Saturday, January 27, 2007

Revived!

'a' jIH yIt Daq the midst vo' Seng, SoH DichDaq yInmoHqa' jIH

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me. Psalm 138:7a

(click for podcast)

Travel to the stars involves tremendous distances - so vast that without FTL drives, like the warp drive of the Enterprise, it would take centuries to reach the nearest star. Since we know of no science (yet) to achieve warp speeds, we have to consider other ways to get to the stars.

One solution is the sleeper ship - described in the Star Trek Encyclopedia as:

"a relatively slow interstellar spacecraft that used suspended animation to allow passengers and crew to hibernate during the flight."


In such a ship, the travellers would travel in cold sleep for years - to be awakened - REVIVED at journey's end.


'a' jIH yIt Daq the midst vo' Seng, SoH DichDaq yInmoHqa' jIH

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me. Psalm 138:7a

Revival - a rekindling of life, is something we too need - not just for traveling to another star, but as we, day by day face the troubles of life. We need for God to RETURN us to life.

In Psalm 138:7 the word here for "revive" is the Hebrew chayah meaning

"to live," "cause to live," used of restoration to life (Ge 45:27; Jg 15:19, etc.); of rebuilding (Ne 4:2); of restoration to well-being (Ps 85:6 (the Revised Version (British and American) "quicken"); Ps 138:7; Isa 57:15; Ho 6:2; 14:7); of the LORD's gracious work for His people (ISBE)


It's a word that appears over 200 times in the Bible. As translated in the KJV, it's the only word for "revive" or "revived." The Latin translation of this psalm uses "vivific√°bis" - to bring back to life. How would we put that in Klingon?

For the idea of "life" expressed by chayah we could map to the Klingon "yIn" - "life," or "to live." To carry the idea of "revive" I've added the suffix -moH (cause) and -qa' (again) for yInmoHqa', cause again to live, that is, revive.

We journey together through a world filled with problems - and David doesn't suggest God will evacuate us FROM these troubles - no, we'll walk "in the midst of trouble." But we can count on God for new life - revival - life to renew us when we are faint.

"Revive" occurs in the Greek scriptures as the translation of anazao, "to live again," but the ISBE notes another Greek word, in 1 Macc 13:7 we have "And the spirit of the people revived,"

anazopureo, "to stir or kindle up as a fire." The same word for revival is used in 2Ti 1:6:

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. (2 Tim 1:6 NLT).

Now, this is the kind of revival we need - I need. We must listen to Paul's reminder to Timothy to stir up, to REVIVE, the faith we have, and renew the gifts God has given us. For this we need to turn to God in trust and hope.

You see - while it isn't likely that we're going to get on board a sleeper ship en route to Alpha Centauri anytime soon - we may very well be sleeping within the ship of faith, and from THAT we need to be awakened. I like what the ISBE notes about such things:

In view of the frequent modern use of "revive" and "revival," it is worthy of notice that it is to Timothy himself the exhortation is addressed. We too often merely pray for "revivals," forgetting that it is for us to "stir into flame" the gift of the Spirit which we have already received of God. It is ours from Him, but we let it lie dormant, as a slumbering ember merely.


'a' jIH yIt Daq the midst vo' Seng, SoH DichDaq yInmoHqa' jIH

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me. Psalm 138:7a

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Yoyo Theology

vaD 'a' joH'a' ghaH jen, yet ghaH looks after the lowly; 'ach the proud, ghaH SovtaH vo' afar.

Psalms 138:6 For though th LORD is high, yet he looks after the lowly; But the proud, he knows from afar.

(click for podcast)

I received a weapon as a gift this last holiday season - an ancient and honorable weapon, used for thousands of years - just the sort of gift to delight a Klingon!

Except... I have to admit, on doing a little more research, what I have isn't REALLY a weapon. But, it is a really cool yoyo! I called it a weapon, because legend has it (probably coming from the public relations for one yoyo manufacturer) that the yoyo was at one time a weapon. This might be based on the fact the modern yoyo came from the Philippines - and there are stories of hunters in the Philippines in the 16th century using sharp rocks with strings attached to kill prey from trees.

Weapon or not, the yoyo is a fun toy - one that illustrates the reversal of the principle "what goes up must come down," and it is a reversal of that nature this verse from Psalm 138 speaks of.

vaD 'a' joH'a' ghaH jen, yet ghaH looks after the lowly; 'ach the proud, ghaH SovtaH vo' afar.

Psalms 138:6 For though the LORD is high, yet he looks after the lowly; But the proud, he knows from afar.

