Showing posts from April, 2017

Synonyms for "Light"

(The Mission of St. Clare Lectionary uses the NRSV)
Daniel 1:1-21 12 "Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe." 14 So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. 16 So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. So Daniel didn’t want to eat the king’s rations (presumably because they included pork and other taboo foods under Jewish law) and begged to be given vegetables instead. Do you suppose this verse could be used to justify not eating processed, packaged food full of toxic additives, but eating fresh whole foods instead? (I am being con…

Outside the Law?

Jonah 2:1-9
5 The waters closed in over me;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped around my head
6 at the roots of the mountains.
8 Those who worship vain idols
forsake their true loyalty.

“True loyalty.” Now, that is interesting. The author of Jonah seems to be saying that loyalty can be found within us in some sort of indwelling and fundamental way. I went and looked up “Loyalty” and it seems to have something to do with faith, in the sense of “being faithful” to something or someone. It also seems that the author is saying that this ‘true loyalty’ isn’t damaged or diminished in any way by being ignored or abandoned, but still remains in full force as part of our true and complete nature. It’s because of this indelible and indestructible quality of faithfulness, which makes it so that it will always endure. Even if sometimes weeds are wrapped around our heads, loyalty remains an essential and abiding part of our very nature, even when we are heedless of it.
Acts 2:14,22-32
23 this man…

Who Can Understand It?

Jeremiah 17:5-10
9 The heart is devious above all else;
it is perverse-
who can understand it?
I’m starting to get tired of Jeremiah’s obsessive complaining, but he certainly has a point here. I can’t help but draw a parallel between his grief and anger at his own beloved people running after ‘false gods’ and risking everything because they are so willful, stubborn, and ignorant that they can’t understand what’s really important and what isn’t. I feel exactly the same way, watching politicians and government officials blatantly show their true colors. They don’t even attempt to pretend that they are not contemptuous, condescending, predatory and self-satisfied. Who can understand it? What is the compassionate response to one who sneers at goodwill, scoffs at kindness, sniggers at sympathy, and mocks the powerless? I really want to know. I tried to find some Buddhist suggestions on how we should bear ourselves towards those who behave like that, and I had a bit of an epiphany. The Buddhi…

In the Reconciling of the World

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-13
4 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name..
(Omitted verses:2 This was after King Jeconi′ah, and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.3 The letter was sent by the hand …

Temple Mysticism and the Eucharist

(I originally wrote this in November 2015, after reading a book on understanding Jesus's teachings in the light of first century Jewish Temple mysticism. I had been struggling with the cannibalistic implications in the Eucharist of "eating Jesus's body and drinking his blood." It was such a relief to discover this interpretation which connects neatly with the way his disciples would likely have understood the language Jesus was using.)
Eucharist A little bit of research on the internet produced a description of Jewish ritual sacrifice in the time of Jesus. A person, say a woman named Sarah, offers a goat. She buys it and takes it to the priest at the Temple. He examines it to see if it is “perfect,” i.e. healthy and unblemished. He then takes it and slits its throat with the ritual words, “This is Sarah’s blood.” The meaning should obviously be, that this is the blood belonging to Sarah and offered on her behalf. The blood would then be poured out at the base of the …


Jeremiah 25:30-38
and shout, like those who tread grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.
I’m not sure why this struck me. I wanted to know why the grape-treaders were shouting. It sounds from the context as if it was the usual thing, that grape-treaders were expected to shout. I found some sources that said that they shouted to encourage each other and keep their energy up. Seems a little disingenuous. I found an illustration that showed one of the treaders playing a double pipe, and the other treaders appeared to be dancing. There seems to be a split in the Bible between the images of the happy grape harvest, and the wrathful trampling of the grapes. So then I tried to figure out why such a happy festival and mutual enterprise would ever be wrathful. I found this in Isaiah 3: “I have trodden the wine press alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath… The emphasis in Isaiah seems to be that no-one came to harvest the g…

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Jeremiah 24:1-10
7 I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD;
I can’t help but recall the literal meaning of the word translated as “heart,” in the Latin liturgy, which means “gut string.” Then I looked up the Hebrew, and it took me way off in left field. It seems to mostly indicate something like “the center of volition.” That would render the translation more like, “I will make it their deepest purpose to know that I am the Lord.” Except, I like the idea that a certain kind of heart could be given to us, presumably one that would take the place of whatever kind of heart we happen to currently have.
Romans 9:19-23
What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction;23 and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—(including us……)
So I am an object of mercy for the riches of God’s mercy …