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Sunday, May 13, 2018

     “Praise the name of the Lord; Praise him, you servants of the Lord. You that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God, praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; chant unto his name, for that is good.” (Ps 134: 1-3, Septuagint-translation)

     What a relief it is, to take a break from worrying about or bemoaning what is “bad” and “wrong” with the world, and to “praise the Lord.” For that is good. And it is healthy for me, particularly in our oft-exhausting internet-culture, which always seems more eager to find fault with, and to take offense at, things and people, rather than to find the good in them.

     Today I take pause and thank God wholeheartedly, also for the things and people I tend to take for granted. And because it is Mother’s D...

Monday, March 12, 2018

     “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence; and remove not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation: establish me with the governing/directing Spirit (πνεύματι ἡγεμονικῷ).” (Ps 50: 10-12, Septuagint-translation)

     Psalm 50 (51) is chanted several times each day, in our daily cycle of church-services. In it we ask for “renewal,” several times each day, – because we can be “renewed” in God’s ever-new, ever-“governing” or “directing” us forward, Spirit, whenever we choose to open up to Him. Whenever I notice that I’ve slipped into going around in circles, according to “old” patterns or some “wrong” spirit or voice in my head, like idleness or despondency, I can call out and be restored i...

Saturday, December 9, 2017

As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. ThenJesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’” (Lk 17: 12-19)

How surprising that Christ says to this man that his “faith,” of all things, has made him well. This man was a Samaritan...

Monday, November 13, 2017

I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall always be in my mouth. In the Lord shall my soul make its boast; let the meek hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my tribulations. Come to him, and be enlightened, and your faces shall not be ashamed. This poor one cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him from all his tribulations.” (Ps 33/34: 1-6)

I’d like to begin this Monday in the Spirit of this psalm. It doesn’t rant and complain about what is “wrong” with the world or with us, as the words we read or hear in the news (and share on social media) often do. No, the psalm teaches me humble gratitude, in the light and lightness of God-reliance, elevating me to “bless” and to “...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) withstood them (Barnabas and Paul), seeking to turn away the proconsul (Sergius) from the faith. But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.’ Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.” (Acts 13: 8-11)

Now, the Apostle Paul is not “nice” to the magician, having looked at him “intently.” (I can just imagine that “look”). Nor is the author of the Book of Acts,...

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance (μετάνοιαν) and forgiveness of sins (ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν) is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you the promise of my Father; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’” (Lk 24: 45-49)

They are to proclaim two vital things, in His name: 1. “Repentance” (a change of mind or change of focus); and 2. “Forgiveness” (ἄφεσις, a “letting go,” or “setting free from”) of sins. (The English word “for-give,” similar to the Vulgar Latin “per-donare” and German “ver-geben,” means to giv...

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