Tursday 25nov21 .5* – Psalm 90; Isaiah 21:1-12 ; Matthew 10:34-11:1
Lectio – words that spoke to my heart: Psalm 90:1 Lord, you have been our refuge …; Isaiah 21:12 The sentinel says: ‘Morning comes, and also the night.; Matthew 10:34 ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Meditatio – Personal application: Not sure – Jesus / sword?? Truth. Reality. Jesus doesn’t always bring peace…but a sword…killing, attacking, destroying, war, – can be used for defence, protection, proof texting… I need some more information about this these words…turning to internet – same prayer “speak LORD your friend is listening” – listening with ear of my heart. I found www.quora.com and found the comments more helpful than quora’s input. It’s more opinions, of course. Tim isn’t very kind, but has some good points. Joe Lawson’s comments: Now, about the “sword.” In English, swords are always giant knives used as weapons. In the ancient Aramaic language of the Jews, there were two kinds of big knives that could be translated as “swords” because of their appearance. One kind was the actual weapon-swords that were one to several feet long, and the Aramaic word for that kind is not the word used in this passage. The other Aramaic word translated “sword” is the one used in Matthew. It’s a big knife about a foot long that was used as a kitchen utensil for cutting up food. They used great big knives for the same reason most modern kitchens have “butcher knives;” to cut-up or “divide” larger portions for cooking and eating. So when Jesus said he did not come to bring peace (unity, one body) but like a kitchen knife to divide a family like portions of a bigger amount — everybody back then would have immediately understood him and not questioned whether it was a kitchen knife and not a weapon.
Tim O’Neill’s comments – What is clear is that both (Luke -parallel passage & Matthew) were working from very early Q source material in which Jesus is depicted as citing Micah 7:6 about division within families in the context of his own time. Given his apocalyptic Jewish beliefs, Jesus seems to be saying that in the approach to the coming apocalyptic cataclysm, people are going to have to choose sides and that this will cause divisions and discord. The “fire” (Luke 12: 49) and “sword” symbolism (Matthew 10:34), if original to Jesus, are both in this context and are clearly symbolic. To pluck “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” out of this cultural, scriptural and textual context, assume Jesus simply said this and then think this means he was talking literally and talking about war is simplistic to the point of being totally stupid. No “saying” of Jesus can be simply assumed to have been actually said by him. And no “saying” can be analysed in isolation – its context in the text, the text’s context within the layers of transmission in the gospels and the meaning in the context of the Judaism of Jesus’ time and the developing theology of the various gospel writers all need to understood and inter-related.
Meditatio + – after including the above to my meditation I heard this personal application – whether symbolic language or kitchen knife used it seems to be about divisions … I hear Jesus was saying that to follow his teaching / way will cause problems / divisions even in families AND Lord you have been our refuge / there is morning and night … there is hope and healing in the midst of division. Maybe something new can come from / be “birthed” out of times of conflict … an early Advent meditation.
Oratio / Personal prayer – LORD thanks for being our refuge and bring light after / out of darkness. Thank you for being faithful, full of grace and truth…love and mercy. Help me to be faithful to the responsibilities I’ve been given, loving, listening, creating stained glass and leave the rest to you…and my brothers and sisters, other pilgrims on the road. May we all draw from the springs of living water, love and grace. May we love as we have been loved. Thanks for speaking and hearing my prayer. AMEN.
Contemplatio – took all this and my life into 20 minutes of Centering Prayer
* – I’ve started to include a number which reflects how I come to LD – It’s an acknowledgment that how I come affects how I listen. The Holy One is pretty consistent, I think, believe, hope…who am I to claim any truth about the Mystery whose Love sustains all reality. “Who are you God? Who am I?” was one of St. Francis’s all night prayers which I often repeat as well. I don’t dare box the Holy One in AND I believe that the Creator of the Universe wants to speak to me each day. Blessed be the Name, the Name be praised. The good news is the Holy One speaks however I come. To generally reflect my present mental state I use a simple numbering method I learned from a friend years ago when I was worried if I was depressed: -1, 0, +1. -1 for feeling down; 0 if feeling normal; +1 when feeling good. I’ve added .5 +/- cause I over think things. For someone like myself, who seems to be more melancholy than normal, it’s a good check in. I’m often surprised how much I’m more than 0…so maybe I’m not as melancholic as I think…I might even be enjoying life…if I have to I can, I guess. (Thanks Red Green) NOTE: If it’s -1 for a week or two…get thee to a M.D. for help – I’d even talk to a professional if it’s -1 every other day for a week or two. A mental health check-up can be as important as a physical one. Spiritual directors can do a spiritual health checkup. Got ya covered – whole person care.
I realised after writing this that it’s also a prayer and hopefully an encouraging comment despite the polarization that the vaccination issue is raising for many families and communities. Following Jesus way of love, mercy, acceptance, forgiveness… the list goes on – can be hard at times. Even Jesus warns that sometimes it seems to bring a sword / division more that peace. I know that even a sword can’t cut away the peace that passes understanding, that the world can’t give or take away. May the Spirit guide us all so that PEACE can be real in our lives this Advent and Christmas and give the New Year a good start, even in a pandemic. Joy to the whole world…angels help us out…