Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, March 20, 2011, the Second Sunday in Lent (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.

Genesis 12:1-4a
This is one of the shortest First Readings we have seen in awhile.

v. 1 How do you think the LORD said this, in a dream, a vision, or what? Note the spelling of the name “Abram”. The archetypal call narrative.

v. 2 In retrospect, it seems the LORD has delivered on this promise.

v. 3 This verse, alone, ought to be enough to combat anti-Semitism.

v.4 Why did Abram take Lot with him?

Psalm 121
v. 1 I recall there are various interpretations of this Psalm, one being the “nature’ interpretation that sees in the hills evidence of the LORD’s presence, the other that suggests this verse is setting up a comparison between the local mountain deities, which do not provide help, and the LORD, which does. One such diverse interpretations present themselves, how do we decide?

v. 2 Regardless of which interpretation you follow, this assertion still follows.

v. 3 What does it mean that our foot will not be moved? So what that God never slumbers?

v. 4 Is there any difference between “slumber” and “sleep”, or this simply an example of Hebrew poetic construction?

v. 5 What does it mean for the LORD to be a “keeper”? “Shade”? “Right hand”?

v. 6 I love this verse, but while I can recall some hot summer days when it seemed like the sun was striking me, I cannot recall the moon ever striking me

v. 7 Now here is a verse I can treasure!

v. 8 What is the “going out” and the “coming in” being referred to and does it make any difference that they appear in this order?

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
v. 1 Obvious connection to the First Reading. It would seem that Christians of non-Jewish background cannot claim Abraham as our ancestor, as Paul did.

v. 2 If, but he was not.

v. 3 What is Paul quoting? Where does Scripture say this?

v. 4 Except in the church!

v. 5 I like that trust is connected with faith, a theme emphasized in the PC(USA) A Brief Statement of Faith.

v. 15 How does the law bring wrath?

v. 16 What is “it”? Faith is connected with grace, and with grace there is a guaranty.

v. 17 Following Paul’s theological reasoning, perhaps we should be considered “Abrahamians” rather than “Christians”.

John 3:1-17
This passage is so nuanced and so multivalent, I am not sure where to begin. I prefer a Jungian interpretation, but does that preach?

v.2 What is the significance that Nic comes at night? I see a literary and theological connection with the woman at the well, at noon, and wonder if we can only interpret both passages in dialogue with each other. I suspect this is not the Royal “we”, so who else is Nic speaking for?

v. 3 Seeing from above, a bird’s eye, or angel’s eye view.

v. 4 Nic is confusing obstetrics and gynecology with theology.

v. 5 Jesus connects water and spirit.

v. 6 Jesus separates flesh from spirit.

v. 8 What is Jesus comparing everyone born of the spirit to: the wind, our hearing of the wind, or our not know where it comes from and where it goes?

v. 9 Thanks, Nic, for asking the question we have all been wanting to ask.

v. 10 Touché

v. 11 Who is the “we”. What do “we” know and what have we “seen”? What is the nature of religious and spiritual knowledge, when we are post enlightenment interpreters of pre-enlightenment scripture?

v. 13 Does this verse reflect a post ascension perspective?

vs. 14-15 Here is a passage worth exploring from a Jungian perspective. Consider the rod of Asclepius. Be sure to read the Hebrew scripture alluded to.

v. 16 no comment

v. 17 I wish some hell, fire, and damnation preachers would remember this verse.

I made a prior commitment somehow to tie this Sunday’s sermon in with Celtic Christianity. I think I will focus on the Psalm and the story of Patrick building the Easter Fire on Slane, across the valley from and in defiance of the High King of Ireland building his fire on Tara.

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