The coming of the Son of Man

“Just after the tribulation of those days the sun and moon will become dark, stars will fall from the skies, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. The nations will be bewildered by the roaring sea and the immense waves. People will tremble because they are afraid of what is about to happen, because everything in the sky is breaking apart.

Then they will see the signs of the Son of Man appearing among the clouds with great power and glory. He will send forth his angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather up those he has called from the four winds from the ends of the earth and sky.

Many people will lament, but as for you, when these things begin to happen, stand up straight and lift up your heads, because your salvation is near.”

MT 24:29-31, MK 13:24-27, LK 21:25-28

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The parable of the good Samaritan

There was a man who wanted to justify his actions and said “Who is my neighbor?”

Jesus answered him by telling a parable. “There once was a Jewish man who was attacked by robbers as he was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. They took all of his clothes and money, beat him up, and left him lying half dead on the side of the road. When a priest walked down that same road and saw him, he crossed over to the other side and walked on by. After that a Levite did the same thing. Then a Samaritan, sworn enemy of the Jews, noticed him and had compassion. He kneeled beside him and put healing ointments and bandages on his wounds. Then he put the man on the animal he had been riding. Walking all the way, he led the donkey to an inn and continued to take care of the man throughout the night. The next day he gave the innkeeper two day’s worth of room and board. He said ‘Please take care of him. I’ll pay you back when I return if the bill is any higher.'”

Jesus asked, “Which of the three people would you say was a neighbor to the man who had been waylaid by the robbers?” The man replied, “The one who showed him compassion.” Jesus told him “Go and do likewise.”

LK 10:29-37

The question about the Messiah

Jesus asked this question while he taught in the Temple complex, “Why do the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? Inspired by the Holy Spirit, David says in the Psalms ‘God said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.’ Since David called him his Lord, how can the Messiah be his son?” The large crowd was delighted with this teaching.

MT 22:41-46, MK 12:35-37, LK 20:41-44

The Primary Commandment

The Pharisees went to where Jesus was when they heard how he had refuted the Sadducees. An expert in the Law challenged Jesus asking him, “Which commandment is the most important?”

Jesus answered, “‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all of your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second commandment is like it -‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There are no commandments greater than these two. All the teachings of the Prophets and the Law base their foundation upon these two commandments.”

The man who questioned him said “You are correct, Teacher! You spoke the truth when you said that there is only One God, and that we are to love God with all of our being, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. These practices are far more important that all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Because of the wisdom of his answer, Jesus said to him “You are not far from entering the kingdom of God. You have answered correctly. If you do these things you will live. ”

The authorities did not dare to challenge him any further.

MT 22:34-40, MK 12:28-34, LK 10:25-28

Martha and Mary

While Jesus and his disciples were traveling, they arrived at a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, listening while he taught. Martha was anxious about everything that she had to do to prepare for these unexpected guests. She said “Lord, do you think that it is fair that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to give me a hand.” Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and anxious about many things, but only one thing matters. Mary has made the right choice, and I won’t take it away from her.”

LK 10:38-42

In the beginning.

I feel like I am a free diver when I go on a day retreat. Free divers hold their breath and dive down for pearls in semi-shallow waters. When I go on a day retreat, just 6 hours, I have just enough time to dip in, grab something beautiful, and then surface to the “real” world to look at and share what I found. There are so many beautiful things to be gotten on retreat, so many beautiful jewels. Can I see them? How do I choose which one to take? How do I prepare myself to go under the water/ truly enter the retreat?

This time I took a week to mentally prepare. I wanted to get the most out of it. I never know what supplies I should bring, and I always try to pare down to make sure I’m not over-thinking it. Jesus and Moses didn’t take anything with them when they went away, and they were gone for 40 days. I’m only going to be “away” for 6 hours. There are art supplies there, and things to read and eat. How will God contact me this time? How will I want to be with God? Going on retreat is like going on a play-date with God.

This time I took a notebook that I’ve used for the past several retreats. I also brought a folder in case I had any art projects I wanted to take home, some watercolor pencils, and a very brief amount of Hebrew homework. While I saw a lot of jewels, here is the one I’m going to share with you right now.

There is a podcast I listen to where the speaker really gets into the first word of the Bible. It is one word – Breyshit is how it is pronounced (Bet, Resh, Aleph, Shin, Yud, Taf) is how it is spelled in Hebrew. That one word is usually translated as “In the beginning”. Yet he says if you translate it another way, it can also mean “with beginnings”. He also said that it is common to take the letters of a Hebrew word and mix them up to see what else the word spells, and it says “The song of the alphabet” – that God sang the world into existence using the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

If moving the letters around is acceptable practice, then I decided to do it too. I used my very limited Hebrew lexicon that I brought with me and wrote down all the words that have just those letters (Bet, Resh, Aleph, Shin, Yud, Taf) in any order. I then picked the combinations of words that didn’t duplicate any of the letters, yet used up all of the letters.

I got some pretty amazing stuff. I’ll admit that my interpretation is a little poetic at times, but it goes with the meanings of the individual words.

That one word can be broken up and rearranged to mean any of these things –

“Singing together” or “Together in song”
“This is the home of the best”
“The life-giving river of the Sabbath”
“Honor the Sabbath”
“God gathers us in with Him and claims us as His own”
And finally “True daughter of God”