Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, July 17, 2011, the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (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 28:10-19a
v. 10 Is there anything special or significant about these travel plans?

v. 11 Using a stone as a pillow? What do you know about “The Stone of Destiny” or “Stone of Scone”? Could this be an example of “dream incubation”?

v. 12 Is there any symbolic relationship between the Tower of Babel and Jacob ’s ladder? Do Angels really need a ladder to travel between earth and heaven?

v. 13 If Angels were ascending and descending via the ladder, how did the LORD end up standing beside Jacob? What about Sarah and Rebekah?

v. 14 Why does this sound familiar?

v. 15 Where have we heard this before? What if the Lord does not keep this promise?

v. 16 How could Jacob not have known God was in that place? Is it not true that God is in every place? What do you know about the Celtic concept of a “Thin Place”?

v. 17 When was the last time you, or anyone, walked into your church, or any church, and exclaimed “How awesome is this place”?

v. 18 What is the meaning and significance of this action? Is this an example of raising an Ebenezer?

Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
v. 1 It sounds like God works for the TSA.

vs. 1-6 It also sounds like God knows us better than we know ourselves.

v. 5 What is the meaning of this verse? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

v. 6 From a Socratic perspective, this Psalmist was very wise.

v. 7 Are these rhetorical questions? What is the expected answer?

v. 8 What and where is “Sheol”?

v. 10 Proof positive that God is right handed and therefore all right handed people are created in the image of God and all left-handed people are evil. Or maybe not.

v. 12 So whether it is day or night makes no difference to God?

vs. 23-24 If we invite God to search us and know us in this way, if God knows our sins better than we do, then why do we confess our sins?

Romans 8:12-25
v. 12 If we are debtors, but not debtors to the flesh, what are we debtors to?

v. 13 What does it mean to “put to death the deed sof the body”?

v. 14 What is Paul contrasting when he contrasts “a spirit of slavery” with “a spirit of adoption”? Do Americans read and hear this differently due of our own nation’s sordid history of involuntary servitude? When do we cry “Abba! Father!”?

v. 18 But the sufferings of the present time are still sufferings. What would Marx say about this passage?

vs. 19-22 For the creation, not just humans, BUT THE CREATION, waits. From a theological and ecological perspective, can Global Climate Change be viewed not only as a result of sin, but a symptom of sin? If so, would there be a temptation to throw up our hands and say “There is nothing we can do about Global Climate Change. It is up to God to redeem the situation?”

v. 25 I hope for many things I can see. I can see them, but they are realistically out of my reach.

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
v. 24 Another kingdom parable involving seeds, good seeds.

v. 25 Weeds, or Agent Orange? What does Just War theory say about such a practice?

vs. 25-26 So know you know how all those weeds ended up in your garden. It is no coincidence that species of plants that are not native to an area are referred to as “invasive species”?

v. 27 Oh no, more slavery language. Gag!

v. 30 I am hearing overtones of the hymn “Harvest Home” and we are still months away from Thanksgiving.

v. 36 Which house? Whose house?

v. 37-43 Jesus explains another parable.

v. 38 The field is the world, not the church. Does that mean there are no weeds growing in any churches? With all this talk about weeds, is anyone getting the munchies?

vs. 37-42How do these apocalyptic verses inform the popular image of hell?

v. 43 A truly Semitic rather than a classical Greek metaphor.

In addition to serving as the half time Designated Pastor of North Church Queens and writing Lectionary Ruminations, I also tutor part time. If you or someone you know needs a tutor, or if you would like to be a tutor, check our my WyzAnt page and follow the appropriate links.

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