Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Lectionary Ruminations: Scripture for Worship on July 12, 2009

Here are the passages for July 12th, 2009, the Fifteenth 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 6:1-5, 12b-19
  • One of the down-sides to is that the site doesn't really know how to handle partial verses, such as that called for with verse 12b here. The letter "b" indicates that only a part of the verse is to be read as part of the lectionary. In this case, the reading starts with the second part of the verse, which begins "So David went to bring up the ark...."
  • Other passages make reasonably clear that the ark was not something to be handled lightly or often. Why was it considered important enough to bring out on this occasion?
  • Why does verse 13 go to the trouble of saying that the sacrifice was made after the people carrying the ark had gone "six steps"? What's significant about this fact?
  • What's Michal's problem? Why does she "despise" David, presumably after seeing him dancing?
  • Is there significance to the food items that David gives to each of the people at the end of this passage?
Psalm 24

Ephesians 1:3-14
  • This lectionary reading is used this week every three years, but I find it especially intriguing that a "predestination" passage is used this particular weekend, as I expect that many churches will be celebrating John Calvin's 500th birthday (which will actually have been Friday, the 10th).
  • This passage doesn't spend any time wondering about the fate of those not "predestined." Rather it assumes that those reading are. Is this significant? (I don't want to be misunderstood here. There are other passages that imply not everyone necessarily is. However, what might be significance of not worrying about that fact in this context?)
Mark 6:14-29
  • On the heels of last week's passage, Mark gives us a flashback to the death of John the Baptist. Why does Mark put that story in this context?
  • At the beginning of the passage, people wonder about who Jesus is. Much of this same formula is repeated in another context (both within Mark and in parallel passages). Is this repetition significant?
  • I've always wondered, why is it that Herodias has a name so similar to Herod's? Is this an adopted name? Was she given it after marrying Herod (and therefore after leaving Herod's brother Philip)? Is this kind of thing common elsewhere in this culture?
  • I am struck by the fact that Herod has his stepdaughter dancing for his dinner guests. How old is she? How appropriate is such an arrangement (even in Herod's context)? Why would a promise such as Herod makes after the dance be considered appropriate (if it was) in that context, let alone Herod's apparent obligation to fulfill the actual request made by the stepdaughter?

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