Monday, March 11, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 3rd Sunday in Lent (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 55:1-9
55:1 I love the “waters,” “wine and milk,” and “bread” imagery.  The imagery is tactile and sensual.  The imagery also lends itself to supporting the celebration of both sacraments.  What “waters” does the author have in mind, however? How will this preach in Flint, MI? How does one buy if one has no money?
55:2 Does this lead to an indictment of our consumer society? What truly satisfies you? Can money buy it? How do we listen to God?
55:3 Can listening lead to life? How familiar are you with contemplative prayer?
55:4 Seeing is something we can all practice more of when it comes to our relationship with God. How was David a witness?
55:5 How do we call that which we do not know? “The LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel” reminds me of “A Brief Statement of Faith-Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).”
55:6 When might the LORD not be found?  Where can the LORD be found today? When, if ever, is the LORD not near?
55:7 This could be used as a Call to Confession.
55:8-9 This is one of my favorite Psalm passages. I think these verses undergird contemplative prayer and apophatic spirituality as well as the hubris of pretending to make definitive theological pronouncements.

PSALM 63:1-8
63:1 I love this imagery. Does your soul thirst for God? Have you ever nearly fainted from thirst for God? I am not sure we can truly appreciate this verse and this imagery outside the desert environment of the Sinai, Palestine, and the American southwest. This verse pairs well with Isaiah 55:1
63:2 What did the Psalmist see? I wonder what God looks like?
63:3 How is steadfast love better than life? Juxtapose this verse with Isaiah 55:3.
63:4 Evangelicals and Charismatics more often enact this than mainline Christians do.  When was the last time you and your congregation lifted their hands up to call on God’s name?  How about a little more embodied worship for the frozen chosen? How can we call on God’s name when some argue that God’s name should not be pronounced?
63: 5 I think the “rich feast” imagery becomes a little hypocritical and watered down when many will receive barely a crumb of bread and only a small sip of grape juice at the Lord’s Table.  Our liturgical actions often do not match our liturgical words.
63: 6 What is the meaning of “meditate?” How familiar are you with mindfulness meditation and/or contemplative/centering prayer?
63:7 What image and/or metaphor lies behind the “shadows of your wings?”  This verse reminds me of last week’s Gospel Reading.
63:8 Does your soul cling to God?

10:1 What cloud and what sea? 
10:2 What is the meaning of “baptized into Moses?” How can one be baptized in a cloud?
10:3 What spiritual food did the people eat?
10:4 What spiritual drink did the people drink? What rock was Christ?
10:3-4 When I read these two verses, I hearken back to Isaiah 55:1-2 and Psalm 63:1, 5. I wonder if Paul intentionally meant to allude to the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
10:5 How did God strike them down?
10:6 Is all salvation history but an example? Did the people Paul was referring to in 10:1-5 really desire evil?
10:7 Where is this written?
10:8 What event is being referred to?
10:9 Is this verse alluding to Massah and Meribah in Exodus 17:7, or to something else?
10:10 Who or what is the destroyer?
10:11 Is this the case with all Jewish Scripture or just the Exodus narrative? It appears from this verse that Paul thought he was living in the ends of the ages.
10:12 Is this why we usually do not stand for worship, so that we will not fall?
10:13 What is the meaning of “testing?”  How shall we read this considering the petition of the Lord’s Prayer “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil?”

LUKE 13:1-9
13:1 What does this verse refer to?
13:2,4 Does thinking like still exist today? What about when bad things happen to good people?
13:3 This sounds like a hell, fire, and damnation sermon.
13:4 Or more importantly, where they worse offenders than you?
13:5 Déjà vu (Luke 13:3). I think I would not use this as a refrain in a responsive reading.
13:6 What is a parable? What is a parabola?
13:7 Is three years long enough for a fig tree to bear fruit? Are there any in your church wasting the soil?
13:6-9 How does this parable address or respond to what came before?
13:8 Well, crap! Why am I thinking of the Mark Whatney character in The Martian?
13:8-9 If it sometimes seems that preachers are slinging bullcrap from the pulpit, maybe it is because they think the faith of those in the pews needs a little fertilizing.  It is not an original idea, but I resonate with 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.

No comments: