Revelation of the Magi — Part 1

When revisiting the Christmas story, folks living almost two thousand years ago asked many of the same questions we do. Such as — don’t we all want to know more about the Magi? Traditions have grown up adding to the details in the Gospels: there were three of them (the Gospels don’t say how many,…

The Pilgrim’s Burden

Once upon a time there was a pilgrim on a long pilgrimage. And at the end of each day, he would sit by his campfire, massaging his aching feet. One day he was walking through a village, and a vendor approached him: “Sir, if you buy my comfortable folding chair, you will have somewhere comfortable…

The Knight’s Murderous Rage

Once upon a time there was a knight on a Quest, who heard of a wise Sage living high up in the mountains. So after a long and arduous search the knight found the Sage’s remote cabin. The Sage welcomed him, and the knight sat at his feet. “Wise one,” the knight asked, “please tell…

The Princess and the Crown

Once upon a time, a beautiful princess sat at the edge of a clear, ornate pool in her palace grounds. As she leaned over to gaze at her reflection, her priceless crown tumbled from her head and into the water with a loud splash. At the sound of her scream, royal attendants rushed to her…

Jesus’ Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane

This is one of those Music Boxes where I introduce two seemingly unrelated ideas and then weave them together. So I ask your indulgence… Thread 1: When working with texts from antiquity, we have the problem that we don’t have the original manuscript in Plato’s or St. Luke’s handwriting. What we have are copies of…

Why Ancient Language and Culture

Some believe that all you need to understand the Bible is the Bible itself. And there’s certainly plenty there to keep you very busy without learning about the language and culture of Jesus day. Let’s consider the parable of the Good Samaritan: And behold [a] certain lawyer stood up testing him saying: Having done what…

The Harrowing of Hell

We’re nearing the end of the Gospel of Nicodemus — a 4th century account of Jesus’ trial, crucifixion and resurrection that didn’t make it into the official New Testament. Even if this book doesn’t rise to the level of Holy Writ, I still find that it brings a deeply devotional imagination to the Text, which…

Hymn of Praise

The Gospel of Nicodemus (a fourth century account of Jesus’ death and resurrection that didn’t make it into the official New Testament) contains this “prayer of the people”: (16.8) And all the people sang praises to the Lord, and said: Blessed is the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all…

The Guards at Jesus’ Tomb

Prelude: A Day Dawns                  W. Zeitler Postlude: Order of Chivalry: Justice    W. Zeitler I‘m still working through the Gospel of Nicodemus, a 4th century account of Jesus’ death and resurrection that didn’t make the cut for the official New Testament. One characteristic of this account is…

Order of Chivalry: Obedience

Prelude: Kaddish                 M. Ravel (1875-1937) Susan Addington, Flute Postlude: The Order of Chivalry: Obedience                  W. Zeitler Maurice Ravel composed “Deux Mélodies Hébraïques” (“Two Hebrew Melodies”) in 1914 for voice and piano. (Today we hear it on flute instead.) A few…