Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Lectionary Ruminations: Scripture for Worship on May 10th, 2009

Here are the passages for May 10th, 2009, the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B). All links are to the TNIV via, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead (either with your own Bible, or via the drop-down menu at

Acts 8:26-40
  • We learn here the story of an Ethiopian eunuch, who even before meeting Philip was already worshiping Jerusalem and was reading from the Hebrew prophets. Was this eunuch a Jew, was he a proselyte, or might he have had some other reason to travel to Jerusalem to worship?
  • Why does the eunuch seem to believe that it would be impossible for him to understand what he is reading unless someone explains it to him?
  • What might Philip have mentioned, while teaching the eunuch, that would have suggested to the eunuch that being baptized was a good idea?
  • What's going on with Philip in these last two verses? Did the Spirit suddenly teleport Philip away, that the passage would be worded in this way? (Why, for example, would the passage stress the immediacy of Philip's departure, so as to place it so "suddenly" after they "came up out of the water," and then use the word "appeared" to show where Philip ended up next?) Why would the Spirit do this (and why not with other disciples)? What other explanations might there be?
Psalm 22:25-31

1 John 4:7-21
  • The last few verses of this passage stress that we are to love our fellow believers. What about non-believers? Why are fellow believers emphasized?
John 15:1-8
  • Much as I mentioned in regard to shepherds and sheep last week, vines are not as commonly available to many modern Christians as they were to followers of Christ in the first century. What might need additional explanation, that congregations that don't work with vines might understand Jesus' point?
  • How might someone fail to "remain" in Christ? What would be the consequences to that person? Is Jesus thinking primarily about consequences in this world, or is he thinking eschatologically? (Or perhaps both?)

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