Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, August 28, 2011, the Twenty-Second 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

Exodus 3:1-15
v. 1 The Moses saga continues with last week’s infant Moses now a married grown man. What other great figures from the Jewish Scriptures spent their early life as shepherd? Is the fact that Moses’ father-in-law was a priest a foreshadowing of Moses future role? Why would Moses lead his flock beyond the wilderness where there be dragons or deities? Did Moses know he was near Horeb, the mountain of God, or is this description hindsight?

v. 2 Note that in the NRSV it is “the”, not “an” angel of the LORD. Why do we usually refer to this as “the burning bush” rather than “the bush that was not consumed”?

v. 3 Turn aside? Where had Moses been looking before he looked at the bush.

v. 4 How often in the Jewish Scriptures does God call a person’s name twice? How many people in the Jewish Scriptures, and who, respond to God “Here I am.”

v. 5 Why do some people remove their shoes and socks when standing on holy ground? Why do Christians not worship barefooted?

v. 6 Who was Moses’ father? Abraham? Isaac? Jacob? Someone else? Why are only the men mentioned? Can we be faithful to Scripture and include Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel as well as Zilpah and Bilha? Why was Moses afraid to look at God?

v. 7 What took God so long to respond? How does God “know” their suffering?

v. 8 Where has God come down from and why did God need to come down at all? What is a land flowing with milk and honey like?

v. 10 So, God comes down (v. 7), but sends Moses!

v. 11 A perfectly good question.

v. 12 It sounds like the confirmation will be after the fact? It is like me telling you that you are a excellent Biblical scholar and you asking me how you can be sure that you are an excellent Biblical Scholar and me answering that you will know you are an excellent Biblical Scholar when you post a comment to this blog.

v. 13 Why does Moses refer to “your ancestors” rather than “our ancestors”? Why is knowing God’s name so important?

v. 14 “I AM WHO I AM”? Why, in NRSV, does this appear all in upper case letters?

v. 15 So, exactly what, is God’s name and title? Is God’s name and title the same?

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
v. 1 Why, in the NRSV, does “LORD” appear all in uppercase? What is God’s name? What are God’s deeds?

v. 2 This is beginning to read like a couplet.

v. 4 How does one seek God’s presence?

vs. 23-26 Is this merely a retelling of salvation history, or something more going on here?

v. 45c A budding psalmist can never go wrong ending a psalm this way.

Romans 12:9-21
v. 9 How can love not be genuine? Is “hating evil” the opposite of “holding fast to what is good”?

v. 14 What does Paul mean by “bless”and”curse”?

v. 16 What if we extended the admonition to “live in harmony with one another” to extend to other species? I think Socrates would have liked this verse.

v. 18 And what if by “all” we meant all living creation, not just other humans?

v. 19 What is the “wrath of God”? While Paul advises us to not avenge ourselves, what about state sanctioned punishment for crime? How many times is “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” quoted out of context and misapplied?

v. 20 Since when is food and water the same as burning coals? Is this good statecraft and foreign policy? What would H. Richard Niebuhr say about this?

v. 21 Paul is sounding like Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Or maybe King and Gandhi learned their non-violent civil resistance from Paul! Or Jesus?

Matthew 16:21-28
v. 21 From what time on?

v. 22 Why did Peter take Jesus aside? Why did Peter rebuke Jesus?

v. 23 Did Jesus just refer to Peter as Satan? What is the pun in referring to Peter as a stumbling block? What is the human thing Peter was setting his mind on? What was the divine thing Jesus wanted Peter to set his mind on?

v. 24 What does it mean to “deny” oneself? Is there a difference between taking up Jesus’ cross versus taking up our own cross?

v. 25 What is the meaning of this? Is this a paradox?

v. 27 Who is “the Son of Man”? Why this shift from moral admonition to apocalyptic language?

v. 28 How shall we interpret this passage nearly two centuries after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ? What does it mean to “see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”? Can we read this as a reference to the Christian Pentecost of Acts rather than a second coming of Christ?

Many Christians along the east coast of the United States may be reading and hearing these passages following, or anticipating, the affects of hurricane Irene. Is there anything in any of these Readings to address this situation?

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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