Showing posts from January, 2018


Just a note to my few but loyal readers. I've had to buy a new computer, and due to unforeseen pirated software on my old computer, I will not be posting new reflections until I can get Office installed on the new computer. That should happen today, Monday 1-29. I should be back up and running on all cylinders sometime this week.

Psalm 19

Another member of the Lindisfarne Community and I are embarking on a course of study of the Psalms. We are looking at them primarily as poetry, and investigating things like cultural context, poetic conventions, authorship, liturgical use, and textual interpretation. Fun, eh?

Psalm 19
The heavens tell God’s glory,
and His handiwork sky declares.
Day to day breathes utterance
and night to night pronounces knowledge.
There is no utterance and there are no words,
their voice is never heard.
Through all the earth their voice goes out,
to the world’s edge, their words.
(David Alter translation)

2 (1) The heavens declare the glory of God,
the dome of the sky speaks the work of his hands.
3 (2) Every day it utters speech,
every night it reveals knowledge.
4 (3) Without speech, without a word,
without their voices being heard,
5 (4) their line goes out through all the earth
and their words to the end of the world.
(Complete Jewish Bible)

Day to day uttereth speech, And night to night sheweth knowledge.

Two Men

Genesis 14:1-24 18 Malki-Tzedek king of Shalem brought out bread and wine. He was cohen of El ‘Elyon [God Most High], 19 so he blessed him with these words: Hebrews 8:1-13 But now the work Yeshua has been given to do is far superior to theirs, just as the covenant he mediates is better. For this covenant has been given as Torah on the basis of better promises. John 4:43-54 48 Yeshua answered, “Unless you people see signs and miracles, you simply will not trust!”
I’m cheating today. The name ‘Melchizedek’ has always haunted me, so I whimsically Googled “Melchizedek poems.” I’d never heard of Ucalegon before, but I was struck by the fact that “ucalegon” is actually an idiom-word in English which means “neighbor whose house is on fire.” I thought that was frighteningly apt, in view of the world we live in today.
Two Men by Edwin Arlington Robinson
There be two men of all mankind That I should like to know about; But search and question where I will, I cannot ever find them out.
Melchizedek he …

Go To Yourself

Genesis 11:27-12:8
Parashah 3: Lekh L’kha (Get yourself out) 12:1–17:27
12 Now Adonai said to Avram, “Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you.
{“A look at the Hebrew in this sentence, however, reveals a peculiarity. The word “Lech” is the command, second person form of the word, “L’lechet“–“to go.” The next word, “l’cha,” is an article which tells us that the previous word is meant to be in the second person (for example, “Ten lecha” would mean “give to you”). Since the form of the verb “to go” the Bible uses is already in the second person form, the word “lecha” is superfluous. Commentators offer various meanings of this extra article, translating the sentence as “Go for yourself,” “Go by yourself” or “Go to yourself.”} (This is a commentary by Joel Lynn in, and he also says that ‘go to yourself’ is his favorite of the various translatio…

Grow Up!

Hebrews 6:1-12 (CJB)
6 Therefore, leaving behind the initial lessons about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of turning from works that lead to death, trusting God, 2 and instruction about washings, s’mikhah (blessing, laying on of hands), the resurrection of the dead and eternal punishment. 3 And, God willing, this is what we will do.
4 For when people have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, become sharers in the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), 5 and tasted the goodness of God’s Word and the powers of the ‘olam haba (world to come) — 6 and then have fallen away — it is impossible to renew them so that they turn from their sin, as long as for themselves they keep executing the Son of God on the stake all over again and keep holding him up to public contempt. 7 For the land that soaks up frequent rains and then brings forth a crop useful to its owners receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it keeps producing thorns and thistles, it fails t…

Until Whenever

All those days with the window closed, and even then The Venerable Noah chooses a raven.
He should have known that old bird would just go out and fly around, back and forth, until whenever.
If the result doesn’t suit you, I guess you can just keep trying—doves are better than ravens for that.
Still, it doesn’t pay to be too sure, it’s better to wait until even the trustworthy dove has left for good.

