Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, February 13, 2011, the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

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.) Lectionary Ruminations is also cross posted on my personal blog, Summit to Shore.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
v. 15 Life is paired with prosperity. Death is paired with adversity. How much is this a linguistic construction and how much is it a theological construction?

v. 16 Is this, by any chance, one of the longer passages in the Hebrew Scriptures? Are commandments, decrees, and ordinances synonyms used for emphasis or does each term refer to something different?

v. 17 Is the “not hearing” an allusion to the Deuteronomy 6:4?

v. 18 I find it interesting that while death will come quickly, the people will still enter and possess the land.

v. 19 Who can dispute with witnesses like heaven and earth? In verse 15, the pairing was life/prosperity and death/adversity. Now it is life/blessings and death curses. In verse 15 the scheme was A and A’, B and B’. Here, it is A and B, A’ and B’.

v. 20 Can we remain faithful to the text while adding Sarah, Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, Bilhah, and Rachel?

Psalm 119:1-8
v.1 The First Reading establishes the choice. The Psalm outlines the rewards or affects of the better choice.

vs 1-8 Note the synonyms: (1) law, (2) decrees, (3) ways, (4) precepts, (5) statutes, (6) commandments, (7) ordinances, and (8) statutes (again). What can teachers and preachers learn from the Psalmist’s literary creativity in addition to the Psalmist’s theology? And I have not even mentioned that this Psalm is an alphabetical acrostic. Ah, but can dudes even feign great hyperbole? I judge keeping lovely muses nasty. Oh, please, quit reading sarcastic tomes. Unveil virtuous workers. Xanex yields zero.

1 Corinthians 3:1-9
v. 1 Picking up where we left off last week . . . are you a spiritual person or are you an infant in Christ? What about most of the people in the Christian community in which you find yourself?

v. 2 As a preacher or teacher, do you serve milk, a Gerber’s Gospel, or a meat and potatoes Gospel?

v. 3 How much jealousy and quarreling exist in your congregation?

v. 4 To whom do you belong? Who are the Paul and the Apollos in the communities we know?

v. 5 Not that Paul, in this verse, sets himself on equal footing with Apollos.

v. 6 Are you a planter or a waterer?

vs. 6-7 God may give the growth, but who is the reaper?

v. 8 What wages are appropriate?

v. 9 Note the “we/you” language. Where do you fall in this dichotomy?

Matthew 5:21-37
v. 21 “It was said to those of ancient times” sounds like something in the past that has no or little influence in the present.

v. 22 Judgment, the council, the hell of fire. This sounds like increasing levels of punishment.

vs. 23-26 I think I might skip over these verses during the stewardship drive.

v. 27 This is beginning to sound formulaic (see v. 21).

n. 28 No comment. Instead, I refer you to former President Jimmy Carter.

v. 29-30 If we do not take this literally, then what is the meaning of the figurative language?

v. 31-32 Note the slight change in the formulaic introduction. Why do conservatives, evangelicals, and literalists tend to overlook this passage when it comes to G-6.0106b?

v. 33 More formulaic introduction.

vs. 34-37 How do we interpret this verse when we are required to take a civil oath, as in an oath of office or court of law.


Tomorrow, February 11, 2011, marks the one-year anniversary of my contributing Lectionary Ruminations to Presbyterian Bloggers. Two previous contributors authored this blog column before I volunteered to pick up the reigns after they had laid them down. I find it hard to believe that a full year has passed since then. A year of Lectionary Ruminations translates into fifty-two blog posts, or ruminations on 204 passages of Scripture. More recently, I have been cross posting Lectionary Ruminations on my personal blog, Summit to Shore. Summit to Shore is a rather eclectic blog through which I offer Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, philosophy, theology, politics, culture, travel, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood by a progressive New York City Presbyterian Pastor.


Nancy said...

Congratulations on your one year anniversary. I enjoy reading your posts, even though I don't respond. I don't respond because you give me "too much" to think about. Your questions require more than a quick, off the cuff response. Thanks for your work.

John Edward Harris said...

Thank you, nancy. Are you suggesting that I lighgten up, write less per week, or offer less ruminations?

Sarahlynn said...

Congratulations on your anniversary, and thank you for your valuable contributions!!!

Nancy said...

John, No I am not suggesting that at all. I was thanking you for asking challenging questions which cause me to think. What I was trying to say is keep up the good work.

John Edward Harris said...

Sarahlyn, thank you for the affirmative comment.

And Nancy, thank you for the clarification and affirmation. Since Lectionary Ruminations does not generate many comments, perhaps I focus too closely on and read too much into the few that are posted.

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog