September 24, 2014
This Wednesday we are concluding our series of readings about Abraham through the eyes of the New Testament apostle Paul. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that “To misunderstand Paul, was to be ignorant of the divine idea he taught.” (SH 560) This Wednesday’s readings are on the Holy City, which Mrs. Eddy describes as “the acme of this Science as the Bible reveals it” (SH 577). The Bible readings take you through some of the events that occurred when holiness was deemed to have occurred in a specific place, and I have included some photos connected to these stories. What a shift in thought it must have been when Jesus and his followers saw holy places differently!
On a personal note, the concept of the Holy City was very helpful to me awhile back when Nathan called to tell me that he was jumping out of a plane with a group of friends who had decided to go skydiving. At the time, we were studying Revelation in our Time for Thinkers Book Club and discussing the Holy City, so it was comforting to place Nathan inside the walls of the Holy City, always surrounded and protected. If you want to see Nathan joyously jumping out of plane, here it is (click on first box on right) :
September 17, 2014
The subject of this Wednesday’s readings is Melchizedek? Melchisedec Who?
Let me give you some background. Around 22 years ago when I was expecting my first child, I was feeling anxious as new mothers-to-be frequently are. I had a stack of Sentinels in my home, and I started reading an article about prayer. The author, who was another expectant mom, was inspired to learn about Melchizedek, but I was stumped! I had always fancied myself to be a Bible nerd, but who was this Melchizedek? Learning about him was very freeing for me, so I’ve included that article “So many ways to pray!” (I’ve also included another article about the same story but from the perspective of employment.)
I’ve included some Bible notes about Abraham and Melchizedek (whose name is spelled differently between the Old and New Testaments for those who think the title has a typo). In our readings about Abraham, we have been looking back at this patriarch through the eyes of Paul who added a spiritual interpretation from his own experience of meeting the Christ.
Abraham’s concept of God inspired a few painters, so I’ve included a link to a famous Russian icon.
As always, it would be great to see you on a Wednesday night at 4th Church, but if not, there is always SKYPE or speaker phone. Last week, we did have someone on speaker phone from Vicksburg, and he could hear and participate just fine!
September 3, 2014
On Wednesdays in September, we will be reading about different aspects of Abraham, who is described by many Bible scholars as the father of the monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). This Wednesday we are reading about how Abraham had to conquer fear before he could have the blessed fulfillment of his promised child AND the blessed fellowship with a former foe.
The writers of Genesis were very careful to identify all of the stops on Abraham’s journey, and knowing the meanings of these names and places adds another depth to the Bible story. I’ve included the Hebrew meanings of these words in a link, as well as the “chiasm” in Abraham story. Chiasm is a literary device used in some Hebrew literature where the ending of a story mirrors the beginning of a story. That’s my vocabulary word of the week (thanks to the notes in the New Oxford Annotated Bible), and it is another way to approach Abraham’s story, and especially with the two “wife is my sister” stories.
Another new vocabulary word for me is “Xantippe” from Science and Health. Xantippe was the wife of Socrates who is described today as a scolding and quarrelsome woman. Shakespeare compared Kate in “Taming of the Shrew” to Socrates’ Xantippe (thanks Wikipedia). Now what Xantippe has to do with Abraham and Sarah will be for you to ponder!