Friday, October 14, 2011

The Reflectionary: Scripture for Worship on October 16, 2011

Here are the passages for October 16, 2011, the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A). All links are to the TNIV via BibleGateway.com, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead (either with your own Bible, or via the drop-down menu at BibleGateway.com).

Exodus 33:12-23
  • Moses seems to be asking God to be more specific about a couple of matters. What does Moses need clarification on? Why is Moses still unsure?
  • God promises Moses in verse 14, "I'll go myself, and I'll help you." Why, then, having received this promise, does Moses in verses 15 and 16 seem to express concern about the possibility that God won't go with them?
  • God grants Moses' request to show Moses God's glory. Why does Moses make this request? What does Moses expect to see? What does it mean to see God's glory? Why does God say that Moses (or anyone) can't see God's face and live? Is this a prohibition of permission, or a statement about the overwhelming power of God's glory? Indeed, given the apparent dangers, why does God grant the request in the first place?
  • Is Moses being given a privilege denied to Christians of today? Why do you (or don't you) think so?
Psalm 99:1-9

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
  • This letter is most often thought of as being written by the apostle Paul, but the first verse also attributes the letter to Silvanus (in other translations, "Silas") and Timothy. What contributions do you think they might have contributed to this letter? Does the inclusion of these extra people in the ascription tell us anything about Paul's contribution to this letter or about the church for which it is being written?
  • What information can we learn about the activities of the Thessalonian church by what it written in these verses? What is Paul's relationship with this church? (I'll assume the inclusion of Silvanus and Timothy when I refer to Paul for the rest of my comments on 1 Thessalonians in the coming weeks)
  • What is the nature of the "coming wrath" that Jesus will "rescue us from"?
Matthew 22:15-22
  • Just a quick (and increasingly standard) reminder that this passage picks up without a break from the gospel reading of last week. Questions of context from previous passages may still be relevant here.
  • What was the nature of the imperial tax collected for Caesar? How does it compare and contrast with taxes of today?
  • Jesus says "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." What belongs to Caesar, they it should be given back to him? What belongs to God, that it should be given to God?
  • Modern American coins (and paper money, too) do not depict living people, but rather historical figures who have long since passed away. What might Jesus have said to us in a similar situation?

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