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.
1 Samuel 16:1-13
Out of Genesis and into 1 Samuel
v. 1 God calls the shots, and chooses the Kings.
vs. 1-2 I think these verses might read a little differently than three years ago in light of recent political events in the Middle East and North Africa.
v. 4 Why did the elders of Bethlehem tremble?
vs. 1-5 I think there is some fascinating political intrigue being alluded to in these verses. This sounds like nothing less than the makings of a coup d'état
vs. 6-7 Good advice both for political parties as well as Pastor Nominating Committees, or any nominating committee.
v. 10 Do you see any symbolism in there being seven rejected sons?
v. 12 How does this verse read when juxtaposed with verse 7?
v.13 What do you make of the spirit of the LORD coming mightily upon David AFTER Samuel anoints him?
What can we say about the most popular passage in the Bible that we have not already said?
v. 1 Does it serve any theological and homiletically purpose to point out that “The LORD” is not a reference to Jesus but to the LORD God? How many Christians hear this Psalm as a Psalm about Jesus rather than a Psalm about God? The shepherd imagery draws upon verse 11 of the First Reading.
v. 4 Do you prefer the “darkest valley” of the NRSV or the “valley of the shadow of death” of the KJV and RSV?
v. 5 What does it mean to have one’s head anointed with oil and one’s cup overflowing. Can we really speak of overflowing cups when in the Eucharist we barely fill little plastic cups containing less than a shot glass? Can we speak of being anointed with oil when most congregations rarely, if ever, practice it? I argue for anointing with oil at the time of Baptism as well as the laying on of hands associated with prayers for healing and wholeness. If we practiced more anointing with oil, this popular Psalm might actually mean even more to some people.
v. 6 What does it mean to dwell in the house of the LORD all one’s life? Is “house of the LORD” a reference and/or allusion to the Temple, or something else?
v. 8 Can we put this verse in conversation with Psalm 23:4? What does it mean toliveas childreb of oflight?
v. 9 I love this verse. It sounds like something Gandalf might say to Bilbo, or Frodo might say to Sam.
v. 10 And how does one find this out? Does Paul have a scavenger hunt in mind?
v. 11 Can one expose works of darkness without shining light on them? I am thinking of Christian muckrakers, whistleblowers, and gadflies.
v. 12 What secret things do you think Paul has in mind? Id this a reference/allusion to mystery religions, or something else. Let us not forget the rumors that were spread about cannibalistic Christian rites when non-Christians were dismissed from the Eucharist.
v. 14 What is the author of Ephesians quoting here?
vs. 1-41 This is one really loonnngggg Reading? Are you going to shorten it? I think I will use only verses 1-12.
v. 2 What is wrong with this question?
v. 3 What is wrong with this answer?
v. 4 We?
v. 5 What is Jesus when he is not in the world?
vs. 6-7 Why was the man not healed until after he went and washed?
v. 11 Is there any significance to the construction “the man called Jesus”?
v. 14 Oh no! Not the Sabbath? Surely there must be a law against making mud on the Sabbath.
v. 16 Imagine that, religious authorities having a divided opinion! Let’s put it to a vote.
v. 17 A radical proposal - let the one whose life was changed have the final word.
v. 21 Plausible deniability or passing of the buck?
v. 22 Let us not forget that most scholars agree that John is the latest of the four canonical Gospels, perhaps here reflecting the historical split between Judaism and Christianity. What did it mean, what would it have meant, for a Jew to “be put out of the synagogue”?
v. 24 And what do we know?
v. 27 Sarcasm or acerbic wit? I think the Pharisees doth protest too much.
v. 28 Is this the only reference in Scripture to “disciples of Moses”?
v. 29 But we know where he has come from, don’t we?
vs. 30-33 An astonishing application of logic and astonishing testimony from who is turning out to be an astonishing man.
v. 33 Perhaps the key verse?
v. 34 The typical authoritative response to questioning and challenging authority.
v. 35 After 34 verses of narrative, “Son of Man” terminology is raised. Why the change? Here is the progression as I see it:
v. 1 Rabbi
v. 17 Prophet
v. 22 The Messiah
v. 33 Man from God
v. 35 Son of Man
v. 38 And another step in the progression . . . . Lord.
v. 40 And the answer to this question is?
In the John Reading, there seems to be some relationship between blindness, sight, and sin. The man born physically blind receives his physical sight, while the Pharisees born physically seeing are spiritually blind and refuse to have their third eye opened. The man was not a sinner while the Pharisees are portrayed as sinners. I think this is the nature of John’s Gospel, often confusing us with the interplay of the physical and the spiritual as it compares and contrasts the two realms. This is pre-modern stuff. There is no mind/body split in the John. Both the spiritual and the physical seem to exist in the same world but operate on different planes of awareness.