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Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

 

It’s a writing day for me and my supporting angels are feeling humorous; which means fun along the way for me.

I opened my Bible to a random spot to practice Lectio Divina before getting into my own writing. I opened to page 1067, which is 2 Maccabees 2 and my eye fell to the bold paragraph title, Author’s Preface. 

“Well,” I thought. “This is a good place to begin.  I read, with interest how a writer in the days before Christ arrived on earth performed his writing process. The author is Jason of Cyrene and he reports events in Jewish history from the time of the High Priest, Onias the Third (about 180 B.C.) to the death of Nicanor (161B.C.).

Since I have recently completely revamped my own preface and introduction and first chapter to the memoir I am working on, I felt delighted to discover this page. I love synchronicity.

I will report his process in his own words:

2 Maccabees 2:23-32

“I will now try to summarize in a single book the five volumes written by Jason. The number of details and the bulk of material can be overwhelming for anyone who wants to read an account of the events. But I have attempted to simplify it for all readers; those who read for sheer pleasure will find enjoyment and those who want to memorize the facts will not find it difficult. Writing such a summary is a difficult task, demanding hard work and sleepless nights. It is as difficult as preparing a banquet that people of different tastes will enjoy.

But I am happy to undergo this hardship in order to please my readers. I will leave the matter of details to the original author and attempt to give only a summary of the events. I am not the builder of a new house, who is concerned with every detail of the structure, but simply a painter whose only concern is to make the house look attractive.

The historian must master his subject, examine every detail, and then explain it carefully, but whoever is merely writing a summary should be permitted to give a brief account without going into a detailed discussion.

So then, without any further comment, I will begin my story. It would be foolish to write such a long introduction that the story itself would have to be cut short.”

Thousands of years later, I believe we writers inspect our own work in much the same way.

 

 

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jesus-christ-superstar-131989

I have decided to start my quiet prayer time in the morning with two short readings. I will read one Psalm per day because it entertains my creative, poetic muse and gives me imagery and verse to ponder.

My overall impressions of the Psalms, the longest book of the Bible, is that the authors (this book of hymns was written over a long period of time by different authors) were either pleading wholeheartedly, begging mercilessly for forgiveness and salvation or praising their God to the highest heavens, exalting all signs on earth as witness to God’s great power and glory.  There is little in-between.

This fits in with some of the emotional highs and lows I have known in my life.

Then, I am also going to read a chapter or part of a long chapter of one of the gospels each morning. The reason is that I want to, once again,  focus on the words and the actions of Jesus.  Then I want to apply this to what I think I believe about Jesus and see how this plays out in my daily life.

To be sure, I don’t count all of this reading and meditation as holy time.

For instance, I am reading Mark’s account of the holy word. In yesterday’s selection, Jesus called Andrew and Simon at Lake Galilee to “Come with me”, gathering up James and John, sons of Zebedee a little further down the road.  Then he began teaching and healing people at the synagogue.

The people are amazed (yes, they even used that overused word in the Bible) and begin to wonder who this man is who calls out evil spirits from people.  News about Jesus quickly began to spread.

So today, I pick up the story, and Jesus has left the synagogue and goes straight to the home of Simon where it says Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever. Upon being told this, Jesus went to her, helped her up, and vanished the fever

Ok, I’m distracted now. First by the fact that she was Simon’s mother-in-law and right away I begin wondering about two things (actually three things, which I will get to).

First, if that is the case, Simon Peter is married and I wonder: What happened to Peter’s spouse and wife as he increasingly “hangs with Jesus”, and is groomed to be the founder of Christ’s church on earth after Jesus is gone. How did that affect his marriage; did he continue it, or abandon it to spread the faith across the land? What became of Peter’s wife? If he was about the gospel of love, then surely he had to continue it in his home.

Well, I don’t know the answers to these things. Maybe some bible scholar does whom I have not heard nor read yet. If I’ve been told any relating historical facts to this, I don’t remember them and I am sure there was never a question with a required memorized answer to it in the foundational Baltimore Catechism.

Secondly, I also wonder why the Catholic Church has made such a thing about priests not being married when the first  leader chosen by Christ was married. In fact, he was found to be so rock-solid, even with his many character flaws, that Jesus would declare: “Upon this rock, I will build my church”.

Perhaps I should read scripture in a study group, rather than alone.

But the ending of the sentence where Simon’s mother-in-law is healed throws me off track from holiness and spiritual inquiry.  Apparently, immediately upon recovering from her illness and fever from the touch of Jesus’ hand, she…..”began to wait on them.”  

What? No recovering respite? Ahhh, the long road women have travelled!

Now, I am no longer pondering the scripture, I am hearing the words to Jesus Christ Superstar start on my internal spiritual  itunes download.

“Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Who are you? What have you sacrificed?
Jesus Christ Superstar Do you think you’re what they say you are?

(Don’t you get me wrong, now) Don’t you get me wrong
(Only want to know) Only want to know.”

I pray, “Jesus, I really do want to know.” Just as Judas pleads to know  who you are in this super hit song of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway musical. I continue in prayer, “That’s why I’m reading your Word. I don’t want you to get me wrong, I only want to know. And that is why I listen for you….always.”

Now, I’m thinking of my daughter and her theater time coming up as she prepares for the musical direction of Jesus Christ Superstar in their community theater production. The performance and the music made a deep impression on me in the 1970s. I look forward to experiencing it in the new millennium, more than thirty years later.

I see on the lyrics page I can download the ringtone on my cellphone.

I want to do that. I’ll have to wait for my grandson to show me how.

My meditation will continue each time my phone rings. Maybe that counts for something?

 

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