Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pentecost Bulletin Text

Here's the actual bulletin cover.

In the Bible and in Christian tradition, there is no narrative or legend about the creation of fire, but there are abundant experiences of visible evidence of the Divine Presence in some form of fire. From the desert of the Exodus through Isaiah's vision in the temple, to Malachi and to John the Baptizer's promise of One who will baptize not only with water, but with Spirit and with Fire, a strand of purifying, redemptive heat weaves through the witness of scripture. Luke begins the Acts of the Apostles with the risen Christ promising the apostles' forthcoming baptism with the Holy Spirit; in the next chapter, we hear about the Spirit given to individuals gathered in community.

The Spirit of Life that raised Jesus from the dead calls us from wherever we are, and gathers us into this assembly that already has experienced its first death and its second birth. The Holy Spirit of God and of the Christ shapes and forms us into the people of God in this place, a gathering of the ordinary that daily walks the extraordinary Way of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ, living as an alternative community to those under the reign of death.

Like the apostles of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago, we live baptized into the cross of Calvary, into the empty grave of Easter dawn, and into the freedom and fire of Pentecost. When our friends and neighbors meet us, like Jesus' disciples of old, may they also become witnesses to the Risen Christ!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Prayers of Kierkegaard

B√łnner af Kierkegaard | Samuel Barber

O Thou who art unchangeable
, whom nothing changes, may we find our rest and remain at rest in Thee unchanging. Thou art moved and moved in infinite love by all things: the need of a sparrow, even this moves Thee; and what we scarcely see, a human sigh, this moves Thee, O infinite love! But nothing changes Thee, O Thou unchanging!

Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered all life long that I, too, might be saved, and whose suffering still knows no end, this, too, wilt Thou endure; saving and redeeming me, this patient suffering of me with whom Thou hast to do - I, who so often go astray.

Father in Heaven, well we know that it is Thou that giveth both to will and to do, that also longing, when it leads us to renew the fellowship with our saviour and redeemer, is from Thee. Father in heaven, longing is Thy gift. But when longing lays hold of us, oh, that we might lay hold of the longing when it would carry us away, that we also might give ourselves up, when Thou art near to summon us, that we also in prayer might stay near Thee! When Thou in the longing dost offer us the highest good, oh, that we might hold it fast!

Father in Heaven! Hold not our sins up against us, but hold us up against our sins, so that the thought of Thee should not remind us of what we have committed, but of what Thou didst forgive; not how we went astray, but how Thou didst save us!

The words are taken from The Journals, Christian Discourses and The Unchangeableness of God, selected and edited by the composer.

About Yahweh...

One of the revolutionary things about Yahweh is that Yahweh, unlike the other gods of the Ancient Near East, didn't require appeasement, tribute, protection or beseeching! What does Yahweh require and demand? Here's some scriptural evidence:

Amos 5:18-24

I hate, I loathe, I despise your festivals
I am not appeased by and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer Me burnt offerings—and grain offerings—
I will not accept them; ...

Spare Me the noise of your songs,
I will not listen to or hear the music of your lutes and harps.
But let justice well up like water,
And righteousness like an unfailing ever flowing stream.

Micah 6:8

...And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?

3rd Isaiah: Isaiah 58:6-8

Is not this the fast I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to set the broken free, and to shatter every subjugation?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and to bring into your house the homeless, cast out poor, to cover the naked and defenseless, and not to conceal yourself from your own flesh?

Then shall your light break forth like the morning dawn, and your healing shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your safety and security.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Exodus Class Notes 4

Session 4

Exodus 19:1-6

Into the Sinai wilderness – the Lord called Moses out of the mountain; Eagles’ Wings!

If you will obey my voice and keep my covenant

God’s possession

A Kingdom of Priests

A Holy People

"These are the Words" – which you shall speak (see my handout for this class)

Exodus 19:7 Moses set before the elders all the words – "We will do the word of the Lord!"

"Performing the Scriptures"

19:9 The Lord in a thick cloud; wash their garments!

19:11 On the 3rd day the Lord from Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people

19:12 "Set bounds"

19:18 Mount Sinai wrapped in smoke

19:20 The Lord down to the top of the mountain called Moses up to the top of the mountain.

20:1-17 Ten Commandments: I am the Lord your God who brought you out of bondage; no graven images

20:24 In every place I cause my name to be remembered

21 – 22 – 23 These are the ordinances

22:21 You shall not wrong or oppress a stranger for you were strangers in Egypt

22:29 First-born

23:9 You shall not oppress a stranger; you know the heart of a stranger.

Passover ~ Feast of Weeks ~ Feast of Booths (Tabernacles)

Exodus 24 Aaron, Nadab, Abihu – 70 of the elders

24:3 Moses told the people the words of the Lord and the ordinances

24:7-8 Book of the Covenant; Blood of the Covenant – blood enables "doing the words"

24:7b All the words...we will do

24:15-16 Glory of the Lord in the cloud

24:17 A devouring fire

24:18 40 days and 40 nights

25:8 "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell in their midst..."

