I know these commandments are old hat, a boring old hat, to boot, but as I stared at them these past few days, their words fell on me like a blow to the head. For the Bible is telling us that there are other gods besides God; and the Bible is implying that there are negative consequences for those of us who use God’s name wrongfully, who take God’s name in vain, as the King James version likes to say! These commandments, at first, seem a stretch --- who believes anymore that there are lots of gods? who worries about taking God’s name in vain? --- so what truth is the Bible trying to hammer into our thick heads? Where to begin?Read More
The Lord said to Moses ...
I will strike down every first born in the land of Egypt,
Both human beings and animals ...
When I see the blood on the houses where you live,
I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you
When I strike the land of Egypt.
These words, striking down every first born, both human beings and animals, if read
unsympathetically, could make our blood run cold---
“Come, let us kill him.” Not exactly what we expect of brothers. Not exactly, perhaps, what we might expect of the Bible, a holy book. Shouldn’t a holy book be filled with exemplary lives? But this holy book is full of stories of the way people, even brothers, are consumed by hate and impelled to harm each other.Read More
Come to me
All you who are weary ...
And I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you …
And you will find rest in your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
These lovely words, so beautiful, (they) evoke the great sadness that pervades human life, the tears of being, the inevitability of loss and death, some of which comes to us through our body’s natural vulnerability to illness, accident and aging, but so much also we bring upon ourselves by our proneness to error, our inclination to aggression, our selfish impulses, our narrowness of vision.Read More
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth …
God saw everything that he had made,
And indeed, it was very good.
These opening words from the book of Genesis express two beliefs of our biblical faith: that God created the world, and that everything that exists in it is very good. Our faith is full of beliefs. These days, many of us find that we have given up on many of them --- some for very good reasons --- though perhaps we have given up on too many.Read More
(And) they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him
(And) while they were stoning Stephen, he prayed,
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
This story of Stephen, is one of those stories which appears simple, and yet reveals the world in all its moral ambiguity, and reveals ourselves as incomplete, divided beings, torn between love and self-love, showing us to be sometimes lower than worms, other times almost as high as the angels.Read More
Some people say the Resurrection is about joy, others say hope; I appreciate the way Marcus Borg calls it "God's yes to Jesus and God's no to the powers that be"--the empires of violence, injustice and greed that try to rule our lives today just as they killed Jesus long ago. But God, Borg reminds us, said no to all that and yes to Jesus.Read More
The light is trickled in… it comes in with a single voice calling out and other voices replying to it… it is small but so much more of a presence of hope than darkness… that tiny light is enough to make the huge darkness unable to overwhelm us! …then that little tiny fragile light is… that light is transferred to one another… that light of hope is brought in again and sustains us through the first baptism. It doesn’t cost us our own light to pass it on to another person’s candle. Just the time to make the gesture.Read More
… And Jesus cried out with a loud voice …
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
... and breathed his last.
“Dark, dark, dark, we all go into the dark.” The words are T.S. Eliot’s, that great poet of the troubled soul. What was he thinking?Read More