Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Lectionary Ruminations: Scripture for Worship on July 5, 2009

Here are the passages for July 5th, 2009, the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
  • I often find it interesting to note why the Bible provides certain details, but doesn't mention others. For example, we are told that David made a covenant with the elders of Israel, but we are not given any details. What might have been included in such a covenant?
  • Why does the Bible spell out how many years David served as king? (It does this for nearly all kings. Is there anything particularly significant about these numbers?)
  • Besides the details that the Bible itself provides, I'm also intrigued by when the Revised Common Lectionary skips over some verses, but makes sure to include others. Why does the lectionary skip over just enough to make sure we know that David moved into the fortress and named it after himself?
Psalm 48

2 Corinthians 12:2-10
  • What's this about "the third heaven"? Is there more than one?
  • Why does Paul repeat himself (almost word for word from verse two) in verse three?
  • Scholars have wondered for centuries about Paul's "thorn in the flesh." What do you think he was struggling with? He says he pleaded "three times" that God would remove it. Why does Paul give us the number? Why only three times?
  • "Delighting in weaknesses" is rather hard for us to do. How can Christians be helped in this, without encouraging them to sustain abuse? I've seen too many sermons encouraging (for example) wives to "submit" to abusive husbands not just out of "submit" passages, but out of concepts like the ones here, where Christians are encouraged to "delight" in hardships and persecutions.
Mark 6:1-13
  • I can understand people asking questions about Jesus, in light of his miracles, but confess that I don't immediately understand the questions given here to be ones of "offense" apart from the Bible specifically telling us that they did, in fact, take offense at Jesus. Why should people who knew Jesus as hometown neighbors be so ready to take offense?
  • Why "could" Jesus do no miracles there? How was he prevented? And how is it that Mark can make such a claim while simultaneously noting exceptions ("except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them")?
  • What is the significance of the instructions that Jesus gives to his followers? How might we appropriate these instructions in our own attempts to follow Jesus, or are these instructions that don't apply to us in our time and context?

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