Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, March 6, 2011, the Transfiguration of the Lord (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.

Exodus 24:12-18
v. 12 While this reading stands on its own merits, I find it difficult to read it without looking for connections to the Gospel Reading and wonder how much we should read the Gospel account of the Transfiguration as a Midrash on this text. There are many similarities between the two texts, perhaps the least being the setting; that of a mountain. Why must Moses go up to God rather than God coming down? I can understand why “law” is singular, but why is “commandment” also singular?

v. 13 Note that that Moses does not go up to God on the mountain alone. He takes with him his assistant (and heir apparent), Joshua.

v. 15 What shall we make of the cloud?

v. 16 Shall we equate “the glory of the Lord” with the cloud? From personal experience, I know there is something “numinous” about being on a mountaintop, above tree line, when clouds enshroud the summit. What does the explicit linguistic connection to the creation account, i.e. six days and the seventh day, suggest about any theological connection?

v. 16 What does a devouring fire on top of a mountain look like? If this is what the people of Israel saw, what did Moses and Joshua see?

v. 17 How much is the forty days and forty nights a prefiguration of the forty years in the wilderness and how much is this a post Exodus influence on an earlier text?

Psalm 2
v. 1 A timely verse, considering recent world events.

v. 2 Who is the LORD’s “anointed”?

v. 4 I like this image of a laughing God, although we might debate the nature of the laughter.

v. 5 Zion, the holy hill, rather than the holy mountain Moses and Joshua ascended or upon which Jesus is transfigured.

v. 7 Why is “decree” singular? Is this the King speaking?

vs.8-9 A prophecy or promise, never, or not yet, fulfilled?

v.10 Sound advice in the world’s contemporary political and social climate.

v. 11 What is fear? When was the last time you served the LORD with trembling?

v. 12 Kiss God’s feet? Euphemistically? What is the symbolism being employed here?

Psalm 99
v. 1 The earth quakes but the people tremble (see Psalm 2:11). What are cherubim and where are they?

v. 3 What is God’s awesome name?

v.4 Here is a nice imagery of God appropriate for address.

v. 5 This sounds like a call to worship. Where and what is God’s footstool?

v.6 How does Samuel come to be included with Moses and Aaron? Who do you know who has cried to the LORD and God answered them?

v.7 A reference to the Exodus. Note that “decrees” and “statutes” are both plural.

v.8 An interesting juxtaposition: The forgiving God and the Avenging God. Can God have it both ways?

v.9 Another call to worship? Must we worship only at God’s holy Mountain? What and where is God’s Holy Mountain?

2 Peter 1:16-21
v. 16 What is a cleverly devised myth? How shall we read this verse as it relates to the mythopoeic nature of Scripture?

v.17 Did Jesus not have honor and glory before the event being recounted? What does the voice seem to echo?

v. 18 When Scripture relates the personal experience of the first followers of Jesus, what does that say about our own personal experience of the risen Christ?

v. 19 What is the prophetic message? How has it been confirmed? How can we do anything else than be attentive to a lamp shining in a dark place? What is the morning star and how does it rise in our hearts?

v. 20 This is why we interpret Scripture in community and why I invite, solicit, and encourage your comments responding to Lectionary Ruminations (hint, hint)

v. 21 Prophecy, like poetry and art, comes from somewhere other than the prophet, poet, or artist.

Matthew 17:1-9
v. 1 Six days later, after what? As Moses took Joshua, Jesus takes Peter, James and John.

v. 2 What does it mean to be transfigured? Has anyone else’s face ever shone like the sun? Has anyone elses clothes ever become dazzling white?

v. 3 What is the meaning of “Suddenly”? Why Moses and Elijah? What might they represent? Is there any significance to the fact that the three greats (Moses, Jesus, Elijah) are balanced by the three mere disciples (Peter, James and John)? It seems we have a dyad of trinities.

v. 4 Way to go Peter, interrupt a spiritual experience with mundane concerns. At that moment, I wonder if Jesus really thought it was “good” Peter was there. Why three dwellings rather than just one for all three?

v. 5 The text suggests a chronology of Jesus being transfigured before the bright cloud appeared. Note the reappearance of the word “suddenly.” What does the Gospel add or include that the Reading from 2 Peter did not?

v. 6 Were the disciples overcome by fear by hearing the voice or by hearing what the voice said?

v. 7 Was this a reassuring touch? Would there be any difference in interpretation if Jesus had said “Do not be afraid and get up.”?

v. 8 Where did Moses and Elijah go?

v.9 Why would Jesus “order” these three disciples to tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead”? Who is the Son of Man? Could this, indeed, be a misplaced resurrection appearance read back into the Gospel at an earlier point? How might this Reading prefigure the resurrection?

No comments: