Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lectionary Ruminations: Scripture for Worship on June 21, 2009

Here are the passages for June 21st, 2009, the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B). All links are to the TNIV via, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead (either with your own Bible, or via the drop-down menu at

1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23) 32-49
  • The Revised Common Lectionary allows churches the option of reading--or not reading--the verses in parentheses.
  • One of the down-sides to is that the site doesn't really know how to handle partial verses, such as that called for with verse 1a here. The letter "a" indicates that only a part of the verse is to be read as part of the lectionary. In this case, the reading stops at the end of the first part of the verse, closing with "...gathered their forces for war..."
  • Even children know the story of David and Goliath, although I confess that I often wonder why this story (a rather violent one, at the very least, although I note that the reading suggested by the lectionary stops before Goliath's beheading!) is such a popular one for children's storytime.
  • Regardless of whether or not this story is truly appropriate for children (not really a concern I have, so much as the "why" question above), it's certainly appropriate for Christian study. What can we learn about God from this passage? What might it say, for example, that the God we proclaim as good and loving (as God certainly is) is the same God that uses David in this way? What does it say about God that David was the person used?
1 Samuel 17:57-18:5, 10-16
  • The Revised Common Lectionary suggests this passage as an alternative to the passage above.
  • Oddly enough, although this story clearly follows on the heels of the alternative passage, there is no overlap (I also note that this passage conveniently skips over the beheading itself, although the consequences of it are obvious enough...). Why does the lectionary suggest two such obviously connected stories as mutually exclusive alternatives, forcing a choice, rather than having one each week, as is the more common pattern?
  • Why do you think that Jonathan and David took to each other so readily? (Could have some interesting discussions on this one...)
  • Verse 10 suggests an evil spirit came upon Saul, while verse 12 notes that the LORD had departed from him (see last week's passage). Are these two events related? Is Saul truly accountable for his actions in verse 11? Why or why not?
  • How do we preach to our congregations about the way that this passage links David's earthly successes to the fact that "the LORD was with him"?
Psalm 9:9-20

Psalm 133
  • The Revised Common Lectionary suggests this passage as an alternative to the passage above
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
  • Paul gives a rather long list of the hardships he has endured. What is Paul's purpose in sharing these difficulties?
  • Why does Paul write to the Corinthians "as to [his] children"? How do you think the Corinthians felt about being referring to in this way? Was it an honor, or was it considered a chastisement?
Mark 4:35-41
  • Many of Jesus' followers were fishermen, and therefore spent a lot of time on boats. Does their reaction to the storm tell us that storms weren't common, or that it was a particularly bad storm?
  • What stands out more to you: Jesus' response to his followers, or his ability to calm the storm?

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