Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, October 24, 2010, the Thirtieth 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.)

Joel 2:23-32
v. 23 After several weeks of lamentation, doom and gloom, it is refreshing to hear something rejoicing over.

v. 24 It often seems that the land and its produce are the best indications of Israel’s spiritual and religious health.

v. 26 How shall we read and interpret the promise “my people shall never again be put to shame” in light of the holocaust?

v. 28 In verse 23 we are told that God has poured down abundant rain. In this verse, God talks about pouring out my spirit. What is the connection, if any, between rain and spirit? What is the significance of “all” flesh? What is the significance that both sons and daughters shall prophesy? What is the connection between the “sons” and “daughters” of this verse with the “children of Zion” in verse 23? Is there any difference between “dreams” and “visions”. Why are both “old men” and “young men” mentioned but there is no similar mention of young women and old women?

v. 29 Both male and female are mentioned in this verse, but does the emphasis fall on the fact that the spirit is inclusive of both sexes, or that “slaves” are included? “In those days” sounds like an apocalyptic formulaic saying.

v. 30 More apocalyptic language

v. 31 What is the danger of interpreting this and the preceding verse literally? How can a day be both “great” and “terrible”?

v. 32 Note “everyone”. Might this “everyone” include others not children of Zion? Why “in” and not “on” Mount Zion? When and where has “the LORD said”? Who else will be “among the survivors” in addition to “those whom the LORD calls”? Can Reformed Christians refer to this verse to defend the Reformed doctrine of election?

Psalm 65:1-13
v. 1 Unlike Joel 2:32, there is no “Mountain” here so “in” seems to make sense.

v. 2 Note “all” flesh, an echo of Joel 2:28.

v. 3 I like that this is in the conversational direct address and present tense.

v. 4 Note that God chooses.

v. 5 What are these “awesome deeds”? I think “ends of the earth” and “farthest seas” is nice poetic imagery.

v. 7 Why is the “roaring of the ocean” and “waves” paired and equated with “the tumultof the peoples”?

v. 8What are the ‘gateways of the morning and the evening”?

v. 9 What is “the river” of God? Is the agricultural imagery a little overpowering for an urban context?

v. 11 God has a wagon?

v. 13 If only Presbyterians could learn to shout and sing like the meadows and valleys!

2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
v. 6 How many people know what a “libation” is? It sounds as though Paul is preparing for, looking forward to, even anticipating his death.

v. 7 Sports imagery from the Olympic style games.

v. 8 What is a “crown of righteousness”? On this day the “that day” echoes the “those days” of Joel 2:28.

v. 16 Does the reference to “first” defense suggest that there was more than one defense? What “defense” is being referred to? Whom might Paul have expected to come to his support?

v. 17 With the “Lord” standing by one’s side, who needs any other support? What is the “message” being referred to? How did Eugene Peterson translate this verse? Is “lion’s mouth” a literal or a figurative reference?

v. 18 A well known acclamation of praise ends the Reading.

Luke 18:9-14
v. 9 Who might those “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt” have been? I am glad Jesus was talking to them and not to us!

v. 10 Remember, this is a parable. What sort of parabolic situation is setting up with the inclusion of a Pharisee and a tax collector as the two main characters?

v. 11 At least this was a sincere prayer. Maybe sometimes sincerity is not all it is made out to be.

v. 13 What is the symbolism of beating one’s breast”. The tax collector’s prayer echoes the prayer of the ten lepers from two weeks ago in Luke 17:13. Once again, as I did in relation to Luke 17:13, I draw your attention to The Jesus Prayer of Hesychiasm and the Philokelia.

v. 14 A typical parabolic reversal.

When I am not posting Lectionary Ruminations on Presbyterian Bloggers I am posting about a variety of topics, especially kayaking and other mostly outdoor related topics, at Summit to Shore.

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