Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, July 25, 2010, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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.)

Hosea 1:2-10
Two weeks ago Amos gave us a plumb line, and last week he gave us a basket of summer fruit. This week Hosea gives us a whore and children with names worthy of a lifetime in therapy.

v. 2 How is forsaking the LORD equivalent to committing great whoredom? Is this a charge of idolatry?

vs. 4, 5 Is there a distinction between the “Jezrell” of verse 4 and the “valley of Jazrell” in verse 5? In a culture where people name their children after relatives, movie stars, and sports stars, how can people comprehend the symbolic meaning of Hebrew names in general and “Jezrell” and his siblings in particular?

v. 7 Is sounds as though God is forsaking Israel but saving Judah. Hawkish politicians who place their faith in a strong military ought to take note of this verse.

v. 10 Is this a verse of hope in the midst of judgement?

Psalm 85:1-13
Shall we read this psalm as Judah’s response to the prophecy of Hosea? Or shall we read it as Israel’s expected response after a hoped for restoration?

v. 10 I particularly like the paired imagery of this verse.

v. 11 Some more nice imagery.

Vs. 9, 13 Note the possible connection between God’s glory and the productivity of the land. This reminds me of the connection between the king and the land of the Grail legend.

Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19)
v.6 Is there a difference between “living lives in Christ Jesus: and Jesus living in Christians?

v. 8 As an amateur philosopher, I object! What are the “elemental Spirits of the universe”?

v. 9 Incarnation!

v.10 What does it mean to “come to fullness” in Christ Jesus?

v. 14 Does this verse presume or demand a penal substitution theory of the atonement? Or is there another way to read it?

v. 15 How has God triumphed over rulers and authorities?

vs. 16-19 What is the author warning about?

Luke 11:1-13
v. 1 Is this the only reference to John teaching his disciples to pray? Was teaching his disciples to pray a pedagogy peculiar to John or did most religious leaders of that the day engage in such teaching? If John thought it necessary to teach his disciples to pray, and one of Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus to teach his disciples to pray, how much more do we need to be taught, and once thought, top teach others. While the desire to pray might be innate, praying well does not come naturally but is an art can be modeled, taught and nurtured. Presbyterians in particular ought to refer to Growing in the Life of Christian Faith, especially the preface.

v. 2-4 The prayer easily divides into two. Is there a correlation with the two tables of the law?

v. 5 Is there any significance to the number 3?

vs.5-8 Note the shift of perspective. Is there something missing here, like maybe a verse or two?

v. 13 Me, you, evil? So, we can ask, search, and knock, but regardless of what we ask for, search after, or knock for, all prayer is answered with the gift of the Holy Spirit?


Many would argue that a preacher ought to preach on prayer, and particularly the Lord ’s Prayer, at least once each year. Does the Gospel reading for today make this the best Sunday to do that?

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