Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Lectionary Ruminations: Scripture for Worship on September 13, 2009

Here are the passages for September 13th, 2009, the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B). All links are to the NRSV via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead.

Proverbs 1:20-33
  • The explicit personification of wisdom in this passage strikes me as unusual.  Can you think of other examples in Scripture where an abstract concept is depicted as a human being?
  • How would you describe "wisdom," as a person, based on the depiction in these verses?
  • What did the people of God do (or fail to do) to deserve this rebuke?  
  • Does this passage provide any hope for restitution?
Psalm 19:1-14

James 3:1-12
  • Why should teachers be judged more strictly?  What does it suggest about God's judgment that all are apparently not judged equally?
  • Why does James move so quickly from words to teachers, to words about speaking?
  • At the end of the passage, James uses several analogies indicating that certain types of things always yield predictable results.  What is he saying about that state of the tongue here?  Is the tongue inherently evil?  Is there really any hope for taming it?
Mark 8:27-38
  • When people respond to the question of Jesus' identity by talking about John the Baptist, Elijah and the prophets, are they thinking in terms of reincarnation?  If so, how do you think they reconcile this (or do they?) with their religious upbringing?  If not, what did they have in mind?
  • When Peter says that Jesus is the Messiah, what did he have in mind?
  • Jesus has strong words of rebuke for Peter, even calling him "Satan."  What is Jesus' purpose here?  Is Peter actually possessed, or is something else going on?
  • In verses 35-37, the word translated "life" here, ψυχη, is often translated as "soul" (perhaps oddly, the TNIV renders the word "life" in verse 35, but "soul" in verses 36-37).   Does this interpretive issue have implications for our understanding of what Jesus is talking about?
  • What might it mean for us if Jesus were to be "ashamed" of us?  Is this a real danger? 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the spirit of collegiality, and perhaps even engaging in dialogue, my own reflections on the Mark passage can be found at
I'd welcome any comments anyone might have, or links to their own reflections on the Lectionary.