Monday, July 1, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 16th 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 8:1-12
8:1 What does the basket of summer fruit symbolize?
8:2 Is God bringing the end, or allowing the end? Summer fruit looks good but will soon start to rot if not eaten. Once the fruit is picked the fruitfulness of the summer is gone. Everything might look right but it is far from right. When had the Lord GOD previously passed the people by?
8:3 Is anybody else thinking of the Wailing Wall?
8:4 Who has been trampling on the needy?  Who has been bringing ruin to the land? How might this sound in the United States in 2019?
8:5 What is the connection between the new moon and selling grain?
8:6 There was no Consumer Protection in Biblical times.
8:7 What deeds? Who did these dastardly deeds?
8:8 Why the references to the Nile?
8:9 On what day?  Does any of this imagery find its way into accounts of the crucifixion? Look again at 8:3.
8:10 Baldness on every head?
8:11 What time?  I love this metaphor. People, countries and cultures may be financially rich but spiritually poor. It sounds to me, based on the way people were acting, that there was already a spiritual famine in the land. Is there a spiritual famine in the United States today?
8:12 What does the word of the LORD represent? Where do we find the word of the LORD today?

52:1 Who is speaking?  Who is the mighty one? Who are the godly?  What are the contemporary applications and implications? I can see why this Psalm is paired with the Amos reading.
52:2 Whom is the Psalmist writing about?
52:3 Does this remind you of any contemporary person? I have asked this question before and I will ask it again. How do you handle “Selah” in the public reading of scripture?
52:4 What words devour?
52:5 Is this a warning or a threat?
52:6 Are the righteous the same as the godly in verse 1?
52:7 What are the implications for American capitalism, consumerism, and the one percent?
52:8 Where there green olive trees in the temple? What are the characteristics of a green olive tree?
52:9 What has been done? How can God’s name be proclaimed when God’s name is not to be pronounced?

1:15 What Greek word is translated into English as “image?” How can anything invisible have an image? What is the theological implication of being “firstborn?”
1:16 What does it mean that all things were created in him?
1:17 What does it mean to be before all things? Is this purely a temporal statement? According to physics, what holds things together?
1:18 What good is a head without a body, or a body without a head?
1:19 Does the idea of “dwell” mean the same as “incarnate?” What is God’s fullness?
1:20 Are any other PCUSA Presbyterians thinking of the Confession of 67? How can blood make peace?
1:21 Is Paul thinking only of the Colossians?
1:22 Before whom?
1:23 Does “provided” suggest a conditionality? Has the gospel been preached to living creatures other than humans?
1:24 What is Paul suffering?  How is Paul suffering for the sake of the Colossians? Something in Christ’s afflictions were lacking?
1:25 How and when was God’s commission given to Paul?
1:26 To what mystery does Paul refer?
1:27 Does Paul mean that to the Gentiles Christ was a mystery?  How shall we read this against the backdrop of Mystery Religions contemporary in Paul’s context? What does it mean to be mature in Christ?
1:28 Everyone?  Is this universalism?
1:26-28 Do these verses have any relevance to Christian mysticism?

LUKE 10:38-42
10:38-42 Is this, perhaps, one of the shortest Gospel Readings in the three-year lectionary? Apparently, some have interpreted this passage in ways like passages about Leah and Rachel in the Jewish Scriptures.
10:38 Who are among the “they”? Why is the village not named? Does Martha own the home? Did Mary not welcome Jesus?
10:39 Is this at all a symbolic posture? I wonder what Jesus was saying.
10:40 Why did Martha speak to Jesus and not Mary?  How are we distracted by our many tasks?  Might this passage have anything to say about mindfulness meditation, contemplative prayer, and Christian mysticism?
10:41 I think there is a little Martha in all of us. What are some of the many things that distract you?
10:42 What is the one thing? What did Mary choose?
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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