Monday, December 3, 2018

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Time (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.

3:14 Who is daughter Zion and why is she singing? What is the difference between singing and shouting? What do singing and shouting have to do with rejoicing?
3:15 Who made judgments against Israel?  Who were Israel’s enemies? Has the King of Israel, the LORD, not always been in the midst of Israel?
3:16 What day?  Who will say this to Israel? What do weak hands symbolize?
3:17 I do not like militaristic imagery being applied to the LORD. It is what gave us the Crusades. I do, however, like the imagery of the LORD singing?
3:18 Is worship at your church like a day of festival?
3:19 Are these oppressors the same as the enemies of 3:15? This sounds like a preferential option for the lame, outcast, and shamed.
3:20 At what time? Is the “that time” of this verse the same as the “that day” of Isaiah 12:4? Where are we now if we are not home? What does it mean to be renowned? What does it feel like to be renowned?

ISAIAH 12:2-6
12:2-6 How does your worshiping community react when the Second Reading or Psalm is not a Psalm but a Canticle?
12:2 What is the relationship between trust and fear? How do Christians understand thanksgiving for salvation within the Hebrew Scriptures? This verse reminds me of the Taizé chant “In God I Trust.”
12:3 What and where are the wells of salvation?  Can water from the wells of salvation be bottled and sold?
12:4 What day?  How does one call on the name of the LORD and exalt in his name if the LORD’s name is not to be pronounced? What are the deeds of the LORD?
12:5 Are sung praises preferred over spoken praises? See Zephaniah 3:14.
12:6 Zephaniah 3:14 called for singing aloud. Isaiah here calls for shouting aloud. What is the difference between singing and shouting? Who is the Holy One of Israel?

4:4 Note that “rejoice” also appeared in Zephaniah 3:13. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being lethargic and 10 being manic, how would you rate your religious/spiritual community’s ability to rejoice?
4:5 How do you define gentleness?” Near is a relative term.  How near is the Lord?
4:6 This must be Bobby McFerrin’s favorite Bible verse.  What is the difference, if any, between prayer and supplication? Is prayer only about requests?
4:7 Are “hearts” and “minds” all inclusive?  What about body and soul?

LUKE 3:7-18
3:7 John the Baptizer (I prefer “Baptizer” over “Baptist”) appears in all four Gospels. As someone once noted: “You cannot tell the Gospel Story without John.” What do you think was the size of the crowds?  How often do evangelists insult those they are preaching to?  What wrath is coming? Who warned them?
3:8 What fruits are worthy of repentance? What stones? 
3:9 Why are non-fruit bearing fruit trees cut down and burned? Does this verse contribute to the imagery of Dante’s inferno?
3:10 This verse is a preacher’s dream! No one ever asks me questions during my sermons.
3:11 This is not good news for the 1%. Maybe someone at the next presidential debate ought to ask each candidate to comment on this verse.
3:12 Why “even?”  Other than John and Jesus, is anyone else in the New Testament ever referred to as a teacher?  I think it is significant that John is addressed the same way Jesus would be later addressed.  Or maybe it is significant that Jesus is later addressed the same way John is here addressed.
3:13 Why and how would a tax collector have collected more? What do you know the collection of taxes in Jesus day?
3:14 Were these Roman solders? Why would Roman solders go out to hear John?
3:10-14 What do you make of the fact that tax collectors and soldiers are the only two groups of people mentioned?
3:15 What if John had been the Messiah?
3:16 How does water compare with fire and the Holy Spirit?  What is the relationship between the Holy Spirit and fire? Might “untying the thong of a sandal” have been an idiomatic expression or colloquialism?
3:17 What is a winnowing fork?  What is a threshing floor? What is chaff? Oh no, more fire! 
3:18 I wonder what the other exhortations were?  Did the above really sound like good news to you?
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.


Connie Quinn said...

John, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your posting in regards to the 3rd Sunday of Advent. They have given me food for thought. Who knew that you are not only a pretty face but that you are smart too. :-)

Connie Quinn said...

HI John, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments regarding 3rd Sunday of Advent C. It has given me food for thought. Those bicycle rides have not only benefited your health, they have allowed your mind to wonder in miraculous ways.