Monday, October 31, 2005


naD joH'a', Hoch SoH tuqpu'!
Praise the LORD, all you nations!

click here for podcast

Go outside tonight - or at least the next time you can, when there are stars to be seen.

If the clouds or streetlights make that impossible - go the library and get a book on astronomy, or a download a program like Celestia that lets you explore the sky.

However you do it, look at the stars and think about this word - "ALL." In Hebrew it's col, and here in Klingon we render it as Hoch, a terrific all encompassing word that means "everyone, all, everything." You can't get much more inclusive. Remember - that imperative "hallelujah" is a way of saying "y'ALL praise God."

naD joH'a', Hoch SoH tuqpu'!
Praise the LORD, all you nations!

I don't know that the Psalmist thinks everyone will praise God. What I do think is that the author is filled with excitement and delight at what the LORD has done. The writer of Psalm 117 has that kind of devotion that just spills over and calls out to everyone near and far, to all to Hoch, to praise God.

When you look out into the stars, and think of the countless worlds that lie out there, the call to all to praise God takes on an incredible scope. But it gets better.

You see, there are no boundaries, no borders in a faith that has that kind of excitement. The faith of the Bible is not a local faith. Though it seems national with Israel, or ethnic with churches that grow out of different language groups, when we read this Psalm, we call out Hallelujah! to all. The borders are gone.

Astronauts and cosmonauts have a different perspective than those of us on the ground. They've travelled out into the black of space - and when they look back they've been struck by something - "there aren't any lines," they've commented. We spend our lifetime seeing the world in terms of maps with carefully drawn lines - and once they get out beyond our atmosphere - it's clean. Those borders - for which so many have fought and died - are just gone.

Look out into the sky - the scope and breadth of the Universe tell us God's got no limits. We can delight in his grace, in the marvels of his creation and let our imagination take flight. With a Biblical faith, with a heart filled with praise to our maker as this psalm calls out, we can erase whatever boundaries separated us from each other and call, to one

and to ALL

Praise ye the LORD!

Monday, October 24, 2005

One Word to Bind Them All

naD joH'a'
Praise the LORD
Psalm 117:1a

click for podcast

Would you like to be a linguist, with a vocabulary that extends from Albanian to Xhosa? With one word I can assist you towards this goal.

The word I'm thinking of is at the heart of this Psalm, the shortest chapter of the Bible.


That short phrase, almost a contraction, ends this psalm, and is expressed in a longer version, hallelu et adonai - praise you the LORD - at the beginning. By bracketing this short chapter, this command directs believers to be about the serious, and delightful, work of praise.

From Hebrew to Greek to Latin, Hallelujah over the centuries was transliterated from language to language and has become an exclamation of praise, so universal that it has moved into the lexicons of many languages. Look for yourself at the Crosswire Bible Society's website, There you can compare Bibles in quite a few languages and see this Psalm containing "Hallelujah" or "Allelulia" : Afrikaans, Bulgarian, Croatian, Dutch, Esperanto, and Finnish to name a few, each transliterating this word for their tongue.

But. Not Klingon. If we were to present a Klingon version of Hallelujah, it might be 'alayluya. However, since the World English Bible, the source used for my Klingon Language Version, translates the Hebrew terms, the KLV does likewise, naD joH'a'. If we were to translate it more grammatically we'd say it as a command, joH'a' penaD, the-LORD you-all-praise.


I love this word, and especially like thinking about the path it has taken through the long years. It is now almost a password, if you will, for believers on every continent and with many different languages. A foreign word in almost every language, it is testifies to a faith language of the heart that is (or should be) a native language for everyone who follows the God of the Bible.

To me, the really important thing is that little syllable -lu-; it indicates the plural. YOU-ALL give praise, not "you" singular. (This is something we've lost in modern English; an ability to easily distinguish singular and plural. You can see it preserved in the King James and Douay translations, where the "you" and "ye" forms indicate plural, and "thou," "thee," and "thine" refer to the second person singular.)

That "lu," Halle-LU-jah, takes the command to praise and extends it not to you or me, but to all of us, together. God calls forth, across the ages, across the world (even to the stars?) and draws us together as we praise him.

Think of this word and all its forms as being links that bind us together when we - all of us - rejoice in any language: Afrikaans, Albanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Dutch, Esperanto, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Klingon, Latin and Xhosa we'll together call out

Hallelujah, allelulia, Praise ye the LORD.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Waiting Room

loS vaD joH'a'
Wait for the LORD Psalm 27:14

I am famous (or notorious) in my family because I rarely go anywhere without a book tucked in my pocket.

