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Posts Tagged ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’


Ecclesiastes 1: Seek Trust

Blaise Nicolas Le Sueur: Solomon Before the Ark of the Covenant

Second Sunday of Advent, December 10, 2017

Vanity

This book was written not by Solomon as claimed, but by a writer who actually identifies himself “as a subject (4:13, 8:2, 9:14-16, 10:16-17 and 20), noting conditions of oppression (4:13), injustice (4:8, 5:8), and social upheaval (10:6-7).  The language . . . is a late form of biblical Hebrew, coming closest of any Old Testament book to post-biblical Mishnaic Hebrew.  The presence of Persian loan-words requires a date well after Israel’s release from exile in 539 B.C.E.  Fragments of the book found among the Dead Sea Scrolls of the Qumran community date to the mid-second century B.C.E.  Most scholars date the book’s composition between 300 and 200 B.C.E.”  (Meeks 986)  The Mishnah is a collection of oral literature of the early Hebrew people who appear to us as the first portion of the Torah.

We find the theme of this book laid out clearly in the first chapter: All is vanity that does not come from God.  It does not take any time at all for us to put this reading into the context of our own lives.  What does take some time is to determine what to do with this self-knowledge.

We have entered the season of Advent – an exciting, mysterious time in the liturgical calendar that we associate with a feeling of expectation – a time of promises and fulfillment.  We in the northern hemisphere also associate this time of year with the coming on of darkness and cold; while in the southern hemisphere, Advent is experienced as a time of lengthening days and rising temperatures.  I often think that the later is more apt.  Warmth, light, ease of days, promise . . . Christ.  The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that all else besides a life that acts in this promise is futile.  As followers of Christ, our example of living in hope is paramount for ourselves, for our community, and for the greater world.  We enact Christ when we put aside the vanity that we are all, and take on the understanding that The Promise is all.

As we move through this day and begin this week after spending a day or days of Thanksgiving for the bounty of the earth, we will want to pause to examine our spiritual bounty as well.  Just as we examine our relationships with family and friends, we will also want to examine our relationship with the Creator, the Redeemer and the Comforter.  We will want to unfold the miracle of this love so great that it overcomes all trials and injustices.  We will want to allow ourselves to step into that which is not in vain.  We will want to remember, we will want to trust, we will want to believe, we will want to hope.

We already know that there is nothing new under the sun . . . and so what we hope to experience is that which is new . . . that which is not in vain . . . and that which is worthy of every ounce of strength we have in body, mind and soul.

Like the audience of Ecclesiastes, we who have returned from exile will want to reunite in intimacy with our God and so we might try to spend more time this season with this book of wisdom, parsing out its verses to complement our days.  In this way, we might hope to be full of God’s wisdom rather than our own, we might hope to live in God’s love rather than our own, and we might hope to be Christ rather than an empty vanity of vanities.

To celebrate this Second Sunday of Advent, we join voices with this traditional hymn, O Come, O come, Emmanuel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xtpJ4Q_Q-4 

Meeks, Wayne A., Gen. Ed. HARPERCOLLINS STUDY BIBLE (NRSV). New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1989. Print.  

A Favorite from November 30, 2009.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

deadsea[1]Matthew 18:19-20

The Isaiah Effect

I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. 

In his publication THE ISAIAH EFFECT, Gregg Braden “combines research in quantum physics with the words of the prophet Isaiah and the ancient Essenes” to illustrate that when we come together to petition God in common prayer we find a “correlation between the offering of the prayer and a shift of the events in question beyond coincidence – the prayers had measureable effects”.   The name Isaiah means “the Lord saves: and this prophecy was written at a critical time in the history of the people of Israel.   The universal message brought to us through this prophet is one of salvation”. (Braden, Editor’s Note)

God says: You send me endless petitions and this is as it should be.  I created you. I know your needs.  I know your desires.  I love to transform your life and open miracles to you.  I want to save you in every way each day.  It is true that when you agree to pray at the same moment each day it does not matter if you are physically in the same space. I also created space and I can adapt it to my ends.  It is also true that if the events of your day cause you to miss or even forget your prayer appointment with your friends, you can offer your petition when you realize the missed hour.  I created time and this also I can bend to my will.  I only ask that you agree to gather in Jesus’ name to fold your prayers together in offering.  Leave the rest to me.  Walk in The Way I am showing to you. 

We study God’s universe and develop themes and theories that we call quantum physics.  From these studies we understand that there are more dimensions than the three we experience of pitch, yaw and roll.  We also understand that time it not as linear and unyielding as we like to think.  When we are willing to step out of our own time and space in order to step into God’s world of possibility, we are rewarded.  Let us commit to making a prayer appointment with friends or family members who have a common petition . . . let us send our petitions forward to God . . . and let us be patient enough to witness God’s Isaiah Effect.

Braden, Gregg.  THE ISAIAH EFFECT. New York: Harmony Books. 2000. Print.  Editor’s Note.

Explore the world of the Essenes and read a FRONTLINE article by clicking on the image above or going to: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/essenes.html

Sandals found in the Caves at Qumran

Sandals found in the Caves at Qumran

For online access to the Great Isaiah Scroll discovered in the Qumran caves in the 1940s and 1950s, go to: http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah_video

To move around the scroll, click on it, and move the cursor above the citation for the English Masoretic translation at: http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah#66:6

To read about The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Qumran, and for a video visit to the vault where they are stored, go to the Israel Museum’s Shrine of The Book at: http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/dss_video

Visit with The Community Scroll and watch the video to see how the early Qumran sectarians wrote the word God in their manuscripts.  http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/community_video

To understand the concepts pitch, yaw and roll, and for a visual illustration of their intertwined movements, go to: http://howthingsfly.si.edu/flight-dynamics/roll-pitch-and-yaw

For a site which shares Bible citations about the power of prayer, go to: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/10-awesome-bible-verses-about-the-power-of-prayer/

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