Archive for June, 2017|Monthly archive page

Connecting a Glorious Mystery of the Past

Were you ever allowed to offer literary criticism of the writer of Acts of the Apostles? In English, any way? Literary criticism about the object in a sentence, per the rules of grammar. An antecedent for? In a personal pronoun which seem so impersonal? A reader will know the reference being referred … to? And if you ever read the Gospel of John, you might be shocked by the reference to “devout Jews” from every nation, mentioned by the writer of the Acts of the Apostles, unlike in the Sunday Gospel reading on Penecost, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews….”

“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, ‘they’ were all in one place together. Suddenly there came from the sky …. a noise like a strong driving wind. And it filled the entire house in which ‘they’ were. Then there appeared to ‘them’ tongues as of fire … which parted and came to rest on each one, of ‘them’[which sounds wrongly impersonal in the use of the personal pronouns].”

“‘They’ were all filled with the Holy spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled ‘them’ to proclaim.”[to whom?]

“Now there were ‘devout Jews’ from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, [an attribute which sounds wrong and too impersonal, as if “this sound” rather than the noise which came from the sky] ‘they’ gathered in a large crowd. But ‘they’ were confused because each one heard ‘them’ speaking in his own language. So ‘they’ [which sounds wrongly impersonal, as if each individual sensed and reacted the same] were astounded, and in amazement ‘they’ asked: ‘Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia….’ ”

In the story of Firsts, like in the Book of Genesis, did you ever notice all the mistakes the first time? And, by the way of amazement, if ‘they” all were each so separated by language, how could ‘THEY” ever ask, ‘How then does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia….”

Yes, so the second time. “So Jesus said to them AGAIN: ‘Peace be with you!'”

And did you notice the chronology, in these new commandments about this living dynamic Peace that had been passed down since Abraham? About a closeness, along with a Spirit that came out of a Dynamic Peace. Forgive the ones you seemed closest, too! Like in Temple or Church and in families. And on matters of power and shared dominion, between Church and State, what had been the cause of your Crucifixion?

“And when he had said this, he breathed on THEM [which sounds much more personal] and said to THEM: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit! Whose sins you forgive are forgiven THEM. And whose sins you retain, are retained.'”

Somehow, I imagine it was a lot more personal than as recorded. For all these Jews in the world, who go out to share their inheritance. As “they” came to understand “it.” Like the Apostle John, who is NOT the evangelist writing the last Gospel, John, if you did the chronology, after the second Temple was destroyed. Mostly, rather personally. To take that kind of destruction so personally. So is it the sins you forgive or THEM that sinned?

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill.

Like in Psalm 104, concerning the face of the Earth.

When you send forth your spirit, ‘they’ are created, and you renew the face of the earth….

….stolen from Cecilia Wessels’ Facebook, like suddenly there came from the sky …. a noise like a strong driving wind. Thanks Cecilia.

TUESDAY POST SCRIPT:  The Hand of God.

Did Abraham ever find God, like yesterday, in the emptiness of famine. At the end, in an Evangelical call for prayer together – as if he could convert me and this food through his prayer – The Muslims, and I along with them, left.

Abraham, trying to design God, through sacrifice, was like Alexander Hamilton, trying to design a nation, if you have seen the play or read the book by Chernow.

Money. The systems, created. With Land. Would there be land banks, since the currency was so worthless? In the beginning, inventing a national currency? Did you know all the Troubles in creating?

In post-Revolution, this first Civil War, Hamilton is manipulating George Washington? And then Jefferson – yikes! – with his thinking, and with his slaves.

Abraham. Count the moments of the Great Unsettlings. In his life. In contending with what is private and what is public, there is great irony in giving up the Land, as well as a home. In replicating the Great One, like Abraham, how?

With balance, in Somalia, Church/Mosque and State? Is there even a section of the news for today’s obituaries in Somalia. . . for the Somalis who are dying in hunger? There was at the end of the day, a photo projected of a mother of eight, now down to five.  In the photo, she had just received a box of food from the American charity, addressing famine. Of her future – should she lose five more, would she be a mother? And as she is all alone, where is her God of Abraham, for the mother?

Surviving, after every war, In a public sector?  Social justice, over who might stay there.  Taking what had been so public – in war – private?  Like The American Revolution, with the split.  On what side were you?   Loyalists, post-war?  Did you know the ongoing clash among the survivors, after every war in a public sector?  So, social justice?  That the Somalians might stay!  So, taking what was public, private, keeping their land in the hands of the Somalis like never has been allowed in Syria in the past six years?

Who might stay there?  “Why me? Why have I survived and my three children have not? Or all my relatives born in Somalia now in Minnesota?”

Goodness?  In invisible famine, feed MY starving Children, oh God!  Like in The Great Flood, there were the Loyalists who never moved from their lands, like Noah did.  Not unlike these times, with the oceans under threat like never before – defending much more than the fish, from rising temperature.

Humans living in denial.  Unable to look too close?  Leaving?  Staying? The Choice, for the wealthy?  Taking what was not yours to take?  Sacrifice, Abraham?  When there is nothing left, maybe like for you in old age? Taking what is private, so public. Group our kids by age…by place in neighborhoods, by gender – to hear, if not learn, stories!  But all  translators betray what they attempt to convey – this is a truism – as every reader comes to their Scriptures with a history.  And some with head scarves.

Did you ever consider the eight survivors eating during the Great Flood? Did you ever contrast dryness to a great flood? Like these days in Somalia. In the emptiness of famine, Feed My Starving Children, during Ramadan, was addressing the six million in Somalia this morning in need of food.  I gave some time yesterday to their cause which involved, for me, too much cheer-leading and too little humility. I walked home later wondering, why am I able to help the starving, in Famine? Like the one in Ireland, that seemed to teach a people, forever after, something about sharing. Why in Somalia is their Land like this and mine is not? Why are we not all starving? Together!

Valuations. Counting the cost, through sacrifice. And at the end, the representative of Feed My Staring Children, an Evangelical – part of The Evangelical Movement – wanted in a too loud moment of his prayer, over the just packed food, when the sun had risen at 5:30 am and would set after 9:00 pm, wanted the Muslims here to pray. With him over his food, while they fasted? Taking what was private a little bit too public, for me. This morning, I am considering, again, over breakfast, “the right hand of God” moment that both saved the first born son as well as split the son, along with that photo depicting the right hand of God, in the “why me?” moment, of what can come out of sacrifice. Given life… a second time, if I keep losing more, will I still be an Evangelical? As I ate my food and contemplated Grace, I wonder at what point I might stop being Irish, or a Somali, or even an American, after being given life a second time. 

Did you know all the Troubles that come in creating?  Like a Nation Once Again?

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