Thursday, August 05, 2010

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, August 8, 2010, the Nineteenth 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.)

Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
This is the first of several readings from Isaiah, so if you think you might be preaching a series of sermons or leading a series of Bible Studies on the First Reading, this is a good week to lay the foundation.

v. 1 Does it make any difference that this book begins by referring to “The Vision of Isaiah” rather than “The vision of the Lord”?

v. 10 Why does Isaiah bring up Sodom and Gomorrah? Will most worshipers be able to hear this reference without thinking about “the sin of Sodom” and “sodomy” as wrong as that might be?

v. 17 How will Glen Beck deal with this verse?

vs.10-17 This appears not to be a contrast between Religious/Spiritual but rather a statement about true religion being known by its social ethic.

v. 18 A verse often used as a Call to Confession of Sin. I like the NRSV “let us argue it out”. What does it mean?

Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23
A Psalm suggesting that God is not just the Mighty One of Israel but rather the Mighty One of the Earth. Does this Psalm suggest universalism?

Vs. 6-7 There seems to be a transition from the third to the first person.

v. 23 If you interpret this Psalm in light of the Isaiah Passage rather than interpreting Isiaah in light of the Psalm, how does today’s reading from Isaiah influence our interpretation of “the right way”?

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
v. 1 A classic Biblical definition of faith.

v. 8 What did Abraham obey?

vs. 8, 9, 11 Three times we hear “by faith”.

I think we usually read this as a passage about faith, but reading it again, it seems more like a passage about how we live in this world. I am thinking of the Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony by Stanley Hauerwas

Luke 12:32-40
v. 32 What is this “little flock” language?

v. 34 Here is some Liturgical language to introduce the Offering. I hear of echoes of last week’s Gospel Reading.

v. 35 Is this an example of Apocalyptic and eschatological language? How many of our members, how many of us, are “dressed for action” and have our lamps lit?

vs, 39-40 How do we make the transition from the master returning from a wedding banquet to a thief?

v. 40 Haw many people in the pew, or in the classroom or discussion group, are familiar with “Son of Man” terminology and symbolism?


Aaron said...

Glenn Beck... Seriously?
How might Al Gore or Charles Rangel deal with it?

I know that the rest of our culture and lives are partisan politically charged, but why don't we just interpret the scripture. Just saying.

John Edward Harris said...

Aaron, If I understand Glen Beck's message correcly, he says to run from orleave any church that advocates social justice. But is that not exactly what isaiah 11:17 is calling for, social justice?

Stewart said...

John, I don't listen to Glen Beck, so I'm not familiar with his approach to the Bible. Rather than having a bunch of third parties speculate about his position, is there a way to invite Mr. Beck to inform us how he handles this text?

I agree with you that Isaiah 1:17 calls for social justice.

It seems to me that the reference to Sodom and Gomorrah is meant to accentuate the severe judgment that Israel faces and to set the stage for discussing the forms of oppression Israel has allowed.

Thinking of the sin of Sodom as abusive inhospitality starts me reflecting on the current immigration dispute. It is easy for me to disapprove of Arizona's law, but at the same time there is something severely flawed in a system that encourages people to come to the U.S. into vulnerable, oppressive situations that at verge on slavery, and occasionally are recognized as slavery by the Justice Department.

I don't have an answer. I am judged.

John Edward Harris said...

Stewart, thanks for the insightful comment and application of the text to contemporary issues. I think your last three words sum it up. We are, indeed, judged by this text. Perhaps that is one reason I am not preaching on it.I will be preaching on the Hebrews passage tomorrow.

Stewart said...

I had an interesting experience Sunday that might illuminate the antipathy to the term "social justice".

I was the guest preacher in a church where I have led worship before a number of times, and was challenged after the service by a young man who wanted to know why I would use the term "social justice" in my sermon. The young man did not disagree with anything else I had said in the sermon but the mention of the term social justice set off a chain of associations for him that were based on an understanding of the term that was not connected to the full scope of Biblical teaching.

I wonder whether that might be what is going on with whatever statement Glen Beck might have made.