Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Numbers 33 - Recounts in detail the route the Israelites take into the Promised Land and the division of that land: Egypt to Sinai (42 stations in all).
Sinai to Kadesh; then Mt. Hor to Ezion-geber; and finally, Ezion-geber to the Plains of Moab. Moses tells the people when they enter the lands the Lord is giving them and destroy the stone figures and images of the people whose land they will be taking. “[I]f you fail to drive out the people who live in the land,…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 23, 2013 at 5:31am — No Comments
Numbers 12 – Miriam and Aaron both complain to Moses of his marriage to Zipporah, whom they consider a “despised foreigner.”
But the complaint is a pretext for their jealousy of him. “The complained, ‘Is it through Moses alone that the Lord speaks? Does he not speak through us also?’” (12:2) The Lord orders the three of them to come out to the meeting tent where he has this to say: “Should there be a prophet among you, in visions will I reveal myself to him, in…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 9, 2013 at 6:00am — No Comments
Leviticus 22 – Priests must respect the offerings made by the people by remaining clean, sacred. Laymen may not eat of the sacred offerings. Such offerings—holocausts, votive offering or free-will offerings—must be unblemished males, at least eight days old.
Leviticus 23 – The holy days that must be observed are listed in this chapter:
Sabbath – “You may work for six days, but the seventh must be a day of complete rest, a day for…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 2, 2013 at 8:12am — No Comments
Leviticus 18 – Chapters 18-26 are known as the “Holiness Code.” The Schocken Bible editor points out that beyond the “heightened moments” of perception that make human beings feel linked to the “primal powers of existence,” the Jews also longed for a perfection and completeness in behavior “in all areas of life, personal and communal (593).
The people are warned NOT to conform to the customs of the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 29, 2013 at 5:46am — No Comments
I was reading the other day the book 'Keeping Silence' by C. W. McPherson who is an Episcopal priest and spiritual director. McPherson found himself guiding people in their spiritual practice. One of the most difficult practices, he found, was for people to be silent:
"If I ever thought that keeping silence was easy, my congregation taught me otherwise. From time to time as a parish priest, I recommended they try spiritual pracices, such as memorizing a psalm or reading…Continue
Exodus 19 – Some of the interesting observations made by the Schocken translator in his introduction to chapters 19-24 include the following: the mountain serves as a bridge between heaven and earth [Augustine would run with this image in his sermons]—and only Moses is permitted to ascend it.
Mt. Sinai itself never became a holy site for the Israelites. The…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 31, 2013 at 6:51am — No Comments
Exodus 18 – Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro (AKA Reuel) brings Zipporah, Moses’ wife, and their two sons, Gershom/Sojourner There and Eliezer/God’s Help, to Moses at the mountain of God, and he rejoices to hear all that the Lord has done. The Schocken Bible points out that the wilderness or “trek” narratives, Exodus and Numbers, have six stations or stops between Egypt and Sinai, and then six again from Sinai to the Promised Land. Here they…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 30, 2013 at 5:51am — No Comments
Exodus 5 - Then they go together – Moses and Aaron - to ask Pharaoh to let them go “hold a festival [“hag”] for me in the desert” [“hag” in Hebrew is related to hajj in Arabic].
Pharaoh wants to know “Who is YHWH, that I should hearken to his voice” (5:2). Pharaoh accuses them of just being lazy and looking for an excuse to get out of doing the work he wants them to do. Instead of letting them go, he increases their…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 18, 2013 at 5:42am — No Comments
Exodus 3 – “One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro . . . He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush . . . Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up” (3:1-2).
Moses goes over to the bush and tries to find out what is happening, and God speaks to him “out of the midst of the bush” (3:4), calling…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 17, 2013 at 6:07am — No Comments
Introduction: We turn here from the origins of the earth’s peoples—nations, races and clans—to the origins of the Jewish people religiously and politically. While we have no “outside”—extra-biblical—sources to weigh historical information against, the [historically/culturally] experiential impact of the exodus memory/story is impossible to set aside.
The memory/story, which is recounted here, is not only reality-orienting for the Jewish people,…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 16, 2013 at 7:31am — No Comments
Job 40 – Now God asks Job for some reply. And Job is brought low. “See, I am of small worth; what can I answer You? I clap my hand to my mouth” (40:4).
