Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, August 1, 2010, the Eighteenth 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 11:1-11
vs. 1-4 Last Sunday we heard about Hosea’s Children. This week we hear about God’s children. How many parents have you heard wax and wane like God about their errant, wayward children?

v. 4 Is there any special meaning or symbolism associated with “cords” and “bands”? Are they technical religious terms?

vs. 5-7 Is this an example of God exercising some “tough love”?

vs. 8-9 Is this an example of God having second thoughts? Is it an example of God repenting?

v. 9 “the Holy One in your midst” is one of my favorite monikers for God.

v. 10 Images of C.S. Lewis’s Aslan.

Psalm 107:1-9, 43
v. 1 Apparently this Psalm is intended to reflect Hosea 11:8-11 rather than Hosea 11:1-7.

v. 2 This sounds like a liturgical instruction.

v. 3 Note the four cardinal directions and similar language in the Invitation to the Lord’s Table (BOCW “A” p. 68)

v. 8 An invitation to return to v. 1?

v. 9 Like v. 3, language that could be used in a Eucharistic setting.

Colossians 3:1-11
v. 1 A hypothetical “if”?

vs. 1-2 How do we, in a post Copernican world, handle “above” language when it points to the spiritual dwelling place of the “ascended” Christ and of God (and of the Holy Spirit), when our “above” is “down” on the other side of the globe?

v. 4 What does it mean to “be revealed” both for Christ and for you?

v. 5 Is it safe to assume that this list is not exhaustive?

vs. 7-10 In answer to my question about v. 5, apparently not, because this verse seems to expand the list of vices.

v. 11 A nice theological move, but were we prepared for it? Is Paul suggesting that divisions based on such criteria are also expressions of disobedience?

Luke 12:13-21
v. 13 Was the person in the crowd being sincere, cynical, or simply showing respect by addressing Jesus as “Teacher”. Shall we hear this as a prefiguring of Luke 15:11-32?

v. 14 Why does Jesus refer to his interlocutor as “friend”? Does the question Jesus asks assume the answer “no one”?

v. 15 A nice one liner, especially within the context of American consumerism in the midst of a recession.

v. 16-20 Is there a risk that we might read too much into this parable?

v. 21 Is it ok to store up treasurers on earth if one is also rich toward God? Where does one draw the line between prudent investing for retirement and an obsessive/compulsive saving/hoarding of wealth?


Anonymous said...

I appreciate your efforts and your posting. At the same time,these thoughts would be more useful earlier in the week, or if on Thursday for 2 Sundays hence. In response to your question concerning where's up? I think that in a Matrix, Inception world, we can talk about heaven being another dimension of existence.

joel said...

I don't quite so readily read this parable as an outright condemnation against wealth, or prudent saving for investment.

I understand it as a (somewhat) gentle reminder that there is more to life than this.

John Edward Harris said...

Thanks for your comment, Verne. I too would like to get this posted earlear in the week, or even a week earlier. As a half-time Designated Pastor who occasionally works at secular jobs, I often do not start working on my own liturgy and sermon until wednesday, as my "working" days at the church are presently Wednesday and Thursday.

I generally agree with your conception of "up" as another dimension. But will that preach? Are most folks in the pew ready for such thinking?

John Edward Harris said...

Joel, I think you have hit the nail on the head. I read it as an indictment of pure materialism and a warning not to neglect the spiritual (not necessarily religious) dimension of one's life.

I prefer not to express my own interpretations in Lectionary Ruminations but rather, in a Socratic sort of way, to ask leading questions that invite others to chew on the Word more than they normally would and to develop their own interpretations.