Monday, June 24, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (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.

AMOS 7:7-17
7:7 How many people in the pews may not know what a plumb line is, what it does, and what it is for?
7:8 When had the Lord passed the people of Israel by?
7:9 What and where were the high places of Isaac? How many sanctuaries did Israel have? Who was Jeroboam?
7:10 What do we know about Amaziah? Why is Bethel significant? Does the conflict between Amaziah and Amos reflect the conflict between the exoteric and esoteric forms of the Jewish faith?
7:11 Amos has apparently spoken truth to power.  Who are the prophets in our day speaking truth to power?
7:12 What is a “seer” and where do we find such people today? What was the relationship between Amaziah and Amos?
7:13 As a member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), I read this passage as a biblical warrant for maintaining the Washington Office of the church.
7:14 Is this an example of feigned humility?
7:15 What does this verse say about the nature of God’s call?
7:16 Note the formulaic introduction. Who says “Do not prophesy …?”
7:17 This is not good news, nor the sort of news any political figure would want to hear. Whose wife “shall become a prostitute?”

82:1 How do we as monotheists handle passages like this, a passage that speaks of “the divine council” and God holding judgment “in the midst of the gods?”
82:2 Shall we read this verse as a prayer having been answered by the prophecy of Amos? Does God ever judge unjustly or show partiality to the wicked? How do you handle “Selah” in the public reading of scripture?
82:3 Might this be a lower- and middle-class cry?
82:4 Who is or are the wicked?
82:5 Who has neither knowledge nor understanding?
82:6 Who is speaking?  Who are “gods?”
82:7 Who is this verse talking about?
82:8 When we pray this prayer, are we not asking for God to judge us as harshly as other countries?

1:1 Who is the real author of this letter, Paul or Timothy? Was Timothy not also an apostle?
1:2 Is there a distinction between “the saints” and “faithful brothers and sisters in Christ” or is this an example of multiple references to the same group?
1:3 Is the author speaking of intercessory prayer?
1:4 I wonder who Paul and Timothy heard this from.
1:5 What hope is laid up for us in heaven?
1:6 What if the grace of God is not comprehended?
1:7 What, if anything, do we know about Epaphras? Is Epaphras the answer to my question about Colossians 1:4?
1:8 What is love in the Spirit? Why is Spirit capitalized?
1:9 Have Christians in Colossians not already been so filled?
1:10 How do we grow in the knowledge of God?
1:11 This blessing could be used as a benediction. What could Paul have thought Christians in Colossae might have to endure?
1:12 What is the inheritance of the saints in light?
1:13 Note the juxtaposition of darkness in this verse with light in the previous verse.
1:14 Is redemption the same as forgiveness of sins?

LUKE 10:387-42
10:25 What is the meaning of “test?” Why might the lawyer have called Jesus “teacher?” Perhaps this verse ought to be read in conversation with Colossians 1:12.
10:26 Is Jesus turning the question back on the lawyer? What law was Jesus referring to?
10:27 Where did this answer come from?
10:28 This “right” answer seems to point toward praxis, that is right belief leading to right actions rather than focusing on mere orthodox belief as the test of faith.  Note the language: “Do” this and you shall live,” not “Believe” this. Is “living” the same as inheriting eternal life?
10:29 How often, and in what ways, do we seek to “justify” ourselves rather than relying on God to justify us? Think about what spiritual and religious insight would have been lost if the lawyer had not asked this question.
10:30 What would a normal journey from Jerusalem to Jericho be like?
10:31 What sort of priest?
10:32 What is a Levite?
10:33 What is a Samaritan and how would a Samaritan contrast with a Levite and a priest?
10:34 The Levite did something! He did not just pray.
10:35 While the Samaritan paid for the man’s lodging, he did not give the two denarii directly to the man. I have known many churches that would pay for a night’s lodging but not give directly to the person who needed the lodging.
10:36 What is the meaning of “neighbor?”
10:37 The lawyer again answers correctly. How is God like a neighbor?
10:30-37 Have we heard this parable too many times to hear it as if we are hearing it for the first time and to hear it in new, fresh, and enlightening ways?  How can we hear it anew every time we hear it?

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