What is the meaning of “in remembrance of his mercy?”
1:55 What promise is being referred to?

PSALM 80:1-7
80:1 What does it mean to “give ear?” How can Jospeh be led like a flock? What are cherubim and where might one find them?
80:2 Why are only these three tribes mentioned?
80:3 What does it mean for God’s face to shine?
80:4 Have you ever felt like God was angry with your prayers?
80:5 Could Christians read this as “anti-Eucharistic” imagery?
80:6 How would the psalmist now if enemies were laughing among themselves?
80:7 This sounds like a refrain. See 80:3.

HEBREWS 10:5-10
10:5 What came before this “consequently?”  Is it not essential to the argument?  Where did Christ say this?  What body has been prepared? 
10:6 What is the difference between a burnt offering and a sin offering?
10:7 What, or where is the scroll of the book?
10:8 What is being quoted?
10:9 The “first” and the “second” refers to what?
10:10 Does this verse presume, or require, any specific theory of the atonement?

LUKE 1:39-45
1:39 What days?  Why did Mary set out and go with haste? What Judean town? Why is it not named?
1:40 Why did Mary not greet Zechariah?
1:41 What is the meaning of the child’s leaping?  Was it the child’s leaping that filled Elizabeth with the Holy Spirit?  If not, when was she filled?
1:42 I wonder how loud her cry was.
1:43 And we too wonder?
1:44 How did Elizabeth know it was joy and not some other emotion?
1:45 Which of the two women is blessed?
1:(46-55) See my ruminations on the Canticle above.
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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