Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, January 2, 2011, the Second Sunday after Christmas (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.)
v. 7 I wonder effect it would have if I started my next sermon by proclaiming “For thus says the LORD.” Most of the Presbyterians in small churches that I know need to take the admonition to “Sing aloud with gladness” more seriously. Who is “the chief of the nations”?

v. 8 A promise of restoration. What promise do we find for ourselves in this passage?

v. 9 Why do the remnant weep?

v. 10 Why do the nations need to hear this?

v. 11 Could this be one of the roots of a ransom theory of the atonement?

v. 12 I like the image of a life likened to a “watered garden”. How many people in our society are experiencing a life akin to a dried up, dead garden?

V. 14 Here is an image I can relate to.

Psalm 147:12-20
v. 16 People along the mid-Atlantic and north-Atlantic coast of the US should be able to relate to this verse this week.

v. 18 This is the second reference in this Psalm to God’s “word”. See verse 15 for the first. It appears again in verse 19.

vs. 12-10 It should be clearly evident why this Psalm was paired with the Jeremiah Reading. But the Psalm seems to emphasize the emotions of the return while ignoring the lament aspect of the deportation that preceded it. Where do we, as Americans, as Christians, and as Presbyterians find ourselves today, in exile or having returned?

Ephesians 1:3-14
v. 3 What are “spiritual blessings”?

v. 4 Here is a verse in support of predestination and election.

v. 6 Who is “the Beloved”?

v. 7 Now we have “blood” atonement after the ransom of Jeremiah 31:11.

v. 10 A verse in support of divine “fate”?

v. 11,14 What is our “inheritance”?

John 1:(1-9) 10-18
Note: This is perhaps my favorite passage in the Bible. This is also the first passage I translated from the Greek when learning Greek.

v. 1 Can we read and hear this read without recalling the first creation account of Genesis 1?

vs. 6-9 In a matter of weeks we have moved from the birth of John the Baptizer, to his questioning of Jesus identity, and now his testimony. Once again, I am wondering how much we are missing when we reflect about the relationship and connection between John the Baptizer and Jesus.

v. 12 What is the meaning of “power”?

v. 13 Is there any theological difference between being born “of God” and being born from above? How might William James enlighten us to the meaning of being born of God?

v. 15 Why the parenthesis in the NRSV? So what?

v. 17 “Law” versus “Grace and truth” or ‘Law and grace and truth”?

v. 18 Are there not some passages in the Hebrew Scriptures to refute the claim that “No one has ever seen God”? Once we have come to know God the Father through the only son, should we not focus on our relationship with the Father rather than the Son?

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