Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 for Sunday, February 7, 2016, the Transfiguration of the Lord (Year C)

Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 is a revised continuation of Lectionary Ruminations.  Focusing on The Revised Common Lectionary Readings for the upcoming Sunday from New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 draws on nearly thirty years of pastoral experience.  Believing that the questions we ask are often more important than any answers we find, without overreliance on commentaries I intend with comments and questions to encourage reflection and rumination for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged.  All lectionary links are to the via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website.

34:29-35 This reading was probably paired with the Gospel Reading because they both mention mountains, shining faces, and narrate a theophany.  What is the difference between reading the Luke passage through the lens of Exodus and reading the Exodus passage through the lens of Luke? In the past couple of months I read Belden C. Lane’s The Solace of Fierce Landscapes
Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality, which might influence how I interpret and preach this passage this time around. How does your reading influence how you interpret Scripture and how you preach?
34:29 If you had looked at the face of Moses, what would you have seen?  When was the last time anyone left a worship service with a shining face?  Do you know anyone whose seems to beam, not because they use make-up or cleansing cream, but because they seem to radiate a spiritual energy from within? Is anybody else thinking about auras?
34:30 What about the shining face of Moses scared Aaron and the people?
34:31 Why would Moses calling to the people help them overcome their fear?
34:32 What is the meaning of “in commandment”?
34:33 Why did Moses put a veil on his face?  Is there any value in drawing a possible metaphorical connection between the veil over Moses’ face and the veil in the Temple?  Those familiar with Celtic Christianity might wonder if the veil over Moses face was made of gossamer.
34:34 Why would Moses take off the veil when speaking with God?
34:35 Could the Israelites see the shining face of Moses through the veil that he wore?

99:1-9 How does this Psalm help interpret and shed light (pun intended) on both the First Reading and the Gospel Reading?
99:1 Why would people tremble just because the LORD is king?  Why would the earth quake just because the LORD sits enthroned upon the cherubim?  When was the last time you trembled in the presence of the LORD? What are cherubim and where might we find them?  Should we call Indiana Jones for help with this one?
99:2 Is the use of great and exalted and example of Hebrew poetic parallelism?
99:3 What is great and awesome about the LORD’s name?  Other than the LORD’s name, can you think of anything awesome? How can anyone praise the LORD’s great and awesome name when the name is not to be pronounced?
99:4 What sort of justice does this Mighty King love? What is meant by equity?
99:5 Where is the LORD’s footstool?
99:6 What does it mean to cry to the Lord?
99:7 What did the LORD’s voice sound like?  Is there a difference between decrees and statutes or is this more poetic parallelism?
99:8 Why the past tense?  Note that verses 1-7 and 9 speak of the LORD in the third person while this verse addresses the Lord in the second person.  Why the change?  Is it significant? How can the LORD be both a forgiving God and an avenging God?
99:9 Where is the LORD’s mountain and does the mention of a mountain justify the lectionary assigning this Psalm for use on The Transfiguration of the Lord?  Is the psalmist suggesting that the LORD can be worshiped only at God’s holy mountain and nowhere else?

3:12 What hope?
3:13 Moses did not act with boldness? Glory was being set aside?  Does Paul’s use of Moses’s veil as a metaphor justify assigning this passage to The Transfiguration of the Lord?
3:14 Whose minds were hardened?  Are our minds ever hardened, and if so, how?
3:14-15 Be careful of possible anti-Semitic interpretation of these verses.  Christians as well as Jews often have hardened minds and can read the Hebrew Scriptures through a metaphorical veil which hides and distorts.
3:16 How does turning to the Lord remove the veil?
3:17 How do we interpret this verse in light of the Doctrine of the Trinity? In this context, what is the meaning of freedom?
3:18 Even though our veil has been removed, we still do not look at the LORD directly, but through a mirror?  I might prefer to look at God directly, even if through a veil, than without a veil but at a reflection.  To what does “the same image” refer?  Is it the image of God in which humans were created? Is it the image of Christ?  Is it the image of Moses reflecting the image of God?
4:1 Who are “we”? What ministry?
4:2 What shameful things do we hide that we should renounce? Do Christians ever practice cunning in an attempt to grow churches and ministries?

9:28-36 You may want to check the parallels in Matthew 17:1-8 and Mark 9:2-8. Why is there no Transfiguration in John?
9:28 Eight days after what sayings?  Is there any significance to the number eight? What mountain?  Why go up a mountain to pray? You too may want to read Belden C. Lane’s The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Mountain Spirituality    Can Jesus not pray anywhere?  Note that once again Jesus takes with him the elite three— Peter, James, and John—a counter balance to the REALLY big three—Jesus, Moses and Elijah.
9:29 Is this perhaps a midrash on Exodus 34:29-35? Why didn’t Moses’ clothes become dazzling white?
9:30 What is significant about Moses and Elijah?  Why these two men?
9:31 What departure?
9:32 Is this a veiled reference (pun intended) to someone’s future falling asleep in the Garden while Jesus prayed?
9:33 Who were leaving? What is the meaning of “not knowing what he said”?  How often do we, like Peter, stick our foot in our mouth, not knowing what we have said?
9:34 Why would entering a cloud induce feelings of terror?
9:35 Whose voice?  Where and when have we heard this, or something like this, before?
9:36 Why did they keep silent?  When were “those days”?
(9:37-43) How do these verses add to, or detract from, the Reading’s focus on The Transfiguration?  If we choose to include these optional verses (I will probably not include them) then we might want to point out that while Peter wants to stay on the mountain to build a museum, Jesus descends back into the trenches and gets back to the business of exorcizing demons and healing the sick. In that regard, who are the faithless and perverse generation?
(9:37) How great?
(9:38) Does this verse echo 9:35?
(9:39) What does this sound like?
(9:40) Were the disciples that powerless?
(9:41) What is the meaning of this?
(9:42) Have you ever rebuked an unclean spirit? Are there such things as clean spirits?
(9:43) What does it mean to be astounded?  Why were they astounded at the greatness of God rather than the greatness of Jesus? When was the last time you were astounded by God?

I am currently serving at the Interim Pastor of The Presbyterian Church of Cadiz, Ohio but will be available to supply preach or serve in a part-time of full-time position beginning late February or early March, 2016.

No comments: