Monday, April 8, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 2nd 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 5:27-32
During the Easter Season the First Reading is from the Book of Acts rather than from the Hebrew Scriptures.
5:27 Who brought whom from where?  What council?  Who was the high priest and what is the high priest’s function?
5:28 What in the world is the high priest talking about?  Who is the “we” who gave strict orders?  By what authority could they give such orders?
5:29 Why is only Peter named?  Who might be among the other “apostles?”  “We must obey God rather than any human authority” reminds me of one of the one of the Historic Principles of Church Order (see F-3.0101). Did all the Apostles say this in unison?
5:30 Note that Peter references the God of “our” ancestors. Did Peter consider the members of the council Abraham’s ancestors? Also note that God raised up Jesus, Jesus did not rise.  Why is the cross sometimes referred to as a tree?
5:31 What is the significance of God’s metaphorical right hand? What is the Greek word translated as “Leader” in the NRSV?
5:32 What “things?” are the apostles witnesses to?  How is the Holy Spirit a witness?  Is there a sense that God gives the Holy Spirit as a reward for obedience?

PSALM 118:14-29
118:14-24 These verses were part of the Psalm last week, on Easter!
118:14 Is there any difference between strength and might? How shall we understand the meaning of salvation in a Psalm compared to salvation in a New Testament text? This verse reminds me of a Taizé chant.
118:15 When was the last time you heard a glad song in worship?
118:15b-16 Is this the glad song referenced in 118:15?
118:17 What are the deeds of the LORD and could you recount them?
118:18 Is death the ultimate punishment?  For what was the psalmist punished?  Does this verse presume an angry God of wrath and vengeance?
118:19 Where are what are the gates of righteousness?
118:20 Where is this gate?
118:21 Does the LORD ever not answer?
118:22 What is the difference between a cornerstone and a keystone?  Why would builders reject a stone?
118:23 What is the LORD’s doing?
118:24 I thought the LORD made all days.
118:25 Note the transition from the singular to the plural. What sort of “success” was the psalmist asking for?
118:26 What does it mean to come in the name of the LORD?  Where and when have we heard this before?  Where and when will we hear it again?
118:27 What festal procession?  What are the horns of the altar?
118:28 What is the meaning of “extol” and how does it differ from giving thanks?
118:29 Does not “steadfast” love mean it endures forever?
118:14-29 Why this Psalm this day?

OR (Use PSALM 118:14-29 or PSALM 150, but not both.)

The 2nd Sunday of Easter (Year C) is the only Sunday this Psalm appears in the Lectionary.
150:1 Is God’s sanctuary the mighty firmament? What and where is the firmament?
150:2 What are God’s mighty deeds and ho many of them are there? How surpassing is God’s greatness? What does God’s greatness surpass?
150:3 I can not wait to recruit the accompanist to paly this and the following sounds! How do churches that do not use or allow accompaniment and musical instruments being used in worship interpret this verse?
150:4 When was the last time you experienced liturgical dance in worship? When was the last time you danced in worship?
150:5 Please note – LOUD!
150:6 What breathes and what does not breath? Can we praise God with our breath?

1:4-8 Please note that this reading is from Revelation, NOT Revelations!  What difference does an “s” make?
1:4 Is there anything special about these seven churches besides the fact that John wrote to them?  What do you know about letter salutations in Greek and Hebrew cultures?  What are the seven spirits?
1:5 Does this verse presume a blood atonement theory?
1:6 How are we a kingdom?  Are we a kingdom of priests?
1:7 How can those who pierced him see him if they are dead when he comes?

1:8 Is it safe to assume that everyone in a church pew understands the meaning of “I am the Alpha and the Omega?” In the Classic Star Trek episode “All Our Yesterdays,” there is a librarian named “Mr. Atoz.” Compare this verse to verse 4.


JOHN 20:19-31
20:19 Is the setting our Saturday evening or our Sunday evening?  What or whose house were they in? Why did the disciples fear the Jews? What sort of greeting is “Peace be with you?”
20:20 Why did Jesus show the disciples his hands and side? Did the disciples not rejoice before they saw his hands and side? Did the disciples not recognize Jesus before they saw his hands and side?
20:21 Why is the “Peace be with you” greeting repeated? How did the Father send Jesus?
20:22 Why did Jesus breathe on the disciples?  What is the connection between breath and the Holy Spirit?
20:23 When interpreting this verse, does it make any difference that this is perhaps the latest Gospel? What is “The power of the keys?”
20:24 I wonder where Thomas was and why he was not there. Why was Thomas called “the Twin?” Who was his twin?
20:25 Do you know anyone who can honestly say “I have seen the Lord?”  Rather than referring to him as “doubting Thomas” I would rather refer to him as “I am not gullible Thomas” or “Skeptical Thomas.”
20:26 Were the doors also locked? Is it significant that it was a week later?
20:27 Do not doubt what?  Believe what?
20:28 Jesus invited Thomas to touch his wounds, but did Thomas do so?  Might “My Lord and My God” be an example of an early confession of faith?
20:29 For whom is this verse written? Who have not seen and yet have come to believe?
20:30 I wonder what other signs Jesus may have done that are not written in this book.  I think I feel an historical novel coming on: “The Other Signs of Jesus” I will title it.
20:31 This also reads like an early statement of faith. Is this verse talking about life in the here  and now or a future life everlasting in heaven?
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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