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 may be linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.) Lectionary Ruminations is also cross-posted on my personal blog, Summit to Shore.
v. 1 I wish someone would soon discover or disclose the whereabouts of the ark.
v. 6 This makes it sound like the cherubim were separate from the ark, but I thought they were part of its lid.
v. 10 Why are clouds associated with God’s glory?” Maybe we ought to install fog generators in sanctuaries.
vs. 1,6,10-11 I probably will chose not to read and preach on these verses
v. 22 Was Solomon praying in the orans position?
v. 25 So this is a conditional covenant!
v. 27 Is this not still a theological conundrum, immanence vs. transcendence?
v. 30 Pray “toward” this place? This sounds like Moslems facing Mecca to pray. Which way do you face when you pray? East, toward the sunrise? Toward Jerusalem? Perhaps it does not matter to you.
vs. 41-43 Do you discern any hint of universalism in these verses?
v. 1 Does this psalm praise God or God’s house? Is there a difference? Does it matter?
v. 2 I will trade you a Christian Cloister Walk for a Jewish Court. What do you make of “heart and flesh”?
v. 3 I know of a church where a b-b gun or 22 caliber rifle was used to shoot and kill a bird that had found its way into the sanctuary and at least one person could never worship there again knowing that.
v. 4 In our 2012 context, what does it mean to “live” in God’s house? When I hear people say that someone “lives at the church” it is usually meant in a disparaging way.
v. 6 What do you know about the valley of Baca?
v. 8 This could be used as a refrain to almost any prayer.
v. 9 What shield?
v. 10 I would rather be a servant in heaven than a ruler in hell.
v. 11 How does this verse illuminate verse nine? How is God a sun? How is God a shield?
v. 10 Why “finally”? What has come before this?
v. 11 How does this verse illuminate Psalm 84:9 and 11? Could this imagery be too militaristic for some. How do you do deal with the assumption that we are engaged in a struggle with the devil?
v. 12 There goes any justification for the Crusades. What is your take on Spiritual warfare? You might find some guidance from the writings of Walter Wink, or even Carl Jung.
v. 13 What is the whole armor of God? Where can I buy it? Does it come with a money back guarantee?
vs. 14-17 Of all the armor mentioned, the sword is the only offensive weapon. All the rest is defensive.
v. 18 What other way is there to pray?
v. 19 do you pray for the preacher when you are in the pews? Do the people in the pews pray for you when you preach? What is the mystery of the Gospel and why is it a “mystery”?
v. 19 Have you ever thought of yourself as an ambassador?
v. 56 Are you and the people you teach and/or preach for getting tired of all this eating flesh and drinking blood stuff, or do you and they find it fascinating? Do not forget the etymological meaning of “ruminations”?
v. 57 In our 2012 context, imagine Jesus standing before his followers and saying “Eat me!”
v. 59 Does the original context/setting at all matter? What if Jesus had said these things in the Athens Agora? Standing outside Le Pain Quotidian, Au Ban Pain, or Outback Steak House?
v. 60 Many, but not all? Is this still not another theological conundrum (Sorry, I like that word. See my rumination on 1 Kings 8:27)?
v. 61 Struggling with new ideas and wrestling with tough concepts is not the same as complaining, or is that what it usually boils down to in most religious settings? Maybe we ought and need to be offended more often by the raw Gospel.
v. 62 Prescient? Reading something back into the text?
v. 63 Is Jesus backpedaling? Is he flesh or spirit? Is he the Word incarnate or the Word spiritualized?
v. 64 OK, I know who betrayed Jesus. But who were the ones (yes, it is plural) that did not believe?
v. 65 So no one can come to Jesus on their own?
v. 66 Can we assume that the ones who turned back are not mentioned? No longer mentioned? Not among “the twelve”?
v. 67 This is not quite a request for the strongest affirmation of faith, or affirmation of the strongest faith.
v. 68 Not that Peter asks “to whom” not “where” can we go. Are the words of eternal life the sole possession of Jesus?
v. 69 At least this is a better affirmation than “I do not wish to go away”. What is the difference, if any, between believe and knowledge? You might find Calvin’s definition of “faith” insightful as you wrestle with that last question.