Saturday, August 09, 2008

Reflectionary: Scripture for Worship on August 10, 2008

A couple of years ago, I tried my hand at podcasting with a program I called The Reflectionary. Each week, I would read Scripture passages chosen from the Revised Common Lectionary (used by many Protestant denominations) for worship the following Sunday, followed by questions or comments on each passage. I kept the podcast going for over a half-a-year, and then moved the service to a separate text-only blog for a couple more months, but by the time a full year had passed, I found that I was running out of steam, and the project died out. The old podcasts are still available via (just search for "Reflectionary"), although the blog entries have since been deleted.

Another year has passed since then, and I'm going to try the text version again, with a few modifications. One important change is that I won't be creating a separate blog for these reflections, but will incorporate them into my existing blog on Saturdays. Also, whereas I posted the entries a full week in advance previously, entries will now be posted only one day in advance, in hopes that the passages will be fresh on the mind of the reader as he/she attends worship the next day. I won't comment on every passage, nor consider all the possible questions that one could ask about the passages (as if I could!), but will simply ask the questions that come to my own mind as I reflect on the passage. I will leave it for the reader (or perhaps the reader's pastor?) to consider answers to the questions.

So, with that introduction, here are the passages for August 10, 2008, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A). 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 links at

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
  • Why do you think Jacob (Israel) favored Joseph over the other brothers? How do you think God felt about this?
  • Why did Jacob send Joseph after his brothers while they were tending sheep? Why wasn't Joseph already there among them?
  • Why do you think Reuben speaks up to defend Joseph (or at least to ensure that Joseph wasn't actually killed)? Why does Judah ask the brothers to have Joseph sold into slavery rather than killed? Did he know of Reuben's plans to rescue Joseph? Was there still an intention by the other brothers to have Joseph killed despite having already acted on Reuben's suggestion?
Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b

Romans 10:5-15
  • There's considerable debate among different Christian denominations about how a person is "saved." What does it mean to be "saved"?
  • What does it mean to declare that "Jesus is Lord"?
  • What does it mean to believe "in (one's) heart that God raised him from the dead"?
  • What other passages might be worth considering in these reflections?
Matthew 14:22-33
  • Why did Jesus send the disciples on ahead without him? Was he planning on walking on water to meet them beforehand?
  • Why does Peter ask to join Jesus on the water? Why don't any other disciples do this?
  • Like most of you, I've heard lots of sermons on the story in this passage. Here's one of my favorites, as preached by Rev. Tom Are, Jr. nearly 20 years ago at a Youth Conference in Montreat, North Carolina.

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