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.)
Lamentations 1:1-6, 3:19-26
vs. 1-2 Yes, this is about Jerusalem, but It could as easily be applied to a rust belt city like Detroit, or New Orleans, still recovering from Katrina.
v. 3 She who now lives among the nations is the one in whom all the nations will be blessed.
v. 4 Lamenting the loss of the religious tourist trade.
v. 5 And why is Zion suffering?
v. 21 What is it exactly that is called to mind that brings hope?
vs. 22-23 Is this what brings hope? How easily we forget!
vs. 1-2 Does anyone remember the song “On The Willows” from the musical Godspell?
v. 4 But, according to Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, are not all Christians “resident aliens”?
v. 8 Shall we read this as a Biblical admonition for revenge and paybacks, or thePsalmist expressing both personal and communal agony?
v.9 This is always a fun verse to try to interpret.
vs. 8-9 I fear these two verses encapsulate some of the feelings of anger among those mourning the loss the Christian Establishment as we have moved into a post-Christian era. It is one thing to express such feelings. It is another thing to act on them by engaging in violence.
2 Timothy 1:1-14
v. 3 Paul, a apostle of Christ, claims to worship the same God in the same way his Jewish ancestors did.
v. 5 Did Lois, Eunice and Timothy all embrace the faith at the same time, or is Timothy actually the product of Christian nurture provided by his mother and grandmother?
vs. 6 What is the gift that needs rekindled? How is the laying on of hands associated with this rekindling?
v.7 Cowardice or power, love and self-discipline. Where do we fall in that contrast?
v.8 What shame has Timothy been feeling? What shame might we be feeling?
v. 11 Does Paul string together “herald”, “apostle” and “teacher” for alliterative emphasis, or is he actually claiming three different titles?
v. 14 What is the “good treasure” entrusted to Timothy?
vs. 5-6 How does verse 6 follow from verse 5? Does the new U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, released recently by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, shed any light on this verse?
vs. 7-10 How do these verses follow from what came before?
v. 10 Well, I am feeling about as important and valued as whale dung on the bottom of the ocean floor. “Oh, forgive me God, the miserable sinner that I am.” So much for self-esteem.
This Sunday will be World Communion Sunday, and for many PC(USA) Presbyterians, the Sunday on which to receive the Peacemaking Special Offering. How do any of the above lectionary passages relate to World Communion and/or Peacemaking?