Thursday, January 21, 2016

η λέξη

My mom asked me this morning if I had been blogging lately, and I had to confess that I hadn't.
No, Mom; televised college basketball games, pro football games, and movies of divers natures have been the priority for me of late. Along with food.
And drink.

So, having been prodded sufficiently, I have committed to producing something this morning that is at a very definite maximum 85% original in nature (i.e., minimal copying and pasting here, bub).

I am still reading through my first 'Catholic' Bible: The New American Version - St Joseph Edition, and I recently finished the Old Testament. This is noteworthy because I began reading Genesis back in the fall of 2011 when I was living in Bear Lake, and during the past five years, I've for the first time read the books Luther removed from his Bible: Tobit, Judith, 1st & 2nd Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. I am told that writings from these books are referred to or quoted quite often in the New Testament, and often by Christ himself. Which leads me to wonder: Why would you take these books out of your Bible? (For that matter, why would you also want James' Epistle, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and portions of the Letter to the Hebrews removed?)

I enjoy Genesis and Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua,Judges, and Ruth, because in those books, I am reading a story (the beginnings of HIS-story, really). Even though the narrative is ancient, contained therein are heroes and villains, blessings and cursings, delighters in good and extreme departures from good, followers of God and enemies of God, espionage and virtue, deceit and honesty, adventure and ritual.

Many of these themes are played out again in Samuel through Maccabees, where we also read about the Kings of Israel from Saul to the split of the Kingdom, to the deportation and enslavement by Assyria and the Babylonian captivity, and the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple.
What I remember the most from I and II Kings and I and II Chronicles are many variations of '...and David son of Jack did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not to the extent that his fathers did...'; listing king after king with a brief synopsis of his evil-ness (or good-ness), while often adding supporting stories and anecdotes.

Then follow the Wisdom Books: Job - wonderfully renown as poetry excellence; Psalms - ancient songs of praise, lament, joy, wonder, supplication; Proverbs - short tidbits of wisdom arranged in themes; Ecclesiastes - 'is there a point to life?'; Song of Songs - a love song!; Wisdom - nuggets in the manner of Proverbs, and Sirach - a collection of ethical teaching written only a couple centuries before Christ.
These collections are wonderful to behold but were not meant, I am sure, to be read like a story. Many single verses (Remember, they weren't written in 'verses', they were just written. We added verses later.) can be read and re-read and memorized and pondered and used as a guide for making decisions or as a life-motto if you desire. For example Sirach 1:27 reads:
For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline;
faithfulness and humility are his delight.
Then, starting with Isaiah and ending in Malachai, are the books of the Prophets. These are toughest for me to read. Many are loaded with typology and metaphors and I refer often to the notes at the bottom of the page while reading these. The message, though, is as time-less as it is time-ly: return to the LORD or else!

Actually, the more I read through these, the more I understand; and I appreciate the good folks at and for their commentary, discussion, and help tools.
Daniel provides historical stories, chock full of visions and warnings; but it contains my second favorite story in the entire collection of sacred scripture.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel are the longest, and are the toughest for me to get through.

I have been trying to commit to daily readings since I started the New Testament, even if it's only a couple of chapters a day.

I like to simplify things, so my summary so far of the Gospel of Matthew:
Genealogy, Nativity story, John the Baptizer, Temptation by the devil, Preaching of Jesus, Miracles of Jesus, Scribes and Pharisees want to do away with Him.

History is always and unabashedly HIS story, God be praised.

I love you, mom

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