BIBLE: An Inner Light by Brother Roger of Taizé

February 27, 2019

From Seeds of Trust John wrote: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.  What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.  He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.  The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet [...]

BIBLE: An Ever Greater Love by Brother Roger of Taizé

February 20, 2019

From Seeds of Trust Am I a God nearby, says the Lord, and not a God far off?  Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the Lord.  Do I not fill Heaven and Earth? says the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:23-24) “A God who is near”: this expression sums up Israel’s experience of God’s tenderness.  God watches over his people, Israel – “shielded him, cared for him, guarded him as the apple of his eye,” (Deuteronomy 32:10).  But God’s people also experienced a “God who is far away,” and Jeremiah complains about this: “Why should you be like a stranger in the land?” (Jeremiah 14:8))  It is as though God no longer intervened in human affairs; his presence could no longer be felt.  He let Jerusalem and its [...]

BIBLE: The Beauty Of God’s Love by Brother Roger of Taizé

February 13, 2019

From Seeds of Trust While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.  But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way?  For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.”  And they scolded her.  But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her?  She has performed a good work for me.  For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me.  She has done what she could; she has anointed my [...]

BIBLE: “I Will Never Forsake You” by Brother Roger of Taizé

February 6, 2019

From Seeds of Trust Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.  This is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  You know him because he abides with you, and he will be in you.  I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.  In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (John 14:15-20) Jesus knows the human heart.  He knew that his death on the cross would be a scandal for his disciples.  That is why, [...]

BIBLE: A Love Offered To All by Brother Roger of Taizé

January 30, 2019

From Seeds of Trust One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God!”  Then Jesus said to him, “Someone gave a great dinner and invited many.  At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’  But they all alike began to make excuses.  The first said to him, “I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’  Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’  Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’  So the slave returned and reported this to his [...]

BIBLE: All God Can Do Is Love by Brother Roger of Taizé

January 23, 2019

From Seeds of Trust Therefore, I will not allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.  From there I will give her her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.  There she shall respond as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. (Hosea 2:14-15) “All God can do is love.”  Few believers have understood this as well as the prophet Hosea, even though he lived eight centuries before Christ.  Hosea discovered this truth and expressed it in his life as a prophet.  Although several prophets made use of symbols, the symbol Hosea found was quite dramatic and intense.  To express God’s relationship with the people, Hosea was asked to take a prostitute for [...]

BIBLE: God Is Tenderness by Brother Roger of Taizé

January 16, 2019

From Seeds of Trust Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul and do not forget all his benefits— who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always accuse, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according [...]

BIBLE: The Free Gift Of God’s Love by Brother Roger of Taizé

January 9, 2019

From Seeds of Trust God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the Heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. (Ephesians 2:4-10) The author of the Letter [...]

CHILDREN: Let The Children Come To Me, by A. James Murphy

January 16, 2017

From Kids and Kingdom Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak, but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so. This Christian hymn is learned by countless children every year.  It underscores Jesus’s concern and commitment for children in the vulnerability of youth.  The theme central to this hymn probably stems, in large part, from the widely familiar Biblical refrain, Let the young children come to me.  This verse has been used to justify infant baptism and communion for young children, Sunday-school programs, children and youth ministries, mission trips, and Christian relief agencies that specifically target [...]

SCRIPTURE: Who is Wisdom and Where Can She Be Found? by Bonnie A. Bizk

August 13, 2013

From Christine de Pizan & Biblical Wisdom: A Feminist-Theological Point of View Wisdom strides across the pages of the Hebrew Bible with a delightful audacity and aura of authority that rather astounds the reader when first attempting to read these pages without the burden of embedded presuppositions regarding what the Bible is saying.  Here within the Bible, in the very literature that most past historians and scripture scholars have considered a grand tribute to the triumph of monotheism, and a decisively male monotheism at that, emerges a figure who clearly resembles a goddess.  Her person is ambiguous.  In some instances she is an emanation from the most high God, and clearly subordinate; at other times she is conflated with [...]

CREATION: Dragons In The Bible, Part One — Genesis

June 4, 2013

Years ago now I was given the assignment to study dragons. At a minimum, I rolled my eyes many, many times inside my head.  I don’t really “do” things that are not real.  Now a person could argue that evil is not real, or that souls are not real.  But those matters, and others like them, don’t bother me at all because they are abundantly in the Bible and reveal themselves in reality all over the place. But dragons? Seemed like foolishness to me.  Yes, sure, they popped up their fiery heads in the Bible, but wasn’t that metaphor for something else? Well, perhaps yes and perhaps no. Then, not that many years ago, I was given the task to study, and eventually learn to bind, a dragon soul.  Well now, [...]

