Take Off Your Shoes

August 30, 2010 § 3 Comments

‘I have heard my people’s cry ~ I know their sufferings’

Hashem - The Name Beyond All Names

‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’

‘come… I will send you’

And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

'nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them'

You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am.  So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

[Stained Glass ~ Moses and the Burning Bush – by Sam Nachum]


Their CALL goes out to ALL the earth

August 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

from ~ Psalm 19

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament* proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice* goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

Hidden from the wise and intelligent, but revealed to infants:

28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

Their voice goes out to ALL the earth:

4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built* into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Baptized into Divine Life, immersed in a common destiny, we become members of this universal Mystery of Christ’s Priesthood.  This is a not a call to individual salvation or exaltation, but a call to mutual and cosmic transfiguration.

In Memory of PCA

August 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve just received news that a dear internet friend died on August 2, 2010.

PCA was not a religious person.  But I have no doubt that he was a kindred spirit.  Even if he didn’t know it – then. And I trust in the Mercy of God.  PCA was funny, quirky, and cared passionately about other people, the fate of his nation, and the fate of the world.  He would have given you the shirt off his back.  But in the end he learned to receive that kind of thing from others, as he faced a dire illness with no health insurance.  In addition to tears and tributes from many on the internet, he will be missed by friends and family.  Because he was such a private person it apparently took some time and some doing before his family were able to connect with anyone on the internet – to inform them of his passing.

He has receive the amazing tribute of a post put up by the Moderator at TPM Cafe – under his TPM moniker, PseudoCyAnts.

At the end of his life, PCA turned his hand to making art, what he called fractalsThis one was saved by stillidealistic. It is, I think, a fitting epitaph for our dear friend.  These were saved by Alan.

Farewell, dear PCA.  Memory Eternal…

Ecclesiastes Encourages this Blog

August 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Not that I needed scriptural encouragement.  But I received it.   And it’s always nice when an unexpected gift like this occurs:  When I googled the words for the blog title I was considering, up popped a reference to Ecclesiastes.  So I looked up the relevant verses in two commentaries.  One of them provided the perfect tag line to the title.   And both commentaries interpreted the collected wisdom sayings to mean that since one cannot predict the future (or even the weather), one should get on with projects without distracting oneself with worries or concerns about how things might turn out.  It’s an instructive bit of wise advice.  And I put it immediately into practice.

Here are two modern translations for the verses in question (Ecclesiastes 11:1-6):

11:1  Set your bread afloat upon the water, for after many days you will find it again.

11:2  Divide your capital seven or even eight ways, because you do not perceive what evil will occur in the land.

11:3  If the clouds swell with rain, they will pour it out on the land;  if a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, that is where it will be.

11:4  One who gapes at the blowing wind will not sow; one who stands observing the clouds will not reap.

11:5  Just as you cannot perceive the blowing air anymore than the development of a child in a pregnant womb, so can you not perceive the action of God, who enacts everything.

11:6  In the morning begin to plant, and also toward evening do not let your hand rest, since you cannot perceive which will succeed, the one or the other.  Or maybe both together will have a happy outcome.     [Norbert Lohfink, 1980/2003]

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Baking Bread

August 19, 2010 § 3 Comments

While I’m mulling over what this blog is about, I’m going to be making bread.  And to some degree that’s a metaphor for what I’m hoping to do here anyway.

Bread.  First you have to sow the seed.  Sometimes wheat grows without you even realizing it.  And before you know it, it’s ready for harvest – like that parable I never even knew about, till I read it one day and realized that very thing had happened to me!

Then there’s the separating of wheat from chaff.  Another great metaphor.  And that’s what I need to be careful about in this blog. To try and get a good sense of what’s important and what can drop away or be let go of.

Grinding the wheat.  So many ways to do that.  A meditative activity, requiring a lot of strength if you do it by hand.  Apparently flour is either best used immediately after grinding or else after it has aged for a few weeks.  So while I’d like to grind my own, I’d have to do it weekly.  Or plan ahead.  Think of having to draw your own water and then grind the wheat for the flour. But maybe easier than what I’m setting out to do in this blog.  If I can manage it.

Kneading.  Once you’ve put your ingredients together, you have this living substance in your hands.  You’re helping it become elastic, stretchy,  as you break down the gluten, and the dough becomes warm.  You can feel that warmth – aware that the substance you touch is alive, growing.  You’ve helped put life into that dough, assisted in a creative process.   The dough lives and grows – till it’s baked.  Then it has to die.  But just before it does so, it gives you its last “rise” – and once the bread is completely baked, you have this wonderful food, which is completely transformed from the dusty, sticky, separate ingredients you started out with.  There’s something miraculous and mysterious about this whole process – as ordinary as it is.

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