Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Salt Sunday

I regret that I myself will not be available Palm Sunday in the afternoon, but the whole idea of salt I have spun into a post at my Dust blog here. You may find it of interest.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lenten ideas for the three to five minutes of Hebrew

Scripture in blocks of wood
This first Sunday in Lent, at Jasmine's request, I prepared a brief lesson on the bitter herbs.  (My lessons and songs are never as complex as this post implies, but the realities are always under the surface of the play, the singing and the movements.)

In response to Jasmine, I picked Exodus 12:8 and realized that one could focus on this one verse for the entire period of lent.

The Pascal feast will point us directly to Christ our Passover who was sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7).  This one verse of Exodus has innumerable lessons and like a fractal reflects the patterns of the whole of Scripture.

The institution of the Passover meal – Exodus 12:8

And they shall eat [perfect]
the flesh [of the lamb]
בַּלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה
that night [in the night - that one]
roasted with fire
and the unleavened bread
with bitter [herbs]
they shall eat it [imperfect – 'story' tense]

Roughly, the Hebrew reads: ve-akalu et-habasar balylah hasah tsly-esh umatsot al-mrorim yokluhu

Notice how it begins and ends with the same sound. This is typical of the poetic structures of Hebrew (and even in this case in prose instructions - Our Lord loves poetry.)

Eating – psalm 22, together with worship - see this post and the accompanying links here and here for the place of eating in worship in this psalm. It is quite surprising.

the flesh – of the lamb who in his own body bore our sins. See also (or perhaps first) John 6. Especially John 6:51.

that night – not to be delayed, in that same night it is to be done, the night in which the blood is put on the lintels of the door. (verse 7)

roasted with fire – there is one fire, of love and of judgement. The fire forms one of the themes of the Davidic psalms - see e.g. psalms 7, 21, 140.

and the matsot – the bread that has no time to rise. Unleavened bread also reminds us of the Eucharist. But here it reminds us of the haste with which we are delivered. The psalmist often prays that the Lord should hurry to help. And so it was done.

with bitter things – all our bitterness absorbed. This was the word we took for the first lesson yesterday. It reminds us of Naomi's change of name from Naomi (pleasant) to Mara (bitter). See also Psalm 90 for a lovely play on words between dwelling place (Mo-an) in verse 1 and pleasant (Na-om) in verse 17. The whole poem is framed by a palindrome.

Eating – encloses the verse – the different tense means that it goes on and on. So it is that in our worship we eat every week.

Postscript: for those I was asking, the Shema is in the New Testament only in Mark 12:29. Perhaps he is the first gospel after all.  We cannot fail in this unity per the prayer of John 17.

The Sunday school was very full and besides Hebrew, we had a lovely interaction in the language of Vanu-atu also thanks to the returning Nelson who with the younger class spontaneously moved us with this different tongue and interpreted for us.