Saturday, June 10, 2006

NT "Tom" Wright on the Psalms

I've just finished "Simply Christian" a good book. I really liked his description of the Psalms.
"They are inexhaustible, and deserve to be read, said, sung, chanted, whispered, learned by heart, and even shouted from rooftops. They express all the emotions we are ever likely to feel, including some we hope we may not, and they lay them, raw and open, in the presence of God, like a golden retriever bringing to its master's feet every strange object it can find in the field, "Look!" says the Psalmist. "This is what I've found today! Isn't that extraordinary? What are you going to do with it?"

Peace and good night,

Garrison Keillor takes on the Republicans again

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Heart of Pentecost

Over at the URC today we celebrated Pentecost, the celebration of the events described in Acts 2, and the celebration of the Holy Spirit still enlivening, leading, and comforting the Church. I was struck by the rhetoric not only of the sermon, but of the whole service. The word heart was used a lot. Now I think this is often the case, when we petition God we sometimes are said to "lift up our hearts," but this being Pentecost Sunday, and the presiding pastor being a Baptist, heart was used many times. She talked about Jesus filling our hearts with love, we asked the Holy Spirit to enter into our heart, she exhorted us to open our hearts to Jesus. In short the word heart was used quite often.

Why do I find this so interesting? I was born with a severe heart condition, I’ve had 4 open-heart surgeries, and my heart murmur is so loud that the doctors say it sounds like a basset hound in my chest. So, when I hear all these heart words I start to think, "how the hell do people who haven’t had heart surgeries hear these words?"

When you life up your heart do you not think of some Egyptian god weighing your heart, heavy and heaving with sin, cut and threaded back together with micro-filament, against the weight of a feather? When your heart is filled, what does it feel like? Does it slosh around with blue, yellow, and red dye on some ultra-sound type machine? When the Holy Spirit enters our heart does it do so like a branding iron, snaking up around from valve to valve, probing with flame through contracting bits? When the heart is opened does the chest have to be opened too, broken ribs and months of healing?

Seriously, please tell me how you relate to all these metaphors of the heart, because for me all this language is very, very concrete.