Thursday, May 06, 2010

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, May 9, 2010, the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year C)

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.)

Acts 16:9-15
v. 9 Throughout the Easter Season the readings from Acts have been narrating a series of visions. Now the reading from Acts offers us a vision as well.

vs. 10-11 Macedonia is what we refer to today as the Balkans. Paul’s crossing over to Macedonia from Troas in Asia Minor thus represents his and the Gospel’s movement from one continent to another.

v. 13 Did Philippi not have a Synagogue? Or if it did, was Paul not welcomed there? Otherwise, why did he go outside the gate where he supposed there was a place of prayer? Note that the first Europeans to hear the Gospel from Paul were women.

v. 14 What does it mean that Lydia was a “worshiper of God”? Is this a comment about her relationship to Judaism? Maybe Lydia was spiritual but not religious. I have heard it argued that her being a dealer in purple cloth means she was a business woman with some wealth.

v. 15 Have fun unpacking this verse as it regards our theology of Baptism. Did Lydia’s whole household open their heart to listen to Apul’s message or was her whole household baptized based on her response alone? Where there any infants or small children in her household?

Psalm 67:1-7
I like this Psalm because of its use of the first person plural—“us” and “our”—as well as the plurals “nations” and “peoples”.

People in the pews may ask about “Selah”. How will you answer their questions?

v. 1 God’s face shining upon us as a metaphor, but a metaphor for what? I like the metaphorical image. It is personal, expressive, and ripe for interpretation.

This is a Psalm “for all nations” as it seems to be more universal than many other Psalms, which focus more on Israel.

Revelation 21:10, 21:22-22:5
v. 10 I wonder if John had any particular “high mountain” in mind when narrating this vision.

v. 22 That there was no temple in the holy city Jerusalem must have been a startling image for Jewish Christians who most likely were still grieving its recent destruction. I wonder how millenialists, who believe that the Temple must be restored (thus the third Temple) before Christ returns, interpret this passage.

v. 23 Can one make any connection with Psalm 67:1 here? Does God’s shining face replace the sun and moon?

v. 24 “The Nations” of Psalm 67?

v. 25 A welcoming “open door” or rather “open gate” policy. This would drive some people in Arizona crazy.

v. 27 When will the “Lamb’s book of life” be available for Kindle?

v. 2 Is there one “tree of life” or two? May I assume that this is the same “tree of life” from the second creation account of Genesis 2? “the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” is, I think, one of the most irenic and poetic images in the New Testament. It sure beats hellfire and damnation any day.

v. 4 I believe that looking into, or “seeing” the face of God will be awesome. Is the name of God being on the forehead a juxtaposition of the name of the beast being on the forehead?

Over all, I think the image developed by this passage is not the image most people have in mind when they think of images from Revelation. This is good news that we need to proclaim, and thus counteract the more common images which undoubtedly include lakes of fire, the beast, and Armageddon.

John 14:23-29
v. 23 Is the Father’s love conditional? Does the Father love only those who love Jesus and keep his word? Where is Pelagius when you need him?

v. 26 How is the Holy Spirit an “Advocate”? I have heard it argued that the Doctrine of the Trinity is not biblical but essential. Without the Doctrine of the Trinity, how would we. Or could we, interpret this passage? Try doing so without any Trinitarian terms or thoughts and see how far you get.

v. 27 How many time have you heard this, or read it, at a funeral?

v. 29 So there would be no belief until after the ascension? Is this, perhaps, a example of some literary foreshadowing?

John 5:1-9
I do not know why there are two Gospel options this week. John 14:23-29 flows from the lectio-continua of the past few weeks. I honestly do not know why John 5:1-9 is an options and am open to enlightenment. I will use the former.

v. 6 Obviously a question to all of us.

v. 7 Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Vs.7-8 There is no mention of faith or belief. Why was this man made well?

The story seems to function as an explanation of why the Jewish authorities came to be so opposed to Jesus. Among other things, he was healing on the Sabbath. Of course if there had been universal health care back then, there would have been no story to tell.


I have been posting this column for two months now. My posts have not generated a lot of comments; then again, it seems very few posts on this blog do. Still, I am wondering what you have liked and not liked. Has there been too much of an edge or not enough? Have I been asking too many questions and not commenting enough or vice versa? Are the posts too long or to short, or just right? How about the format and appearance?

In a final moment of unabashed self-promotion I also invite you to peruse my personal blog, Summit to Shore. It is pretty eclectic and you never know what you might encounter there, so please check it out. You might be surprised.

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