Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fourth Sunday Meditation: As Far As The East Is From The West







Psalm 103
A Psalm of David



Bless affectionately, gratefully praise, the Lord,
O my soul; and all that is deepest within me,
bless His holy name!

Bless affectionately, gratefully praise the Lord,
O my soul, and forget not one of all His benefits-

Who forgives every one of all your iniquities,
Who heals each one of all your diseases.,

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption,
Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with
loving-kindness and tender mercy;

Who satisfies your mouth, your necessity and desire
at your personal age and situation, with good so that your youth,
renewed, is like the eagle's, strong, overcoming, soaring!

The Lord executes righteousness and justice not only for me,
but for all who are oppressed.

He made known His ways of righteousness and justice 
to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and
plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness.

He will not always chide or be contending, neither will He
keep His anger forever or hold a grudge,

He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us
according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great
are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently
and worshipfully fear Him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed
our transgressions from us.

As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord
loves and pities those who fear Him, with reverence,
worship, and awe.

For He knows our frame, He earnestly remembers
and imprints on His heart that we are dust.

As for man, his days are as grass; as the flower
of the field, so he flourishes



Troy Meadows Nature Preserve
Parsippany-Troy Hills New Jersey



For the wind passes over it and it is gone, and
its place shall know it no more.

But the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord
are from everlasting to everlasting upon those who
reverently and worshipfully fear Him, and His
righteousness is to children's children.

To such as keep His covenant, hearing, receiving,
loving, and obeying it, and to those who earnestly remember
His commandments to do them, imprinting them on their hearts.

The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and
His kingdom rules over all.

Bless affectionately, gratefully praise the Lord, you
His angels, you mighty ones, who do His commandments,
hearkening to the voice of His word.

Bless affectionately, gratefully praise the Lord,
all you His hosts, you his ministers, who do His pleasure.

Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of
His dominion; bless affectionately, gratefully praise
the Lord, O my soul!



Beautiful Autumn scene in
Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania




Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Night Symphony



A scene once deleted from the film,"Fantasia"
 featuring the hauntingly beautiful melody
of Claude DeBussy's "Clair de Lune",
the musical genius of conductor Leopold Stokowski
and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the
movie magic of the legendary Walt Disney..




"Clair de Lune",
"Fantasia"
(1940)



The melancholy moonlight, sweet and lone,
That makes to dream the birds upon the tree,
And in their polished basins of white stone
The fountains tall to sob with ecstasy.
"Clair de Lune"
Paul Verlaine
(1869)




The Kingdom Of God On Earth


"For My house will be called a
house of prayer for all the peoples."
Isaiah 56:7


The light of God is falling
Upon life's common way;
The Master's voice still calling,
"Come walk with Me today."

No duty can seem lowly
To him who lives with Thee,
And all of life grows holy,
O Christ of Galilee!


The Sea of Galilee
Israel



Who shares his life's pure pleasures,
And walks the honest road;
Who trades with heaping measures,
And lift's his brother's load,

Who turns the wrong down bluntly,
And lends the right a hand,
He dwells in God's own country,
He tills the Holy Land.

Where human lives are thronging
In toil and pain and sin,
While cloistered hearts are longing
To bring the Kingdom in,

O Christ, the Elder Brother,
Of proud and beaten men,
When they have found each other,
Thy Kingdom will come then!

Thy ransom host in glory,
All souls that sin and pray,
Turn towards the cross that bore Thee:
"Behold the Man!" they say.

And while Thy Church is pleading
For all who would do good,
We hear Thy true voice leading
Our song of brotherhood.






"...And a little child shall lead them."
Isaiah 11:6







"The Kingdom Of God On Earth"
Reverend Louis F. Benson
(1910)
Arranged from J. Michael Haydn
In B. Jacob's "National Psalmody"
(1819)



Friday, October 20, 2017

"To Kill A Mockingbird" Banned?




The Finch Children
Jem (Phillip Alford) and Scout (Mary Badham)
"To Kill A Mockingbird"
(1962)




Author Harper Lee's evocative tale of
racism and social injustice in a small southern
town in the Depression-era 1930's
 has just been banned by a school district in
Mississippi, which decided to remove the book
from its school curriculum due to the fact that
it "makes people uncomfortable."

Are you kidding me?

 It is suppose to make you feel uncomfortable!  

No one who has read this book,
or watched the Oscar-winning 1962 movie 
starring Gregory Peck as lawyer Atticus Finch,
should be comfortable with the idea of a false
accusation of rape against an innocent black man
who is tried, convicted, and condemned in the
court of public opinion within the segregated community
 where he lives, solely on the basis of the color of his skin.



