Monday, September 16, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 27th 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.


This Sunday is generally recognized as World Communion Sunday, and in the PC(USA) the designated day to receive the Peace & Global Witness Offering.  How do any or all the day’s readings allow themselves to be a springboard for a sermon leading to or pointing to The Lord’s Table and highlighting the ministry of Peace, Peacemaking, and Global Witness?

LAMENTATIONS 1:1-6, 3:19-26
The Lectionary does not consider this a continuous reading. Lamentations 1:1-6 is the First Reading and Lamentations 3:19-26 may be used as the response rather than Psalm 137. I prefer, however, to combine them into the First Reading and then use the Psalm as a Response.
1:1 I think this verse addresses the reality of cities like Detroit and others in the industrial heartland of America. What other once great cities, other than Jerusalem, might this verse speak to?
1:2 Who were her lovers?
1:3 Might this speak to other exiled peoples?
1:4 Might this also describe back roads and side roads in America after the advent of the Interstate system.
1:5 Who is to blame, the LORD or the former inhabitants of the city?
1:6 Zion is the daughter of whom?
3:19 What is wormwood?  What is gall?
3:20 Might the Book of Job be of any help here?
3:21 Is this example of something from the past serving as a springboard into the future?
3:22 If this is true, then why 1:1-6?
3:23 Ergo every morning brings new hope.
3:24 What is a portion?
3:25 How log shall we wait upon the LORD?  How does the soul seek the LORD? How are waiting and seeking related?
3:26 I cannot but help hear this verse and consider contemplative prayer.

See LAMENTATIONS 1:1-6, 3:19-26 above.

137:1 What are the rivers of Babylon? Is anyone else thinking of a song from the Broadway Musical Godspell?
137:2 What might willows symbolize?  Why were the harps hung up? What might harps symbolize?
137:3 Can mirth be feigned? What are the songs of Zion?
137:4 Why could one not sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?
137:5 Does “forget” refer to memory only? Consider this verse juxtaposed with today’s First Reading.
137:6 What does the tongue clinging to the roof of the mouth symbolize or signify?
137:7 Who were the Edomites?
137:8 Why is Babylon referred to as a daughter?
137:9 Yes, this is one of the more problematic passages of Scripture, but note that is the exiles speaking, not God.  It expresses their profound anger born of grief and exile.

2 TIMOTHY 1:1-14
1:1 Why does Paul need to state his credentials in a personal letter to Timothy?
1:2 Why does Paul refer to Timothy as his “beloved child?”  Is there any significance to the tripartite “Grace, mercy, and peace” greeting? Note that there is no “Trinitarian” greeting/blessing here.
1:3 Why would Paul, or anyone, worship God without a clear conscience? What is Paul talking about?
1:4 What would account for Timothy’s tears?
1:5 Do we know anything else about Lois and Eunice? Was Timothy nurtured in the Christian faith by his mother and grandmother or was he old enough at the time to convert as an Adult with them?
1:6 How can the laying on of hands rekindle the gift of God within a person?  What is this “gift of God” Paul refers to? How do we rekindle our faith?
1:7 Is Paul speaking of the Holy Spirit?
1:8 Do you think Timothy was ashamed?  Have you ever been ashamed of testimony about our Lord?  Personally, I am sometimes ashamed of those who in my mind pervert the Gospel and inflict pain and persecution in the name of Christ.  For instance, I am ashamed of Medieval Crusades and the contemporary exploits of the Westboro Baptist Church, and some TV Evangelists.
1:9 Preexistent grace?
1:10 Preexistent grace only now revealed?
1:11 Is there any differences between herald, apostle, and teacher?  Do the titles refer to different functions and roles?
1:12 What shame is Paul referring to? What did Paul entrust?
1:13 What gives Paul, or any individual, the right to establish a standard of sound teaching? In the Reformed Tradition, only councils can establish such standards, and councils can sometimes ere.
1:14 What is the good treasurer to which Paul refers? Paul finally mentions the Holy Spirit!

LUKE 17:5-10
17:5 All the apostles or just some of the apostles?  How does one measure faith?  Are Fowler’s stages of faith in any way a measurement?
17:6 I think Jesus, or the Gospel writers, were sometimes prone to hyperbole. Why would anyone want a mulberry tree to be uprooted and planted in the sea?
17:7 Is this a serious or a rhetorical question? Why am I, a white American living 150+ years after the end of slavery in America, cringing when I read this verse?
17:8 An interesting verse considering America’s growing economic inequality.
17:9 And some bosses and managers treat hired workers just this way.
17:10 I do not like this verse. It sounds to puritan to my ears. Where the apostles not worthy of being thanked?
17:7-10 How do these verses relate to, inform, or follow from Luke 17:5-6?
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.

No comments: