Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reflectionary: Scripture for Worship on August 31, 2008

The Reflectionary is a weekly blog entry consisting of questions and comments on readings from the Revised Common Lectionary used at many Christian churches.

A new entry is added each Saturday, and features the readings for the following day, in hopes of enhancing the experience of participation during one's regular Sunday worship gathering.

Here are the passages for August 31, 2008, the Twenty-second 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

Exodus 3:1-15
  • Why do you think the passage mentions an angel in verse two, then never mentions the angel again? Moses is always seen to be talking directly to God thereafter.
  • God tells Moses to remove his sandals in verse 5, because Moses is now standing on holy ground? What makes it holy?
  • At the end of the passage, Moses asks God for a name that he can tell the Israelites is God's name. In most English translations, God's response comes off a bit like Popeye the Sailor: "I am who I am." Why does God answer in this way? Notice also that many English translations depict this line and quite a lot of instances of the word "Lord" (but not all) in capital letters: "Lord," for example. Why do you think translators depict these words in this way?
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
  • One of the down-sides to is that the site doesn't really know how to handle partial verses, such as that called for with verse 45c, here. The letter "c" indicates that only a part of the verse is to be read as part of the lectionary. In this case, the third part: "Praise the LORD."
Romans 12:9-21
  • This passage is filled with advice that most everyone should be able to agree is good to follow. Of course, actually living up to these standards can actually be very difficult. Even worse, most of us don't always realize when we've failed to live up to some important part of these teachings. But we all find some parts easier than others. Can you think of someone you know who does follow some part of Paul's advice particularly well, that you wish you could emulate more fully? How do you think they do it?
Matthew 16:21-28
  • It's important to remember that this passage comes immediately after Peter's proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah. How could Peter be so right about that, yet so wrong about Jesus' teaching about his own death mere seconds later?
  • It's one thing to tell someone that they're wrong, or that you disagree with them, but why does Jesus actually call Peter "Satan" in verse 23? Doesn't that seem a little harsh?
  • I'm from a Presbyterian tradition, myself, so if you're not from that tradition, this question may seem odd to you, but understand that many Presbyterians have strong reactions to any theology that sounds like "works righteousness," as opposed to being "saved by God's grace alone." What should we do with a verse like verse 27 that says that the Son of Man (usually understood to be Jesus) "will reward everyone according to what they have done."
  • What did Jesus mean when he told his disciples 2000 years ago that some of them would "not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom"?

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