Showing posts from December, 2018

Once Around and Back Again

Feast of St. John, December 27.
Proverbs 8:22-30(31)
22 Adonai made me as the beginning of his way, the first of his ancient works.
23 I was appointed before the world, before the start, before the earth’s beginnings.
24 When I was brought forth, there were no ocean depths, no springs brimming with water.
25 I was brought forth before the hills, before the mountains had settled in place;
26 he had not yet made the earth, the fields, or even the earth’s first grains of dust.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there. When he drew the horizon’s circle on the deep,
28 when he set the skies above in place, when the fountains of the deep poured forth,
29 when he prescribed boundaries for the sea, so that its water would not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 I was with him as someone he could trust. For me, every day was pure delight, as I played in his presence all the time,.
31 playing everywhere on his earth, and delighting to be with humankind.

So, t…

World Without End

I just had a vivid insight while I was scrolling through Facebook and marveling at how people get so deeply invested in creating discontent. It looks to me as if they go deliberately looking for things that upset them; opinions they disagree with; or events that reveal injustice or discrimination. People seem irresistibly drawn to faulty logic and semantically-empty-but-emotion-laden slogans, and once they’ve adopted some reckless, thoughtless ideology, they proceed to self-righteously blame everyone and anyone who doesn’t agree with them for everything that is wrong with this world. Enough about that though, and on to my little realization. I have to explain a little background first though. A while back I took Buddhist vows in a ceremony called “receiving jukai.” If you want to read the principles I vowed to practice and uphold, they are posted in a page on this blog called “New Seeds Priory Zen Precepts.” Since the very beginning of my effort to study and practice in a community …

No Help For It

Luke 22:54-69
61 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Kefa (Peter)
This is the scene in the courtyard when Peter denies knowing Jesus. At the moment the rooster crowed, Jesus turned and looked pointedly at him.(That is exactly what the Greek says:“emblepō”—to direct a glance, to look searchingly or significantly, at a person.)
Then Peter went outside and ‘wept bitterly’ (klaiō pikrōs). (Pikrōs means ‘salty’, ‘bitter’, ‘brackish’, ‘harsh’.)
I saw it very clearly in my mind’s eye, as though I were looking through a small clear lens at something that seemed so far away—although it was really very, very near: Jesus turning in the firelight to look at Peter in such a penetrating way.
I saw the whole courtyard laid out before me. Something struck me as if I hadn’t known it before: that Peter must have been quite close for Jesus to be able to hear what he said, over there by the fire. I’m thinking the high priest’s house looked something like this:

I envisioned Jesus standing in front of the …

All Over the Place..

Isaiah 13:6-13 Howl! for the Day of Adonai is at hand,
destruction coming from Shaddai.
7 This is why every arm will hang limp
and everyone’s courage melt away.
8 They will be gripped by panic,
seized with pain and agony,
writhing like a woman in labor,
looking aghast at each other, faces aflame.

Hebrews 12:18-29 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
John 3:22-30 27 Yochanan answered, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from Heaven.
The above are the Daily Office readings from Sunday, and I only got as far as c…

When That Day Comes

Isaiah 7:10-25 “When that day comes..” Wow…. Just, Wow! I’ve been through almost every translation available to me, including one from the Hebrew. I feel a synopsis is required: God tells a king to ask for a sign, and the sycophantic king, being mealy-mouthed and fawning, says, “Oh no, I wouldn’t dare presume to ask the great God for a sign!” The prophet gets all wound up then, and says this: “Well, if you’re going to be like that, I’ll talk to all of your people!”— “Is irritating everyone around you not enough, that you feel like you have to irritate my God too? Then God will give you a sign in his own good time! A young women will get pregnant and give birth to a son and name him God-with-Us. He’ll eat cottage cheese and honey in order to learn how to reject in evil and choose in good. Before he knows how to reject in evil and choose in good, this land that infuriates all of you will be completely abandoned by both her rulers.Then God will bring down upon you days like you’ve never seen!…

Not A Stable

The Daily Lectionary readings have not inspired me much lately, and I would rather not push the river.
I ran across some fascinating information the other day in an article in the Guardian about a mistranslation in the New Testament which led to the notion that Jesus was born in a stable. That is not remotely likely, apparently. The word translated as “inn” is the same word—katalyma— that is used in Mark 14:14 in which Jesus told the disciples to follow a man and tell him that the Rabbi says,‘Where is the guest room for me, where I am to eat the Pesach meal with my talmidim?’
The article informed me that in first century Jewish homes (at least the affluent ones) there was an upper room that functioned as a guest room. It was a room set aside for the purpose of providing hospitality, and for putting up guests and traveling family members.
The design of first century Palestinian homes (and modern ones as well) supports this idea: “Most families would live in a single-room house, with a l…

Soul Cakes

I’m departing from my usual topics for reflection this morning because of an article I read about modern bakers trying to re-create a medieval recipe for Soul Cakes. Most of the problem seemed to be that the recipes on record from that time have no quantities listed, or instructions on baking times or methods of preparation. One writer said this about a recipe from 1604: “However, it doesn’t give us the quantities—nor does it tell us how long to bake it. So you have to work out for yourself what to do with the ingredients.”
I believe this is evidence of an enormous paradigm shift. Lately, much of my theological and devotional reading makes reference to the medieval mind-set; their ways of understanding the world. I think this is a perfect example. Reading between the lines a bit led me to reflect that modern sensibilities are no longer intimately connected with the natural world. Medieval cooks knew where all their ingredients came from, and how they behaved in relation to cooking meth…