Tag Archives: Bible

The Eternal Doesn’t Want To Be Bent by Us

Rilke draws on the story of Jacob and the Angel in his poem “The Man Watching.” We grow, he writes, by “being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings.”

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Emily Dickinson’s “Smart Misery” of Doubt

Emily Dickinson struggled with religious doubt all of her life. Because she desperately wanted to belief, some of her poems show her faith being tested.

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The Simple Creed: Man’s Duty to Man

This poem about the Good Samaritan by Australian working class author Henry Lawson depicts the Samaritan as a figure from the outback.

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Footprints on the Sands of Time

Longfellow’s “Psalm of Life” quotes from today’s Gospel reading–“let the dead bury their own dead”–in ways that help illuminate Jesus’s message.

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The Joads & Steinbeck’s Lenten Message

“The Grapes of Wrath” has a Lenten message with the Joad family lost in the wilderness, led by the Moses/Jesus figure Jim Casy. After Casy is killed, Tom Joad becomes the apostle who takes his vision of a transcendent humankind to the wider world.

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Mary’s Dangerous Request at Cana

In his poem about the wedding at Cana, Rilke sees Mary as a proud mother who inadvertently pushes her son towards his destiny by asking him to perform a miracle. On reflection, she realizes what she did.

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Theoretically, a Season for Everything

The soul, says Amichai Yehuda in this Rosh Hashanah poem, knows that, for everything there is a season. The body, on the other hand, gets the seasons all muddled up.

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Though Thou Art in Thy Blood, Live

Spiritual Sunday A couple of weeks ago my library reading group discussed Marilynne Robinson’s Lila, the third novel in what one member described as a triptych. I love Robinson’s depiction of the Congregationalist minister John Ames in Gilead, and Lila gives us the backstory of the woman that Ames marries as an old man. (Home, […]

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(Limitless Pity Makes All Large & New)

Spiritual Sunday Today’s Old Testament reading is the episode in the Book of Jonah after that conflicted man returns from the whale episode and this time does what God has commanded him to do, which is to prophesy to the people of Nineveh about their wickedness. In the Keith Schlegel poem I have chosen, one […]

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And God Said, “That’s Good”

James Weldon Johnson’s version of the Genesis creation story accords with some contemporary theological theories of God.

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Lit, Like Christ, Is Divinity Made Manifest

The opening lines of the Book of John can be used to describe how literature operates in the world.

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Wrestling with (My God!) My God

The story of Jacob wrestling with the angel finds powerful expression in Gerard Manley’s Hopkins’ “Carrion Comfort.”

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The Evil I Do Not Want Is What I Do

Spiritual Sunday  In today’s Episcopal service we encounter a passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans that I particularly like, in large part because it captures an internal conflict that we can all relate to. It also reminds me of a passage from Anthony Trollope’s The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867). First, here’s St. […]

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Christianity in the Slave Owning South

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin” shows how the Bible can be misused and how we should interpret it to promote social justice.

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The Dove Descends, the Spirit Soars

The baptism of Jesus, like his birth, symbolizes a moment when divinity enters the world.

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I Have Found My Sheep that Was Lost

Dickens draws on the parable of the lost sheep in shaping “David Copperfield.”

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A Time for Silence

Silence can be a very powerful response to tragedy.

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The Deep (Not Scientific) Truth of Genesis

The Book of Genesis, like poetry, captures truths inaccessible to science.

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Fiction Is Best Way to Tell God’s Story

Story-truth superior to happening-truth, in war stories and in Bible.

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But the Greatest of These Is Love

First Corinthians 13 may be St. Paul’s greatest poem.

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Toasting with the Wine of Cana

Richard Wilbur cites the wedding of Cana in his own wedding toast.

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My Heart Leapt Up

A rainbow sighting led to a discussion about how humans often turn to nature for guiding metaphors.

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Lamentation and Weeping in Newtown

The Sandy Hook killings recall the Biblical massacre of the innocents, referenced in “Moby Dick.”

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Sacrifice Ram of Pride, Not Isaac

Rumi honors the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha, which centers on the story of Abraham and Isaac.

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Epic Poetry, King James Version

Through his nickname, Lebron James invites associations with the King James Version of the Bible.

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Reaching Out for the Anchoring Pole

In “Vineyard Stories” poet Anne Higgins combines three of Jesus’s parables to imagine a vineyard where all can come and feast.

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God’s Non-Explanation for Suffering

As I think of the deaths and the destroyed communities that natural disasters have recently caused, from the Japanese tsunami to the Alabama tornadoes to the Mississippi flooding, the Book of Job comes to mind. After all, it is a story that addresses that most fundamental of questions, why do bad things happen to innocent people?

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Rise Up, My Fair One, and Come Away

Spiritual Sunday St. Valentine, who has evolved into the patron saint of lovers, was beheaded by the Romans for (among other things) marrying Christian couples.  As Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, I turn to that most erotic of books in the Bible, Song of Songs (also know as Song of Solomon).Some, unnerved by its unbridled sensuality, have […]

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The Lord Is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want

Spiritual Sunday This past Sunday in our Episcopal Church, the 23rd psalm, it seems, was everywhere. We read the psalm itself aloud and sang two or three hymns that were versions of it. The gospel lesson dealt with the parable of the lost sheep, a comforting passage given its assertion that “the good shepherd” loves […]

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The Favorite Books of American Presidents

I’ve had fun discussing the reading of Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas over the last couple of days, and while I’ve come up dry on further posts about the Supreme Court and literature, it has given me the idea of periodically dipping into reading stories of other political figures. I’ll start a list here, beginning […]

Posted in Alexander (Elizabeth), Angelou (Maya), Bible, Camus (Albert), Carle (Eric), Dickey (James), Fleming (Ian), Frost (Robert), Marquez (Gabriel Garcia), Morrison (Toni), O'Neill (Joseph), Robinson (Edward Arlington), Service (Robert), Sheridan (Richard), Stendahl, Tolstoy (Leo), Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

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