Exodus Class Notes 3

Session 3

Exodus 12:1 – 18:27; 32:1 – 34:35; 40:34-38

"Not exclusionists" Moses doesn’t obscure the Word!

Passover: Exodus 12:1-14, 21-28, 43-49

12 plagues hadn’t happened yet; prediction of death as the last plague.

Readiness – be ready to leave immediately! Be ready to get out, to leave.

Sourdough starter was ANE "yeast"

Nomadic religion is a religion of promise and one of speed!!!!!

Dedication of first-born: Exodus 13:1-2, 11-16

"The Crisis at the Frontier" – Exodus 12:37-42 verse 37…to the city of Succoth…

The journey is the whole entire point!!!!!

Exodus 14:2 – "Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon…" – God is luring Pharaoh one more time.

Exodus 15 The Song of Moses and Miriam

1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord :

"I will sing to the Lord,
for he is highly exalted.
The horse and its rider
he has hurled into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him…

6 "Your right hand, O Lord,
was majestic in power.
Your right hand, O Lord,
shattered the enemy.
7 In the greatness of your majesty
you threw down those who opposed you.
You unleashed your burning anger;
it consumed them like stubble.
8 By the blast of your nostrils
the waters piled up.
The surging waters stood firm like a wall;
the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea…

11 "Who among the gods is like you, O Lord?
Who is like you –
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand
and the earth swallowed them.

13 "In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling.
14 The nations will hear and tremble;
anguish will grip the people of Philistia.
15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified,
the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling,
the people of Canaan will melt away;
16 terror and dread will fall upon them.
By the power of your arm
they will be as still as a stone –
until your people pass by, O Lord,
until the people you bought pass by.
17 You will bring them in and plant them
on the mountain of your inheritance –
the place, O Lord, you made for your dwelling,
the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established.
18 The Lord will reign
for ever and ever."

19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. 20 Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them:

"Sing to the Lord,
for he is highly exalted.
The horse and its rider
he has hurled into the sea."

17:8-16 Fighting the Amelekites / Malachites

Exodus 15:22 Waters of Marah – "bitter" sulfur in the water

Exodus 16:4 – out of food!

Then the Lord said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you…"

"Bread from Heaven" – forever the symbol of God’s provision.

"God’s providence is sooo different from what we would imagine!"

The natural order is God’s provision

Exodus 16:22-30 – here’s the first mention of the Sabbath:

23 He said to them, "This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’ "

Moses wanted Jethro to stay: Exodus 18

"They wanted to ‘see’ something!" Exodus 32 – "The calf just happened to happen!"?

Exodus 33 – Leave Mount Sinai (Horeb = Sinai); Tent of Meeting; Moses and the Glory of the Lord

Exodus Class Notes 2

Session 2

Any place God meets God’s people is Holy Ground!

Moses’ excuses?

Remember Exodus 32?

The Golden Calf

32:1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him."

2 Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."

5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord." 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.

7 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

9 "I have seen these people," the Lord said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation."

11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. "O Lord," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’

Back to Exodus 3:12 – I will be with you!

Names were "exquisitely important!" Moses – sound is Egyptian for "child"

God forever – of the past, present, future

Exodus 3:18 – 3 days into the desert

Exodus 3:21-22 – take stuff from the Egyptians – "power signs" "gamma ray bursts"

Exodus 4:14-16 God chooses so God provides – a human relationship to image the divine relationship

Exodus 4:19-26 – Read

Exodus 3:24 – "kill Moses?" Exodus 4:24 At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met {Moses} [or "Moses’ son" – Hebrew, "him"] and was about to kill him.

4:26 – "Bridegroom of blood"

Exodus Class Notes 1

During Winter 2003 we blitzed through the book of Exodus; finally I'm blogging my notes for safekeeping.

Session 1

Covenant and Redemption

Joseph and brothers were a relatively small group. Exodus 1:8 "a new king who did not know Joseph."

Hyksos – rulers ca. 1800 started conquering people. Settled in Egypt about 200 years. Amenhotep’s ancestors came to power; Hapiru were a threat on Egypt’s borders.

Goshen, between the Nile River and the Sea of Reeds in the Nile Delta – where Joseph settled – was the Scripps Ranch of Egypt.

By 1300 Hebrews were fully enslaved – like us, they quested for security! Habiru / Hapiru were the same race; some went back to Canaan.

Hyksos sort of came from the Hittites.

Hebrews think in WHOLES!!!!! Religious and secular sectors interpenetrate and are congruent.

"Palestine" is a Syrian word.

"Something of the harem thing was going on."

Amenhotep was a pharaoh who stopped worshiping his ancestral gods and instead set up a temple to Ra: Ra was the only god!!!!! Here we have the possibility of monotheism.

Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law = Reuel.

Exodus 2:24 – God heard their cry!!!