Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, October 17, 2010, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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.)

Jeremiah 31:27-34
v. 27 Does the phrase “the days are surely coming” suggest that this is a somewhat apocalyptic passage? What does it mean to “sow” with the “seed of humans” and “animals”?

v. 28 Prophecy of a flip-flopping reversal.

v. 29 Does this “Proverb” and folk-like saying occur anywhere else in the Scriptures?

v. 30 This seems to be another flip-flopping reversal, of what was in the previous verse. Why all this talk about eating “sour grapes”? How might contemporary proverbs and folk sayings influence how we hear and interpret this passage?

v. 31 Now we move from diet to theology! Yea!

v. 33 And yet another flip-flopping reversal, of what was in the preceding verse. If we read this literarily, we should be able to tell at the time of an autopsy whether a person was among God’s covenant people. If they are, something will be “written” on their heart.

v. 34 The end of religious education.

Psalm 119:97-104
v. 97 Is it the “law” of this verse that connects this Psalm with the Jeremiah Reading, particularly Jeremiah 31:33?

v. 99 The reflections of a first semester Seminarian?

v. 100 The reflection of young minister?

v. 103 An appropriate verse for Chewing on the Word: Lectionary Runinations.

v. 104 “Precepts”, and in other verses “words”, “ordinances”, “decrees”, “commandment”, and “law”. Are there any other synonyms I missed? Can you think of any others that are not in this verse?

2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
v. 14 From whom did Timothy learn what he has learned?

v. 15 What are “the sacred writings” to which Paul refers?

v. 16 How many different understandings of “inspired” are your familiar with? What is scripture good for? If we were to ask Paul “What is scripture not useful for?” how might he reply?

v. 1 This sounds like is taking an oath or “swearing on the Bible”. Why such an appeal to authority?

v. 2 This sounds like a charge to a newly ordained and/or installed pastor or recognition of a newly credentialed Certified Christian Educator.

v. 3 Does “For the time is coming” suggest this a somewhat apocalyptic passage? I think this time has arrived.

v. 4 What does Paul mean by “truth” and “myths”. Some myths can contain a lot of truth, but only if you interpret them as myths. I am thinking of “Carl Jung” and “Joseph Campbell” type myths here.

v. 5 And what do we mean by “sober”?

Luke 18:1-8
v. 1 In relation to the previous Reading, what is the difference between a “parable” and a “myth”?

v. 2 How less specific can we be, “a certain city”? How in the world did this parabolic person become a judge with such poor qualifications? Oh, that’s right, this is a parable.

v. 3 What is the significance, if any, that the supplicant was a “widow”?

vs. 4-5 And the lesson here? Apparently, justice might be blind, but it is not deaf!

v. 6 Why should we listen to this unjust judge when he is such a jerk?

v. 7 And the answer to this rhetorical question is? Is this an argument for prayer that is only intercession and supplication? What about adoration, confession and thanksgiving?

v. 8 How many people in the pews will get this “Son of Man” language and how much time should be devoted to explaining it? And as I asked about verse 7, what is the answer to the rhetorical question posed in this verse?

Regarding the 2 Timothy Reading, I suggest you consult Presbyterian Understanding and Use of Holy Scripture and Biblical Authority and Interpretation.

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