Posts Tagged ‘biblical reflection’

Perhaps we should give up heaven for Lent.

Like a cleansing diet, it might be a good thing for us to lay aside our notions of an esoteric, heavenly faith. At least long enough to re-root in history, where YHWH’s redemption locates itself and—in its way—turns the world upside down. (more…)

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The long book called Isaiah displays a complex understanding of ‘the nations’.

One one extreme, it is capable of seeing them as naked adversaries to God’s chosen Israel. On the other, they are welcomed into the center of YHWH’s redemptive purposes.

In between, one can only admire the dexterity with which their existence, their behavior, and their destiny are so deftly explored. As with everything else in this book, their definition comes via an artful layering of truth upon truth. Each fresh level does not eradicate what has gone before, but rather reframes it. (more…)

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We may live in a world with its horrors, yet we do not live in a horrible world.

There is goodness and gift aplenty amid these hills, in this city, within the troubled textures of this little life. (more…)

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The famous story of the ‘widow’s mite’ is a beloved slice of the gospels’ narrative testimony about Jesus. Her skinny little offering—amidst large and clanging competitors—touches a sentimental nerve in sympathetic readers. (more…)

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Isaiah turns often to speak of the storied, shadow-kept ‘servant of YHWH’ with clear indication that what the figure represents is a people. In about equal measure, the ‘servant’ is figured as a person. (more…)

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Are those who die unjustly simply to be forgotten?

In a world like ours—battered and bleeding—it is for too many the farthest thing from an arcane question. The rubble of battlefield and broken neighborhood covers far too many lifeless bodies for that.

It has become for us, as it was in the beginning, a question most real. (more…)

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The book called Isaiah quietly lays layer atop rhetorical layer as it ambles forward in the general direction of glorified Zion.

By the time one arrives at the stirring reversal of fortunes that takes the steering wheel firmly in hand at chapter 40, we have encountered the expression רעהו with a prefixed preposition multiple times. It has described the action of a derelict or judged person to his fellow or to his companion. In the Isaianic way, this otherwise neutral expression has accrued with each new layer a discernibly negative connotation. (more…)

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It is difficult, in these mangled days, to focus. One lives distracted and, therefore, enslaved to the mundane blur that swirls on all sides without pause.

Yet not all have lived this way, and not all must.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13–16 ESV)

I come uneasily to this company of exiles, for I love this soil, this place, this fecund rooting. (more…)

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The poet who stands behind our 104th psalm contributes to a compendium that adds to YHWH’s activity in history a celebration of his work in creation. It is a beautiful oddity.

Curiously, two features of divine participation in creation interweave the psalmist’s celebration. (more…)

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Psalm 103 insists that we live in a world in which clear vision leads to gratitude.

Blessedness is reality. The failure to see this means that someone has gone blind, perhaps even succumbed to a lie.

Yet gratitude requires a choice—and even that ongoing choice which becomes a discipline—because for some unnamed reason we are liable to forget. Blessing is a fact on the ground, yet gratitude seldom occurs in nature. It requires practice, discipline, even culture, lest blessing go unanswered by thanksgiving. (more…)

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