Main Case
Genesis 8:6-22
After forty days Noach opened the window of the ark which he had built; and he sent out a raven, which flew back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove, to see if the water had gone from the surface of the ground. But the dove found no place for her feet to rest, so she returned to him in the ark, because the water still covered the whole earth. He put out his hand, took her and brought her in to him in the ark. 10 He waited another seven days and again sent the dove out from the ark. 11 The dove came in to him in …


(Currently, I’m taking a class on the Zen Koan. I’ve long held the opinion that reading the Bible as if there were koans hidden in the text is a very useful thing to do. “Koan” translates as “public case” and is derived from the Chinese word for a judge’s bench. Most of the historical koan collections start with a story which sums up the actual koan, followed by a commentary, followed by a commentary on the commentary. The final commentary often takes the form of a poem. I’ve been incorporating some of the koan style into my published lectio divina reflections by following a pattern of first finding a “resonant phrase,” then writing a response in the form of a reflection, and finally “resting” in the understanding I’ve reached and writing a sort of poem to ‘cap it off.’ I intend to polish up this approach, because I have a notion that it will percolate through my daily life in very meaningful ways.) Genesis 6:9-22 14 Make yourself an ark of gofer-wood; God told Noah to build an ark from …

Cain & Abel

Genesis 4:1-16

I wrote this piece quite a while back, after learning about some of the meanings attached to the names of Cain and Abel; and also reflecting on the ancient hostility between herding nomads and settled farmers.

I was able to verify that one of the meanings of Cain is ‘to make’—{(The root-verb קנה (qana) means to acquire or create. It's the regular verb for a commercial purchase, which extends into the financed redemption of slaves (Nehemiah 5:8). It's probably this line of thought that describes God as redeeming Israel from Egypt (Exodus 15:13).
In a small minority of instances this verb may mean to create: Psalm 139:13, Deuteronomy 32:6, Genesis 14:19). Our verb is also the one exclaimed by Eve when she says, "I have gotten/made a man-child with the Lord," after giving birth to Cain (Genesis 4:1).}
and one of the meanings of Abel is vanity or waste— {It's not quite clear what came first, the verb or the noun, but the verb הבל (habal), means to act emp…


Genesis 2:4-25
25 They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.
Hebrews 1:1-14
This Son is the radiance of the Sh’khinah, the very expression of God’s essence, upholding all that exists by his powerful word;
John 1:1-18
17 For the Torah was given through Moshe; grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah.

At the Hermitage, lately we’ve been talking about vulnerability. Off we go to the dictionary—Vulnerable
adjective 1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: a vulnerable part of the body. 2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.: an argument vulnerable to refutation; He is vulnerable to bribery. 3. (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend: a vulnerable bridge.
The first thing I noticed was that all the definitions seem to relate to a state of hostility; war; attack and defense. (Except for the bridge one, which I left out, mostly because I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t play bridge.)
On to synonyms for vulnerability: …

And Having Done All, To Stand

Ephesians 6:10-20
My personal motto comes from this passage: Et Omnibus Perfectis Stare—And Having Done All, To Stand.
It’s the passage about putting on the ‘armor of God’, making each piece of armor represent a desirable quality of a person’s spiritual character.
For the first time, I dislike the CJB translation, but here it is anyway:
13 So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. 14 Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, 15 and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom.[c] 16 Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. 17 And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of God;
Of course, the reason I don’t like this translation is because it mangl…

On Christmas Day

Today I want to offer first an excerpt from a blog by a guy named Prayson Daniel.
(The whole article can be found here: )
“Understanding Christianity in times of prevailing evil is what moved Bonhoeffer. His solution reflects his religionless reinterpretation of Christianity. In this reinterpretation God is not called upon to solve the problem of pain and suffering as if he was deus ex machina, but we as Christians are called to participate with God in powerlessness and weakness. He wrote, “God consents to be pushed out of the world and onto the cross; God is weak and powerless in the world and in precisely this way, and only so, is at our side and helps us.”
Bonhoeffer believed that the difference between a heathen and Christian is that in the former people call upon God to solve their problems while in the latter, God calls upon his people to participate in their problem. He explains:
“That is th…

Titles & Translations

Isaiah 62:1-5
5For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, (NRSV)
—compared with—
as a young man marries a young woman, your sons will marry you; (CJB)
Revelation 19:11-16
11 Next I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called Faithful and True, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle. 12 His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were many royal crowns. And he had a name written which no one knew but himself. 13 He was wearing a robe that had been soaked in blood, and the name by which he is called is, “THE WORD OF GOD.” 14 The armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 And out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down nations — “He will rule them with a staff of iron.” It is he who treads the winepress from which flows the wine of the furious rage of Adonai, God of heaven’s armies. 16 And on his robe and …