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Showing posts from 2017

A Dry Wind

Psalm 16
3 The holy people in the land are the ones who are worthy of honor; all my pleasure is in them.
Amos 5:1-17
13 At times like these a prudent person stays silent, for it is an evil time.
Jude 1-16
12 These men are filthy spots at your festive gatherings meant to foster love; they share your meals without a qualm, while caring only for themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; trees without fruit even in autumn, and doubly dead because they have been uprooted; 13 savage seawaves heaving forth their shameful deeds like foam; wandering stars for whom the blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
Matthew 22:1-14
12 ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him outside in the dark!’ In that place people will wail and grind their teeth, 14 for many are invited, but few are chosen.”

**Taking pleasure in the holy people. So wh…

Smashing Babies

Psalm 137
*****3 when those who had taken us captive
asked us to sing them a song;
our tormentors demanded joy from us —
“Sing us one of the songs from Tziyon!”

How can we sing a song about Adonai
here on foreign soil? ****

Remember, Adonai, against the people of Edom
the day of Yerushalayim’s fall,
how they cried, “Tear it down! Tear it down!
Raze it to the ground!”

Daughter of Bavel, you will be destroyed!
A blessing on anyone who pays you back
for the way you treated us!

A blessing on anyone who seizes your babies
and smashes them against a rock!

Micah 7:11-20
13 The earth will be desolate for those living in it,
as a result of their deeds.

18 Who is a God like you,
pardoning the sin and overlooking the crimes
of the remnant of his heritage?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in grace.

19 He will again have compassion on us,
he will subdue our iniquities.

You will throw all their sins
into the depths of the sea.

1 Peter 4:7-19
11if someone speaks, let him …

It's Not Enough

LECTIO (READ) Psalm 34 (0) By David, when he pretended to be insane before Avimelekh, who then drove him away; so he left:
15 (14) turn from evil, and do good; seek peace, go after it!
Isaiah 49:1-6
he has said, “It is not enough that you are merely my servant........
I will also make you a light to the nations, so my salvation can spread to the ends of the earth.”

1 Corinthians 4:1-16
Now the one thing that is asked of a trustee is that he be found trustworthy. And it matters very little to me how I am evaluated by you or by any human court; in fact, I don’t even evaluate myself. I am not aware of anything against me, but this does not make me innocent.

It is not enough for me to merely seek peace, I have to go after it.
It is not enough that I am merely a servant, I have to be a light.
It’s not enough to be respectable, and I’d be crazy to pretend to be innocent. In fact, it’s a waste of time to evaluate myself at all. Instead, I have to do my best to be trustworthy…

Bring Him Here To Me

Matthew 17:1-17
17 Yeshua answered, “Perverted people, without any trust! How long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me!” (CJB)
“O unbelieving (apistos) and perverse (diastrephō) generation, how long am I to be with you? How long must I put up with (anechōmai) you? Bring him here to me.” (MOUNCE Reverse Interlinear NT
“Pistos” is often translated as “trustworthy.”“Apistos” would then translate as “untrustworthy.”
“Diastrephō” translates as “to subvert, pervert, make turn away; (pass.) to be perverted, depraved, turned from the truth. Definition: to distort, turn away; met. to pervert, corrupt, (Mt. 17:17; Lk. 9:41) to turn out of the way, cause to make defection (Lk. 23:2; Acts 13:8) διεστραμμένος, perverse, corrupt, erroneous.” ( Greek dictionary)
So, the passage could accurately be translated as,
“You untrustworthy, corrupt generation! I’ve had it with you!”
Now comes the interesting part. I could not find anything in a Google search for…

It's Not About Bread

Matthew 16:1-12
11 “How can you possibly think I was talking to you about bread?”

Well today is a bit of ‘flapping wildly sideways.’ I started off by imagining being there and having Jesus ask me, “How can you possibly think I was talking to you about bread?” I would have been embarrassed for sure, and probably answered him the same way I would answer my Karate sensei—”Uh, because I wasn’t paying close enough attention, sir.” Perhaps followed by, “My bad.”
I did do some research on the word Jesus uses, “hametz,” which in the NRSV is translated “yeast,” but literally means “leavened bread.” Leavened bread was not allowed in the mishkan, the tabernacle that preceded the temple, but only unleavened bread. So, the implication was that leavened bread was not allowed in God’s presence. Even today, hametz is prohibited during Passover.
I don’t think that there was meant to be any deep symbolism though. I just deleted over half of what I had written because I was getting way down in the weeds.

