Jeremiah

The Book of Jeremiah makes its mark upon the canon by speaking of the iniquity of the people in clear and devastating terms, the anguish and fury of God, and the subsequent ripple effect that iniquity causes throughout the land and the ages.

The book opens with a series of lamentations from the people to God. These repeatedly elaborate upon the suffering of the people. Yet it is in verse 2:19 that the reader glimpses the heart of God and His desire to separate Himself from His people because of their sin and His heartache at their denial of Him: “Your wickedness will punish you, and your apostasies will convict you.” It is as a direct result of their sin that they are punished lest anyone claim otherwise; this shows God’s desire for clarity as well as complete burden of blame upon the people. Continue reading

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Discernment

In spite of the physical shortcomings, the emotional health, the socio-economic status, the age, the depth of spiritual maturity, and even the wavering strength of the individual, God will have His way. There is no reason or what we might consider as a barrier to Him who will see completion of His design. He is relentless and patient. He knew angry Jonah, stuttering Moses, laughing Sarah, and young Samuel. He knew Mary. He knew them even when they were knit in their mothers’ wombs. His fierce intention to complete His work and His awareness of who He chose to complete that work is a testament to His perfect plan. Continue reading

Proverbs

The book of Proverbs is distinct from other texts in the canon in that it offers to bridge the gap between the laws from God and the motivational behavior of the people. To put this writing into context of the Old Testament so far (succinctly): the Pentateuch seeks to establish creation, God’s relationship with man, and His laws and consequences of breaking said laws. Proverbs enters the canon as a behavioral-based text for those seeking to follow and delight in God, specifically the benefits of adhering to God’s commands. Continue reading

Chronicles (in two threads)

Historical Challenge of Chronicles
The inconsistencies within the text of Chronicles versus Samuel-Kings does not imply that one is truth and the other lies.  Inconsistencies also occur in the creation narrative.   What comes to mind, however, if we allow the inconsistencies to occur and still regard the whole text as valid is that we must accept the entire canon as the Word of God.  It isn’t a textbook or an encyclopedia.  If we are to believe the entire text as God’s Word, we must allow variations to exist for a purpose. Continue reading

Walter Hilton

Most likely written to an anchoress, Walter Hilton offers instruction and guidance concerning the spiritual journey towards God in his Ladder (or Scale) of Perfection. This text, however, is prefaced by Clifton Wolters in the introduction; Wolters reflects on Ladder and Hilton specifically with a sense of objectivity mingled with admiration. Wolters, familiar with Hilton’s medieval writings, deposits the mystic’s guiding ideas into several larger topics: the mystic life and the age of Hilton’s “contemporaries,” the path of contemplation including its stages as well as its potential frustrations, and the joining of one’s spirituality with Christ. Continue reading

Joshua

While not the only theme of the book of Joshua, a strong current within the text is a handbook, if you will, regarding the qualities necessary in righteous leadership. Joshua is not the first significant leader of the Old Testament; he follows Abraham, Noah, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron. However, his lot is given to him from the former leadership of Moses — the one who lead the people of God out from the hands of Pharoah. He came to leadership having apprenticed under Moses and learned the habits of leadership, and consequences of failure, vicariously through Moses. Continue reading

What I Heard from the Pulpit…

Today is the celebration of the Transfiguration, a moment in Luke’s Gospel (our reading passage for today) in which Jesus reveals Himself in His Divine Glory to Peter, John, and James.  The sermon this morning offered a different perspective on this event.  The lectionary reading also included Moses, face shining from having experienced the Glory of God atop the Mount, descending from Mt. Sinai and being asked by Aaron and the Israelites to cover his face — they were scared of what they saw in Moses. Continue reading

The Cloud of Unknowing

“The quality of the contemplative effort which measures all progress in the interior life of the solitary is immediately related to the reflex conscious awareness of the self in its relationship to God, the supreme and single object of its desire” (64). While James Walsh in writing the Introduction to The Cloud of Unknowing understands that the author is not directly writing his text to a single individual nor is the author writing strictly for a solitary contemplative as Walter Hilton did in The Scale of Perfection, Walsh does bring forward the author’s intention of addressing all who desire to love God with intentionality and of single purpose. Continue reading