And God responds to him: “Gird your loins like a man; I will ask, and you will inform Me. Will you prove me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?” (40:7-9).
The powers of man are second only to those of…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 15, 2013 at 5:55am — No Comments
Job 38 – Finally God speaks out of the tempest, the whirlwind:
“Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them” (38:2-3).
He is speaking to Job but really through Job to all of us: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?” (38:4) In a way, God speaks the very same arguments Elihu spoke, but the difference is He is speaking directly and…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 14, 2013 at 5:46am — No Comments
Job 36 – Elihu speaks again. He speaks to “justify my Maker” (36:3) as a “man of sound opinions” (36:4). He, like the other “friends” refuses to let Job imply that God is not a God of justice or a God who cares for the poor. These are opinions all who love God will defend. The “fates” that men endure are fates that flow from God’s justice, he says. “If they will serve obediently, they shall spend their days in happiness. . . but if they are not obedient, they shall perish by…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 13, 2013 at 5:32am — No Comments
Job 34 – Elihu continues: The reason God gives us is meant to weigh arguments so that we can decide what is just and unjust. Job has declared that he is right and that God has deprived him of justice (34:5). But while he differs somewhat in how he thinks he’s come to truth, he essentially agrees that God does “repay people according to their deeds. He treats people as they deserve” (34:11).
“If God were to take back his spirit and withdraw his breath, all life…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 12, 2013 at 6:07am — No Comments
Job 32 – The three “friends” of Job now give up on him “because he kept insisting on his innocence” (32:1).
Elihu, son of Barachel the Buzite, now speaks to Job in anger. He is younger that all the others, so he has tried to hold his tongue, but now he is annoyed that the three “friends” have been so unsuccessful in convincing Job that he must have sinned. He thinks it is “the spirit in men, the breath of Shaddai, that gives them…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 11, 2013 at 5:47am — No Comments
Job 31 – Job’s lament continues. He wonders what it is that makes God choose what we shall receive from Him. “[W]hat has God above chosen for us? What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high? Isn’t it calamity for the wicked and misfortune for those who do evil?” (31:2-3) – just as his “friends” have said over and over. This idea is a great temptation. It makes sense when we weigh our ideas of God against the notion of what justice is. I think…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 10, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments
Job 29 – Job reminisces about his blessed past “when God’s company graced my tent” (29:4). “The Almighty was still with me, and my children were around me. . . . Those were the days when I went to the city gate and took my place among the honored leaders. The young stepped aside when they saw me, and even the aged rose in respect at my coming” (29:5-8).
“All who saw me spoke well of me. For I assisted the poor in their need and the orphans who required help.…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 9, 2013 at 5:58am — No Comments
Job 27 – Job continues, maintaining that for “as long as there is life in me and God’s breath is in my nostrils, my lips will speak no wrong, nor my tongue utter deceit” (27:3-4).
“I will never concede that you are right; I will defend my integrity until I die. I will maintain my innocence without wavering. My conscience is clear for as long as I live” (27:5-6).
Job goes on to speak nearly the same “wisdom” he has heard with such…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 8, 2013 at 6:07am — No Comments
Job 24 – “Why doesn’t the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment? (24:1). Job sets out a picture of the world where the wicked freely persecute the poor and the poor quietly go about trying to survive. “The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the wounded cry for help, yet God ignores their moaning. Wicked people rebel against the light. They refuse to acknowledge its ways or say in its paths” (24:12-13).
Job seems to take some comfort in the fact that evil-doers…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 7, 2013 at 6:02am — No Comments
The Method of the Guide
The ‘Guide to True Peace’ offers a simple method of prayer, referred to as the prayer of inward silence. The method is stated in Chapter 1:
“We must retire from all outward objects, and silence all the desires and wandering imaginations of the mind; that in this profound silence of the whole soul, we may hearken to the ineffable voice of the Divine Teacher. We must listen with an attentive ear; for it is a still, small voice. It is…Continue
Added by Jim Wilson on 3rd mo. 6, 2013 at 11:04am — No Comments