Monday, November 5, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 33rd 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.

1 SAMUEL 1:4-20
1:4 Who was Elkanah? On what day did he sacrifice?  He would give portions of what to his wife? Were Peninnah’s sons and daughters not also Elkanah’s sons and daughters?
1:5 Who was Hannah and how was she related to Elkanah?
1:6 Who was Hannah’s rival?
1:7 How many years might this have gone on?
1:8 How many wives did Elkanah have?  So much for family values!  How would most wives answer the question Elkanah asked Hannah? I wonder how couples trying to conceive but have been unable to conceive hear this passage. I wonder how couples who are childless by choice hear this passage.
1:9 Who is “they” and why are “they” at Shiloh? Eli was what sort of priest in what temple?
1:10 What might have been Hanna’s prayer?
1:11 What is Hannah’s misery? Is there a problem with Hanna’s prayer?
1:12 Why was Eli observing Hanna’s mouth? Was he lip reading?
1:13 When you pray silently, do your lips move? Why would Eli have thought Hannah was drunk?
1:14 Read this in light of the First Christian Pentecost. I assume Eli never had a pastoral care course or CPE.
1:15 What does it mean to pour out one’s soul before the LORD?
1:16 Vexation is probably not a word we often hear, especially in a sermon.
1:17 How could Ely say this when he did not know Hannah’s petition?  Who or what gave Ely the right—the power—to answer prayer? Or was Eli simply but politely asking or telling Hannah to leave, to move on?
1:18 Were Eli’s words that powerful?
1:19 What do you know about Ramah?  Ya gotta love these Biblical euphemisms for sexual intercourse!
1:20 Why do many people no longer give their children names with personal, existential meaning?

1 SAMUEL 2:1-10
2:1 Did Hannah pray, or did Hannah sing?  Who said, paraphrasing, “the person who sings their prayer prays twice”? When was the last time your heart exulted? Who were Hanna’s enemies?
2:2 What, or who, do you think of when you hear the phrase “Holy One?”
2:3-10 This sounds more like a sermon than a prayer. Are these words addressed to God?
2:4-5 This reads like a tradition New Testament reversal of fortunes.
2:6-7 What does the LORD not do?
2:8 What does the second half of this verse have to do with the first half?
2:9 This verse seems to echo 1:4-5.
2:10 How does this verse relate to the verses preceding it? Who are the LORD’s adversaries? Who is the LORD’s anointed?

HEBREWS 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25
10:11 Why, in the New Testament, are we talking about priests offering sacrifices? Why were sacrifices made daily?
10:12 What single sacrifice did Christ offer? See 1 Samuel 2:8.
10:12-13 What source or sources are being quoted? Does God have a footstool?
(10:14) Who are sanctified?
(10:15-18) When and where did the Holy Spirit say this?
10:19 What sanctuary?  Does the blood of Jesus give us confidence or is it a ticket of entry?
10:20 What curtain might this be alluding to?  How was Christ’s flesh like a curtain?  Think about that one long and hard! Is anyone else thinking about the final scene in The Wizard of Oz movie?
10:21 I find it interesting that we find “a great priest” rather than “a great high priest!”
10:22 How can hearts be sprinkled clean from an evil conscience?  Note that while hearts are sprinkled clean, our bodies are washed. What might “house of God” refer to? Are both sprinkling and washing an allusion to Baptism?
10:23 What is the confession of our hope?  What is our hope?  How do we confess it? When have you ever wavered?
10:24 Is “provoke” the best translation of the Greek?
10:25 To what does this “meeting together” refer? I like to think of encouraging one another rather than provoking one another. What “Day” is approaching?

MARK 13:1-8
13:1 Who came out of the temple and what had he been doing in there?  This sounds like something a tourist in some world class city, like Paris, Rome, London, or New York says on their first visit.  Was this a particular disciple’s first visit to Jerusalem and the temple? I wonder why we are not told which disciple said this.
13:2 Is this prescient on the part of Jesus or a post AD 70 author writing with hindsight about an earlier event?
13:3 It was usually Peter, James and John who were privy to special moments with Jesus.  What is Andrew doing here?  Why two sets of brothers? How would the author know what the four asked? Did they all ask this in unison or was one of the four, perhaps Peter, a spokesperson for the group?
13:4 Think again about the question I raised in relation to 13:2.
13:5 Who might have led them astray?
13:6 To whom was Jesus, or the writer of the Gospel, referring? How many messianic pretenders were there?
13:7 I think the key message is to not be alarmed.
13:8 Whew!  At least there is no mention of hurricanes, nor’easters, or blizzards.  What do birth pangs signify?  Is this describing the end of things as they are or the birth of something new? Must the old pass away for a new thing to emerge?
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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