Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 4th 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.

1:4 Has the word of the LORD ever come to you, and if so, how? How do you know it is a word of the Lord and not some deception of the imagination?
1:5 I doubt this could be used as an argument for life beginning at conception as this sounds like life, or personhood, begins even before conception.  What do you know about the philosophy of George Berkeley and does it have any bearing on how we might interpret this passage?  Is this God talking to Jeremiah?
1:6 Is this “I do not know how to speak” and “I am only a boy” defense anything like that of Moses?
1:7 Such a defense, as above, never seems to work. Sometimes it seems like God calls us before we are prepared or ready and we get on the job training.
1:8 Do not be afraid of whom, the nations?
1:9 Does this remind you of any other accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures?  Is this entire Reading a call narrative?
1:10 Note two pairs of destructive activities and one pair of creative activities. How can a prophet do such things with only words? Is the pen, or the quill, or the word truly mightier than the aword?

PSALM 71:1-6
71:1 What comes to your mind when you hear the word “refuge?” What is so bad about shame? Have you ever felt shamed?
71:2 How does the LORD incline the divine ear?
71:3 How is a rock of refuge like a fortress?  Do any rocks come to your mind when you hear “rock of refuge?”
71:4 Is the Psalmist already in the hand of the wicked and the grasp of the unjust and cruel?
71:5 Every time I read this I think of “Star Wars IV – A New Hope” and Princes Leia pleading “Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope.”
71:6 Does this verse justify the Lectionary pairing this Psalm with the First Reading from Jeremiah (See Jeremiah 1:5)?  Does this verse justify referring to the LORD as a midwife?

13:1-13 Why read this in Sunday worship if there is no wedding to follow?  What can be said about this Reading that has not already been said?  Why do we tend to read this at weddings when we really need to read it at divorce proceedings and during church conflict?
13:1 What tongue do angels speak? Do you remember “The Gong Show?”
13:2 Those are big “ifs!”
13:3 Is this an allusion to a story Jesus told about a rich young man (see Matt. 19:16-30, Mark 10:17-31, and Luke 18:18-30)?
13:4-7 Is there anything missing from this definition/list?  How about Jenny (Ali McGraw) telling Oliver (Ryan O'Neal) “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” as written by Erich Segal in Love Story?
13:8 Of the three Greek words for love, which word is Paul using? So love is nit teleological?
13:9 Is all knowledge partial? Does this suggest an apophatic form of spirituality?
13:10 When will the complete come?
13:11 Is there a difference between being childish and childlike?
13:12 It is a little enigmatic, nevertheless, this is one of my favorite verses.  Is there any play on the idea of “icon” here?  What is the difference between a thing reflected and its reflection? The best mirrors in Paul’s day were probably made of highly polished metal. Glass mirrors as we know them did not exist.
13:13 Where did faith and hope come from?

LUKE 5:1-11
4:21 Who is speaking?  To whom is he speaking?  What is the setting?  What scripture?
4:22 All?  Is this hyperbole?  When was the last time you were amazed by anyone’s words?  I think it is interesting that the speaker is identified as Joseph’s son rather than Mary’s son.
4:23 Where did this proverb come from?  What were people saying about his time in Capernaum?
4:24 What do you think about this? I wonder if Jeremiah had any such notion.
4:25 What does this have to do with anything?
4:26 Where was Elijah from? Is there anything significant or special about Zarephath in Sidon?
4:27 So?
4:28 Why were they filled with rage?  I thought they were all amazed.  What happened between verse 22 and verse 28?
4:29 Why am I thinking about swine?
4:30 What does it mean that “he passed through the midst of them?” Was this a sign? A wonder? A miracle?
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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