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Be Ready!

Deut. 34: 1-12
The greatest prophet of all. That’s what the passage calls Moses—

10 Since that time there has not arisen in Isra’el a prophet like Moshe, whom Adonai knew face to face. 11 What signs and wonders Adonai sent him to perform in the land of Egypt upon Pharaoh, all his servants and all his land! 12 What might was in his hand! What great terror he evoked before the eyes of all Isra’el!

But his is also the saddest story. God tells him, “Enough!” and withholds the fulfillment of the Promise, even though he gets to see the whole extent of the Land he has led his people to find. Instead he’s told that he is going to die. He does die, and is mourned by a whole people, who then bury him in an unmarked grave and travel on. No one builds a monument or a mausoleum for the great man.
I think that this is a Bodhisattva story. The unfulfilled promise and the loyalty without reward; the impossible task and the relinquishing of desire. See how the unmarked grave makes the whole earth Moshe’s …

Turning Away

Deut. 31: 7-13,24-30 & 32: 1-4 (Deut. 31 & 32)
16 Adonai said to Moshe, …… But this people will get up and offer themselves as prostitutes to the foreign gods of the land where they are going. When they are with those gods, they will abandon me and break my covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then my anger will flare up, and I will abandon them and hide my face from them. (from the redacted portion of the text)
Romans 10: 1-13
3 for, since they are unaware of God’s way of making people righteous and instead seek to set up their own, they have not submitted themselves to God’s way of making people righteous. 4 For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts.
Matthew 24: 15-31
15 “So when you see the abomination that causes devastation spoken about through the prophet Dani’el standing in the Holy Place” (let the reader understand the allusion [to Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11] …)
26 So if people say to you, ‘Listen! He’s out in the…

Enough!

Psalm 18
19 (18) They came against me on my day of disaster,
but Adonai was my support.
20 (19) He brought me out to an open place;
he rescued me, because he took pleasure in me.


Deut. 3: 18-28
26 But Adonai was angry with me on account of you, and he didn’t listen to me. Adonai said to me, ‘Enough from you! Don’t say another word to me about this matter!


Romans 9: 19-33
20 Who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me this way?”


Matthew 24: 1-14

4 Yeshua replied: “Watch out! Don’t let anyone fool you!


“Out to an open place.” I said exactly that. I found myself in that “open place” and that is just how I described it to my friends afterward. I came out of the tight place, the suffocating place, the place of constriction and compression. I was relieved. There are all these familiar words whose meaning has been smothered: ‘saved’; ‘delivered’; ‘relieved’; ‘rescued’.  In that open place, I expanded. There was no more smother…

Unutterable

Daily Office Lectionary for Morning Prayer 7-9-18 (I started it yesterday and didn’t finish…..)

Romans 8: 26-30 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:26-30 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
26 Similarly, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we don’t know how to pray the way we should. But the Spirit himself pleads on our behalf with groanings too deep for words; 27 and the one who searches hearts knows exactly what the Spirit is thinking, because his pleadings for God’s people accord with God’s will. 28 Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for…

Homily

I'm giving the homily at my church this morning, so I thought I would just publish my text as my blog post today.... (Ezekiel 2:1-5 —2 Corinthians 12:2-10 — Mark 6:1-13)
This is only the second sermon that I’ve ever actually preached in front of people. My theme today is Trust, which is particularly apt, because I’m so aware that for me to stand up here in front of you all is an act of trust. I trust you. I trust you to put up with me, even if there is a lot to put up with. And I’m pretty sure that you trust me too, at least a little bit. So, what is this thing called Trust? Now, I’m going to go all academic and talk about the Greek word that is most often translated as “Faith”, or “Belief”: Pistis— which literally means “persuasion”— to ‘bepersuaded’, to ‘come to trust.’ One of my favorite Bible translations, The Complete Jewish Bible, consistently uses the word ‘trust’ in preference to the word ‘faith.’ (I think I like it because it works exactly like the Greek word, in that it …

Event Horizon

Psalm 137
9 A blessing on anyone who seizes your babies
and smashes them against a rock!


Numbers 24: 12-25

(Didn’t I tell you..) I could not of my own accord go beyond the word of Adonai to do either good or bad?


Romans 8: 18-25

But if we see what we hope for, it isn’t hope — after all, who hopes for what he already sees?


