Showing posts from March, 2018


Psalm 22 (CJB— agrees with Alter)
11 (10) Since my birth I’ve been thrown on you;
you are my God from my mother’s womb.

Lamentations 3:1-9,19-33 (CJB)
25 Adonai is good to those waiting for him,
to those who are seeking him out.
26 It is good to wait patiently
for the saving help of Adonai.

27 It is good for a man
to bear the yoke from his youth.
28 Let him sit alone in silence
when he has laid it on him.
29 Let him submit absolutely;
there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to the one who strikes it,
and receive his fill of insults.

1 Peter 1:10-20 (CJB)
13 Therefore, get your minds ready for work, keep yourselves under control, and fix your hopes fully on the gift you will receive when Yeshua the Messiah is revealed.
John 13:36-38 (CJB)
38 Yeshua answered, “You will lay down your life for me? Yes, indeed! I tell you, before the rooster crows you will disown me three times.

My most literal rendition of the psalm, that preserves the parallelism.
“On you I was flung from the womb; from my m…

Not Picking and Choosing

Psalm 55
13 (12) For it was not an enemy who insulted me;
if it had been, I could have borne it.
It was not my adversary who treated me with scorn;
if it had been, I could have hidden myself.
14 (13) But it was you, a man of my own kind,
my companion, whom I knew well.

15 (14) We used to share our hearts with each other;
in the house of God we walked with the crowd.

Lamentations 2:1-9
Her gates have sunk into the ground;
he destroyed and broke their bars.

2 Corinthians 1:23-2:11
For if I cause you pain, who is left to make me happy except the people I have pained?
Mark 12:1-1
7 But the tenants said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’

I started out only seeing verses that spoke literally to my current situation. They were an exact echo of my feelings. They told a story that was like my story. But then came the gospel reading. I remember reflecting on this passage from Mark once before, and wondering how those tenants could possibly have…

Answer Me

Psalm 6
3 (2) Be gracious to me, Adonai,
because I am withering away;
heal me, Adonai,
because my bones are shaking;
4 (3) I am completely terrified;
and you, Adonai — how long?
5 (4) Come back, Adonai, and rescue me!

Lamentations 1:17-22
20 “See, Adonai, how distressed I am!
Everything in me is churning!
My heart turns over inside me,
because I have been so rebellious.
Outside, the sword brings bereavement;
inside, it is like death.

2 Corinthians 1:8-22
The burden laid on us was so far beyond what we could bear that we even despaired of living through it. In our hearts we felt we were under sentence of death. However, this was to get us to rely not on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead! ****18 As surely as God is trustworthy, we don’t say “Yes” when we mean “No.” 19 For the Son of God, the Messiah Yeshua, who was proclaimed among you through us — that is, through me and Sila and Timothy — was not a yes-and-no man; on the contrary, with him it is always “Yes!” 20 For however many pr…

Down To The Roots

Mark 11:12-25
12 The next day, as they came back from Beit-Anyah (Bethany), he felt hungry. 13 Spotting in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came up to it, he found nothing but leaves; for it wasn’t fig season. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And his talmidim heard what he said.
“For it wasn’t fig season”—Jesus could not have had any realistic expectation of finding figs on the tree. (By the way, the fig tree is a symbol for the nation of Israel in Hebrew culture.)
Jesus was hungry, but it was not the season for figs. Nevertheless, he goes to the tree anyway, and when his expectation that there won’t be any fruit is fulfilled, he says, “May no one eat fruit from you again.”
I made a big jump that sort of shook me up. So, let’s try this on for size—Could this passage be about expectations? Consider the following points.
·“Jesus was hungry.”Hunger—an essential need which must be met.
·The obvious state of r…

Fish or Cut Bait

2 Corinthians 4:1-12
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it will be evident that such overwhelming power comes from God and not from us.
We have all kinds of troubles, but we are not crushed; we are perplexed, yet not in despair;
persecuted, yet not abandoned; knocked down, yet not destroyed.
10 We always carry in our bodies the dying of Yeshua, so that the life of Yeshua may be manifested in our bodies too.
11 For we who are alive are always being handed over to death for Yeshua’s sake, so that Yeshua’s life also might be manifested in our mortal bodies.
12 Thus death is at work in us but life in you.

