Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, May 23, 2010, the Day of Pentecost (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 2:1-21
If you use the Acts passage as the first Reading, then use the Romans Reading as the Second Reading.
If you use the Genesis passage as the First Reading, then use either the Acts passage or the Romans passage as the Second Reading.

v. 1 Who are included among the “they”?

v. 2 “from heaven there came a sound” reminds me of the voice from heaven associated with the Baptims of Jesus and the Conversion of Saul/Paul. But this sound was not the voice of God. It was a sound like the rush of a violent wind.

v. 3 What IS a divided tongue, anyway?

v. 4 What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

v. 5 What is the difference between a “devout Jew” and a Jew who is not devout? Is that anything like being religious but not spiritual, spiritual but not religious, or spiritual AND religious?

vs. 5, 7 & 12 I love these adjectives: bewildered, amazed and astonished, amazed and perplexed. When was the last time a religious/spiritual experience/encounter left you feeling this way?

v. 11 What are “God’s deeds of power” and how often do we speak about them?

v. 13 What is worse and hardest to overcome, sneering or ignoring?

v.15 If it were three o’clock in the afternoon, or after nine o’clock at night, might we then assume they really were drunk? Even though the Book of Order allows the serving of fermented wine at communion as long as unfermented grape juice is also served, many sessions choose not to, claiming they do not want to cause reformed alcoholics to stumble. I think that is red herring and that the real reason is that they are afraid of losing control and actually being filled with the spirit.

v. 16 See Joel 2:28-32

Genesis 11:1-9
vs. 3, 4, 7 What does all the “let us”language suggest?

v. 4 What is the psychological/spiritual/religious significance and meaning of the ziggurat?

v. 6 If this is only the beginning, what else is yet to come?

I experience a bit of disconnect here because the passage suggests that the origin of humanity is in the fertile crescent of the Tigris and Euphrates, or present day Iraq, when in reality humanity most likely originated in Africa, perhaps in the Great Rift Valley.

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
v. 24 God’s works are manifold, not our works. What does manifold mean, anyway?
How do we read the reference to “wisdom” in light of next week’s Reading from proverbs?

v. 26 Thomas Hobbes, eat your heart out!

vs. 28-30 These verses seem antithetical to the hubris of the Babylonians.

v. 31 God rejoices in God’s works, not our works.

Romans 8:14-17
v. 14 If “all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God”, then are all who are children of God led by the Spirit of God?

v. 15 A spirit of slavery versus a spirit of adoption. Mama Mia! A Swedish rock group made it

into Scripture!

v. 17 If we are children and therefore heirs, then what do we inherirt?

John 14:8-17 (25-27)
v. 9 When I read this verse I think of icons.

v. 13-14 What is the power of the name? Is there some hyperbole here?

v. 16 Another? Advocate?

v. 17 Is the “Spirit of truth” the same as the Holy Spirit?

v. 26 How does the Holy Spirit teach and remind us today?

All five passages are pregnant with meaning and possible hermeneutical and homiletical possibilities and I fear I have barely touched the surface.

On any given Sunday I usually include all four readings in the liturgy even if I am preaching on only one, but will often use the vocabulary and imagery from readings I am not preaching on to form and inform prayers and to influence my choice of hymns.
When not posting Lectionary Ruminations and prepairing and preaching sermons I blog at Summit To Shore.

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