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 are linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.)
1 Kings 21:1-10 (11-14) 15-21a
v. 2 Eminent domain?
vs. 4, 6 Note that as Ahab ruminates on Naboth’s refusal he fails to bear in the mind the reason for Naboth’s refusal.
vs. 7-10 Behind every evil ruler is an even more evil spouse?
v. 17 How does the “word of the LORD” come to Elijah. Here is a perhaps archetypal example of someone called to speak truth to power. Elijah the Tishbite is about to take a bite out of the tush of Ahab the King. (Yes, that is an original play on words. If it works for you, use it.)
v. 21 Who is speaking here, Elijah, the LORD, a mixture? Why the shift from “you” to “Ahab”? I
vs. 1-2 How shall we hear this plea? Is it the plea of Naboth? Elijah? Anyone and everyone who is trodden under the boots of tyranny or find themselves buried by bureaucracy?
v. 7 What does it mean to be “in awe” of the LORD? How often do we foind ourselves in such a posture?
v. 8 It is often hard enough to follow God’s ways. The least the LORD can do is make those ways straight so there is no moral ambiguity. But we live in a world that is rarely black and white and are often confused as to which way is God’s way.
v. 15 Who are the “we” Paul is speaking for? Does his statement suggest that Gentiles are “sinners” simply because they are Gentiles?
v. 16 Is there any way to read this without thinking “justification by faith”?
v. 20 Is there any way to read “who loved me and gave himself for me” without automatically thinking of theories of the Atonement?
v. 36 I wonder which one of the Pharisees extended the invitation. (Verse 40 tells us it was Simon.)
v. 37 What does it mean that the woman was a “sinner”? What is meant by this? Why is it mentioned? What does it matter? Is there anything special about alabaster jars?
v. 39 If the Pharisee said this to himself, how do we know what he said or was thinking? Could this be a constructed story rather than the report of an actual historical event?
v.40 Inspite of his doubts, Simon calls Jesus “teacher”.
vs. 41-42 So love can be bought
v. 46 There was no mention in verse 38 of the woman anointing Jesus’s head.
v.47 If you are going to sin anyway, you might as well sin boldly.
v. 49 so the issue is that Jesus forgives sins, not how many he forgives, in spite of v. 47.
v. 50 So this woman was saved by her faith (rather than by God’s grace)?
v.2 The woman introduced in verse 37 is not named, so why do we jump to conclusions and link her to “Mary, called Magdalene”?
v.3 So these woman have been paying the bills? Times have not changed much.