Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, June 3, 2012, Trinity Sunday (Year B)


Posted each Thursday, Lectionary Ruminations focuses on the Scripture Readings, taken from the New Revised Standard Version, for the following Sunday per the Revised Common Lectionary. Comments and questions are intended to encourage reflection for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged. All lectionary links are to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead. (Other references may be linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.)  


v. 1 In what year did King Uzziah die and why does it matter?

v. 2 What are seraphs? 

v. 3 Does the threefold “Holy” justify this passage being used on Trinity Sunday? What are “hosts”?

v. 4 What are pivots and thresholds?  What sort of smoke filled the house and why?

v. 5 Why does Isaiah express woe?

v. 6 How can a figurative/symbolic  live coal blot out sin?

v. 8 “us”?

v. 1 Who and what are the heavenly beings?  Are there more types of heavenly beings than angels and/or seraphs?

v. 2 What is holy splendor?

v. 6 What, or where, is Sirion?

v. 8 Where is Kadesh? Is there anything special or significant about its wilderness?


vs. 3-10  So much for “still small voice” imagery.  How does an establishment church of the middle class status quo come to terms with a storm God?

v. 11 God’s people will certainly need strength to survive a storm.  When was the last time a storm brought  peace?  Or is this peace the peace of a calm after a storm?

v. 12 If we are not debtors to the flesh, what then are we debtors to?  I doubt Paul had MasterCard or Visa in mind.

v. 14 How are we led by the Spirit of God?

v. 15 Theologically speaking, why does Paul contrast a spirit of slavery with a spirit of adoption?  When do you last cry “Abba! Father!”?

v. 16  How many spirits are being mentioned in this passage?

v. 1 Were not all Pharisees leaders?v. 2 Consider John 4:6-7 as juxtaposition.  We?  For whom, or of whom, is Nic speaking?  What signs?


vs. 3 & 5 Is being born from above the same as being born of water and Spirit?


v. 8 I think Jesus was not referring to direction.  So we do not know where people born of the Spirit come from or are going to?


v. 10 I think professional Church types are all a little like Nic at time.  We really do not fully understand of what we speak, teach and preach.


v. 11 We?  Our? For whom, or of whom, is Jesus speaking?

v. 12 Of what earthly things did Jesus talk about that Nic did not believe?


v. 13 Ascension day has passed, but in the context of this passage, it has not yet happened. Is this an anachronism – a post Ascension theology being read back into a pre Ascension event – the Evangelist putting words into the mouth of Jesus? Or is this an example of Jesus being prescient?


v. 14 I suggest you read and ponder Numbers 21:4-9.  Perhaps that would have been a better First Reading to pair with this Gospel than the passage from Isaiah.


vs. 16-17 Maybe too much has already been read and said about this passage. Then again, maybe not enough has been preached about this passage in its literary context.

ADDENDUM
Some may choose to teach or preach about the doctrine and mystery of the Trinity, which we probably ought to do every once in a while. But is preaching and/or teaching about the mystery and doctrine of the Trinity every year too often?  If you ARE preaching or teaching about the trinity and are not familiar with the Eastern Orthodox concept of perichoresis, please do some research.  I was out of seminary and ordained several years before being exposed to this mystical Eastern Orthodox understanding of the Trinity.

In addition to serving as the half time Pastor of North Church Queens and writing Lectionary Ruminations, I also tutor part time.  If you or someone you know needs a tutor, or if you would like to be a tutor, check out my WyzAnt  page and follow the appropriate links.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, May 27, 2012, the Day of Pentecost (Year B)


Posted each Thursday, Lectionary Ruminations focuses on the Scripture Readings, taken from the New Revised Standard Version, for the following Sunday per the Revised Common Lectionary. Comments and questions are intended to encourage reflection for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged. All lectionary links are to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead. (Other references may be linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.) 


v. 1 How did early Christians know the day of Pentecost had arrived when they had not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit? Who are “they” and what does it mean (existentially and theologically) that “they  were all together in one place”?