 
Alabama lawyer Atticus Finch  (Gregory Peck) defends 
Tom Robinson (Brock Peters) who is falsely accused of raping a white
woman in "To Kill A Mockingbird"
(1962)


What is even more disturbing about this story is
 Tom's accuser, a lonely white woman named Mayella Ewell,
actually lured him into her home where she then 
preceded to make unwanted advances against him.
When Mayella's father, the vicious Bill Ewell 
witnessed what was going on through a window,
he vowed he was going to kill his daughter.
Meanwhile, Tom escaped from the Ewell home,
only later to be accused and charged with rape.


Tom's accuser Mayella Ewell and her father, Bill.
"To Kill A Mockingbird"
(1962)



Atticus Finch risked his own life to help Tom and
because he was willingly to defend this hapless victim of
racial prejudice and hatred, his two young children,
daughter, Scout, and son, Jem, were later
attacked in the woods by the vicious Bill Ewell.

Fortunately, the children were rescued  through the
intervention of their mysterious next door neighbor,
Arthur "Boo" Radley.  But these are all the details I
will give out in case anyone reading this post
has not read the book or seen the movie yet.





This story is designed to make the reader, or the
viewer, if watching the movie, think. When this book 
 was first published in 1960, in states like Mississippi,
 black Americans were considered second class
citizens afforded little or no rights or privileges.

Blacks were not allowed to attend school with whites,
they could not eat in the same restaurants as white people,
use the same bathrooms, drink from the same water fountains,
 vote in public elections or be guaranteed to a fair trial under
the law if accused of a crime. 

Although "To Kill A Mockingbird" is a work of fiction,
this was the Deep South as remembered by Harper Lee,
who was born and raised in early 20th century Alabama.
Her book is based on her own life experience as a
 white child growing up in the time of segregation.
 Furthermore, this famous American novel should
not be banned from school libraries, or by
any library for that matter.

 As a strong advocate of our constitutional rights to
freedom of speech and expression, I believe the
decision to read or not to read,
"To Kill A Mockingbird"  should be left up entirely 
 to the students in this school without their decision 
 being hampered or hounded by a group of 
21st century Thought Police.

As I have said before on this blog,
those who continually ignore and/or deny the past,
who remain indifferent to the lessons, good and bad,
which the past teaches us, are almost certainly
condemning themselves and others to repeat it.




Final Scene
"To Kill A Mockingbird"
(1962)











Joseph: A Foreshadowing of Messiah



"Men of whom the world was not worthy-
roaming over the desolate places and the mountains,
and living in caves and caverns and holes of the earth.
And all of these, though they won divine approval by
means of their faith, did not receive the fulfillment
of what was promised.




A prophetic and timely teaching from
Steven Katriel Ben-Nun (DeNoon)
The DeNoon Institute of Biblical Research




Because God had us in mind and had something
better and greater in view for us, so that they,
these heroes and heroines of faith, should
not come to perfection apart from us,
before we could join them."
Hebrews 11:38-40


















Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Colloquial Powers Of Franklin




Never have I known such a fireside companion.
Great as he was both as a statesman and philosopher,
he never shone in a light more winning than when
he was seen in a domestic circle.



Great American Statesman,
Postmaster, Writer
Benjamin Franklin
(1706-1790)




It was once my good fortune to pass two or three
weeks with him, at the house of a private gentleman,
in the back part of Pennsylvania, and we were
confined to the house during the whole of that time
by the unintermitting constancy and depth of the snows.

But confinement never could be felt where Franklin was 
an inmate. His cheerfulness and his colloquial powers
spread around him a perpetual spring.
When I speak, however, of his colloquial powers,
I do not mean to awaken any notion analogous to that which
Boswell has given us of Johnson. 

The conversation of the
latter continually reminds me of the
 "pomp and circumstances of glorious war." 
It was, indeed, a perpetual contest for victory,
or an arbitrary or despotic exaction of homage to his 
superior talents.

 It was strong, acute, prompt, splendid, and
vociferous; as loud, stormy, and sublime as those winds
which he represents as shaking the Hebrides,and rocking the old castle
which frowned on the dark-rolling sea beneath.

But one gets tired of storms, however sublime they may be, 
and longs for the more orderly current of nature.
Of Franklin, no one ever became tired.
There was no ambition of eloquence, no effort to shine
in anything which came from him. 

