Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 22nd 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.

2:4 What is the meaning of “hear?”  Am I hearing echoes of The Shema? What is the difference, if any, between house of Jacob and house of Israel? Perhaps this is just a Hebraic poetic device?
2:5 One becomes what one desires?  Is the LORD asking a rhetorical question?
2:6 They did not say this, but they should have. What is the LORD getting at?
2:7 What is the relationship between the land and the LORD’s heritage? Is the LORD espousing an environmental ethic? How have we defiled the land?
2:8 None of these things would ever happen today, would they?
2:9 This language sounds like it is from a court of law. I can understand the people being accused, but not their grandchildren.  Why must later generations suffer for the action or inaction of people generations before them?
2:10 Why Cyprus and Kedar? Such a thing as what?
2:11 Have the people sold their birthright for a bowl of porridge? How have we done the same or similar?
2:12 Why are the heavens brought into this?
2:13 A double whammy! You do know what a cistern is, don’t you?  Why would one need a cistern when one has a fountain? Why am I thinking of John 4:5-26?

PSALM 81:1, 10-16
81:1 Sing aloud.  Sing ALOUD!  Sing with gusto and spirit.  Shout.  SHOUT! Don’t mumble or whisper.  Let the people passing by the outside of the church hear what is happening inside!
81:10 See Jeremiah 2:6. If we open our mouths wide, what will the LORD fill them with?
81:11 Must listening involve submission?
81:12 So it is God’s fault?
81:13 What does it mean to walk in God’s ways? What are God’s ways?
81:11-13 This reads like a restatement of the Jeremiah Reading, nothing less than God’s indictment of the people.
81:14 But until then . . . ?
81:15 What is the difference between hating the LORD and not listening to the LORD’s voice?
81:16 What do the finest wheat and honey from the rock symbolize? Since when did honey come from a rock? This finest wheat and honey from the rock sounds tastier than bland communion wafers.
81:14-16 God does not speak of pending punishment but rather promised rewards.  It is easier to attract flies with honey (from the rock) than vinegar.

HEBREWS 13:1-8, 15-16
13:1 What mutual love is being referred to?
13:2 Does this allude to anything in the Hebrew Scriptures?  Have you ever entertained angels without be aware of it until later? How might this verse impact our immigration policy debate?
13:3 What does it mean to “remember?”  Why am I feeling guilty for not having renewed my membership in Amnesty International?
13:4 How might this verse inform debates about same sex marriage, if at all?
13:5 How can a capitalist read this with a straight face? Where has God said this?
13:6 Who or what is being quoted?
13:7 Does this refer only to leaders of religious communities or all leaders? Contrast this with Jeremiah 2:8.
13:8 Are you the same yesterday, today and forever?  What is the meaning and purpose of this verse in this context?
13:15 Verbal praise is a sacrifice pleasing to God, but is any other sacrifice needed?
13:16 Is “sharing” the only good work or just one among many?

LUKE 14:1, 7-14
14:1 This sounds like a memory, but the author cannot place the time or location.  I have such momentary lapses of recall, why shouldn’t Luke?  Or could this be a fictional account? Who were watching Jesus, the Pharisees? The other guests?
14:7 Where are the places of honor? While some were watching Jesus, Jesus was watching the guests.
14:8 Thus sit down at the place where you find your name card and don’t go exchanging name cards.
14:9 Who would want to experience such ignominious disgrace?
14:10 Why is it that when people go to concerts and plays, they want to sit near the front, but when they go to worship, they want to sit in the back? Are down and up only physical location descriptions or do they mean something more?
14:11 This sounds like one of the Gospel’s formulaic reversal of fortunes sayings.
14:12 Is “luncheon” really the best translation? Who do you invite into your home for meals or entertaining and why? I wonder why the  host invited Jesus.
14:13 Do we invite these people to the Lord’s Table?
14:14 So payment is deferred, but there is still a payment?
14:12-14 Is this a mere parable or a metaphorical interpretation and application of a later Eucharistic theology and the placement of that theology back into the text?
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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