Category Archives for Daily Meditation

Terah and Haran

Gen 11:28 - 12:6

Gen 11:28 – 12:6

What to make of Terah? He started but did not finish his planned journey to Canaan. He left stability and the safety of his home – Ur of the Chaldeans. No small thing. He went out but did not enter in.

I can relate. I have unfinished projects. But I sometimes wonder – did Terah receive the same promise that was subsequently extended to Abram, his son. Did he somehow hear God say, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you…” Was Terah the intended “Father of Faith”, but he just wasn’t able to enter into his assignment? That’s disturbing.

What happened in Haran that got his attention and derailed his plan?

In America we have an unfortunate expression – “What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas”. Perhaps it’s like that: “What happened in Haran will stay in Haran.”

One more reason to avoid sin city.

September 9, 2016

The Beat Goes On

Gen 11:10-27

Gen 11:10-27

Life is getting shorter. A curious compression of the wave of generations has the long lived olders outlasting their multi-centenarian children.

Six hundred year old men caught in a cosmic doppler. What would life look like from that view? The questions I would have. Perhaps the answers I would have.

Things suddenly seem thicker, slower, and heavier. The flood was only yesterday, but the memory is so strange and distant I’m tempted to question whether it ever really happened – could it have only been a vision?

Lives marked only by their procreating and surviving. It doesn’t seem to do justice. What was going on? Where did they go? What did they do?

You scriptures – I want to come to terms with you but today you’re not helping. You’re showing yourself uninteresting. Life is more than this. Tell a better story.

I smile. I am so demanding. They lived. They loved.   It is enough.

September 8, 2016

Babel and the Simplicity of Being

Gen 10 26 11 9

Gen 10:26 – 11:9

How often and easily I look back on this moment and self-righteously condemn. The citizens of Babel who longed to make a name for themselves – who wanted to shake their collective fist at God.

Who is it that has not wished to know more, to do more in the plane of activity?

I’d listened to a man the other day speak of the possibility that material existence is caught up in multi-verse from which it might prove impossible to learn the deepest fundamentals of physics and the origin of existence. So human beings might not be able to know everything.  A strange but pragmatically progressive view. The harbingers of the end of knowledge are a little uncommon in our time.

Though he didn’t speak QED – Augustine recognized the problematic possibility of a multiverse instead of a universe. However, the anguish of a horizon of knowledge that is ending seems somehow harder to accept in this enlightened, post-modern morning.

It was never the knowledge, really. It was the pursuit of the knowledge. What a person might do with the knowledge. This is what gave meaning. No wonder boundaries on knowledge are problematic.

It’s a part of the chase. My life as a contribution to a greater story. The discover of everything.  We are so easily and not unnaturally drawn to this. Perhaps, we were even made for something like this.

Still an alternative remains:

Being.  Just being. No narrative. Nothing to see folks.

The greatest curiosity of Babel is that such a possibility is preserved through utter confusion.

September 7, 2016

King Nimrod

Gen 10:8 - 25

Gen 10:8 – 25

Nimrod is the first person identified in the bible as a “king”. Until the time of Nimrod, people appear to have lived independently as a family unit or in some sort of tribal arrangement.

So Nimrod showing up as a king isn’t a small thing. It seems to represent the first expression of any group of people forming into a community for the purpose of furthering the “common good”, goods that can only be achieved in communities – little cities and villages.

Since Nimrod was a “mighty one on the earth”, it seems likely that his kingship offered to the people who followed his authority something that they couldn’t get without him. Perhaps these included the most basic of goods that a community offers, like ordered institutions and common defense.

Of course, the good of community in Nimrod’s kingdom might also have been about Nimrod as a person. Perhaps he was a charismatic leader who established a powerful vision for the community.

Whatever the case, he shows up here not in isolation. The emergence of Nimrod, and the beginning of social contract communities is offered in the context of human progress. But at the same time, there is an implicit question on whether or not a contract can be enough to actually achieve a common wealth worthy of human potential.


September 6, 2016

Ham and Canaan

Gen 9 22 10 7

Gen 9:22 – 10:7

“Cursed be Canaan. The lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers”

So there it is. A drunken man, a moral failure, a cursed son, and the generations keep coming. The beat goes on.

