Monday, April 30, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for The 7th Sunday of Easter (Year B)

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.

ACTS 1:15-17, 21-26
1:15 What and when were “those days?”? When did “those days” begin and when did they end?  Is there anything significant about the number 120?
1:16 What is the scripture (note the singular) to which Peter refers? I find this to be an interesting group: Friends, the Holy Spirit, David, Judas, those who arrested Jesus.
1:17 Do I detect regret combined with disbelief when it comes to Judas being numbered among The Twelve?
1:21 Was this the church’s first leadership crisis? Why does it have to be one of the men? What does it mean that Jesus “went in an out among us?”
1:22 Is the author referring to John’s baptism of Jesus, or John’s ministry of baptism, which began before John baptized Jesus?  Did Jesus have disciples before he was baptized? What does it mean to be a “witness to the resurrection?”  Could not a woman have fulfilled this role?
1:23 Who are “they?” Were Joseph and Matthias the only two people who fulfilled the criteria enumerated in 1:21-22? Why are neither of these two men mentioned in Luke’s Gospel?
1:24-25 How might God answer this prayer?
1:26 How does one cast lots and why do we not make decisions in the church this way today? What ever happened to Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus?

1:1 Are the wicked, sinners, and scoffers poetic synonyms?
1:2 When was the last time you took delight in any law?  What did the Psalmist mean by “meditate?” How might Christians familiar with various schools of meditation or contemplative prayer understand this passage?
1:3 Is there a Torah riparian zone?  Does this passage make any more sense in light of last Sunday’s Gospel reading from John 15:9-17?
1:4 What is chaff and when and why is it exposed to the wind?
1:5 What is the congregation of the righteous?
1:6 Is there a difference between watching over the way of the righteous and watching over the righteous? How does this verse influence our belief that Jesus is the way and how does our belief the Jesus is the way influence our interpretation of it?

1 JOHN 5:9-13
5:9 Who are “we?” How does God give testimony if not through humans?
5:10 Can God really be made a liar?
5:11 How is eternal life in God’s Son testimony?
5:12 How does one “have” the Son? How might Psalm 1:3 amplify this verse?
5:13 What does it mean to believe in the name of the Son of God? What is the difference between life and eternal life? How could those to whom John was writing believe in the name of the Son of God and not know they had eternal life?

John 17:6-19
17:6 How do Christians reconcile Jesus saying this with the Jewish conception of the unpronounceable name of God?
17:7 How do “they” know this?
17:8 What words?
17:9 Does this suggest that Jesus loved and cared more for his followers than the world? Are Jesus’ followers somehow different from the world?
17:10 How has Jesus been glorified in those given to him by God?
17:11 At the time Jesus prayed this prayed this prayer, what did he mean when he prayed “I am no longer in the world?”
17:12 Why the past tense?  What scripture? This passage reminds me of the parable of the good shepherd.
17:13 How will Jesus’ joy be made complete in his followers?
17:14 What do they belong to if not the world?
17:15 Who or what is the evil one?
17:16 Why is this idea of not being part of and not belonging to the world repeated so many times in this prayer?
17:17 Sanctify them in the truth or in the word?
17:18 How has Jesus sent his followers into the world?
17:19 Theologically, how does Jesus sanctify himself?

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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