Monday, August 26, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 24th 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.

Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
4:11 Who is speaking? At what time?  What is the difference between “this people” and “Jerusalem?” Is there any connection between “a hot wind” and the wind that blew across the waters at creation or the Holy Spirit?
4:12 What speed of wind is needed for winnowing and cleansing? If this wind is not for winnowing or cleansing, then what is it for?
4:22 The LORD sounds like a typical parent of adolescents. When will we grow up into adulthood?
4:23 How could there be no light in the heavens?
4:24 What might quaking mountains symbolize or represent?
4:25 What does the emptiness represent or symbolize?
4:26 I am sure someone will ask the question about how a loving, merciful, grace filled LORD can be filled with such fierce anger.
4:23-26 Note the repetitive “I looked”.
4:27 Why am I thinking of Smaug? What is the difference between a partial end and a full end?
4:28 How does the earth mourn?  How shall we read this verse when in other passages God changes the divine mind?  Does process theology help us find a way out of this potential dilemma?

14:1 What if a person says in their heart “I don’t know if there is a God or not?”  Was Pascal a fool? Juxtapose this verse with Jeremiah 4:22.
14:2 Where are the heavens (and where is God) in a Copernican universe? Why do humans seek after God?
14:3 Are “seeking after God” and “going astray” opposites?
14:4 Does knowledge always lead to doing the good?
14:4 What sort of knowledge is being asked about? It sounds as though evildoers are being contrasted with God’s people.
14:5 Are “the righteous” the opposite of “fools?” Are “the righteous” God’s people?
14:6 Whom is being addressed? Who is confounding the plans of the poor? I think some God-fearing politicians need to reflect on the verse.
14:7 What is the difference between Israel and Zion? If God is in the heavens, as suggested by the Psalmist in 14:2, then why look to Zion for deliverance?

1 TIMOTHY 1:12-17
1:12 Is Paul not being a bit presumptuous in stating that Christ Jesus has judged him faithful? Paul seems a little egotistical.
1:13 The old is over and gone.  Everything is fresh and new.  Is ignorance of the law really an excuse? What sort of ignorance might Paul have had in mind? What is the relationship between ignorance and unbelief?
1:14 What does Paul mean by “the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus?” Whose faith and love?
1:15 I hear liturgy here. It seems Paul must be the first or greatest in everything!
1:16 Paul received mercy because he was the foremost of sinners? I cannot help but post this Luther quote: “God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.” (
1:17 I hear more liturgy.

LUKE 15:1-10
15:1 Is “all” hyperbole? What is the relation between tax collectors and sinners? What is the difference between listening and hearing?
15:2 Who are today’s equivalent of the Pharisees and the scribes and what do they grumble about?
15:3 Are parables always told in response to criticism?
15:4 Does this passage give any comfort to the ninety-nine? Why am I thinking of Kirk saying to Spock “…the needs of the one... outweigh the needs of the many.” If I were one of the ninety-nine, I would be upset. Would a sensible shepherd really act this way? Maybe God is not a sensible shepherd.
15:5 This reminds me of the iconic image of Jesus carrying a sheep on his shoulders.
15:6 Why am I hearing echoes of the Parable of the Prodigal Son?
15:7 Ergo Luther’s “Sin Boldly”? On the other hand, is anyone righteous?
15:3-7 Who is the lost sheep and who are the ninety-nine? God will search for the lost but the lost but not play hide and seek. Might we consider the Pharisees and the scribes righteous?
15:8 Why do I like this parable more than the one before it? Does the number ten symbolize anything? Is there any symbolism to the lamp? The shepherd lost 1/100 of the sheep and went looking for it. The woman lost 1/10 of her wealth and went looking for it. Many people today, upon dropping a penny, will leave it rather than picking it up. How valuable are we to God?
15:9 I wonder if the woman spent part of the found coin to celebrate its finding.
15:10 Why mention the angels here? Do our worship services express such joy?
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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