STORIES OF GOD: Two Thousand Miles For A Book, by Cynthia Pearl Maus

May 2, 2013

Many, many years ago, when the Nez Percé Indians, who lived in that section of the great Northwest which is the source of the Columbia River, heard about the white man’s Book of Heaven, they said it was the source of the white man’s power.  Traders had told them that some day missionaries would come from the country toward the rising sun with the white man’s Bible and tell them all about this wonderful God; and so for years they waited and watched in vain. Finally a tribal council was called and after much deliberation it was decided to send five of their braves, three old men and two young ones, on a long journey into the great unknown land beyond the Rocky Mountains in search of the white man’s Book of Heaven. [...]

SCRIPTURE: Hearing My Master’s Voice

September 14, 2012

During my lifetime I have read(ish) the Bible through(ish) a number of times. I have a collection of reading plans.  One even from the time of Elizabeth I, with readings from 3 Kings and 4 Kings. I say read, when what I really mean is hum. I think that during my life, I have tended to hum with the imagined sound of a bassoon in the back of my mind while reading the Bible.  It beats having to pay attention to it, after all.  Except the good parts.  I pay attention(ish) to the good parts.  Like the story of Tamar in Genesis. The humming is so bad that in spite of the fact that every morning and evening, during prayers, I read that section of psalms that is carved out in my prayerbook (there was even quite a long time when, in addition [...]


September 12, 2012

The Three Angels Tell of the Birth of Isaac Hail!  He will be born, A child of laughter and tears. You will bear a child And you will laugh unto tears, But laughter will stay at last. Isaac, do not fear! Young ram, do not be afraid! Ram, caught in the bush, The bush that burns, undestroyed, I am the fire and the ram. (Madeleine L’Engle) Sacrifice of Isaac O my father, am I really to go with you? And help you with the sacrifice to the Lord? You’ve never taken me before, and I’ve always wanted to go. Why do you weep, Mother? We won’t be long. I’m growing up, now, and it is right that I go with Father. Father, where is the lamb for the sacrifice? Father, what are you doing? Father — Father, how can the Lord want me? I am only a [...]

SATURDAY READING: Sighs Too Deep for Words — On Being Bad at Reading the Bible, by Helen Garner

September 1, 2012

From Portland It would be absurd to pretend that I have “read the Bible.”  Ten years ago I sat down with three translations and toiled my way through it, taking months.  It was an experience of weird, laborious intensity.  But you can’t just read the Bible once.  All that this endeavor did, in the long run, was to give me a sketchy map of an enormous, madly complicated territory (a map which passing time has blurred and distorted), and to offer certain touchstones of beauty of mystery which I desperately hang on to when life leaks meaning, or which leap spontaneously to mind when I’m “surprised by joy.” Every two months the reading roster from church comes in the mail: a list set out in boxes with dates.  A helpful person [...]

GOD’S ALPHABET: B is for Bible, by Frederick Buechner

September 1, 2012

From Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC There are people who say we should read the Bible as literature.  The advice has a pleasantly modern and reasonable ring to it.  We are all attracted.  Read the Bible for the story it tells.  Read the King James Version especially for the power of its prose and the splendor of its poetry.  Read it for the history it contains and for its insights into ancient ways.  Don’t worry about whatever it’s supposed to mean to religious faith.  Don’t bother about the hocus-pocus.  Read it like any other book. The trouble is it’s not like any other book.  To read the Bible as literature is like reading Moby Dick as a whaling manual or The Brothers Karamazov for its punctuation. Like The Divine [...]

POETRY: Family Bible by Robert Morgan

July 25, 2012

The leather of the book is soft and black as that of Grandma’s purse, brought west by horse and wagon, kept on mantel shelf and closet plank. The red dye on the edge has faded. The marriages recorded, births and deaths set down in pencil and in many inks and hands, with names and middle names and different dates and spellings scrawled in berry juice that looks like ancient blood.  And blood is what the book’s about, the blood of sacrifice and blood of lamb, two testaments of blood, and blood of families set in names to show the course and merging branches, roots of fluid in your veins this moment. You open crackly pages think as film of river birch and read the law of blood and soar of blood in print of word and print of [...]