The Dove Descending

The Texts about Jesus’ baptism, follow right on the heels of Jesus’ incarnation. With that in mind, there is a sense in which His incarnation itself is a brief plunge into the river of human life. A plunge down, down, down — as St. Paul puts it ‘he emptied himself’ (Phil. 2). And then He…

Metanoia

Jesus famously proclaims: "Repent, for the Kingdom of the Heavens is at hand!" The word translated as "repent" is another example of English lacking a word that expresses the depth of the Greek. The English word "repent" has the connotation of "stop doing something that you like", whereas the Greek word METANOIA (meh-TAH-nee-ah) means something quite…

Dove Descending

"The Dove Descending" W. Zeitler [ORGAN] "Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart" Improvisation In the story of Jesus’ baptism, why does the Holy Spirit descend in the form of a dove? And not a camel or a cactus? It must be because God is trying to tell us something by using that particular representation….

A ‘Mirror’ Book

Once upon a time there was a Book. It contained spiritual teachings, stories, and even some history. But this Book had another, hidden feature: it was a mirror. If your heart was filled with hate, you would read this Book and find all the hate you could want. If your heart was filled with compassion,…

A Virtue of Ancient Languages

Once upon a time I read that when the nation of Israel was being created in 1947, that the leading Rabbis were gathered to decide what the national language would be. You'd think it would obviously be Hebrew, but the concern was that if Hebrew became the national language, then the language of the Torah…

Prerequisites to a Meditation Practice

In Christian monasticism, a period of years of rigorous study of Sacred Texts and spiritual practice were regarded as prerequisites for meditative practice and expression of the Teachings in daily life. Many other religious traditions have the same view. This suggests that the modern Western search for spiritual experiences, frequently divorced from serious religious study…

Recognizing Reality

Any refusal to recognize reality, for any reason, has disastrous consequences. — Ayn Rand Prayer as it is usually approached seems strange to me. Let's see if I've got this right: my friend has cancer, so I pray to God that She heal her. So in other words, God wasn't going to heal her, but…

Anthropos etc.

Prelude in C (BWV 547)        J.S.Bach (1685-1750) [ORGAN] "There's a Wideness To God's Mercy" Fugue in C (BWV 547) J.S.Bach (1685-1750) More observations on the first chapter of John’s Gospel begun last week… The Middle East, including first century Palestine, was (and still is) very patriarchal. Yet sometimes translations make the New…

Worthy Opponents

In studying the martial arts, in order to improve it is absolutely essential to spar with your betters. There is no way around it: if you want to get better, you have to spar with partners who can hand you your ass on a platter. Mind you, the lesson is not to just stand there…