Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, July 31, 2011, the Eighteenth 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 32:22-31
v. 22 Much has transpired with Jacob since last week’s Reading. How can we help people keep up and catch up between lectio-continua Lectionary Readings when so much transpires between Readings? Is there any significance to the fact that we all told it was night?

vs. 22-24 Why would Jacob send everyone else, along with his possessions, across the Jabbok, but stay behind and alone?

v. 24. Who,or what, might this “man” be?

v. 25 Is this the first Biblical documentation of a sports injury?

v. 26 What might be the significance of daybreak? What sort of blessing might Jacob be asking for?

v. 27 Why might the “man” want to know Jacob’s name. Is it all surprising that Jacob divulges his name?

v. 28 What is going on here? How can this “man” change Jacob’s name? What does it mean that Jacob has “striven with God and with humans and have prevailed.”?

v. 29 Why might Jacob want to know the “man’s” name and why does the “man” not divulge it?

v. 30 I thought Jacob was wrestling with a “man”. Was this “man” God?

v. 31 Did the preceding events occur in normal time and space or in a dream/vision? As Dumbeldore says to Harry Potter in the most recent Harry Potter Movie, “Just because something takes place in your head doe not men it is not real”. I cannot help but read this account from a Jungian perspective, reading this as a mythopoeic account meant to explain more than we might know about Jacob and his descendants’ special place in salvation history.

Psalm 17:1-7, 15
v. 1 This Psalmist sounds like a lawyer. Lips free of deceit? Really?

v. 3 Does the “if you visit me by night” phrase justify pairing this Psalm with the First reading?

v. 6 This reads like a call to prayer.

v. 15 When I awake? Another reason to pair this Psalm with the First Reading. This Psalm, paired with the First Reading, could easily provide the textual basis for a sermon on Biblical dreams and the spiritual discipline of keeping a dream journal and interpreting one’s dreams.

Romans 9:1-5
v. 1 I think thou doth protest too much? Who would have accused Paul of lying?

v. 2 Why such strong emotional language?

v.3 Could there be a pun in this passage?

vs. 4-5 What a list! Adoption, glory, covenants, giving of the law, worship, promises, patriarchs, Messiah.

Matthew 14:13-21
v. 13 Hear what? What can we learn from Jesus withdrawing in a boat to a deserted place? Excuse me while I either go kayaking or sailing in Jamaica Bay, NY. Note that “crowds” and “towns” are both plural.

v. 14 Does Christ like compassion always lead to curing the sick?

v. 15 Do the disciples express a totally utilitarian concern?

v. 16 What is the meaning of this?

v. 17 What do you make of the numbers “five” and “two” not to mention “five loaves” and “two fish”?

v. 18 Evangelism?

v. 19 “He ordered” sounds like strong language. I would much prefer “He invited”. But we get the language we get. What does the “blessed and broke” language remind you of?

v. 20 What do you make of there being twelve baskets of leftovers after the crowds shared fiveloves of bread and two fish?

v. 21 As usual, only the men count. Women and children are just accoutrements.

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.
We have some GREAT Readings this week. Is there any way to tie them all together?

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