Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lectionary Ruminations for Sunday, Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, January 13, 2013, the Baptism of the Lord (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 may be linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.) Lectionary Ruminations is also cross-posted on my personal blog, Summit to Shore.

First Reading - Isaiah 43:1-7
43:1 To whom is the LORD speaking?

 43:2 What waters is being referred to? When Christians read this passage in light of the Sacrament of baptism, are we misreading the Hebrew Scriptures, or simply exercising Hebrew Midrash from a Christian perspective? I wonder how post Shoah Jews read and interpret this passage.

43:3 PC(USA) Presbyterians: Do not forget the opening lines of A Brief Statement of Faith. How was Egypt given as a ransom? Why the mention of Ethiopia and Seba?

43:4 I like the first part of this verse, but the second part rubs me the wrong way.

43:5-6 Note that all four cardinal directions are named.

43:6 Note that sons and daughters are both mentioned, a rare inclusive verse!

43:7 Could this verse not be used to argue for universalism? This could provide for an interesting juxtaposition in relation to the exclusiveness of Christian Baptism.
29:1 What does it mean to ascribe? How do we ascribe? What, or which, heavenly beings are addressed here?

 29:2 Do you worship in holy splendor? What does holy splendor look, smell, sound, feel, and taste like?

 29:3 What does the voice of the LORD sound like? Would you recognize it if you heard it? Being a sailor and kayaker, I really like and relate to this verse. What if I was land locked and had never experienced the ocean or other large body of water?

 29:4 I think the LORD deserves a contract as an announcer and/or commercial spokesperson.

 29:5-9 Think of the scene/passage in The Hobbit where Bilbo and the dwarves find themselves amidst giants “hurling rocks at one another for a game, and catching them and tossing them down into darkness where they smashed among the trees far below, or splintered into little bits with a bang.”

29:10-11 How do we reconcile images of a storm god with peace?

Second Reading - Acts 8:14-17
8:14 Is the setting important? What if the apostles had been someplace else, other than Jerusalem, when they heard this news? Should it be that Samaria (not Samaritans?) had accepted the word of God? Why was James not sent?

8:15 Does this sound a little judgmental to you?

8:16 Who is this verse talking about? Why, in the NRSV, is this verse in parenthesis?

8:17 What is so special about the laying on of hands? Even though this is the Epistle for Baptism of the Lord, Baptism is not mentioned in this verse. Is it possible for a person or a people to receive the Holy Spirit without being baptized?

Gospel - Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
3:15 What people? When was the last time people in the pews of churches you know filled with expectation? Why would people think John could be the Messiah?

3:16 What is so special about the thong of a sandal? Is the doublet “Holy Spirit and fire” merely poetic, or something more?

3:17 What is a winnowing fork and what is it used for? What is a threshing floor and what is it used for? What is chaff? How do we preach the Gospel in an urban environment where all people know about wheat is that comes in five pound bags and they probably have no idea what the imagery of this passage is communicating? Why was chaff burned? Does this passage require the existence of a fire filled hell?

 3:21 Really? All the people? Do you think this is an exaggeration? What does it mean for heaven (singular, not plural) to be opened? So the Holy Spirit was someplace over the Jordan River, on the other side of earth from people along a declination of plus or minus 180 degrees? What is the meaning of “bodily form”? Whose voice came from heaven and what did it sound like? Where and when might we hear this again?

In addition to serving as the half time Pastor of North Church Queens  and writing Lectionary Ruminations, I also tutor part time. If you or someone you know needs a tutor, or if you would like to be a tutor, check out my WyzAnt  page and follow the appropriate links.

I have been posting Lectionary Ruminations to Presbyterian Bloggers for nearly three years. I will attempt to continue posting through the Scripture Readings for February 10, 2013, Transfiguration of the Lord. I may continue posting Lectionary Ruminations to my personal blog, Summit to Shore but not here. If you have been following these posts, please migrate over to my personal blog.

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