God pays attention - to those who have been brought low; he is distant, remote, from those who are smug, and think themselves secure in this life. I've often said my ungrammatical KLV gives one a start for doing a real translation - here's a try, recasting the KLV into somewhat more grammatical Klingon, you might have:


joH'a' jen, 'ach mIpHa'wI'pu' leghtaH
mIywI'pu'vo' HoptaH

literally: God be-high, but not-rich-ones he-watches,
from-bragging-ones he-is-remote

N: joH'a': God
V: jen: be high
&: 'ach: but, nevertheless, even so, however
N: mIpHa'wI'pu': (pl) one/thing which is/doesnot be rich
V: leghtaH: on-going see
N: mIywI'pu'vo': from(pl) one/thing which is/does brag
V: HoptaH: on-going be remote, far



This is a principle throughout scripture - how God upends our order of who is mighty, and who is powerless. Peter quotes Proverbs when he notes:

God sets himself against the proud,
but he shows favor to the humble. NLT 1 Peter 5:5 (Prov. 3:34)

Just as a yoyo reverses course, this verse from Psalm 138 speaks of a reversal, the attention God gives to the lowly, and the humbling of the mighty. Peter continues in his letter:

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. 1 Peter 5:6 NLT

To attract God's attention - to get his notice, we don't need to be great, or rich, or powerful. Watch television and you will expect wealth and accomplishment are all that matter. But the Bible again and again reminds us, God does not count such things as what matters. Through the prophet Micah he reminds us:

No, O people, the LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NLT

It's true - what goes up DOES come down. Great wealth, wonderful possessions - all are temporary; they won't last. But the wonderful message is that "what goes down, can come up," when we "walk humbly with our God," he will indeed raise us up! Rejoice!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Glory!

HIja', chaH DichDaq bom vo' the Hemey vo' joH'a'; vaD Dun ghaH joH'a' batlh.
Psalms 138:5 Yes, they will sing of the ways of the LORD; For great is the LORD's glory.


Glory. There are 20 words (13 Hebrew and 7 Greek) that the KJV translates as "glory". The Hebrew used in this verse is kabowd, properly, weight, but only figuratively in a good sense, splendor or copiousness. In the KJV it is translated as glorious(-ly), glory, honour. Glory in this sense, is something that MATTERS, something of substance - it has weight. We see kabowd close to 200 times in scripture - it is the most common of the Biblical words used for glory.

The English "glory" comes from the Latin glorior, and means to exult with joy; to rejoice - this is the word the Vulgate uses to translate this Psalm. Glory is then something to celebrate, to delight in.

What word would fit for a Klingon?

In all the records of Captain Kirk's exploits on the Enterprise, the first time we meet Klingons, it turns out that an expected war is prevented by a benevolent alien race. Discussing this outcome with Commandor Kor, Kirk notes:

Well, Commander, I guess that takes care of the war. Obviously, the Organians aren't going to let us fight."
"A pity, Captain. It would have been glorious!"


Not a surprising response for a Klingon. But we watch war unfold in our day, on this planet, and as we see the horrors of death and destruction, we do not share the apparent Klingon enthusiasm for battle. But I'd suggest the Klingon attitude is not really bloodthirst, or to enjoy war itself, but the glory of victory, the honor of behaving well in difficult circumstances.

HIja', chaH DichDaq bom vo' the Hemey vo' joH'a'; vaD Dun ghaH joH'a' batlh.
Psalms 138:5 Yes, they will sing of the ways of the LORD; For great is the LORD's glory.

Now, there is no known word for "glory" in Klingon - so we don't know what Commander Kor might have said in Klingon. We know words like victory (yay), succeed, (Qap), and success (Qapla') - but the word I've chosen for this vers is batlh, honor - a concept, a goal that defines Klingon behavior and ideals. To behave with honor is to live a glorious life.

This verse celebrates the joy of what God has done, how he works in our world - looking to a day when all rulers will celebrate his triumph over evil.

Paul wrote of glory, and struggle in life:

All of these things are for your benefit. And as God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. (2 Cor 4:15, NLT)


We watch, we wait for, we anticipate God's victory in this world - this is the glory we will celebrate.

As the Life Application Bible notes:


Our troubles should not diminish our faith or disillusion us. We should realize that there is a purpose in our suffering. Problems and human limitations have several benefits: (1) They remind us of Christ’s suffering for us; (2) they keep us from pride; (3) they cause us to look beyond this brief life; (4) they give us opportunities to prove our faith to others; and (5) they give God the opportunity to demonstrate his power. See your troubles as opportunities!


Note, that this doesn't mean our problems go away. Glory comes through our lives, not by God erasing struggle, but empowering us within it. As Paul wrote in Romans:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed toward us (Romans 8:18 NLT)

HIja', chaH DichDaq bom vo' the Hemey vo' joH'a'; vaD Dun ghaH joH'a' batlh.
Psalms 138:5 Yes, they will sing of the ways of the LORD; For great is the LORD's glory.


There is a glory that will come - now we see only glimmers of it in the glory, the victories that God grants. We have a battle, a struggle to live with batlh, with honor, as God gives us grace to Qap, to succeed. Look to him for the victory - vaD Dun ghaH joH'a' batlh - For great is the Lord's glory!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hov leng!

ghorgh chaH leghta' the Hov, chaH rejoiced tlhej exceedingly Dun Quch.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.

(click for podcast)

This time of year - the first week of January, marks a special celebration for western Christians, one that might be called the original star trek - or Hov leng, in Klingon: I refer to the feast of Epiphany.