v. 2 Why were they sitting in a house?

v. 3 What is a divided tongue?

v. 4 Do you think some of them spoke in other languages better than others?

v. 5 What is the difference between a devout Jew and a Jew?

v. 6 When was the last time you were bewildered?

v. 7 When was the last time worship where you usually attend left you or anyone else amazed and astonished?

v. 10 What is the difference between a Jew and a proselyte?

v. 11 What are God’s deeds of power?

v. 12When was the last time your sermon or Bible study amazed and perplexed anyone? I would settle for people simply asking “What does this mean?”.

v. 13 What is the difference between new wine and old wine? Can not both intoxicate?

v. 14 Why Peter?

vs. 17-21 Do  you think Peter really said this, or are some words being putin to his mouth at a later time?

v. 17 If God poured out the Spirit on all flesh, sons as well as daughters, (both male and female slaves inverse 18), then why does Peter address only “men” in verse 14?

v. 24 What works?

v. 26 All the ships are in NYC this week for Fleet Week and OpSail 2012.  Is this Hobbes’ Leviathan?

v. 29 What does it mean for God to hide the divine face?

v. 30 Does this verse alone justify pairing this Psalm with the Acts passage and to read on Pentecost Sunday?

v. 32 Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions! Is it bad science, and bad theology, to associate natural geologic phenomena with God?

v. 22 Who is “we”?  Read this verse in light of Psalm 104:32. Does this verse legitimize Christians speaking of “mother earth”?

v. 23 What does it mean to groan inwardly?

v. 24-25 Is Paul making the distinction between hope and truth? Faith and fact?

v. 26 Why do we not know how to pray as we ought?  Can prayer be taught?  Is there any comparison between “sighs too deep for words” and glossolalia?

v. 27 Does this verse suggest that the Spirit resides in individuals in the heart (rather than the mind)?

v. 26 Is the Fourth Gospel the only New Testament writing to refer to the Spirit as the Advocate.  How do you reconcile this verse with the filioque clause of the Nicene Creed?

v. 7 Why can the Advocate not come to believers until after Jesus leaves them?

v. 11 Who is “the ruler of this world”?

v. 12 What else do you think Jesus wanted to say that he did not say?

v. 13 Where does the Spirit of Truth hear what he (or she?) speaks?

ADDENDUM
In addition to serving as the half time Pastor of North Church Queens and writing Lectionary Ruminations, I also tutor part time.  If you or someone you know needs a tutor, or if you would like to be a tutor, check out my WyzAnt page and follow the appropriate links.




Sunday, May 20, 2012

Second Sail of the season

Yesterday,Vicki and I enjoyed our second sail of the season.  For our friend Bonnie, it was her first sail of the season,and she brought her camera along.  Check out her blog for a sampling of her great photos.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, May 20, 2012, the Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year B)


Posted each Thursday, Lectionary Ruminations focuses on the Scripture Readings, taken from the New Revised Standard Version, for the following Sunday per the Revised Common Lectionary. Comments and questions are intended to encourage reflection for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged. All lectionary links are to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead. (Other references may be linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.)  


v. 15 What and when were “those days”?  When did “those days” begin and when did they end?  UIs there anything significant about the number 120?

v. 16 What is the scripture (note that it is singular) to which Peter refers? I find this to be an interesting collection: Friends, the Holy Spirit, David, Judas, those who arrested Jesus.

v. 17 Do I detect regret combined with disbelief?

vs. 21-22 Why must this be so? Is the author referring to John’s baptism of Jesus, or John’s ministry of baptism, which began before John baptized Jesus?  What does it mean to be a “witness to the resurrection”?  Could not a woman have fulfilled this role?

v. 23 Were Joseph and Matthias the only two people who fulfilled the criteria of vs. 21-22?

vs. 24-25 How might God answer this prayer?

v. 26 How does one cast lots and why do we not make decisions in the church this way today?

v. 1 Are the wicked, sinners, and scoffers poetic synonyms?

v. 2 When was the last time you took delight in any law?  How do Christians not familiar with meditation understand this passage?

