Monday, September 10, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (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.

PROVERBS 31:10-31
31:10-31 Is this an example of a sexist Lectionary, not necessarily because the reading itself is sexist, but because there is no “capable husband” text to balance it?
31:10 How do we hear this now that the Supreme Court has legalized same sex marriage? On the other hand, comparing a woman to a physical item could be seen as sexist, suggesting that a capable wife is a possession, mere “arm candy,” like a “trophy wife,” more precious than jewels.
31:11 What will the husband gain?
31:12 What sort of good. What sort of harm?
31:13 What about professional, non-domestic work?
31:14 The “Trader Joe’s” of wives!
31:15 Does the mention of “servant-girls” suggest this is a text for the more well to do?
31:16 Women could buy and own property?
31:17 Now I am envisioning Rosie the riveter.
31:18 Is there a double meaning here?
31:19 I know what a spindle is. What is a distaff?
31:20 I wonder if her husband does this as well? I wonder if her husband even knows about it.
31:21 Is crimson clothing warmer than other colors of clothing, or does wearing it make it easier to be found if lost in the snow?
31:22 What do you know about purple colored clothing? What does purple colored clothing signify?
31:23 What is the significance of “the city gate?”
31:24 Women could engage in their own business?
31:25 What does “laughing at the time to come” mean?
31:26 In other words, this woman does not keep silent.
31:27 This woman sounds very industrious.
31:28 How would a wife who is childless, perhaps not by choice, hear this verse?
31:29 Is the Psalmist addressing someone specifically or talking to the idealized “capable wife?”
31:30 What does it mean to “fear the LORD?”
31:31 Might this have been a feminist  sentiment in its day?

1:1 Where do scoffers sit?
1:2 What does it mean to meditate on the Law of the LORD?
1:3 To borrow a phrase that at one time circulated on facebook, “following the law of the LORD bears fruits, not nuts.” How are the law of the LORD and streams of water alike?
1:4 What is chaff? What process is being alluded to here?
1:5 the wicked will not be judged, or they will not survive the judgement?
1:6 Is there a difference between the LORD watching over the way of the righteous and watching over the righteous?  Note that it is not the wicked that perish but the way of the wicked that will perish. What do you know about Jerusalem’s The Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations?

JAMES 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
3:13 Socrates, Plato and Aristotle might agree. How does wisdom beget gentleness?
3:14 What is the relation between wisdom and truth? Does the wise person harbor envy and selfishness? Does this verse have any bearing on the current US political climate?
3:15 There seems to be at least two types of wisdom, earthly and spiritual.
3:16 Could we read this as a commentary on our culture?
3:17 Wisdom from above sounds preferable to earthly wisdom.
3:18 In or out of context, this is one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture and one we should all keep in mind.  Why does the United States have a Defense Department (formerly the War Department) but has never had a Peace Department?  We have Military Academies but no nationally funded Peace Academy. Go figure!
4:1 Is this a naïve understanding of conflict?  How much of our conflict is based on psychological projection?
4:2 Were Christians actually committing murder? Are not murder and coveting against the moral law?
4:2-3 What is the difference between not asking and asking wrongly?
4:3 This is sounding like an indictment of the consumerist economy and marketing that appeals to selfish emotions.  How would this verse play out in a prosperity gospel?
4:7 I can do without devil language.
4:8 This makes sense to me and based on personal experience seems somewhat true. I read this verse in light of the tradition contemplative prayer and centering prayer.

MARK 9:30-37
9:30 No know what?
9:31 Do you think that when Jesus teaches his disciples he is teaching the church, and that when he speaks to the crowd, he is speaking to the wider culture?  Why might Jesus have used “Son of Man” imagery? Where does this imagery come from? Was Jesus applying this “Son of Man” imagery to himself?
9:32 How often do people in the pews or in the classroom not understand the preacher/teacher but are afraid to ask a question? I want people to ask questions. I wish they would ask more questions than they do.
9:33 What do you know about Capernaum?  Whose house might Jesus have been in?  Do you think the Disciple’s argued often? Shall we read this comment about argueing in light of Jmes 4:1? Might “the way” be multivalent?
9:34 Is Jesus not the greatest?  Oh, right, he is the least! Have you ever know members of the church to argue about whom among them is the greatest?
9:35 Why did Jesus sit them down? Does this verse suggest that there were more people around than just the twelve?
9:36 Where did the little child come from? How old do you think this child might have been? Why does Mark refer to the child as “it” rather than “him” or her?”
9:37 So welcoming a little child and holding him or her in my arms is akin to welcoming Jesus and thus God?  I can live with that! What does this have to do with being least of all and a servant of all, however?
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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