Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, July 24, 2011, the Seventeenth 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 29:15-28
v. 15 It must be nice to be able to set your own wages.

v. 16 A story involving two daughters (not twins) in the midst of a story about two twin brothers!

v. 17 I think “lovely” is the preferable translation. Could the description of Leah and Rachel be seen at all as sexist or demeaning of women?

v. 18 Loved of lusted after? Is there any significance to the number seven?

v. 19 Is this the meaning of the question “Who gives this women to be married”?

v. 21 Biblical euphemisms for sexual intercourse can sound so . . . . biologically crude.

vs. 22-25 It is ironic that the trickster has been tricked. What goes around comes around?

v. 28 In the end, Jacob got what he wanted, and more so.

Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
vs. 1-3 Is this the song Jacob sang on his wedding night(s)?

v. 6 Is this why this Psalm was chosen to be paired with the First Reading?

v.8 The pairing of Jacob and Rachel can be seen as partial fulfillment of God’s Covenant.

v. 9 Why are the women/mothers hardly ever mentioned? Can the reader supply their names and still be faithful to the text?

Psalm 128:1-6 (Alternate Psalm)
v. 1 What is the meaning of “fear”? What does it mean to “walk in God’s ways”?

v. 3 Is this why this Alternate Psalm was chosen to be paired with the First Reading?

v. 5 A nice blessing/benediction for a citizen or inhabitant of Jerusalem.

Romans 8:26-39
v. 26 We do not know how to pray as we ought. That is why the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. That is why Teaching Elders and Educators ought to be educated in the school of prayer and prepared to teach others how to pray. Yes, that was me standing on my soap box. My D. Min. project at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (2004) was GUIDANCE IN AND EXPERIENCE OF LITURGICAL PRAYER AS AN ELEMENT OF PERSONAL AND COMMUNAL WORSHIP IN THE REFORMED TRADITION. If you are within commuting distance of NYC and would like me to lead a workshop or retreat on prayer, please let me know.

v. 27 How does the Spirit intercede for us?

v. 28 Do we really know this?

v. 29 There is that Presbyterian word “Predestined”! What do you make of that?

v. 30 And there is that other good Presbyterian word “called”! What do you make of this progression: Predestined → called → justified → glorified.

v. 31 One of my favorite verses. Does the second question answer the first? Is the second question rhetorical or does it assume the answer “No one.”

v. 33-34 Interesting verses to someday juxtapose with the Rules of Discipline in the Bookof Order.

v. 34 In verse 26,Paul writes that the Spirit intercedes for us. Now he writes that Christ Jesus intercedes for us. Can Paul not make up his mind, or was he just not being careful? Why would he intentionally say both?

v. 35 Paul asks “Who” but answers with a list of “whats”. This reads like a “Vince Lombardy before the big game in the locker room” sort of speech.

v. 36 Oh well, there goes the momentum of v. 35

v. 37 Wait, may not! Maybe Paul will pull out a great one liner.

vs. 38-39 Paul, can I quote you on that? Is there any thing missing from this list? I wish Paul had said “. . . nor things past, nor thingspresent, nor things to come”.

vs. 39 Is there anything not in creation?
v. 31 Yet another parable. Sometimes I wonder why we do not employ the parabola as a Christian symbol.

v. 32 Mustard seeds are small, but they are not the smallest of all seeds. This parable is tending to hyperbole.

v. 33 Remember that ratio, 1:3.

v. 44 If the person is honest and ethical they will buy the field.

vs. 45-46 Would this be a shrewd investment?

vs. 47-50 Something is smelling fishy. We have moved from “kingdom parables” to apocalyptic prognostications.

v. 50 Where have we seen this imagery before?

v. 51 Good question. I would love to ask this question after every sermon. Bad answer. These people need a lesson wisdom from Socrates.

v. 52 An entire sermon could probably be preached and an entire hour of education could probably be developed around this single verse. What is our treasure? What among our treasure is new? What among our treasure is old? What among our treasure is valuable and what is junk? Is anyone else thinking of Phyllis Tickle’s The Great Emergence?

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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