v. 3 Is there a Torah riparian zone?  Does this passage make any more sense in light of last Sunday’s Gospel reading?

v. 4 What is chaff and why is it exposed to the wind?

v. 6 How does this verse influence, and how is it influenced by, our belief that Jesus is the way?

v. 9 Who are “we”? How does God give testimony if not through humans?

vs. 10-11 What testimony?  What testimony?

vs. 12-13 Is life the same as eternal life?

v. 6 How do Christians reconcile Jesus saying this with Jewish conception of the unpronounceable name of God?

v. 7 How do “they” know this?

v.8 What words?

v. 10 How has Jesus been glorified in those given to him by God?

v. 11 At the time Jesus prayed this prayer, what did he mean when he prayed “I am no longer in the world”?

v. 12 Why the past tense?  What scripture?

v. 15 Who is the evil one?

v. 17 Sanctify them in the word?

v.19 Theologically, how does Jesus sanctify  himself?

ADDENDUM
In addition to serving as the half time Pastor of North Church Queens and writing Lectionary Ruminations, I also tutor part time.  If you or someone you know needs a tutor, or if you would like to be a tutor, check out my WyzAnt page and follow the appropriate links.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, May 13, 2012, the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year B)


Posted each Thursday, Lectionary Ruminations focuses on the Scripture Readings, taken from the New Revised Standard Version, for the following Sunday per the Revised Common Lectionary. Comments and questions are intended to encourage reflection for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged. All lectionary links are to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead. (Other references may be linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.)


v. 44 How does the Holy Spirit fall?  Does hearing refer to physical or spiritual phenomena, or both?

v. 45 When was the last time someone in your worshiping community was astounded?  What is the gift of the Holy Spirit and how is it poured out?

v. 45 What was more astounding, the people speaking in tongues, or the people extolling God?

v. 46 Is this a rhetorical question?

v. 48 How do we reconcile baptism in the name of Jesus Christ with Trinitarian baptismal formula?

v. 1 What is a new song?  Are old songs not good enough?  How can we talk about God’s right hand and holy arm without over anthropomorphizing God?  Is this a right hand conspiracy?

v. 2 How has the LORD revealed vindication?

v. 3 I think this is hyperbole, or wishful thinking, on the Psalmist’s part.

v. 4 What sort of noise is joyful?  Does “all the earth” refer only to human beings or to all living creatures? Could “all the earth” also refer to waterfalls, wind, the sound of waves against the beach,
etc?

vs. 5-6 What?  No organ?  No piano?

v. 7 I think my question raised by the fourth verse was just answered.

v. 8 I have heard floods literally clap, but I have never heard hill literally, only 
metaphorically, sing.

v. 9 Will God judge all the earth, or only human beings?

v. 1 Is it also true that every one born of God believes that Jesus is the Christ?  Id being “born of God” the same as being born anew, or born from above?

vs. 1-2 Note the transition from the singular “child” to the plural “children”.  To what commandments is the author referring?

v. 4 What is the meaning of “conquer”?  What is the meaning of “faith”?

v. 5 Is there a difference between believing and  saying that “Jesus is the Son of God”?

v. 6 To what is the author referring when writing about “water and the blood”?  How does the “Spirit” testify?  What does the author mean “the Spirit is the truth”?

v.9 Who is speaking?  How does one abide in anyone’s love?

v. 10 Whose commandments?  What are these commandments?  If we keep the Son’s commandments, can we then ignore the Father’s commandments?

v.11 Is your complete?

v. 12 Is this the answer to my question raised in relation to verse 10?

v. 13 What does it mean to lay down one’s life?

v. 14 So this friendship is conditional?

v. 16 This is sounding very Reformed!  The Father will give us whatever we ask only if we bear everlasting fruit?

v. 17 I heard only one command in verse 12, so why the plural?