Not A Word

Matthew 15:21-28 23 But Yeshua did not say a word to her. Then his talmidim came to him and urged him, “Send her away, because she is following us and keeps pestering us with her crying.” 24 He said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el.” 25 But she came, fell at his feet and said, “Sir, help me!” 26 He answered, “It is not right to take the children’s food and toss it to their pet dogs.” Last year I went to a different church one Sunday and the text of the sermon was the same as today’s lectionary text. I was so impressed by the preacher’s take on it that I wrote the following reflection. It was never posted on my blog, so I am going to post it today. The church was Granger Christian Church in Salt Lake City UT, and the preacher was Rev. Vinnetta Golphin-Wilkerson. —The reading Sunday was about the time that Jesus compared the Syrian woman to a dog, and told her it wasn’t right to take food from children to give it to dogs. He told her that he was only sent to the …

What Wasn't Stolen

Psalm 69
Am I expected to return things I didn’t steal?
For a while, now, since I began including the Psalms in my Lectio Divina reflections, I have been feeling a strong impulse to pick up and re-read C.S. Lewis’s Reflections on the Psalms.
So today I did. In a shiveringly apt coincidence, the first part I read was about God’s judgement. Lewis was surprised to note that God’s judgement is something hoped for and wished for by the ancient Jews, and considered to be an occasion of rejoicing, not one of trepidation. “Judgement is apparently an occasion of universal rejoicing. People ask for it: “Judge me O God, according to thy righteousness.”(35,24)” He makes a very telling point, particularly so for me since I spent 18 years as police officer doing my best to bring criminals to justice. Lewis says that both Christians and Jews see God’s judgement in terms of ‘an earthly court of justice’.However, “the Christian pictures the case to be tried as a criminal case with himself in the dock; th…

Etc. & So Forth

Ezra 7:11-26 (Verse 12)
12 “From: Artach’shashta, king of kings
“To: ‘Ezra the cohen, scribe of the law of the God of heaven, etc.: Herewith”
12 "Artaxerxes, king of kings, to the priest Ezra, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven: Peace.And now.”
Today’s reflection will be a bit peculiar. First of all, resonant phrases simply didn’t emerge for me from the readings today, and I realized I was starting to force things a bit. The one thing that did jump out at me was the question of why the CJB would say “etc.” when the NRSV says “Peace.” I was relatively baffled.
So, I deleted all the verses that I had reluctantly decided to use, and decided to do some research on the odd discrepancy in the translations. Here are a few more translations, just for comparison’s sake:
Ezra 7:12 Young's Literal Translation (YLT)
12 “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, a perfect scribe of the law of the God of heaven, and at such a time:”
Ezra 7:12 New International Version (NIV)
12 …

All Of It Is Here

The resonant phrases:
Psalm 62
6 (5) My soul, wait in silence for God alone,
because my hope comes from him.
7 (6) He alone is my rock and salvation,
my stronghold; I won’t be moved.

Revelation 11: 1-19
(15) “The kingdom of the world
has become the Kingdom
of our Lord and his Messiah,
and he will rule forever and ever!”

Matthew 13:44-52
44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure….
45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant…..
47 “Once more, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a net thrown into the lake…..

The Commemoration: Willibrord, first Archbishop of Utrecht
Acts 1:1-9 8 But you will receive power when the Ruach HaKodesh comes upon you; you will be my witnesses both in Yerushalayim and in all Y’hudah and Shomron, indeed to the ends of the earth!”
Here we go—
Waiting in silence unmoved.
The world hasbecome the Realm of God.
The Realm is like both the seeker after the treasure (the merchant), and the treasure itself (the pearl). Besides that, the Realm captures it all; draws everything in; in…


Nehemiah 4:1-23
11 (17) ….as they continued building the wall. Those who carried loads held their loads with one hand and carried a weapon in the other.
Burden in one hand, weapon in the other. I’m not sure why that phrase rose above the others, but it did.
Revelation 7:9-17
9 After this, I looked; and there before me was a huge crowd, too large for anyone to count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.
{14 “….These are the people who have come out of the Great Persecution (Ordeal).”}

This one is easy. EVERY nation, tribe, people and language! Every last stinkin’ one!

Matthew 13:31-35
(33)…“The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with a bushel of flour, then waited until the whole batch of dough rose.”
Waited. Waiting. You can’t bake it until it rises. One of the translations said “a large amount” of flour; another said “dozens of loaves.” You have to wait quite a while for that much dough to rise. Another part of this gospel says that Jesus fulfilled what the …

Rushing Here and There

Isaiah 28:9-16 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) 9 Can no one be taught anything? Can no one understand the message? Must one teach barely weaned toddlers, babies just taken from the breast, 10 so that [one has to use nursery rhymes]? —Tzav la-tzav, tzav la-tzav, kav la-kav, kav la-kav, z‘eir sham, z‘eir sham. [Precept by precept, precept by precept, line by line, line by line, a little here, a little there]. 11 So with stammering lips, in a foreign accent, [Adonai] will speak to this people. 12 He once told this people, “It’s time to rest, the exhausted can rest, now you can relax” —but they wouldn’t listen. 13 So now the word of Adonai for them comes “precept by precept, precept by precept, line by line, line by line, a little here, a little there,” so that when they walk, they stumble backward, and are broken, trapped and captured! 14 So listen to the word of Adonai, you scoffers, composing taunts for this people in Yerushalayim: 15 Because you said, “We made a covenant with death, we made a …