Monday, November 19, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 1st Sunday of Advent (Year C)

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.

JEREMIAH 33:14-16
33:14 Did the author of Jeremiah have Advent in mind when writing about the days that are surely coming?  What days was he thinking of? What promise did the LORD make with Israel and Judah? What is the difference between Israel and Judah?
33:15 Is there any difference between “in those days” and “at that time?”  Is this a mere literary device, or is something else going on here?  In the NRSV, why is “Branch” capitalized?  What is the difference between justice and righteousness?
33:16 Is salvation synonymous with safety?  What is the “it” that will be called “The LORD is our righteousness?” Does “The LORD is our righteousness” translate just one Hebrew word?

PSALM 25:1-10
25:1 How do you lift up your soul to the LORD?
25:2 What is the difference, if any, between trust and faith?
25:3 Is the Psalmist appealing to the LORD’s sense of justice or the LORD’s vanity? Why the emphasis on shame?
25:4 Is this a prayer of supplication? What are the LORD’s paths and ways?
25:5 How does the LORD lead and teach? How long have are you willing to wait for the LORD?
25:6 Can the LORD ever forget? Does the LORD occasionally need to be reminded?
25:7 Apparently the LORD can forget. The Psalmist wants the LORD to remember mercy but forget sins. Forget my sins but remember me!
25:8 Was there ever any doubt that the LORD is good and upright?
25:9 Does the LORD lead the humble, or do the humble follow?
25:10 How many paths of the LORD are there?  What is the difference between covenant and decrees?

3:9 Who is the “we” and who is the “you?”
3:10 Is it possible to pray a prayer that is not earnest?  What was lacking in the faith of the Thessalonians? What is lacking in your faith?  How can it be restored?
3:11 What are the possible meanings of “our way?”
3:12 In other words—be like us?
3:13 What is the grammatical relationship between “the coming of our Lord Jesus” and “with all his saints?”? Will Jesus not return alone when he returns but be returning with his saints?

LUKE 21:25-36
21:25 This sounds like reason enough for an interest in astronomy or meteorology, or at least oceanography. How do we interpret this pre-modern and pre-Copernican text in a postmodern, post-Copernican world?  What does the roaring of the sea and waves represent?
21:26 How and why will the powers of heaven be shaken? There will be no fear and foreboding if people in general, and politicians in particular, ignore or even deny the signs of global climate change.
21:27 Who is the “Son of Man” and what kind of cloud will accompany his return?  Cirrus?  Cumulus? Mushroom?  How can we interpret this imagery when some want to take it literally, some want to take it metaphorically, and some discount it all together?
21:28 Once these things begin to take place, how long will they last? Why stand up and raise the head? What redemption is drawing near?
21:29 Why single out the fig tree?
21:30 So we are basically talking about natural signs of the seasons.
21:31 What is the kingdom of God and why has it not been near before? It has been only in the past few years that I learned that the ripe fruit of fig trees, unlike the fruit of some other trees, will not last long before it falls off the branch and rots.
21:32 How did early Christians cope with disappointment when this prophecy was not (apparently) realized? What do you know about “realized eschatology?”
21:33 Heaven will pass away? Whose words? What words?
21:34 Dissipation and drunkenness are one thing, but worries are another.
21:35 What does the image of a trap suggest?
21:36 How can one escape these things?
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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