Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 7th 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 16:16-34
16:16 Who are the “we?”  What makes a place of prayer different from any other place? What is a spirit of divination?
16:17 Why was she following Paul and those with him? Why would she proclaim such a thing? Is this an example of irony?
16:18 Why might Paul have been annoyed, after all, she was speaking the truth and seemed to be giving them free publicity? Note that what this girl was saying was not soothsaying but truth telling.  What was Paul’s motivation for casting out the demon?
16:19 And the moral of the story is “do not threaten someone’s livelihood?” When did Silas enter the scene? What do we know about him? Was the narrator not seized and dragged? It seems that economics is sometimes the driving force of the universe.
16:20 Who are the magistrates? How were Paul and Silas disturbing the city? So what if they were Jews?
16:21 What customs might Paul and Silas have been advocating and why were these customs not lawful?
16:22 Why would the crowd join in attacking them? Is this at all reminiscent of the passion of Christ?
16:23 What is a flogging?
16:24 How many were so incarcerated?
16:25 Is there any significance or symbolism associated with midnight?
16:26 Is this a description of a mere natural phenomena or something more? I can imagine an earthquake opening doors, but not chains coming unfastened.
16:27 Why was the jailor about to kill himself?
16:28 Why would Paul announce their presence?
16:29 Why did the jailer fall down trembling before Paul and Silas?
16:30 Might there be a multi-valent meaning to the question?
16:31 What does Paul mean by “Believe?” How can a household be saved based on one person’s belief?
16:32 Is speaking the word of the Lord the same as preaching a sermon?
16:33 Do you think the jailor washed their wounds using the same source of water used for the baptism?
16:34 Even though Paul and Silas were eating a meal in the jailor’s house rather than the jail, were they still prisoners? Note that the jailer became a believer in God, not a believer in the Lord Jesus.

97:1 Does it make any sense to talk about the LORD being king when living in a democratic republic?  What do coastlands symbolize or represent?
97:2 Why are clouds and thick darkness all around the LORD?  What is the relationship between righteousness and justice?
97:3 What does fire symbolize or represent?
97:4 What, if any, is the connection between thunder storms and God? How does the earth tremble? IS the psalmist praising the storm God?
97:5 Is this a description of volcanic activity?
97:6 Project images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope here! Yes, peoples (note the plural) behold God’s glory but do they know they are beholding God’s glory?
97:7 What about people who do not worship images?  How do gods bow down before the LORD if there are no other gods?
97:8 What is the difference between Zion and Judah?
97:9 How can the LORD be over all the earth if the earth is round? Who or what are these other gods?
97:10 Rather than hating evil, I prefer loving the good.
97:11 Do the unrighteousness not see or experience the sunrise?
97:12 How can one give thanks to the LORD’s holy name when the LORD’s holy name is not to be pronounced?

REVELATION 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
22:12 Who is speaking?  This sounds like a verse in support of “works righteousness.” Will the reward enable the repayment?
22:13 Does this need explanation, or do all those in the pew understand it?
22:14 What do washed robes symbolize?  What would one wash them with? What is the tree of life?”  How else would one enter a city if not by the gates (note the plural)?
22:16 What angel is Jesus referring to?  How can one be both a root and a descendant?  What is “the bright morning star?”
22:17 Who is the bride? What is the “water of life” and how does it differ from “the tree of life?”
22:20 Who is testifying to these things?
22:21 Who is offering this blessing? Who are all the saints?

JOHN 17:20-26
17:20 Who is asking? Who are “these?”
17:21 How does “oneness” lead people to belief?
17:22 How does glory promote oneness?
17:23 Why will complete oneness lead to the world’s knowing anything?
17:24 What would it mean for “those” to be where Jesus is?
17:25 What might this verse suggest about religious and/or spiritual knowledge?
17:26 What is the significance or symbolism of making God’s name known? How might knowing God’s name enable God’s love to be in someone?
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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