Sunday Thoughts – 2/13

Retouched versions of this picture from the ge...
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These last few weeks have been great, personally. Of course, this coming week is going to be one filled with board meetings. We’ll see how that goes.

I am still praying that we see success in Egypt and hoping that we see Iran fall to moderation in the coming weeks. I have to wonder if not having an ‘enemy’ to fight against, or the ever present threat of dispensationalism, will stop people from supporting these movements?

This is the final week for this quarter at Seminary, with next week being reading week. Pretty sure I’m going to enjoy that. This week, however, I have lots of work to do. And, you’ll see it.

Oh… and the contest is ending soon... could be any day now…

Also, I am working on turning the entire book of Revelation into a liturgical exercise for my final project )Work of Worship class) and would appreciate any help you can give.

And, just because I feel sorta bad about calling for the extinction of all ground hogs, let me just say that these last few days – and the next week – look super awesome weather wise. So, as long as the ground hogs keep bringing us good weather, they can stay. For now.

How do you end you week and get ready for the next? Any informal ritual? Moments of reflection, prayer or other?

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Sunday Thoughts – 2/6

The Dead Sea on a rough day, with salt deposit...
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The estimable Dr. Linville – who is a great guy to take a walk with in downtown Atlanta – has put together program for the day we Bibliobloggers take our show on the road.

As part of the lectionary readings today (We had the lectionary first, contrary to what Jeremy might say) we read the words of Christ to the disciples regarding salt and light,

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world– like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Mat 5:13-16 NLT)

Interesting enough, the Pastor preached on ‘Being Salt’ …. which completely destroyed my planned Sunday School lesson. (Our regular teacher wasn’t there, so I was asked to fill in) I thought that he did a great job – duh – on the salt portion, and it deflated what I had worked up. Honestly, I guess after reading the title of the sermon, ‘Be Salt’, I should have figured that he wasn’t going to talk about Light. Oh well..

Here are my notes –

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The notion that Israel was meant to be God’s singular voice to the world, an example, was prevalent during this time. We see this expressed at the highest point in Isaiah and Amos. They were given justice and the divine oracles as an example to the other nations. Were there failing. Here, Christ is speaking to the fact that His new community would be this new light and this new salt.

Elisha healed the unwholesome water by means of salt (2 Kings 2:20)

5.13 Although the salt recovered from impure salt substances taken from the Dead Sea could dissolve, leaving only the impurities behind, the point here is closer to that expressed by a rabbi at the end of the first century. When asked how one could make saltless salt salty again, he replied that one should salt it with the afterbirth of a mule. Being sterile, mules have no afterbirth, and he was saying that those who ask a stupid question receive a stupid answer. Real salt does not lose its saltiness; but if it did, what would you do to restore its salty flavor—salt it? Unsalty salt was worthless.

5:14. Jewish tradition considered Israel (Is 42:6; 49:6) and Jerusalem (as well as God and the law) the light of the world. The ―city‖ here may thus be Jerusalem; or it may be any elevated city at night, whose torch lights would make it visible to the surrounding countryside.

5:1516. The small wicker oil lamps of this period gave little light in the average home, which had few windows; they would be most effective by being set on a lampstand. Something large placed over them would presumably extinguish the light altogether.

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The dignity of the disciples of Clirist is expressed by a twofold figure: as a spiritual salt, they are to season humanity and preserve it from moral corruption; and as a spiritual light, they are to be to humanity what the physical sun is to the world. By the first metaphor they are characterized as a power of life; by the second, as a power of fight. The first includes the negative idea of preserving the world from insipidity and from decay; the second is purely positive. (Tholuck)

A medieval commentator wrote,

Moreover, salt is changed into another kind of substance by three means, water, the heat of the sun, and the breath of the wind. Thus Apostolical men also were changed into spiritual regeneration by the water of baptism, the heat of love, and the breath of the Holy Spirit. That heavenly wisdom also, which the Apostles preached, dries up the humours of carnal works, removes the foulness and putrefaction of evil conversation, kills the work of lustful thoughts, and also that worm of which it is said their worm dieth not. (Remigius)

Is it me, or does Remigius seem to miss the boat on salt not changing…

This week looks to be a less than terribly busy week. Good. I need it. Classes have started again, as you can tell. I have a review to post tomorrow, as well as a few more lined up.

Plus, continuing with Egypt.

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Sunday Thoughts – 1/30

I’ve had some really good weeks, personally, and I feel more comfortable in my own skin lately, you know?

For the next two weeks, it is going to be pretty normal at work, so maybe I’ll have time to catch up on my reading and the such. I have a few blog posts set up for this week, but I suspect I’ll get more inspiration along the way.

We had a great service this morning with the pastor giving what is best termed ‘The State of the Congregation.’ One of the things which I enjoy about my new home is the connection between the congregation and the community, and not merely in an outreach sorta way. They provide a lot of assistance to those who are without.

Part of the focus, at least if I understood it correctly, was home study groups. Personally, I find this of value, namely because it hearkens back to both the early days of the Church and Methodism. But, we’ll see.

I hope that you have a great week!

Sunday Thoughts – 1/23

Christ the Saviour (Pantokrator), a 6th-centur...
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It was a truly beautiful morning – the sun was shining, some snow falling, and it was one day closer to Spring.

Thanks to my fellow bloggers who wished me a happy birthday and to the many of my facebook friends who did as well. It has been a wonderful day. First, two of children were baptized and joined the covenant of the people of God. Second, it was my first time as the liturgist at Church. Then, of course, it was my birthday.

No, no cake or anything like that. But, my wife did make me breakfast yesterday morning and shrimp etoufee in the evening. It was a good day to spend with my family.

The Legislature is in town so I’m going to have a busy few months. But, I do have a few posts that I’m working on, a few books to read, and of course, the daily RSS feed.

This week has been a good mental week and looking forward to the next one. My second semester starts next week, although I start one class this week. Of course… these things provide posting material…

One of the songs sung this morning was this:

O church of God, united to serve one common goal,
Proclaim to all God’s message, with hearts in glad accord.
Christ ever goes before us; we follow day by day
With strong and eager footsteps along the upward way.

Though creeds and tongues may differ, they speak, O Christ, of thee;
And in thy loving Spirit we shall one people be.
Lord, may our faithful service and singleness of aim
Proclaim to all the power of thy redeeming name.

May thy great prayer be answered that we may all be one,
Close bound, by love united in thee, God’s blessed Son:
To bring a vibrant witness, to make the pathway bright,
That souls which grope in weariness may find your living light.

Anyway, I liked the song. I liked that portion of John too.

Have a great week!

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Sunday Thoughts – 1/9

Site of the baptism of Jesus Christ (2007-05-812)
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It was a beautiful Sunday morning this morning, and although cold, it was great to get out and go to church.

This has been a rather long week, or maybe it was just the weekend. I hope that the next one will be much better.

It is the second week of the year, and the Sunday which many who use the ancient calendar celebrate the baptism of Christ. We have to remember that the ancients used this calendar to live by. It was not just about myths and religion, but about making the Gospel story a daily part of their lives.

This week is going to be a busy week. I’ve got three Board meetings as well as the Legislative session starting, so…

Our pastor spoke this morning to the tragedy which happened and continues to happen in Arizona and to the need for us as Christians to stand up against vitriolic speech. I am looking forward to hearing more from him, especially in light of speech such as this.

I have a few posts this week, not many but a few.

But, until this, have a great week.

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