Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, September 30, 2012, the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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 Who is the king and what is he king of?  What is the relationship between Haman and Esther?

v. 2 On the second day of what?

v. 3 Who are Esther’s people and why does she ask for her life and the life of her people?

v. 5 How could the king not know about this?

v. 9 Does it matter that Harbona was a eunuch?  How could Harbona know what was going on when the King did not know?

v. 10 The height of irony.

v. 20 Why did Mordecai record these things?  Why did he send letters?  I think it would be a find of great historical significance if one of these letters were ever discovered.

v. 21-22 The feast on these days commemorating all these events is called what?

v. 1 Must the LORD be on any one’s side?

v. 1-2 This sounds like a responsive call and response.

v. 3-5 Thus, the victory belongs to the LORD.

v. 8 This is not the confession of a national security state.

v. 13 is this an admonition or a restriction?  Shall the suffering only pray?  How many congregations on Sunday morning really sound cheerful?

v. 14 How many PC(USA) Teaching and Rulings Elders do you know who will anoint with oil?

v. 15 Is this a reference to faith healing?  What is the relation, if any, between faith and healing?

v. 16 How is the prayer of the righteous powerful and effective?  What about the prayer of the unrighteous?

v. 17 How do we wander from the truth?

v. 38 What do you think of the situation John describes?  What is your take on “demons”?

v. 39 What do you think of Jesus’ advice?

v. 40 Is the enemy of my enemy my friend?

v. 41 What reward?

v. 42  What is a stumbling block?  Of the sixteen occurrences of “stumbling block” in the NRSV, consider especially 1 Cor. 1:23.  Who are “these little ones”?

vs. 43-47 How do children and others who understand Scripture literally understand these verses?

v. 48 Why do many of our contemporary images of hell include flames but not worms?

v. 49 What does it mean to be salted with fire?

v. 50 How does this verse follow from the verse that precedes it.

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, September 20, 2012

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, September 23, 2012, the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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. 10-31 Is this an example of a sexist Lectionary, not necessarily because the reading itself is sexist, but because there is no “capable husband” text to balance it?  If Jesus had a wife, would she have been the sort of wife described in this Reading?

v. 10 On the other hand, comparing a woman to a physical item could be seen as sexist, suggesting that a capable wife is a possession, mere “arm candy”, like a “trophy wife”.

v. 18 Is there a double meaning here?

v. 26 At least this verse does not seem sexist.

v. 28 How would a wife who is childless, perhaps not by choice, hear this verse?

v. 1 Where do scoffers sit?

v. 2 What does it mean to meditate on God’s law?

v. 3 To borrow a phrase going around facebook, following the law of the LORD bears fruits, not nuts.

v. 4 What process is being alluded to here?

v. 6 Is thee a difference between the LORD watching over the way of the righteous and watching over the righteous?  Note that it is not the wicked who perish but the way of the wicked.

v. 13 Socrates, Plato and Aristotle might agree.

v. 14 what is the relation between wisdom and truth?

v. 15 There seems to be at least two types of wisdom, earthly and spiritual.

v. 18 In or out of context, this is one of my favorite verses and one we should all keep in mind.  Why does the United States have a Defense Department (formerly the Ward Department) but has never had a Peace Department.  We have Military Academies but no nationally funded Peace Academy.

v. 1 Is this a naïve understanding of conflict?  How much of our conflict is based on psychological projection?

v. 2 I can not disagree.

v. 3 This is sounding like an indictment of the consumerist economy and marketing that appeals to selfish emotions.  How would this verse play out on Mad Men?

v. 7 I can do without devil language.

v. 8 This makes sense to me and based on personal experience seems somewhat true.

v. 30 Who are “they” and where was “there”?  Why did he not want anyone to know it?

v. 31 Do you think that when Jesus teaches his disciples he is teaching the church, and that when he speaks to the crowd, he is speaking to the wider culture?  Why is Jesus portrayed as using “Son of Man” imagery and no other imagery?

v. 32 How often to people in the pews or in the classroom not understand the preacher/teacher but are afraid to ask a question?

v. 33 What do you know about Capernaum?  Whose house might he have been in?  Disciple’s arguing?

v. 34 Is Jesus not the greatest?  Oh, right, he is the least!

v. 35 Why did Jesus sit them down?

v. 36 Where did the little child come from?

v. 37 So welcoming a little child and holding him or her in my arms is akin to welcoming Jesus and thus God?  I can live with that.

