The Son of Man has no place to lay his head

As they were walking along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

—Luke 9:57-58 (from the Gospel reading for Sunday, June 30, 2013)

The homeless Jesus sculpture leaves room for the viewer to sit on

Earlier this year the search to find a home for the “homeless Jesus sculpture” by Canadian sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz was reported in both the “religious” and the “secular” press (in print and online). Eventually Regis College (a Jesuit school in Toronto, Canada) gave the sculpture a home.

From the Religion News Service report:

“To be a Christian sculptor, the analogy is preaching. If you have a great location for your sculpture, it’s like preaching to a large audience. If you have a bad location, it’s like preaching in a closet.”

The 7-foot-long artwork allows space for one person to sit near the feet of the Jesus figure.

“It’s a very uncomfortable seat,” Schmalz said.

Reporting by Newsy and the Huffington Post on the sculpture’s journey to Regis College.

Jesus the homeless

The Trinity

We’re now a Sunday past Trinity Sunday (2013). However, finding this YouTube video warrants a revisit to the doctrine of the Trinity. Thanks to the folks at The Lutheran Satire for this short course on the Trinity:

What do we believe about the Trinity? Listen, “Holy, holy, holy …”

Singing is praying (actually, praying twice according to many). If you want to know what we believe listen to how we pray. No, it isn’t a theological treatise, a confessional statement, or a magisterial teaching, Nonetheless, our prayer is a powerful and wonderful shaper of belief and action. Episcopalians pray. In our prayer we shape our belief and our beliefs shape our actions (at least when we are at our best).

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty was composed by Reginald Heber and published in 1826:

Reginald Heber was born in 1783 into a wealthy, educated family. He was a bright youth, translating a Latin classic into English verse by the time he was seven, entering Oxford at 17, and winning two awards for his poetry during his time there. After his graduation he became rector of his father’s church in the village of Hodnet near Shrewsbury in the west of England where he remained for 16 years. He was appointed Bishop of Calcutta in 1823 and worked tirelessly for three years until the weather and travel took its toll on his health and he died of a stroke. Most of his 57 hymns, which include “Holy, Holy, Holy,” are still in use today. — Greg Scheer, 1995 on

Listen …

Please continue the conversation, we would like to hear from you

Ascension Day

Today we share a post: ST JOSEPH’S ABBEY, SPENCER MA: Ascension Day.

It is a quick read to make you think on this mysterious and marvelous day.

What do you hear? What do you see? How does the ‘Seer’ speak to you?

In the Sunday Morning Forum (5/5/13) we looked at the Book of Revelation (in a general way) and the appointed reading, Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 (in a specific way).

In general: What we are hearing (reading, if we must) is a book [Revelation] that is (a) prophetic in content, (b) apocalyptic in form, and (c) pastoral in intent.

Prophetic: the function of the prophet is to interpret history as reflecting the action of God. What we see is what is happening on the human scale; what is really going on is the work of God.

Apocalyptic in form: the word apocalypse is the Greek equivalent of revelatio in Latin. It means to unveil or disclose. What is really going on in history is not evident until the prophet draws back the curtain to show what he has seen.

Pastoral in intent: John writes to strengthen and encourage his fellow Christians in a time of peril. Horrors he knows: he has witnessed (or heard about) the execution of Christians in Rome under Nero in 64, the fall of Jerusalem at the end of the Jewish War in 70, the civil war after the death of Nero in 69, a vast destruction resulting from the eruption of Vesuvius in 80.

Revelation by Holt H. Graham on Bible Briefs from VTS

Another Resource for your Bible study

If the pastoral intent long ago was “to strengthen and encourage … fellow Christians in a time of peril” let us assume the intent is the same today. What ‘perils’ do you hear about? What perils do you see? What does the ‘Seer‘ speak to you as you process what you hear and see? The conversation on Sunday was lively. There is much around us to cause fear, dismay, despair. More importantly, as we looked more closely at the text of Revelation (a text we’ve been reading for a while now) we did indeed find encouragement.

Share your thoughts in the Comment section. We want to continue the conversation.

Wind Chimes: 28 Apr 2013

“I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you,
you also should love one another.”

John 13:34

Today (4/28/13) we listened to these words of Jesus from the Gospel of John. Getting home I found this post by Brian McLaren:

I compiled this list of “one-anothers” in the New Testament, a primer on a basic social practices. Not a bad curriculum!

  • “…be at peace with each other.” (Mk. 9:50, 1 Thes. 5:13, 1 Pet. 3:8)
  • “wash one another’s feet…. serve one another in love.” (Jn. 13:14, Gal. 5:13)
  • “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34; 15:12; 15:17; Romans 13:8, 1 Thes. 4:9, Heb. 13:1, 1 Pet. 1:22, 1 Pet. 3:8, 1 Pet. 4:8, 1 Jn. 3:11, 23; 1Jn. 4:7, 11; 2 Jn. 1:5)
  • “Be devoted to one another with mutual affection.” (Romans 12:10)

Brian has quite a list of ‘one-anothers.’ See for yourself. Then comes the challenge: to live (act) like we understand, believe, and cherish these words.