"You never know," I joke, "when you might be abducted by aliens. I just want to be prepared to have something to read!"

A more practical consequence is that I am the "designated wait-er" in the family. Everone knows that I am ready to amuse myself standing in line at a cashier or return desk. I don't mind waiting, because I am ready to make good used of my time. (As a matter of fact, I'm writing this, waiting at the Mall of America for some family members who are out doing some shopping.)

The Klingon word here "to wait" is "loS" (and same word as the number "four"). The WEB uses 'wait' over 120 times in the Hebrew scriptures, in this case it stands for the Hebrew word qavah. Used more than 40 times, qavah has the idea of 'to bind' together (perhaps by twisting), i.e. collect. Figuratively, meaning to expect: the King James translates it as gather, look, patience, tarry, and wait.

loS vaD joH'a' Wait for the LORD,

David writes - telling us to taH HoS, be strong.

I don't think David is just saying "tough it out." There is value in learning patience, but there is also value in what we learn as we wait. This is more than pulling out an SF book in the checkout lane.

If you've ever travelled the same route at different speeds - driving versus walking, or flying versus driving to the same destination - you probably noticed that - well, you NOTICED more when you travelled more slowly. Sometimes this is what we need; it's what God helps us find when we need to wait.

Likewise, there are treasures out there to discover when God makes us wait for His answers to our prayers.

David knew this. He was anointed to be King when a teen - yet he had to wait, and he learned to taH HoS, be strong. Not until he was 30 did he truly become king - ready at last, schooled through the years of waiting. Is there any doubt he was far better prepared for the trials he endured?

What are you waiting for? Our times of waiting can be hard - trying our faith. If you stand alongside a friend or loved one who is in their time of waiting, be careful! Do what you can to strengthen them - "let us consider one another," says the author of Hebrews.

And if you wait - as much as you can - give thanks for the gift you may find in this time!

Wait patiently for the LORD.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the LORD (Psalm 27:14 NLT)

Friday, October 14, 2005


jIH 'oH vIHHa' voqtaHqu' vo' vam: jIH DichDaq legh the QaQ vo' joH'a' Daq the puH vo' the yIntaH.

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
(Psalm 27: 13)


Where do you live? Or, more specifically, to whom do you owe your allegiance? Allegiance, what the American Heritage Dictionary calls "Loyalty or the obligation of loyalty, as to a nation, sovereign, or cause," is something you can choose to give. Who has yours?

Anyone who knows the history of Lt. Worf and his career on the Enterprise, as well as later on Deep Space Nine, can see the problem of loyalty being divided. A Klingon, raised and educated by humans, Worf always had to face people who questioned where his loyalty, where his allegiance was placed.

But it is a question for all of us - to whom do you owe your allegiance?

Here, almost at the very end of Psalm 27, we hear David confidently say he will see God's goodness, puH vo' the yIntaH, in the land of the living.

Now it is obvious, when David says the eretz hayim,“land of the living," he is talking about “this life.” Despite being in the middle of problems (look back over the text of Psalm 27) he was sure that in this present life, God would see him through it. Yet, I think there is a statement of allegiance here - a trust too - that David's home is "the land of the living." It can be ours too.

Faced with a challenge about survival beyond death, Jesus said:
haven't you read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Matthew 22: 31b,32)

Believers may say this too - by putting our allegiance with this great God and - to trust that God will bless us in the land of the living. No - it doesn't mean everything will be perfect, all ills healed or that all material prosperity will be ours. But trusting this God means our life, our living, will never really end.

Worf, David, you and I need to choose every day who gets our loyalty, what our heart's homeland really is. If we accept the limits of this world, of no more future or survival than the grave, then we're not pledging our allegiance to the land of the living.

The Life Application Bible notes:
God doesn’t force his will on anyone. He lets us decide whether to follow him or reject him. This decision, however, is a life-or-death matter. God wants us to realize this, for he would like us all to choose life.
As Moses said:

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Good Eyes!

ghaH 'Iv ghajtaH a generous mIn DichDaq taH ghurtaH; vaD ghaH shares Daj Soj tlhej the mIpHa'.

He who has a generous eye will be blessed; for he shares his food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9


I've just discovered a collection site for new words and phrases.