Matthew 22: 23-40

29 Yeshua answered them, “The reason you go astray is that you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God.


I’ve started to recognize passages that I’ve written posts about in the past. I decided to go back and read what I’ve written before, but to resist following the same contemplative pathways.
That said, I still have to go back and climb on one particular soapbox: My utter rejection of the practice of editing and redacting Scripture in the interest of political correctness. Psalm 137 is the one that inevitably has verse 9 redacted. That’s the verse about smashing babies on a rock. If you would like to know what I wrote about this passage pre…

Heigh Ho

Psalm 142
By the road that I am walking
they have hidden a snare for me.


Numbers 24: 1-13
“I summoned you to curse my enemies. But here, you have done nothing but bless them — three times already!"


Romans 8: 12-17
15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to bring you back again into fear...


Matthew 22: 15-22

“You hypocrites! Why are you trying to trap me?


The Way:
Snares, contrariness, fear, and traps. That’s samsara, is what that is. The literal meaning of “samsara” is “continuous flow.” If you want a synonym for ‘samsara’ maybe “flux” would do.

Necks in a noose, getting the opposite of what we expect, being betrayed by freedom, and hearing our own double-dealing words echo in our ears. There’s no escaping it, until we stop trying to escape it. That’s when all the sticky tangles just dissolve without even a sizzle. Where did they go? Who cares?
There are so many clues embedded in our language that tell us what we already know:
“There ya go.” —  “It is what it is.” — “Even so.” — “Can’…

Apples and Carts

Acts 11:1-18 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
11 The emissaries and the brothers throughout Y’hudah heard that the Goyim had received the word of God; 2 but when Kefa went up to Yerushalayim, the members of the Circumcision faction criticized him, 3 saying, “You went into the homes of uncircumcised men and even ate with them!” 4 In reply, Kefa began explaining in detail what had actually happened: 5 “I was in the city of Yafo, praying; and in a trance I had a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners from heaven, and it came down to me. 6 I looked inside and saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, crawling creatures and wild birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Kefa, slaughter and eat!’ 8 I said, ‘No, sir! Absolutely not! Nothing unclean or treif has ever entered my mouth!’ 9 But the voice spoke again from heaven: ‘Stop treating as unclean what God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then everything was pulled back up into hea…

The Only Ground

Romans 5: 1-11 (CJB)
5 So, since we have come to be considered righteous by God because of our trust, let us continue to have shalom with God through our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah. 2 Also through him and on the ground of our trust, we have gained access to this grace in which we stand; so let us boast about the hope of experiencing God’s glory. 3 But not only that, let us also boast in our troubles; because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4 endurance produces character, and character produces hope; 5 and this hope does not let us down, because God’s love for us has already been poured out in our hearts through the Ruach HaKodesh who has been given to us.


I want to talk about the difference between the word ‘faith’ or ‘belief’ and the word ‘trust.’
I think I’m on to something. I took notice of how I’ve always been moved by the Complete Jewish Bible’s use of the word “trust” in place of the word “faith” or “belief.” Even when the word “faith” does appear, it’s usually in the form …

Regeneration

Matthew 19: 23-30
28 Yeshua said to them, “Yes. I tell you that in the regenerated world, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Isra’el. 29 Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times more, and he will obtain eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.


The word is “palingenesia” which is translated, ‘a new birth (rebirth), regeneration, renovation. The word for “world”—“kosmos”—  doesn’t appear in the Greek text.
Also, as far as I can tell, the words for “glorious throne” in the text are meant to refer to the mercy seat, the space above and between the cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant, the “Kisei Kavod” (‘Throne of Glory’ in Hebrew) where God’s presence manifests itself to human beings. There is also a reference in Hebrews 9 that implies that Christ’s sacrifice …

Witness

82 (0) A psalm of Asaf:

(1) Elohim [God] stands in the divine assembly;
there with the elohim [judges], he judges: —(Elohim is stationed in the assembly of El, within the Elohim he is judging—adapted from Hebrew Interlinear)
2 “How long will you go on judging unfairly,
favoring the wicked? —(Until when will you judge disgracefully and lift up the faces of the wicked?—adapted from Hebrew Interlinear)
 (Selah)
3 Give justice to the weak and fatherless!
Uphold the rights of the wretched and poor!
4 Rescue the destitute and needy;
deliver them from the power of the wicked!”
5 They don’t know, they don’t understand,
they wander about in darkness;
meanwhile, all the foundations of the earth
are being undermined. —(All the foundations of the earth are slipping—adapted from Hebrew Interlinear)
6 “My decree is: —(Me, I said:—adapted from Hebrew Interlinear)
‘You are elohim [gods, judges],
sons of the Most High all of you.
7 Nevertheless, you will die like mortals;
like any prince, you will fall.’”
8 Rise up, E…

Being Bodhsattva

Numbers 11: 24-33 (34-35) (Sorry, everybody, I never got past the Old Testament this morning….)

