Monday, October 29, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 32nd 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.

RUTH 3:1-5; 4:13-17
3:1 Why does Naomi refer to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, as her daughter? What type of security does Naomi have in mind? What is Ruth’s ethnicity?
3:2 Does it matter that Boaz would be a kinsman by marriage and not by blood? How is Boaz related to Naomi? Who were his young women and what sort of work were they doing?
3:3 What sort of anointing might Naomi have had in mind?  What did Naomi mean when she told Ruth not to make herself known? Is there anything significant, or symbolic, about “the threshing floor?”
3:4 I think Ruth uncovered more than, or something else than, his feet.  Could this verse be employing a euphemism? Is this a PG-13 Scripture?
3:5 What might Boz have told Ruth?
4:13 What is the meaning of “took?” The LORD “made” her conceive? What if she had born a daughter?
4:14 What women? Whose name will be renown, the LORD’s or Ruth’s next-of-kin?
4:15 This verse almost makes the child sound like a savior!
4:16 Why would the grandmother Naomi nurse the child rather than the mother Ruth?
4:17 Why would the women say “a son has been born to Naomi” when it was really her grandson, born to Ruth?  What is significant about this lineage? Might this verse inform and influence our views on immigration?

127:1 Does the Psalmist have any particular house, or any particular city in mind? Juxtapose this verse with Hebrews 9:24. I think Socrates and Aristotle had some things to say about foundations of houses. Our strength is not in the war horse or chariot but in our values. How might this verse sound in America the Sunday after the mid-term election?
127:2 This seems opposite of our workaholic culture. Benjamin Franklin reportedly said, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
127:3 Does this verse justify pairing this Psalm with the reading from Ruth? How do we interpret it in in the “Me Too” era?
127:4-5 What do you make of this simile? Personally, I do not like the militaristic imagery, but It probably made a lot of sense at the time. Why would someone speak with their enemies in the gate?

HEBREWS 9:24-28
9:24 Is this a reference to the Jerusalem temple? Juxtapose this verse with Psalm 127:1. Did Jews think of the Jerusalem Temple as a copy of a heavenly temple?
9:25 The high priest did not offer himself but rather sacrificed animals. Does this verse have any bearing on our understanding of the Eucharist?
9:26 Since Priests do not sacrifice themselves; does this analogy break down in the final analysis?
9:27 Is this a reference to the last judgement?
9:26-27 Is this a reference to “the second coming?” Who might be eagerly waiting got Christ to appear a second time?

MARK 12:38-44
Whom is Jesus teaching?  What do you know about the scribes? How migh preacher types who wear liturgical vestments when they preach and lead worship read this verse?
12:39 Where were the best seats in a synagogue? Where are the best seats in a Christian sanctuary? Where are the best seats at a banquet?
12:40 How were scribes devouring widow’s houses? When does a prayer become long? Is there a difference between “saying” a prayer and “praying” a prayer?
12:41 Where in the temple was the treasury? Do you think there were seats opposite the treasury  or would Jesus have been sitting on the floor?
12:42 These are very common coins, still available from collectors.  With the rate of inflation, what would be their worth today? What is the significance of the woman being poor and being a widow? Does this remind us of Naomi?
12:43 Where were the disciples that Jesus had to call them?
12:44 The widow may have demonstrated faith, but was she practicing good stewardship? How has this verse been abused by religious charlatans and hucksters? It has been well documented that the poor in the United States give more of their income, proportionally, than the wealthy.
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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