It sounds like the chimes have heard the Good News and are singing, “Love one another,” over and over (until we have the melody), “Love one another.”

What do you hear?

Where is Joppa? Well, we have an app for that.

Preview Map from Bible Geocoding for Acts 9On Sunday (4/21/13) we listened to a reading from Acts 9 (verses 36-43). In the reading we learned that Peter was in Lydda when he was summoned to Joppa. In Joppa he raised Tabitha (Dorcas) from the dead and restored her to the community.

Setting aside the discussion about the historical accuracy of this account (or of Acts in general) and setting aside the discussion of miracles (for now), a 21st century American studying this account may wonder where these two towns were/are located. Fortunately, we live in an age where we “have an app for that.”

In this case we have a website and an app to help us locate Lydda and Joppa (well, modern cities overlaying an ancient landscape really).

If you already have Google Earth try out Bible Geocoding. If you do not have Google Earth, no problem: click on “preview” when seeking to locate a place named in the Bible and you will get plenty of information. For example, here is the “preview” of all the places listed in Acts 9.

We (the authors and editors of this blog) are working to build a Resources Page for your use. Our goal is to have the page active by the end of April. If you have an internet resource you would like to share, please share it via the Comments section. Let us help each other.

The Lord is my shepherd

Here is a different ‘listen’ to a favorite Psalm. Dedicated to his mother, Bobby McFerrin takes poetic license in this setting of Psalm 23. Click the link to discover more: The Lord is my shepherd.

via The Lord is my shepherd.

Uncovering ancient imagery in 21st century English

The Lord is my shepherd

Psalm 23:1

“The Lord is my shepherd.” This line from Psalm 23 is among the most famous images from the Bible. But as I describe in And God Said, for most people the English words hide the ancient imagery.

So begins Joel M. Hoffman in his post, The Lord isn’t the Shepherd You Think (or: Don’t Mess with the Shepherds) on his blog God Didn’t Say That.

Hoffman, in imagining a 21st century “shepherd,” tells us he would cast Woody Allen to play the role in his imaginary movie. But he doesn’t let us stop there.

So even though the Hebrew in Psalm 23 is ro’eh, and even though ro’eh literally means “shepherd,” I don’t think “The Lord is my shepherd” is a very good translation.

He points us to the qualities of “shepherd” in the Hebrew Bible. Shepherds…

… have a surprising and surpassing ferocity about them

We see … in Jeremiah 49:19, where God is “like a lion” that can’t be stopped. Using increasingly powerful imagery, the text has God ask, “Who is like me? Who can summon me? Who is the shepherd who can stand before me?” (NRSV). In other words, God is so powerful that even a shepherd will be beaten back. In modern terms, again, the imagery is nonsensical. But in the Bible, shepherds were symbols of strength.

… are similar to royalty and nobility

King David was a shepherd. … in Micah 5:5, … shepherds are in parallel with rulers, a literary device that, in the Bible, suggests that they were similar. And in Nahum 3:18 we find shepherds in parallel with nobles.

… have “sex-appeal”

Finally, shepherds were symbols of romance. Song of Solomon, the most overtly sexual book of the Bible, is filled with images of shepherds. … The famous imagery in verse 2:16, “my lover is mine and I am his,” ends with two Hebrew words to describe the heroine’s lover. They translate as, “[the one] who is a shepherd among flowers.”

After this expansion of our wimpy 21st century understanding of “shepherd” Hoffman summarizes: “In short, for the ancient image of a shepherd, think John Wayne, not Woody Allen.”

I encourage you to read The Lord isn’t the Shepherd You Think. You may hear Psalm 23 with new ears, new hope, and new delight.

If you’re in the desert on 4/21/13 come join us in the Sunday Morning Forum at St. Margaret’s at 9:00 am. If not, let me/us know what you think about Joel’s post and linguistic analysis; leave a comment.

How does ‘the Way’ go for you?

We talked about Saul’s conversion (Acts 9:1ff) on Sunday. As always, Forum members voiced a number of questions, expressed their wisdom learned by experience, and each of us left a little fuller and richer for the fellowship and conversation.


Some random observations and questions from Sunday:

  • Though much of our art and poetry have God knocking Saul off his horse, the text makes no mention of horses
  • Saul is on his way to round up (and punish) any who “belonged to the Way” (v. 2) This is one of the earliest appellations used for those later called “Christian” (See also: Acts 18:23-26; Acts 19:23; Acts 24:14, 22)
  • The term “Christian” was first used in Antioch (c.40-44 CE) according to Acts:
    • 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.” Acts 11:25-26 NRSV
  • When one of our members suggested that there is often “conversion” (or recommitment in trust) as a response to trial, darkness, dryness, or the ‘Valley of the shadow of death,’ there were many nods and affirming comments.
  • Does conversion come best, deepest, profoundly, only through a ‘dark moment,’ a trial, a letting-go? A question for the week. A question for you.

Come back, as the week progresses we’ll work through some of the other comments from Sunday. Please continue the Sunday conversation by commenting here.

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