Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for Christ the King / Reign of Christ (Year A)

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.

EZEKIEL 34:11-16, 20-24
34:11 How did God lose these sheep in the first place? Why might God be doing the searching rather than entrusting the searching to a representative?
34:12 Why do sheep scatter and why do shepherds allow them to scatter? Was the scattering caused by the day of clouds and thick darkness, or was the day of clouds and thick darkness a result of the scattering?
34:13 How can one not read this and be a Zionist?
34:14-15 Why am I thinking of Psalm 23?
34:16 What is the difference between the lost and the strayed? Does it seem that God will search out and rescue the 99% while punishing the 1%?
34:20 I am glad to be eating better, exercising more, and to have dropped a few pounds.
34:21 To whom is this addressed?
34:22 Note that God will judge between sheep and sheep, not sheep and goats.
34:23-24 David, King of the 99%!

100:1 Is “all the earth” a poetic reference to all people or an invitation to rocks and trees as well?
100:2 If we are to worship God with gladness, why do so many worship services feel like a funeral and so many worshipers act like they are mourners?
100:3 How many people in the pew understand the nuance of “LORD” and “God”? Does this verse justify this Psalm being paired with the Ezekiel Reading?  What and where is the LORD’s pasture?
100:4 To what does “gates” refer, the gates of the temple, the gates of the city, or something else? To what does “courts” refer?
100:5 Is it redundant to say his steadfast love endures forever? What does it mean for the LORD to be faithful?

1:15 How might Paul have heard of the Ephesians faith and love? Who are the saints?
1:16 I would love to hear Paul praying.
1:17 What is “a spirit of wisdom and revelation?”
1:18-19 Our heart has eyes? I love the phrases “the riches of his glorious inheritance” and “the immeasurable greatness of his power.”
1:20 Is this a reference to the Resurrection as well as the Ascension?
1:21 Yes, this Sunday is Christ the King!
1:22 What does “for the church” mean?
1:23 What does “fills all in all” mean?

MATTHEW 25:31-46
25:31 Who is speaking? How much do we need to know about the theologically loaded title “Son of Man” to responsibly interpret this passage?  Does the mention of a throne justify this being the Gospel Reading for Christ the King? Does this Reading and the Reading from Ephesians offer differing chronologies about the enthronement of Christ?
25:32-33 The Gospel’s “sheep and goats” juxtaposed with the “sheep and sheep” of the Ezekiel Reading seems to offer us a mixed or confused metaphor.
25:33 Is this an example of right-handed prejudice?
25:34 Is the king the same as the Son of Man?
25:35-36 When was the king like this?
25:37 What does it mean to be righteous?
25:38-39 Is this an example of childlike innocence?
25:40 The king identifies with the inhabitants of the kingdom.
25:41 The devil has angels? The Son of Man has angels! (See Matthew 25:31)
25:35-45 How do members of the Tea Party and the 1% read these verses? How might these verses inform any Christian ethical contributions to current debates about tax reform and The Affordable Care Act?
25:46 Must there be eternal punishment?
This Sunday is the final Sunday of Liturgical Year A. Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent of Liturgical Year B.

I am a Minister Member of Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and am serving as the Pastor of the Bethlehem United Presbyterian Church, Wheeling, WV. Sunday Worship at Bethlehem begins at 10:45 AM. Here is Bethlehem United's Facebook address:

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