Monday, April 29, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 5th Sunday of Easter (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.

ACTS 11:1-18
11:1 What Gentiles had accepted the word of God?
11:2 Where had Peter come from? What is the difference between a circumcised and uncircumcised believer?
11:3 What was wrong about Peter eating with uncircumcised men? I wonder if Peter ate with any women.
11:4 Some people may need step by step explanations and others may follow intuitive leaps. Which type are you?
11:5 Where was Joppa and is there anything special about it? I wonder why Peter was in Joppa. How and why did Peter enter a trance?  What is a vision?  Have you ever been in a trance or experienced a vision?  What is the difference, if any, between a “vision” and a “big dream”? Do you think trances and visions have a part to play in Christian spirituality today?
11:6 What is significant about the animals that Peter describes?
11:7 Did Peter audibly hear a voice that others could have heard, or did he hear a voice in his vision that others would not have been able to her? Whose voice did Peter hear?
11:8 What does it mean that something is profane or unclean? Had Peter been too concerned about purity and ritual cleanliness?
11:9 What had God made clean? Who voice said this?
11:10 It seems that for Peter, things come and happen in threes. Why might that be? Is this an example of synchronicity? Where was Caesarea and is there anything special about it?
11:11 See what I mean, “three” men!
11:12 What “Spirit” is Peter referring to? Does the “Spirit” ever talk to you?  Who is the “us?”  Who are these “six brothers?” Whose house did they go to?
11:13 Had this man also experienced a vison?
11:14 What is the definition of a “household?” What is the implication regarding baptism of infants?
11:15 So there was the rush of a mighty wind, tongues as of fire, and people speaking in various languages? It seems that the Holy Spirit fell upon these Gentile believers before they were baptized!
11:16 Would Peter not have remembered this saying of Jesus if the account narrated above had not happened?  Can we find this saying of Jesus in any of the Gospels? What sayings of Jesus might Peter never have remembered and are now long forgotten?
11:17 Is this a rhetorical question? How might we be hindering God today?
11:18 How can one be silenced and at the same time praise God? If Gentiles were not under the Law of Moses, then what did they have to repent of?

148:1 Why is God usually praised from the heights but not the valleys?
148:2 Who, or what, are the host? Are angels also hosts?
148:3 How do celestial objects praise God? I am thinking of the Hubble Telescope.
148:4 How many gradations of heaven are there? How many heavens are between the highest heavens and the lowest heavens? What and where is the water above heaven?
148:5 Does this verse refer to one of the creation accounts but not the other?
148:6 Does this assume a pre-Copernican universe?
148:7 What are Biblical sea monsters?
148:8 If elements of weather obey God’s commands, then are natural weather disasters sent by God? How might this verse inform a Christian understanding of global climate change?
148:9 What trees, if any, are not included?
148:10 Does cattle include all domesticated livestock?
148:11 While present throughout this psalm, the Hebraic poetic parallelism is particularly evident in this verse.
148:12 Does this verse remind you of any other verse or passage from the Jewish Scriptures?
148:13 How can one praise the name of the Lord when the Lord’s is not to be pronounced?
148:14 What is a “horn” and what does it symbolize?

21:1 This Sunday we have at least two visions, this one and the one narrated in the First Reading from Acts.  Why do people no longer have visions like these?  When I read this passage, I think of how C.S. Lewis described the new heaven and new earth in his Chronicles of Narnia. Why would the sea be no more?
21:2 Why are cities feminized?  The story of God’s mighty acts might have started with a garden, but it ends with a city!  Apparently, God was into urban renewal. Note that the First Reading, Acts 11:5, also presents a vision of something coming down from heaven.
21:3 Note that the text says God will dwell with God’s peoples and does not say that God’s peoples will dwell with God. Why the plural “peoples?” Whose voice is heard?
21:4 We may usually associate this verse with The Service of Witness to the Resurrection.
21:5 Who is seated on the throne?  Write what?
21:6 Where is the spring of the water of life?  Did this passage lead to legends of the “fountain of youth?”  What about the hungry?

JOHN 13:31-35
13:31 Who had gone out from where or what?  Who is “the Son of Man” and what does this phrase mean?  Where does the image of “the Son of Man” come from?
13:32 What in the world is John saying here? Why all the emphasis on glory?
13:33 Who are the “little children?” Why are these “little children” distinguished from the Jews?
13:34 If this is a new commandment, what was the old commandment? Does the new commandment add to or supplant all previous commandments?
13:35 So the new commandment is that disciples are to have love for other disciples?  What about people who are not disciples?
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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