Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, May 16, 2010, the Seventh 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 16:16-34
v. 16-17 This is not only one of the “we” passages but also refers to “us”. Who else was travelling with Paul at this point in the narrative?

v 17 From the mouth of a pagan comes truth. What if today tarot cards or a crystal ball leads one to the spiritual insight that leads to a way of salvation in Christ?

v 18 Why exercise a truth telling spirit?

v 18-21 Thank God we today have the separation of church and state and religious liberty.

v 30 A sincere question from a pagan seeker? Saved from what? Saved from sin or saved from the wrath of his superiors, the magistrates?

v. 31 One person’s faith saves the whole household? Where have we seen this before? Look back at last week’s reading about Lydia.

v. 33 Believing on the Lord Jesus and being baptized makes one not a Christian (that moniker was not yet being used) but “a believer in God”. As a pagan and not a Jew, the jailer and his household were previously outside the covenant promises.

Psalm 97:1-12
This psalm praising the God of the storm was most likely chosen for today as a commentary on the earthquake and the fortune teller of the Acts Reading.

v 1. When the LORD is king, who is not king? Is this not an antithesis to blind patriotism and political allegiance, a warning to leaders as well as their followers?

v. 5 Is there something going on in the Hebrew. The first LORD refers to the Holy One of Israel, but what about the second Lord?

vs. 7, 9 How do we monotheists handle these references to other “gods”?

Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
This Reading concludes a seven week lectio-continua reading of Revelation and it will be three more years before we encounter such a large block of Revelation again, unless Christ returns before then.

v 12 How does our theology of grace, which shuns works righteousness, deal with this verse?

v 14The first two assertions make sense, by what about the third? Is there any other way to enter the city but by the gates? Will someone be standing at these always open gates checking to make sure names are written in the Lambs book of life before people are allowed to pass through the gates?

v 16 There is some beautiful imagery here, most, if not all, drawn from the Hebrew Scriptures. Note that Christ claims to be both the root (alpha) and the descendant (omega) of David. I love the imagery of “the bright morning star” but what does it mean? Astronomically speaking, the bright morning star (most likely the planet Mercury) is at other times of the year the first visible star in the evening sky, the light of this planet outshining all other objects in the night sky other than an illuminated moon.

v 20 Who is “the one who testifies”? Come, Lord Jesus! = maranatha!

v 21 Amen and amen.

John 17:20-26
v. 21 Can this be interpreted as suggesting that those who believe in Christ become divine?

v 22 What does it mean to receive the same glory that the Father has given the Son?

v 24 This verse assumes the preexistent Christ, that is we take “before the foundation of the world” as a temporal rather than a spatial reference.

v 25 Christ’s prayer is not that God will love us, or that we might know the love of God, but that the same love God loved the Son with may also be in us, and Christ may be in us. I “love” John’s mystical love language, especially in relation to the theme of unity. I wonder, however, is Jesus talking about Christian unity or our unity with him and the Father. By interpreting this passage in relation to Christian or Church unity we may actually be missing the point.


When not posting Lectionary Ruminations to Presbyterian Bloggers I post on an eclectic variety of topics on my personal blog, Summit to Shore.

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