There was nothing which made any demand upon 
either your allegiance or your admiration.
His manner was as unaffected as infancy. It was nature's self.
He talked like an old patriarch;  and his plainness and simplicity
put you at once at your ease, and gave you the full and free
possession and use of your faculties.

His thoughts were of a character to shine 
 by their own light, without any adventitious aid. 
They only required a medium of vision like his pure and simple style,
 to exhibit to the highest advantage their native radiance and beauty. 
His cheerfulness was unremitting. It seemed to be as much the effect 
of a systematic and salutary exercise of the mind,
 as of its superior organization.

His wit was of the first order.
 It did not show itself merely in occasional corruscations 
but, without any effort or force on his part, it shed a 
constant stream of the purest light over the whole of his discourse.

Whether in the company of commons or nobles, he was always the 
same plain man;  always most perfectly at ease, with his faculties
in full play, and the full orbit of his genius forever clear and unclouded.
And then, the stores of his mind were inexhaustible.

He had commenced life with an attention so vigilant that
nothing had escaped his observation; and a judgment so solid
that every incident was turned to an advantage. His youth had
not been wasted in idleness, nor overcast by intemperance.

He had been, all his life, a close and deep reader, as well as
a thinker; and by the force of his own powers, had wrought up
the raw materials which he had gathered from books, with such
exquisite skill and felicity, that he had added a hundred fold to
their original value, and justly made them his own.


"Colloquial Powers Of Franklin"
By William Wirt
(1772-1834)





Sunday, October 15, 2017

Autumn Chant






Autumn Roses
Peter Ellenshaw




Now the autumn shudders
In the rose's root,
Far and wide the ladders
Lean among the fruit.

Now the autumn clambers
Up the trellised frame
And the rose remembers
The dust from which it came.

Brighter than the blossom
On the rose's bough
Sits the wizened, orange,
Bitter berry now;

Beauty never slumbers;
All is in her name;
But the rose remembers
The dust from which it came.

"Autumn Chant"
Edna St. Vincent Millay











Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

"Fall Leaves Fall"
Emily Bronte





"Fall"
By Peter and Harrison Ellenshaw
















Third Sunday Meditation: One In Messiah




"Peace, peace to him who is far off,
both Jew and Gentile and to him who is near!
says the Lord.
I create the fruit of his lips and I will heal him,
make the fruit of his lips blossom anew with
speech in thankful praise."
Ezekiel 57:19







"But the Scriptures picture all mankind as sinners
shut up and imprisoned by sin, so that the inheritance,
the blessing, which was promised through faith in
Jesus Christ the Messiah might be given to all
those who believe, who adhere to and trust in 
 and rely on Him.

Now before the faith came, we were perpetually
guarded under the Law, kept in custody in preparation for 
the faith that was destined to be revealed,

So that the Law served to us Jews as our
trainer, our guardian, our guide to Christ to lead us,
until Christ came, that we might be justified, declared righteous,
put in right standing with God by and through faith.

But now that faith has come, we are no longer under
a trainer, the guardian of our childhood.

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.

For as many of you as were baptized
unto Christ, into a spiritual union and communion with Christ,
the Anointed One, the Messiah have clothed yourselves
with Christ. 

There is now no distinction, neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile)
there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female;
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

And if you belong to Christ, are in Him Who is
Abraham's Seed, then you are Abraham's offspring
and spiritual heirs according to promise."

Galatians 3:22-29




Le Christ dans la nuit
(Christ in the night)
Marc Chagall
(1948)



Jesus, Who bought us with His blood,
And makes our souls His care;
Was known of old as Israel's God,
And answered Jabez' prayer.

Jabez! A child of grief! The name
Befits poor sinners well;
For Jesus bore the cross and shame,
To save our souls from hell.

Teach us, O Lord, like him, to plead
For mercies from above;
O come, and bless our souls indeed,
With light and joy, and love.

The Gospel's promised land is wide
We fain would enter in;
But we are pressed, on every side,
With unbelief and sin.

Arise, O Lord, enlarge our coast,
Let us possess the whole;
That Satan may no longer boast
He can Thy work control.

Oh, may Thine hand be with us still,
Our Guide and Guardian be;
To keep us safe from every ill,
Till death shall set us free.

Help us on Thee to cast our care,
And on Thy Word to rest;
That Israel's God Who heareth prayer
Will grant us our request.







"Jesus Who Bought Us With His Blood"
Words By John Newton
(1779)
Music: Ballerma, Francois H. Barthelemon
(1741-1808)
Adapted by Robert Simpson 
in "A Selection of Sacred Music"
(1833)