Monday, January 14, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary 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.

ISAIAH 62:1-5
62:1 Who is speaking? Who will not keep silent and will not rest?
62:2 What is the significance of a new name? What will this new name be?
62:3 What is a diadem?
62:4 Why, in the NRSV, is “Forsaken,” “Desolate,” “My Delight Is in Her,” and “Married” capitalized? What is the meaning of married land?  Does this metaphor justify this passage being paired with John 2:1-11?
62:5 Does this verse inform any New Testament metaphors?

PSALM 36:5-10
36:5 Where does the LORD’s love extend from? What is the difference, if any, between steadfast love and faithfulness, or is this just a poetic construction?
36:6 Is this just a poetic way of saying height and depth?  Do dogs and cats and other animals and pets need to be baptized or born again to be saved?
36:7 This is the second occurrence of “steadfast love” in this Reading. What sort of avian creature is God being likened to?
36:8 To what does “house” refer?
36:9 Could this verse be behind myths and legends about the fountain of youth?  How do we see light in light?  Do we see light, or what light illuminates? Is light a wave, a particle, or both?
36:10 This is the third occurrence of “steadfast love” in this Reading. Does God’s steadfast love does not extend to strangers?


12:1 Are most Christians today informed or uninformed about spiritual gifts? The way I understand spiritual gifts has been greatly influenced by the Isabel Briggs Myers and Peter B. Myers book Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type.

12:2 Is this a valid portrayal of paganism?  What is the difference between Paganism and Atheism, and between Paganism and Agnosticism? Is the neo-Paganism (Wicca and other earth/nature-based religions) of today anything like what Paul meant by Paganism?
12:3 Really?
12:4 I cannot help but think I thinking about Isabel Briggs Myers and the MBTI at this point? Might the Enneagram also fit in here? What “spiritual gift” inventories are you familiar with, have you used, and do you recommend?
12:5 How are gifts and services related?
12:6 What does Paul mean my “activities?”
12:4-6 Is there any scheme at work here: gifts-Spirit, services-Lord, activities-God?
12:7 Have you been given a manifestation of the Spirit?
12:8 What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge?
12:9 Are some not given the gift of faith? I wonder what Paul meant by “healing”. Do you think Paul would have been thinking about anything like modern medicine, counseling, or Reiki?
12:10 How do we post-moderns understand the gift of miracles?
12:8-10 Was this list meant to be exhaustive or just suggestive?
12:11 Are some gifts given but never activated?

JOHN 2:1-11
2:1 How does this passage foreshadow the resurrection?  Why is the mother of Jesus not named?  Who do you think was being married?
2:2 All the disciples or just some of the disciples? Why would the disciples have been invited?
2:3 Is the mother of Jesus stating the obvious?  Why tell Jesus?  Did Jesus not already know?
2:4 Why does Jesus address his mother as “Woman?”  What “hour” is Jesus referring to?
2:5 What gave the mother of Jesus the right and authority to tell the servants what to do?  Maybe she was catering the reception? Is “servants” a play on words?  Do the disciples always do what Jesus tells them?
2:6 Is there any significance in the number of jars?  Does the number of jars matter?  What are the Jewish rites of purification? Does it matter that the jars hold between twenty or thirty gallons?
2:7 Does this assume that the jars were empty?  Does whether they were empty or full before Jesus said to fill them make a difference?  Is it significant that the jars were filled to the brim?
2:8 Did the servants draw out water or wine?  Who and what was the chief steward?
2:9 This reads as if the servants drew water out of the jars but that the water turned to wine as the servants were taking it to the steward. What do you think happened?
2:10 Why serve good wine first and then inferior wine later?
2:11 If this was the “first” of his signs, how many more signs were there and what were they?  Is there any significance to “Cana in Galilee” being mentioned here as well as in 2:1?  Was his glory hidden before this?  Did his disciples not believe in him before this?
2:1-11 This is one of my favorite passages in my favorite Gospel.  I think I could preach several sermons to unpack, interpret, and apply it, especially after a few glasses of wine.
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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