Renewed, we have this essential capacity to agree with the Holy Spirit. To live wholly in Him. This is the ground of my being. As I visit this ground, and recognize my God in myself, and myself in my God, I want this essence everywhere to agree. Here, eternity is entirely available to all, but I encounter it only in the most fleeting moment.

I will – gently but determinedly to resist the temptation to return to the beat. Cursing the son for the sins of the father, for the sins of the father, for the sins of the father, for the sins of the father.

This, it seems, did not escape the waters of the flood. No despair. It’s just work to do.

September 5, 2016

Monuments in the Sky

Gen 9 8 21

Gen 9:8 – 21

“When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the covenant between me and you and all living beings,…” It is a strange thought that God could forget, that He expresses the desire for a monument, a bow in the sky, as a reminder of his unilateral covenant to never again destroy in this way.

I’ve known this passage from my youth and I’ve taught this passage to my children. When we see a rainbow we think of it. That in itself is an extraordinary power. A sign and symbol in the natural, material world of God’s faithfulness to me.

“Of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you.” Suddenly this sounds different. Am I somehow responsible to God in covenant for the well-being of other creatures? Even if they have dread fear for me, and often enough I for them?

A bow in the sky. I think of how glad I am that God will never again wholesale destroy. Today, I make the commitment to do likewise.

September 3, 2016

Gratitude and Salvation

Gen 8 18 9 9

Gen 8:18 – 9:9

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord…the Lord smelled the sweet savor.

Gratitude. I’m just trying to think if there is another recorded expression of gratitude before this. God has saved me. As I step out of the ark, or the belly of a whale, or wake up from the darkest night, my heart is filled with gratitude. My new field of endeavor is a world of rich color and fragrant smells and abounding goodness.

The promise and hopefulness of this moment will forever be memorialized as I express gratitude. And the memory of God’s faithfulness will be my joy. And the joy of the Lord will be my strength.

The requirement is serious. I will one day give an accounting…for “in the image of God has man been made”.

What was left behind is so far gone, I can scarce remember it. I am saved! There is no lament.

September 2, 2016

Faith and Reason in the Ark

Gen 8 6 17

Gen 8:6 – 17

Noah sends out ravens and pigeons. Little experiments trying to figure out what’s happening. He could have said, “God shut me up in this ark – I’ll just wait for HIM to open the door”. But he didn’t. Instead, uncovering his ark and peering out, he tried to ascertain his circumstances through the evidence available to him.

Yet, he waited to act. The evidence told him that the earth was drying up. But Noah did not move until the Lord said, “Go out of the ark…”

Perhaps this is the original interplay of faith in God and reason born out of evidence. Noah has a need to know – to ascertain his circumstances, which causes him to experiment. Yet he knows via faith in an entirely different way.

Prima facia one might think of the knowledge born of faith as having a primacy. After all, it was this that caused Noah to build an ark in the first place. But what could faith-knowledge mean in the utter absence of reason and empirical evidence?

Maybe it isn’t a question of the primacy between two ways of knowing as much as an illustration of the balance necessary for an extraordinary life.

September 1, 2016

Remembered Noah

Gen 7 17  8 5

Gen 7:17 – 8:5

“God remembered Noah”. Remember is an interesting word. Like Noah was forgotten. Why not – “in the fullness of time God made the waters recede…”

More like Noah felt forgotten.

Not that I can judge the moral implication of such despondency for Noah – I can feel forgotten and alone in the middle of a crowd of people who love me. Dark night after dark night after dark night.

Yes, Noah didn’t have many choices inside the ark. But it makes me recall Peter on that day when most of Jesus’ disciples left him. Did Peter have any more real options? “Where would I go Lord, You alone have the words of eternal life.” He was as stuck as Noah.

Today feels like one of those days where I just have to keep walking.

August 31, 2016

The Shut In

Gen 7 1 14

Gen 7:1 -14

Being shut in by God.   How strange to be facing an unimaginable unknown, alone. God has shut you in to face the flood. Not with you Noah, but with you in every way.

Outside of time necessarily means outside of narrative. I find God in an indescribable, inexpressible moment. The ultimate paradox of simple, changeless, pure dynamism.

I am really afraid that it might somehow rain today. I will – trust in God.

August 30, 2016