Monday, May 6, 2019

Lectionary Ruminations 2.5 for the 6th Sunday of Easter (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.

ACTS 16:9-15
16:9 Was this a dream or a vision?  Does it make a difference?  How many visions has Paul now experienced? Where is Macedonia and where was Paul when he saw this vision? Have you ever experienced a big dream or vision that altered the course of your life and/or ministry?
16:10 What is the meaning of “immediately?” What would Paul need to cross over in order to go to Macedonia? Note the plural “us?”
16:11 Who is “we?”  Who is telling this story?  What do we know about Troas, Samothrace, and Neapolis? Is it possible to retrace this route today?
16:12 What do we know about Philippi in addition to what we are told in this verse? Does it make any difference that Philippi is a Roman colony?
16:13 What is “a place of prayer?”  Why might it have been outside the gate? Why might it have been near water? Where there no men gathered there? 
16:14 What is a “worshiper of God??  What do we know about Thyatira?  Is there any significance to Lydia being a dealer in purple cloth?  How does the Lord open the heart?  Was Lydia spiritual but not religious?  Was she “a seeker?”
16:15 Who were in Lydia’s household and why were they all baptized?  Consider Acts 11:14 from last week’s Lectionary. Might Lydia’s invitation to Paul and those with him to stay in  her home be a bit scandalous?

67:1 The “us” makes this a communal rather than a personal psalm.  Who are the us? What does it mean for God’s face to shine on someone?  What is “The Aaronic blessing?” How do you handle “Selah?”
67:2 Is God’s way the same as God’s saving power, or am I reading too much into the parallelism of the Hebrew Poetry? Note that 67:1 seems addressed to worshipers while 67:2 appears to be addressed to God.
67:3 Why the plural “peoples” rather than the singular “people?”
67:4 Is there a difference between “nations” and “peoples?”
67:5 I hear a refrain (see 67:3) that could be adapted for use as a Call to Worship.
67:6 What is the “increase” yielded by the earth? It seems the psalmist shifts from addressing God to addressing worshipers.
67:7 What is the meaning of “all the ends of the earth?” How many ends does the earth have? How can the ends of the earth revere God?

REVELATION 21:10; 21:22-22:5
21:10 What is the meaning of “in the spirit?” Have you ever been in the spirit?  Who carried the narrator away?  What great, high mountain might the narrator have been carried away to? How could Jerusalem come down out of heaven?
21:22 Was the author writing before or after the destruction of the temple? How can the Lord Almighty and the Lamb be a temple?
21:23 Maybe the city does not need the light of the sun or moon, but what about their gravitational pull?
21:24 It sounds like this Jerusalem is like a beacon on a hill.
21:25 What do open gates symbolize?
21:26 What is the glory and honor of the nations?
21:27 What is the Lamb’s book of life?
22:1 Where did the angel come from?  Are there any rivers in contemporary Jerusalem?  What is the water of life? Are God and the Lamb sitting on a single throne?
22:2 This city is beginning to resemble Venice more than Jerusalem. How is a tree on “either” side of a river?  What kind of tree has twelve kinds of fruit?  How can leaves heal? Let’s see, 12 fruits x 12 months = 144 individual pieces of fruit.
22:3 Servants will worship the singular whom?
22:4 Other than names, what is traditionally on foreheads?
22:5 What does the absence of night symbolize or suggest? Who are “they” who will reign?

JOHN 14:23-29
This week’s Lectionary offers the choice of one of two Readings from John. How will you decide which one to use?
14:23 Whom did Jesus answer? Is God’s love conditional or unconditional?
14:24 Is it logical to conclude that if a person keeps Jesus’ words that they will also love Jesus? Is this verse anti-Semitic?
14:25 How could Jesus say these things if he were not present? Who is “you?”
14:26 What is the meaning of “Advocate” apart from the Holy Spirit? Why is “Advocate” capitalized?  Why might anyone need or want an Advocate? What is the difference between teaching and reminding? Will the Advocate give additional or new teaching in addition to what Jesus already taught?
14:27 “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” is one of my favorite verses in all Christian Scripture.  I often read this Sentence from Scripture at a Service of Witness to the Resurrection and/or at the graveside.  Is fear a form of doubt or lack of faith?
14:28 Why the “if?” Did Jesus think those to whom he was speaking loved him or not?
14:29 Can they not believe now? Why would they not believe until after this occurs?


JOHN 5:1-9
5:1 After what? Which festival might this have been? Does it matter?
5:2 What and where is the Sheep Gate? What is the meaning of Beth-zatha? Is the fact that this pool had five porticoes significant? What is a portico?
5:3 Paralyzed?
(5:4) What are you going do with the questionable 4th verse? If you choose to use it, how will you handle that a paralyzed person would not be able to step into the pool?
5:5 Is the number thirty-eight significant. This man would be older than Jesus.
5:6 Why would Jesus ask such a question?
5:7 What is the problem?
5:8 What is the meaning of Jesus’ proclamation?
5:9 What is the significance of “at once?” Does it matter that it was the Sabbath?
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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