Okay, today’s passage speaks for itself. I honestly don’t know what I could possibly add to it, except to say that it speaks to my current situation as if it was addressed directly to me.
It reminded me that I’m on the right track. The power of God has always been held in breakable containers for the very reason that Paul says— so it will be obvious that any great ability o…

The Next Dance

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful,
not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered,
and it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not gloat over other people’s sins
but takes its delight in the truth.
Love always bears up, always trusts,
always hopes, always endures.

I’ve read this over about five times now, and it keeps on growing in my mind. The above is only a part of the verse cited, but it’s the part that kept reaching out and poking me. It’s the part that I felt was reading me; the part that was peering into my heart to see what is going on in there. It’s the part that sat down in front of me with a questioning look on its face, put its chin in its hand, and looked at me without saying anything. And kept on looking.
Eventually I started noticing specific things; I started trying to see what the verse was looking at in me. I noticed that it started out by talking about what love is; then what it isn’t; then back …

Which Way The Wind Blows

Lectionaries are funny things— weird, abstruse little lists of biblical passages by number, sort of like tide tables or bus schedules. Today’s Lectionary passages (for 3-9-2018, the week of the third Sunday in Lent) are: Psalm 88; Genesis 47:1-26; 1 Corinthians 9:16-27; and Mark 6:47-56
About a month ago I posted a reflection in response to Abbess Jane’s Lectionary Musings blog on the same passage from Corinthians as the one listed for today in the Daily Office Readings Lectionary (BCP). That was supposed to be the reading for the 6th Sunday of Epiphany, according to +Jane, but I just can’t find it anywhere. I looked up Epiphany 6 in both the Daily Office Lectionary and the Revised Common Lectionary—not there. It’s not the reading from the Lindisfarne Community’s A Way of Living Lectionary for either Year 1 or 2 either. Oh well.
I was never the sort of autist who is fascinated by such things as bus schedules. I am much more inclined to be enthralled by maps. I wonder if I could make a L…

Figuring It Out

1 Corinthians 7:32-40: (Here’s my best rendition of verse 36, based on Mounce’s Greek Interlinear)
“If someone owns up(nomizō) to misbehavior—(aschēmoneō) with his virgin, if he’s gone “over the top”—(hyperakmos- lit. ‘above the acme’) and on account of this—(houtōs- ‘in this way’) he is obligated—(opheilō- owes, is indebted) to make it official—(ginomai) and makes good on his promise— (poieō) willingly—(thelō) then it’s absolutely not—(ou)a bad thing—(hamartanō- an error, wrongdoing)to get married—(gameō).”
Just to avoid any misconceptions, here is the NRSV translation: If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his fiancée,if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin. Let them marry.”
Here is my version again, without the Greek words interposed:
“36If someone owns up to misbehavior with his ‘virgin’, if he’s gone “over the top” and on account of this he is obligated to make it official and makes good on his promise willingly…

Backing Through a Door

Today, I’m carrying on from parables to examine miracles, again with a nod to Zen attitudes—this is the story in Mark about the storm on the lake, when the disciples had to wake Jesus because he was sleeping right through all the wind and rain.
I kept thinking in terms of “nots”.
I don’t believe the story is intended to be literal, or metaphorical, or allegorical, or even symbolic. I think the sense of it might be imagined as “backing through a door.”
Here are some words that might connect with our understanding of the story in a pragmatic, non-theoretical way:
oI invented this word, then looked it up afterward. It’s not in the dictionary, but it is in current use in the context of international diplomacy. (From an article in Public Diplomacy Magazine: “The conduct of relations….in which there is a reasonable expectation of systematic relationships, involving some form of reporting, communication, negotiation, and representation, but not involving mutu…

A Knack

&Jesus talking about parables—
“but to those outside everything appears as something to be compared with something else;” (from yesterday’s reading)
21 He said to them, “A lamp isn’t brought in to be put under a bowl or under the bed, is it? Wouldn’t you put it on a lampstand? 22 Indeed, nothing is hidden, except to be disclosed; and nothing is covered up, except to come out into the open. 23 Those who have ears to hear with, let them hear!” 24 He also said to them, “Pay attention to what you are hearing! The measure with which you measure out will be used to measure to you — and more besides! 25 For anyone who has something will be given more; but from anyone who has nothing, even what he does have will be taken away.” (from today’s reading; Mark 4:21-34)
I think that throughout, Jesus is still talking about parables. The passage for today continues from yesterday’s, with the same emphasis: ‘why parables?’ (I am beginning to resist the convention of taking bite-sized piece…