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 5:1-14
v 1. Why would theLORD give victory to the General of a foreign king? What is the nature of this “leprosy”?
v. 5 Is this an example of Old Testament international diplomacy? Is the silver, gold and garments a gift, a peace offering, a bribe, or what? What would be its current economic value?
v. 7 At least this king, unlike previous kings, knows that he is neither God nor exercises divine like power.
v. 8 Who really needs to learn that there is a prophet in Israel?
v. 10 Why did Elisha not even meet with the leper general?
v. 11 What is the significance of the number seven? Are there any other examples in Scripture of the restorative powers of the Jordan, or of someone washing seven times?
v. 14 What does this verse say about Elisha?
As a pastor, I resonate with this story. Sometimes it seems that people will take to heart major proposals but dismiss less major ones.
The Psalm Reading is usually chosen as a commentary on the First Reading. How does this Psalm enlighten or expand upon the Reading from 2 Kings? Whose voice might we be hearing in this Psalm, the voice of the leper general or the voice of Elisha, or perhaps both, or another voice altogether?
v. 5 Personally, I love this verse.
v. 6 Maybe this verse explains why Presbyterians are so often unmoved when change is needed.
v. 9 Is the Psalmist attempting to blackmail God? Reason with God?
v. 11 Again, on a personal note, this verse ranks right up there with v.5.
Galatians 6:(1-6) 7-16
v. 1 By addressing his readers as “My friends” is Paul being honest? Patronizing?
vs. 2 & 5 Compare and contrast “Bear one another’s burdens” with “For all must carry their own loads.” What is the difference between a “burden” and a “load”?
v. 6 Is Paul arguing for just compensation, asking for a honorarium, gift or stipend, or something else here?
v. 7 How were the Galatians, or at least some of the Galatians, “mocking” God? How do we mock God today?
v. 8. How, or in what ways do we “sow” to our own flesh and how, or in what ways do we sew to the Spirit?
v. 10 Note that we (Christians) are to work for “the good of all” even though we may focus on the family of faith. I am reminded of a phrase from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.
v. 11 An example of Paul taking over from his secretary? What a find it would be to discover or unearth the original manuscript of Paul’s letter to the Galatians! Maybe this could be another Indiana Jones sequal.
v. 14 What does Paul mean “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world”?
v. 16 “The Israel of God” sounds like an odd phrase that I have honestly never before noticed. To whom does it refer?
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
v. 1 Compare the parallels in the other Gospels. Why send people out in pairs? I think the argument can logically be made that Jesus intended to visit at least thirty five towns and places. What does this verse say aboit the need for planning and preparation?
v. 7 Another economic imperative? Compare to Galatians 6:6.
vs. 9 & 11 Regardless of the reception, the message is nearly the same: “The kingdom of God has come near (you).” How do we know when it is appropriate to wipe the dust off our feet in protest and to move on?
v. 16 The logical argument is that whoever rejects you rejects the one who sent Jesus, which I presume is God.
vs. 17-19 How shall we interpret and apply these verses in the modern (or post modern) world which often shuns “the spiritual” as make believe and unreal? I mean, when was the last time a spirit” submitted to you or anyone else you know?
v. 19 How has this verse influenced those who appeal to the longer ending of Mark to defend their “snake Handling”?
I apologize for posting this rumination a few hours later than usual. Time slipped by and I did not write this post until after I started travelling on my way to the Presbyterian General Assembly in Minneapolis. During the coming week I hope and plan to post news and reflections from and about the GA in my personal blog, Summit to Shore. I make no apology for not making any connections between the lectionary readings and Independence Day, a civil holiday, not a liturgical day.