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.
Will you handle this verse differently depending on whether or not your community observed and celebrated Ascension Day last Thursday?
v. 6 Who has come together?
v. 7 Take that, prognosticators of May 21being the end of the world!
v. 8 Do you have the power? Note the progression from the local to the global.
v. 9 In the NRSV, the action is in the passive. Must we read “lifted up” as a physical reference? In English, we occasionally say we “lift up” things without physically touching them or physically moving them. What might the cloud symbolize?
v. 10 Were the two wearing white robes really men?
v. 11 A good question. Is this a reference to the coming of the power and Holy Spirit mentioned in verse 8, or the second coming?
v. 12 Is the mount of Olives really a sabbath’s day’s journey from Jerusalem? What is a Sabbath day’s journey?
v. 13 What is the significance of the naming?
v. 14 Constantly? Who might the other women have been in addition to Mary? His brothers?
vs. 13-14 That eleven men are named, but only one woman, in my mind makes this a sexist and patriarchal passage. What would your reaction be if the passage read, “When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs were they were staying. All of them were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, Martha, and Salome, as well as his brothers.”?
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
v. 1 Is this Psalm paired with the First Reading only because of the “Let God rise up” language?
v. 4 Now we have “cloud” imagery to pair with the First Reading.
v. 8 When was the last time you heard someone begin a prayer with the address “God of Sinai” or “God of Israel” rather than “Father”?
v. 32 Not only Israel but “kingdoms of the earth” are called to sing praises to God.
vs. 33-24 Here we have “rider in the heavens” and “skies” language to add to the “rise up”language of verse 1 and the “cloud” imagery of verse 4.
v 35. My God is “awesome”! How do you understand this affirmation? What does it mean to be “awesome”?
1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11
v. 12 What is meant by ‘the fiery ordeal”? Shall we read this any differently in light of the Holocaust/Shoah? Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
v. 13 “Rejoice”? Really? Is this supposed to a pep talk?
v. 14 I find this verse easier to take than the one before it.
v. 7 What would a Psychiatrist say about this verse?
v. 8 In other words, “Pay attention. There be Lions” and tigers, and bears.
v. 9 “all the world”? Really?
v. 10 Now I hear a word of hope rather than resignation.
v. 1 What “words”? Ah Jesus, can you not just once in a while pray using more inclusive language when you address God? What “hour”? Quid pro quo?
v. 2 Jesus referring to himself in the third person?
v. 3 I like this image of eternal life more than eternal habitation on clouds playing harps.
v. 5 Jesus had glory in God’s presence before the world existed? Oh, that is right. I forgot. This is the Gospel According to John.
vs. 7-8 I think Jesus is attributing more knowledge and understanding to his followers than they really possessed at the time, or now.
v. 10 How has Jesus been glorified in others?
v. 11 God has given a holy name to Jesus? What was that name? How can those for whom Jesus pray in any sense of the word be “one” as Jesus and “his Father” are one?
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