Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 25th 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 8:18-9:1
8:18 Who is expressing this existential angst?
8:19 Is this anything less than a communal expression of doubt? Are the LORD and the King one in the same? Why ask this question? What images and what foreign idols are being referred to?
8:20 It is beginning to sound like a long, hard, cold winter.
8:21 How often has communal or societal grief manifested itself in you?
8:22 What is balm?  Where is Gilead?
9:1 Have you ever run out of tears? Who is crying and why?

PSALM 79:1-9
79:1 Does “nations” refer to political or ethnic entities?  This seems like a blanket indictment. What period of Jewish history does this Psalm reflect?
79:2 This is very graphic imagery.
79:3 This starting to sound like a horror story.
79:4 How does this appeal to God’s honor?
79:5 Is there any difference between anger and jealous wrath?
79:6 What nations know God?  What kingdoms call on God’s name? Is the request to “pour out your anger” a poetic parallel to the “poured out their blood” of 79:3?
79:7 The nations that devoured Jacob like the wild animals of the earth have eaten the flesh of the faithful. I detect some chiastic structure here:
A 79:2
B 79:3
B' 79:6
A' 79:7.
79:8 Blame it on previous generations.
79:9 Again, is this an appeal to God’s honor and reputation?

1 TIMOTHY 2:1-7
2:1 I usually think of supplications, intercessions, and thanksgiving as types of prayer. I wonder what Paul meant by “prayers.”
2:2 Did conservative Christians pray that President Obama may lead a quiet and peaceable life?  Do progressive Christians pray that President Trump would lead a quiet and peaceable life? I include a petition for the President, Governor, and all other elected and appointed officials in the Prayers of the People every Sunday I am leading worship.
2:3 Who gave Paul the authority and what gives him the right to make such a pronouncement?
2:4 Is there any difference between being saved and knowing the truth?
2:5 Why does Paul mention Christ’s humanity but not his divinity?
2:6 Does this verse preclude other theories of the atonement other than the ransom theory?
2:7 What is the difference between being a herald and being an apostle? Why the “I am telling the truth, I am not lying” parenthetical remark? Was someone accusing Paul of lying?

LUKE 16:1-13
16:1 Do we consider this a parable if the text does not identify it as a parable? Do you think this literally happened of that Jesus was just weaving a good moral tale?
16:2 This sounds like an audit, even a forensic audit.
16:3 What does this verse tell us about the character of the manager?
16:4 It sounds like the manager is looking for a parachute and hoping for a safe landing.
16:5 The manage must have been incompetent if he did not know how much the debtors owed.
16:6 What is the value of a jug of olive oil? I wonder how the manager determined to cut the debt in half.
16:7 I wonder why the manger forgave only 20% of this person’s debt when he forgave 50% of the previous persons debt.
16:8 How could the master commend such dishonest behavior that financially hurt him? The “children of this age” and “children of light” dichotomy sounds somewhat apocalyptic if not Gnostic.
16:9 Is all wealth dishonest?  Is this a stewardship sermon? Is Jesus suggesting that his followers lie, cheat, and steal?
16:10 This is very good advice, but I think it does not follow from the proceeding nine verses, especially 16:9. In fact, I think the entire parable, if it is indeed a parable, is poorly reasoned.
16:11 What does Jesus mean by “true riches?”
16:12 Are not most people more faithful with their own belongings than the belongings of others?
16:13 I imagine some slaves hated both masters if they had two.  What does it mean to “serve wealth?” How can wealth be a master?
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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