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Showing posts from October, 2017

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 …

The Main Thing

Psalm 119:145-168
160 The main thing about your word is that it’s true; and all your just rulings last forever.
Jeremiah 11:18-23
18 Adonai made this known to me, and then I knew —
you showed me what they were doing.
19 But I was like a tame lamb
led to be slaughtered;
I did not know that they were plotting
schemes against me —
Matthew 10:16-22
16 “Pay attention! I am sending you out like sheep among wolves, so be as prudent as snakes and as harmless as doves.
Today is the commemoration of St. James of Jerusalem. (Known as ‘The Just’, the brother of Jesus.)

Funny, lately I’ve read a great deal about James the Just, and as far as the readings go it seems there’s been a coincidence in other areas as well, mainly regarding discussions I’ve been having about things that are True and Eternal, and about Paying Attention.
So it’s time to ferret out the connecting thread, I guess.
The first reading reminded me painfully of the times that I had been ‘like a tame lamb led to the slaughter’, oblivious of oth…

Meagerness In My Soul

Psalm 106
14 In the desert they gave way to insatiable greed;
in the wastelands they put God to the test.
15 He gave them what they wanted
but sent meagerness into their souls.
2 Kings 21:1-18
14 I will abandon the remnant of my heritage, delivering them into the power of their enemies — they will become prey and plunder for all their enemies;15 because they have done what is evil from my perspective and have provoked me to anger from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt to this very day.’”
1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1
You say, “Why should my freedom be determined by someone else’s conscience?30 If I participate with thankfulness, why am I criticized over something for which I myself bless God?”31 Well, whatever you do, whether it’s eating or drinking or anything else, do it all so as to bring glory to God.32 Do not be an obstacle to anyone — not to Jews, not to Gentiles, and not to God’s Messianic Community.
Matthew 8:28-34
33 The swineherds fled, went off to the town and told the whole story…

As You Have Trusted

Psalm 102 (Coverdale)
14For your servants love her very rubble, * and are moved to pity even for her dust.
2 Kings 19:1-20 (CJB)
20 Then Yesha‘yahu the son of Amotz sent this message to Hizkiyahu: “Adonai the God of Isra’el says: ‘You prayed to me against Sancheriv king of Ashur, and I have heard you.’
1 Corinthians 9:16-27 (CJB)
24 Don’t you know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one wins the prize? So then, run to win!
Matthew 8:1-17 (CJB)
13 Then Yeshua said to the officer, “Go; let it be for you as you have trusted.”

It occurred to me today that it’s likely that I’ve been doing a bit of compartmentalizing. Since there are three readings and a psalm in the Daily Lectionary, I usually take each one separately, (often neglecting the Psalm) find the resonant phrase, and then write down my reflection of each individually.
Something moved me to review some sources on the practice of Lectio Divina, and as I was pondering the steps (reading, reflecting, responding, and resting) they…

Get Away From Me!

2 Kings 18:28-37
35 Where is the god of any country that has saved its country from my power, so that Adonai might be able to save Yerushalayim from my power?’36 But the people kept still and didn’t answer him so much as a word; for the king’s order was, “Don’t answer him.”
Strange logic. ‘What god has ever saved anyone from me, so how is your god going save you from me?’ It sounds familiar, in a sickening way. In other words, “Who’s gonna stop me?”
In this present time, in this wreck of a world, I feel a glimmer of hope replace my guilt over keeping my mouth shut. I have not tried to ‘speak truth to power’ because my gut tells me it’s useless. It might be cold comfort, but it is comfort nonetheless, to hear the king’s order, “Don’t answer him.” Why do you suppose such an order was given? Could it be that the wise men of those times knew what happens if you try to argue with a manipulator; a liar; a cold-hearted, insatiable, power addict? ‘Nothing good’ is what happens! In my own experi…

God's Nudniks

Matthew 7:1-12 (CJB)
7 “Keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.8 For everyone who keeps asking receives; he who keeps seeking finds; and to him who keeps knocking, the door will be opened.9 Is there anyone here who, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone?10 or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?11 So if you, even though you are bad, know how to give your children gifts that are good, how much more will your Father in heaven keep giving good things to those who keep asking him! 12 “Always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that sums up the teaching of the Torah and the Prophets.
I’ve switched to the translation called the Complete Jewish Bible, because for me it seems to provide a more fertile ground for reflection. At least for the time being. I almost always compare several translations in my work of Lectio Divina, and the phrase construction in the CJB…

More Than Enough

1 Corinthians 7:25-31
29 I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
Zen, much?
It can’t be put into words, and yet there is an absolute commandment to put it into words. If I am not trying to achieve anything, and it isn’t pertinent whether I am happy or not; whether I am ‘fulfilled’ or not; whether I am wise or not, then what is pertinent?
Let me try to answer that question by adding to Paul’s list, and maybe it will become clear why I said, “Zen much?”
Let those who are unhappy in their jobs be as if they were not unhappy; let those who are frustrated in rush hour traffic be as though they were not frust…