Monday, March 25, 2019
Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for Palm/Passion Sunday (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: For liturgical churches, this Sunday’s Lectionary Readings offers more Scripture than perhaps any other day other than the Easter Vigil, and far more possibilities for non-liturgical churches than they are used to. If one uses the primary Gospel Reading of Luke 22:14-23:56 there may be little time or need to expound on the reading in a sermon. Therefore, I opted to ruminate on the optional and shorter Luke 23:1-49.
LITURGY OF THE PALMS
19:28 After he had said what? Why does one always go “up” to Jerusalem?
19:29 Is there anything special we need to know about Bethphage and/or Bethany? Which two disciples do you think Jesus sent?
19:30 What village was ahead of them? Are the details about the colt at all significant?
19:31 Was Jesus meaning to refer to himself as “The Lord?”
19:32 How did Jesus know what the two disciples would find?
19:33 How many owners were there and was it a common practice for a colt to be owned by more than one person?
19:34 They respond just as they were told.
19:35 What is the meaning and/or purpose of throwing cloaks on the colt? Could Jesus not get on the colt by himself?
19:36 Why would people throw their cloaks on the road? This is beginning to look like a political, military, or sports team triumphant victory parade.
19:37 How many disciples were there? What deeds of power had the whole multitude of the disciples seen?
19:38 Where is this saying from?
19:39 Why were there some Pharisees in the crown and why would they want Jesus to order the disciples to stop? Stop what?
19:40 When was the last time you heard stones shout out? A geologist might be able to understand what a stone was saying.
PSALM 118:1-2, 19-29
118:1 Why do many Psalms begin with “O?”
118:2 This reads like a rubric or call for an antiphonal response.
118:19 Where are, and what are, the gates of righteousness? Who are the righteous?
118:20 We have gone from the plural to the singular.
118:21 How has the psalmist been answered?
118:22 What stone did what builders reject? What is a chief cornerstone? What is its function? Juxtapose this verse with Luke 19:40.
118:23 What is the Lord’s doing?
118:24 What day did the LORD make? Did the LORD not make all our days?
118:25 What does it mean to beseech? What sort of success might the Psalmist have been asking for? Who are the “us?”
118:26 Who comes in the name of the Lord? Do you recall Luke 19:38?
118:27 Why bind the festal procession with branches? What are and where are the horns of the altar? Might this and the preceding verse lead one to think of Luke 19:28-40 as a midrash of Psalm 118?
118:29 This verse and other parts of the Psalm could be used as a responsive Call to Worship. See Psalm 118:1-2.
LITURGY OF THE PASSION
50:4 What is the tongue of a teacher like? Note that the teacher is taught by God.
50:5 Does the Shema have anything to contribute to our understanding of this verse?
50:6 Who is speaking? How did this verse become associated with The Passion? Could we read The Passion narratives as a midrash of this passage?
50:7 What is a face like flint?
50:8 Who are the “us” that stand together?
50:9 Will the Lord God declare the prophet guilty?
50:7-9 I sense some sort of self-righteousness here that bothers me. What about you?
A prayer for deliverance from personal enemies is an obvious choice for the liturgy of the passion. They read as if they could have been spoken by Job. We can almost imagine hearing these words from the lips of Jesus as he was being crucified, or at any time during his passion. This Psalm reads like the thoughts and feelings of the dejected, rejected, and defeated. Nevertheless, the Psalm, in the end, expresses prayerful trust. Are we to read these words as referring to or prefiguring Christ’s Passion, or simply as a meditation or commentary on Christ’s Passion?
31:9 What was the Hebrew understanding of the relation between the soul and the body?
31:10 Does the Psalmist have no hope or joy?
31:11 Why would others react to the Psalmist in these ways? How and when do we react to someone in these ways?
3:12 What does it mean to pass out of mind like one who is dead? Are we to read these words as referring to or prefiguring Christ’s Passion, or simply as a meditation or commentary on Christ’s Passion?
31:14-16 The Psalm, in the end, expresses prayerful trust.
31:14 How might the psalmist maintain trust in God despite all the psalmist’s suffering?
31:15 Who might have been the Psalmists enemies and persecutors? Who are your enemies and persecutors?
2:6 How much should we focus on “form?” I am thinking about Plato. Was Paul? What if Christ had exploited equality with God?
2:7 Emptied himself of what? Is there a difference between likeness and form?
2:8 Does how Christ died matter?
2:9 What name is above every name?
2:10 What does the bended knee represent or symbolize?
2:11 Is “Jesus Christ is Lord” a minimalist confession of faith? If so, why was it later expanded?
LUKE 23:1-49 (Alternate)
23:1 What assembly?
23:2 Why is a religious assembly is making civil accusations?
23:3 What sort of answer is “You say so?”
23:4 How many chief priests were there? Why does Pilate receive such bad press?
23:5 What does “stirs up the people” refer to? Have similar charges and accusations ever been made against any other teacher?
23:6 What difference does it make if Jesus is a Galilean?
23:7 Why does jurisdiction matter? Was Pilate passing the buck?
23:8 If Herod had really wanted to see Jesus, what had been stopping him? Was Herod seeking to be informed or merely entertained?
23:9 I wonder how long Herod questioned Jesus. Why did Jesus not answer? Did he take “the fifth?”
23:10 What is the difference between a chief priest and a scribe? Why were they so opposed to Jesus?
23:11 Why would Herod put an elegant robe on Jesus?
23:12 What motivated or facilitated the changed relationship between Herod and Pilate? Why had they been enemies before this day?
23:13 Is there any group Pilate did not call together?
23:14 Is there significance to the “any of your charges” language?
23:15 Is Pilate simply covering his backside by referencing Herod?
23:16 Why have Jesus flogged if he had done nothing wrong?
23:17 What happened to verse 17?
23:18 Who was Barabbas?
23:19 Why the parenthesis?
23:20 Why was Pilate so intent on releasing Jesus?
23:21 Is this an example of mob rule?
23:22 Is there any significance to Pilate addressing the crowd three times?
23:23 Since when did a mob trump a Roman official? So much for the rule of law!
23:24 I thought Pilate had already, several times, given his verdict, a verdict different than this.
23:18-25 What might have happened if Pilate had not given in to the crowd’s demands?
23:26 Why make someone else carry Jesus’ cross?
23:27 So not all in the crowd were antagonistic toward Jesus. I wonder who these women were.
23:28 What does it mean to be a daughter of Jerusalem?
23:29-31 Is Jesus quoting from something? Where else might we find these sayings?
23:32 I wonder what sort of criminals.
23:33 What is the significance of Jesus being crucified between two criminals?
23:34 Who was Jesus asking forgiveness for? Who was casting lots? What are lots?
23:35 Did the crowd scoff or only the leaders?
23:36 How is offering sour wine a form of mocking?
23:37 What is the irony?
23:38 Is this an example of more irony?
23:39 Why would a criminal also being crucified deride Jesus?
23:40-41 I think this is a multivalent statement.
23:42 Why am I thinking of Taizé?
23:43 Do not get preoccupied with temporal issues. .
23:44 Is there anything significant or symbolic about three hours of darkness and when it started to get dark? Was this a miracle? A sign? A metaphor? A solar eclipse?
23:45 What purpose did the temple curtain serve?
23:46 Where have we heard this before?
23:47 What is a centurion? Was this centurion a Jew? A proselytize? A God fearer? A discerning Roman?
23:48 Why the plural “crowds?” What does beating one’s breasts symbolize.
23:49 Who were Jesus’ acquaintances? Would the disciples be considered among his acquaintances? Why are the women who followed him singled out? Why did they all stand at a distance?
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.