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”

On divorce

Jesus left Galilee and went across the Jordan to the region of Judea. Large crowds followed him and he healed and taught them as he normally did. Some Pharisees came up to him to test him. They asked “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?”

MT 19:1-3, MK 10:1-2

He replied, “Surely you have read that in the beginning, God made people male and female, and God said ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’. So they are no longer two separate people, but one being. What God has put together, we should not separate.”

MT 19:4-6, MK 10:6-9

“Why then,” they asked him, “did Moses tell us that whoever divorces his wife must give her divorce papers and send her away?”

MT 5:31, MT 19:7, MK 10:3-4

Jesus answered “Moses wrote that rule because people have hard hearts. But this is not what God intended.”

MT 19:8, MK 10:5

“I tell you that any man who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And if a person divorces their spouse and marries another person, they commit adultery. Everyone who marries a divorced woman is also guilty of adultery.

LK 16:18, MT 19:9, MT 5:32, MK 10:11

His disciples said “If being married is like this then it’s better not to marry!”

But Jesus said “This teaching is not for everyone but only to those who it is meant for. There are eunuchs who were that way at birth, there are eunuchs who were created by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this teaching who able to.”

MT 19:10-12

In the beginning

Dedication.
To my friend who loves God: Many people have tried to put together a story about the life and times of Christ, using material from the earliest disciples and other eyewitnesses. It seemed to me that it would help if I shared my research with you. I have independently compiled a sequence of all the events in proper order. I hope that these words will assure you of the truth of everything that you have already been taught.

LK 1:1-4

In the Beginning, God created everything through his Word. The Word was with God, and was God. All things were created through the Word of God. The Word was filled with life, and that life was the light of all people. That light shines forth in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overpower it.

JN 1:1-5