Words are (obviously) a hobby of mine so I love how tracks new words. The one that caught my attention lately was joy-to-stuff ratio (joy-too-STUF ray.shee.oh) n. The time a person has to enjoy life versus the time a person spends accumulating material goods.

What a challenging way to measure my life! AND... I think it's Biblical.

Good Eyes! In my family we call that out when someone spots something important - an overlooked item when packing, or say a misplaced pair of sunglasses. Whatever it is, we acknowledge the good observations with that praise.

Today's verse lauds "good eyes," too, believe it or not. But the eyes are those that look to the needs of others, not forgotten luggage.

I'm taking this detour from our almost completed transit through Psalm 27, because the verse caught my, uh, eye, the other day. In fact I know exactly which day, since often I'll read the current day's numbered chapter of Proverbs (eg. chapter one on the 1st, two on the 2nd, and so on).

On the 22nd of September this lead me to the arresting:

ghaH 'Iv ghajtaH a generous mIn DichDaq taH ghurtaH; vaD ghaH shares Daj Soj tlhej the mIpHa'.

He who has a generous eye will be blessed; for he shares his food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9

Now - there is no word in Klingon for "generous." That's okay - the original text doesn't say generous either - it says "tov," good. The same word as God declared over creation when he "saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." (Gen 1:31).

So we're told the person with the "good eye" (the bountiful eye, the the KJV reads) will be blessed. The phrase that follows spells out what the "good eye" means - "he shares his food with the poor."

Having a QaQ mIn, a good eye, is vital- it helps us see what we need to do. I do find it far easier to look past the front page to the comics - to watch the sitcoms instead of the news. Who wants to see what is wrong?

Well, I think that is the point. If I see what I need to do, and share my "bread" - giving it away, what will that leave me? Blessed.

If we see so clearly, then maybe we can live up to this description in Isaiah

For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat, when the blast of the dreaded ones is like a storm against the wall. Isaiah 25:4

How's your joy-to-stuff ratio? I can see mine needs work.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Speedy Delivery!

yImev toD jIH Dung Daq the neH vo' wIj jaghpu'
Don’t deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries (Psalm 27:12)

I have discovered a revolutionary communciations tool - one that quickly and cheaply moves messages and packages - the MAIL!

My youngest child just started school at an out of town college and we have been having fun sending her notes and occasional packages. We're enjoying how easy (and fast!) it is to keep in touch this way. Of course we've got all the other ways to keep in touch. Email, cell phones and Instant Messages and they are good, but being able to routinely deliver things (letters, cookies, USB drives) is something we never used (or needed) when our son attended a local university and lived at home.

DELIVER: that's the Klingon word to consider today.

The word that David uses in this psalm when he says " Don’t deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries" is nathan, and it means "to give." It is the root of the name Nathan (gift), Nathaniel (God's gift) and Jonathan (The LORD's gift).

However, the mechanical process I used to transform the World English Bible with Klingon vocabulary maps a single English word to a Klingon term. "Deliver " occurs over 200 times in the WEB, both meaning "deliver" as in 'delivering the mail' and 'delivering me from trouble.' The first three occurences are in Genesis, and each translates a different Hebrew word: "deliver me from the hand of my brother" (natsal - to snatch away, 32:11), "that he might deliver him out of their hand" (shuwb - to turn back, 37:22), and "I will deliver your brother to you" (nathan - to give 42:34). Two out of three encompass the notion of rescue.

By not using the Klingon word for deliver, as in delivering a package (HIj), the translation introduces a bit of wordplay to this passage. Using "toD," (to save) I seem to have David not just saying "don't hand me over" to my enemy, but "don't save me for my enemy's evil plans."

There ARE times when we feel this is what is happening. The Israelites, when fleeing from the Pharoah, ignored the way they'd been freed from slavery and complained to Moses: "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you treated us this way, to bring us forth out of Egypt" (Exodus 14:11).

Is this your fear? There are times when we cannot see how God is doing good in our lives. That's why we need to recall Scripture's words of promise. Jesus said he "didn't come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." (Luke 9:56). And he promised to his followers "I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly." (John 10:10b)

You've got mail! Day after day there are messages - being delivered to you on paper or computer screens. Not all are welcome - but the best delivery is the words from God's word that bring you good news:

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give
you a future and a hope.

In those days when you pray, I will listen.

If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me."
(Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT)