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.)
2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
The passing of the mantle: Elisha does not leave Elijah but vice versa.
A word study on “mantle” and the various Hebrew words that the English translates might be profitable; and consider comparing and contrasting Elijah’s mantle with Moses’ rod.
v.8 Elijah parts the Jordan. Is this the feat that earns him a place with that other water parter, Moses, on the Mount of Transfiguration?
v. 9 What was the value of Elijah’s spirit and what would it be doubled? As for me, I might settle for half.
v. 11 What is the connection between the chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire and the whirlwind?
v. 13 What does Elijah leave his mantle behind? What does it symbolize?
v.14 What an odd question!
What is your mantle and who bequeathed it to you? Where does your power symbolically reside?
Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20
vs. 11-12 Deeds, wonders, work. What are other synonyms?
v. 12 Are God’s deeds ever your muse? They certainly were for this psalmist.
v. 18. Undoubtedly it was the mention of the “whirlwind” that prompted the lectionary committee to pair this psalm with today’s first reading. How does this psalm ”interpret” or expand upon today’s first reading?
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
v. 1 Who needs verses 13-25? This first verse can serve as the text for several sermons.
v. 1, 13 Next Sunday is the Fourth of July. If you want to get a jump on the holiday, this reading offers the opportunity to focus on “Christian Freedom”.
vs. 13-15, 16-25 As freedom is contrasted with slavery, so too is flesh contrasted with Spirit, and the works of the flesh are contrasted with the fruits of the Spirit.
vs.19-21, 22-23 Does it mean anything that there are more “works of the flesh” listed than there are “fruits of the Spirit” listed?
v. 51 What, exactly, does the author of Luke mean by “taken up”?
vs. 52-53 What is going on here? What was it about Jesus setting his face toward Jerusalem that caused the Samaritans not to receive him?
v. 55 Is this perhaps the only “rebuke” in the Gospels other than Jesus rebuking Peter?
vs. 57-62 Enigmatic sayings: Notice the progression: A person says they will follow. Jesus calls a second person to follow. A third person says they will follow. Apparently none of the three do follow. What about you?