33 But while the meat was still in their mouth, before they had chewed it up, the anger of Adonai flared up against the people, and Adonai struck the people with a terrible plague. (34 Therefore that place was named Kivrot-HaTa’avah [graves of greed], because there they buried the people who were so greedy.)

Still annoyed about redacting verses. Someone hearing the passage without verse 34 might think that Adonai was capricious and cruel, giving the complainers what they wanted and then making them sick because they ate what he gave them. I am sick of Bible verses being ripped out of context and used to further people’s various agendas. Not that this missing verse was left out for that reason. (I should probably not look at Facebook before doing Lectio Divina.)

The whole story is that the Israelites were scared. They didn’t trust God, and they whined and complained, and weren’t satisfied wit…

All That I Never Had

Psalm 69
Am I expected to return

things I didn’t steal?
Ecclesiastes 11: 9-12:14
12 So remember your creator while you are young,
before the evil days come,……..
4b when a person is startled by the chirp of a bird,
yet their singing is hard to hear;
5 when they will be afraid to go up a hill,
and terrors will stalk the way,…….
before the silver cord is snapped
the bowl of gold is cracked,
the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
the pulley is broken at the cistern,
7 the dust returns to earth, as it was,

and the spirit returns to God, who gave it!
Galatians 5:25-6:10
2 Bear one another’s burdens — in this way you will be fulfilling the Torah’s true meaning, which the Messiah upholds. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is really nothing, he is fooling himself. 4 So let each of you scrutinize his own actions.
Matthew 16: 21-28
24 Then Yeshua told his talmidim, “If anyone wants to come after me, let him say ‘No’ to himself, take up his execution-stake, and keep following me. 25 For whoever wants …

No Rush

Psalm 71
In you, Adonai, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.

Ecclesiastes 11: 1-8
(NRSV)
5 Just as you do not know how the breath comes to the bones in the mother's womb, so you do not know the work of God, who makes everything.

(CJB)
5 Just as you don’t know the way of the wind
or how bones grow in a pregnant woman’s womb,
so you don’t know the work of God,
the maker of everything.

(Paraphrase from Hebrew Interlinear)
5 Since you are not knowing what is the way of the wind-as-bones in the belly of the full (pregnant),
so it is you are not knowing the act of the Elohim who is making the All.

Galatians 5: 16-24
16 What I am saying is this: run your lives by the Spirit. Then you will not do what your old nature wants. 17 For the old nature wants what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is contrary to the old nature. These oppose each other, so that you find yourselves unable to carry out your good intentions. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, t…

As It Is

Ecclesiastes 9: 11-18
16 So, although I say that wisdom is better than strength, nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised; nobody pays attention to what he says.
17 A wise man speaking quietly is more worth heeding
than the shouts of a ruler commanding fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
but a person who makes a mistake can destroy much good.

Galatians 5: 1-15
You who are trying to be declared righteous by God through legalism have severed yourselves from the Messiah! You have fallen away from God’s grace! For it is by the power of the Spirit, who works in us because we trust and are faithful, that we confidently expect our hope of attaining righteousness to be fulfilled. When we are united with the Messiah Yeshua, neither being circumcised nor being uncircumcised matters; what matters is trusting faithfulness expressing itself through love.
Matthew 16: 1-12
A wicked and adulterous generation is asking for a sign? It will certainly not be given a sign — except the …

Taken In Hand

Matthew 13:31-35
Speaking in Parables
‘Parabolē’: a comparison; a simile; a pattern; an emblem; a precept.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man takes (‘lambanō’—takes in the hand) and sows in his field.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast that a woman took (also ‘lambanō’) and mixed with a bushel of flour, then waited until the whole batch of dough rose.”


Two things struck me in the Gospel reading for today. The first was the word “parable.” We don’t really use that word nowadays to mean “a simile,” but we do use it in a mathematical sense to describe a curve with certain properties, and we also use it as an adverb (parabolic, parabolically) to mean speaking in a roundabout way, or to describe a story with more than one meaning.
Then there is the verb that’s hidden in the familiar parables about the mustard seed and the yeast in the bushel of flour— “lambanō, “to take in the hand.” I couldn’t help being reminded of the phrase, “to take in hand,” meaning to mentor a pe…