Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, May 22, 2011, the Fifth Sunday of Easter (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

Acts 7:55-60
v. 55 This verse offers us the opportunity to enter into all sort of speculation about the Holy Spirit. When reading this for worship, you may want to substitute “Stephen” for “he”. Do people in the Bible Study and in the pews need to be reminded what “right hand of God” symbolizes; the absolute superiority of right handedness and right handed persons and the total degenerate nature of left handedness and left handed persons?

v. 56 can you spell r-e-d-u-n-d-a-n-t? What purpose does this verse serve?

v. 57 Is this a literal or a figurative covering of ears?

v. 58 If we knew nothing about the rest of the story, would we even notice that a young man is named? Note that this young man casts no stones.

v.59 Certainly the prayer of a martyr. Is this not also the prayer of anyone near death?Is it not the prayer of all Christians?

v. 60 what does the mention that Stephen “cried out in a loud voice” remind you of? Take a look at Luke 23:46. Compare the conclusion of verse 60 with the conclusion of Luke 23:46.

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
By the Lectionary pairing this Psalm with Acts 7:55, are we to read this Psalm as a commentary on what else might have been going through Stephen’s mind but not recounted in the Acts passage?

v. 1 What is “refuge”? The most contemporary example I can think of is a “wildlife refuge”.

v. 2 “Incline your ear”? Is this a petition? How can a rock be a refuge? Is there such thing as a weak fortress?

v. 3 Rock/fortress and lead/guide seem to be poetic constructions.

v. 4 What is the imagery here? How can one be taken out of a net if the net is still hidden?

v. 5 Does this verse sound familiar? Where else are we used to hearing it?

v. 16 What does it mean for God’s face to ‘shine” on a person?

1 Peter 2:2-10
v. 2 What is a “babe in Christ”?

v. 4 How can a stone live? Come to think of it, I do remember one episode in the original Star Trek series where stones were living. How can we be built into a spiritual house? Is there such a thing as an unholy priesthood? What sort of sacrifices are spiritual?

vs. 6-8 Is this proof texting or the imaginative play and interplay of biblical images from several sources?

vs. 9-10 These are two of my favorite verses of Scripture. Where Does Peter get these images?

John 14:1-14
vs. 1-7 I have probably read these verses more at more Services of Witness to the Resurrection than at Services for the Lord’s Day. Maybe it is time we hear them in the context other than one related to death.

v.2 What do make of there being “many dwelling places” in God’s house?

v. 3 If we are reading this in worship on Sunday, May 22, that will mean that Jesus did not return the day before to take us to himself. Of course he did not return at that time. All along, I have known that he will return at five minutes after 5:00 am on the tenth day of October in the year 2020, Jerusalem time.

v. 6 Another one of the “I am” sayings” found in John. So much for universalism!

v. 8 How can Philip say this after what Jesus says in the previous verse? Is Philip dense?

v.9 Apparently Jesus thought the same way about Philip as I do.

v. 11 Do we take Jesus at his word or do we need works?

v.12 This formulaic phrase, “Very truly, I tell you” (Αμήν Αμήν λέγώ ύμίν in Greek) is found 25 times in John’s Gospel and nowhere else in the Bible. What do you make of this fact?

vs. 13-14 Whatever? Really? I want a new car, new house, and to win a major lottery prize, even though I do not play the lottery. What does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name?

My comments pertaining to the right hand of God in Acts 7:55 and the return of Christ in John 14:3 are obviously tongue in cheek and meant to see if they motivate anyone to take me to task with a comment.

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