ADDENDUM
In addition to serving as the half time Pastor of North Church Queens  and writing Lectionary Ruminations, I also tutor part time.  If you or someone you know needs a tutor, or if you would like to be a tutor, check out my WyzAnt page and follow the appropriate links. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The First Moonlight Paddle of the 2012 Season


In spite of a forecast of possible thunderstorms, eight paddlers enjoyed a calm Jamaica Bay under a spectacular super moon Friday evening, May 4, 2012.

Paddlers started arriving at the Brooklyn Club House a little after 7 PM.  I built a fire in the wood stove to take the chill off the Club House and to provide for a warmer space to return to.  With an announced "on the water" time of 8:00 PM, all paddlers were finally on the water before 8:15 PM. I was the last one to leave the dock.

The evening was one of firsts. Not only was it the first Moonlight Paddle of the 2012 season, it was also the first I led and my wife Vicki assisted.  It was also the first time I paddled my Necky Chatham 17, a demo boat I bought in January.  For Laurie G., it was her first Moonlight Paddle ever but will certainly not be her last.  Walter and Dottie each paddled with their new Greenland paddles for the first time. For Tony, it was the first time he used his new deck light.

Embarking at high tide under a nearly full moon, we easily paddled  over the mirror smooth water, under the Belt Parkway Bridge, and out into a beautiful moonlit Jamaica Bay.  After crossing the channel to Canarsie Pol, we circumnavigated the island counterclockwise.  On the back side of the Pol we encountered a large flock of birds which darkened the moonlit sky and created a "thumping"sound across the water.  A few jets, landing lights blazing, were also descending into JFK.

Crossing back from the Pol toward the home, we waited for a party boat to move up channel before crossing.  Other than the small fishing boat we passed by near the bridge, we encountered no other traffic.

Back at the Club House, gear rinsed and stowed, the eight of us enjoyed assorted snacks and beverages while also watching the recently released and colorized  1902 Le Voyage Dans La Lune with soundtrack by Air.

Another version of this post is available on the Sebago Canoe Club Blog.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lectionary Ruminations for for Sunday, May 6, 2012, the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B)


Posted each Thursday, Lectionary Ruminations focuses on the Scripture Readings, taken from the New Revised Standard Version, for the following Sunday per the Revised Common Lectionary. Comments and questions are intended to encourage reflection for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged. All lectionary links are to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead. (Other references may be linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.)  


v. 26 How do YOU deal with angels?  Why Philip? So what that this is a wilderness road?

vs. 27-28 There is a lot in this verse to unpack.  Why are we told so much about this man?

v. 29 Has the angel become the spirit?

vs. 30-31Why read anybody read anything on their own if they need a guide to help them understand it?

vs. 32b-33 Where is this found in Isaiah?

v. 36 Was there a reason or not?

v. 37 This sure sounds like confessional language.

v. 39 Why would the Spirit snatch Philip away?

v. 40 What do you know about Azatos?

v. 25 Who, or what, is the great congregation?  What vows?

v. 27 How many ends does the earth have? How many  families of the nations are there?

v. 31 Done what?

v. 8 What does it mean to say that God is love?

v. 9 How can a sacrifice atone?

v. 12 What does not seeing God add to the argument?

v. 13 Is it logical to shift from so abruptly from loving to abiding?  From the Son to the Spirit?

v. 16b I think this is not only good poetry but good theology.

v. 17b “as he is, so are we”?

v. 18 I like this verse.  What does this verse say to hell, fire and damnation sermons?

v. 20 How does this verse inform Christian ethics?

v. 21 How does this relate to the new Commandment of John’s Gospel?

v. 1 Is there a difference between the vine and the true vine?

v. 2 Even fruit producing vines are occasionally cut back.

v. 3 is cleansing the same as pruning?

v. 4 How do we abide?

v. 6 I think it is wrong to, in any way, connect this verse to any concept of hell or fires of hell.

v. 7 Anything? ANYTHING? Really?

ADDENDUM
In addition to serving as the half time Pastor of North Church Queens and writing Lectionary Ruminations, I also tutor part time.  If you or someone you know needs a tutor, or if you would like to be a tutor, check out my WyzAnt page and follow the appropriate links.