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, September 13, 2012

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, September 16, 2012, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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. 20 This passage seems to personify wisdom in the feminine, so why not use the original Greek “Sophia” rather than the English translation “Wisdom”?  This verse also seems to display the Hebraic poetic device of repetition.

v. 22 Does this verse contrast the simple with the wise?  Are the simple the same as scoffers and fools?

v. 23 Who is speaking?  Can all thoughts be expressed in words, or must some thoughts be expressed through non-lingual representative arts?  Does DaVinci’s Last Supper or Dali’s Last Supper say something about the Last Supper that words can not express?

v. 29 Is knowledge the same as the fear of the LORD?  Is knowledge the same as wisdom?

v. 1 The Astronomer’s Bible/Gospel!  What is a firmament?

v. 2. What is the relationship between speech and knowledge?

vs. 3-4 How does a voice go out through all the earth if it is not heard?

vs. 4b-6 How do you interpret and apply a passage that assumes a pre-Copernican three-tiered universe in a post-Copernican world?

v. 7 How did we transition from the heavens to the law?

v. 10 At the close of the market on Tuesday, gold was selling for $1,728.7/ounce.

v. 14 One of my personal pet peeves is that this verse should not be used as a public prayer by a preacher before the preaching of a sermon, ESPECIALLY after a Prayer of Illumination has already been prayed before the reading of Scripture.

v 1. Using PC(USA) nomenclature, is James referring to “Teaching” Elders in particular, Sunday School Teachers, or teachers of faith in general?

v. 2 How true!   Who, but Jesus, is perfect?

v. 3 What is the equivalent of a verbal bridle?

v. 4 Ahhhhhh, sometimes the will of the pilot is overcome by the wind, lack of piloting skill, poor equipment, etc.  I wish I could always guide my C&C 24 wherever I want it to go, but that is not always the case.

v. 5a The tongue not only boasts of great exploits but can take us places we never wished to go. 

v. 5b-6a I doubt the author had in minds the tongues of fire associated with Pentecost.

v. 6b But the same member that curses can also bless.  The same tongue that expounds hate can also verbalize love.

v. 7 I think this is not true.

v. 8 What do you think?

vs. 9-10 See my rumination for verse 6b.

v. 11 Not at the same time, but perhaps alternately.

v. 12 True, true, but what about reverse osmosis and distillation?

vs. 1-12 In the age of social media and the internet, is the tongue really the problem, or is it the mind that tells the tongue what to say and the fingers to type?

v. 27 Was Caesarea a village and Philippi a village?  Like Minneapolis / St. Paul?  Who do people in our culture say that Jesus is?

v. 29 This is the question Jesus asks each and every one of us.  Who do you say Jesus is?  Does your answer depend on who is asking the question?

v. 30 Why the order not to tell anyone about him?  What do you know about “the Messianic Secret”?

v. 31 John the Baptist,  Elijah, one of the prophets, one Messiah, the Son of Man?  So many identities, titles, and names!  Why did Jesus refer to himself as the Son of Man?

v. 32 Why did Peter rebuke Jesus?

v. 33 Why did Jesus call Peter “Satan”?

v. 34 What does it mean to take up one’s cross?  What is your cross?

v. 35 This reads like a conundrum.

v. 36 Does this matter at all to a generation that is embracing YOLO?

v. 38 How was Jesus’ generation adulterous and sinful?

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, September 6, 2012

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, September 9, 2012, the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (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 What is the history and meaning of your name?  What name is above every other name?  What is “favor”?

v. 2 Is this ALL they have in common?

v. 8 Let the politicians beware.

vs. 22-23 This reads like a passage for the 99%

v. 1 How do you define trust?

v. 2 What is it about being surrounded by mountains that is good news?

v. 3 What is a scepter and what does it symbolize?

vs. 3-4 Is there a theology of reward and punishment informing this Psalm?

v. 1 What “acts of favoritism” are being referred to?

v. 2-4 Have you ever witnessed any such thing?

v. 5-7 Some more Scripture for the 99%.

v. 8 Why is this law referred to as “the royal law”?

v. 11 This verse seems to me to get it backwards.

v. 12 What is “law of liberty”?

v. 14 Can faith save YOU?

v. 17 Faith, without works, might be dead.  But what are works without faith?

v. 24 From where?  What do you know about Tyre?  Why did Jesus not want anyone to know he was in the house?

v. 25 How do post-modern, scientifically informed people of faith handle passages, like this one, that speak of “unclean spirits”?

v. 26 What difference does it make that she was a Gentile?  Of Syrophoenician origin?

v. 27 How do you react to the fact that Jesus said this?

v. 29 Why was her response rewarded?

v. 30 How could Jesus heal someone without that person even being present for laying on of hands?

v. 31 What do you know of Sidon?

v. 32 What sort of impediment do you imagine?

v. 33 Why in private?  Why put fingers in ears and touch tongues instead of laying on hands?

v. 34 What language is “Ephphatha”?  Where else in Scripture do we hear a world like this?

v. 36 What do you know about “the Messianic secret”?

v. 37 When was the last time you, or members of the congregation you are associated with, were astounded?

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.