At this time, January 6th, we celebrate the journey of the wisemen - the magii - who followed a star to worship the infant Jesus. This underscores a vital message of Scripture - namely that God's word, his promises are for EVERYONE. This is the same message we find in the fourth verse of Psalm 138:

Hoch the joHpu' vo' the tera' DichDaq nob SoH tlho', joH'a', vaD chaH ghaj Qoyta' the mu'mey vo' lIj nuj.

All the kings of the earth will give you thanks, O LORD,
For they have heard the words of your mouth. Psalm 138:4

Just as Melchizedek honored Abraham, and the Queen of Sheba did Solomon, and the Magii, Jesus - the Biblical history's proclamation is that what God offers is not to meant for any specific family or nation, but for EVERYONE.

Sadly, it is not hard to find examples of communities of faith that seem to miss this, whose roster seem practically to come from the same family. Yet the Bible reminds us, God's family, that his hope and promises, are for everyone. As Paul wrote to Timothy, telling him to pray for Kings and rulers in authority:

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who desires ALL PEOPLE to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3,4

We can't wait for the Kings, the magii to come - we need through our words and deeds to share the Good news - to show that, across the universe, God's word needs to be heard to bring life.

Hoch the joHpu' vo' the tera' DichDaq nob SoH tlho', joH'a', vaD chaH ghaj Qoyta' the mu'mey vo' lIj nuj.

All the kings of the earth will give you thanks, O LORD,
For they have heard the words of your mouth. Psalm 138:4


Hallelujah!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Go Solar!

SoH encouraged jIH tlhej HoS Daq wIj qa'.
You encouraged me with strength in my soul.

(click for podcast)

Here's the problem with space travel - everything you carry requires more fuel to propel it. AND that fuel is one MORE thing to carry. Which requires more fuel to propel it..

If you have a one-ton rocket in orbit, and you want to take it to, say Venus, it would take at least 3 tons of fuel. If you needed to add tanks to hold that fuel, well, there you have more mass to propel, and it will need fuel for every bit of mass added. It gets complicated, and it is necessary to come up with elegant - sometimes complex - solutions to reduce mass of a ship.

Now - imagine for a moment that you could propel your ship without fuel. Once in orbit, you'll add no more mass to your payload - even if this magic cost you time in the journey, it would be worth it, since you could have a regular shuttle carrying supplies back and forth to your destination - say an outpost on Mars or station around Venus.

This isn't a fantasy, at least not if you use what is called a solar sail to power your spacecraft (http://www.solarsails.info/index.html)

Solar sails (also called light sails, especially when they use light sources other than the Sun) are a proposed form of spacecraft propulsion using large membrane mirrors. Radiation pressure is small and decreases by the square of the distance from the sun, but unlike rockets, solar sails require no fuel. Although the thrust is small, it continues as long as the sun shines and the sail is deployed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail

Once built a sail propelled ship requires no fuel but the sun to move. And, unlike terrestrial winds - there is no "weather" - the wind is steady and reliable

SoH encouraged jIH tlhej HoS Daq wIj qa'.
You encouraged me with strength in my soul.


David encourages us in this psalm by assuring that, in answer to prayer, God will give strength. The Hebrew word is oz and appears over 90 times in the Bible. From a word that means strength in various applications, it is translated in the KJV as boldness, loud, might, power, strength, strong.

This is a good match for the Klingon word,HoS, which is both a verb (to be strong) and noun (strength, energy, power). Strength is a valued factor in Klingon life - it is one of the four ideals of behavior (accuracy, straightforwardness, and aggressiveness are the others.).

And God's promised strength is a powerful theme in Scripture as well. Though some may see prayer as nothing but a sanctified Santa's wish list - the promise of scripture is the power to get through our trials.

St. Paul reminds us in Philippians

jIH laH ta' Hoch Dochmey vegh Christ, 'Iv strengthens jIH
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Phil 4:13

David tells us in Psalm 28

joH'a' ghaH wIj HoS je wIj yoD. wIj tIq ghajtaH trusted Daq ghaH, je jIH 'oH helped. vaj wIj tIq greatly rejoices. tlhej wIj bom jIH DichDaq tlho' ghaH.

The LORD is my strength and my shield. My heart has trusted in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices. With my song I will thank him. Psalm 28:17

How this strengh works may be a mystery - as St. Paul found when, despite prayer he was not healed, but assured by God:

" wIj grace ghaH sufficient vaD SoH, vaD wIj HoS ghaH chenmoHta' perfect Daq weakness."

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor 12:9)

Remember the solar sail? That fantastic contraption that promises to reduce the cost of travel through our solar system? It is based on the premise that the ship doesn't need to contain all the power it needs to travel - it opens up and takes advantage of the sun's power.

For our travels through life, prayer is like that sail, opening up our lives to God's power to move through the orbits of our lives. When we presume that our lives, our achievements are completely dependant on the our own abilities, we are in the predicament of the space traveler who must carefully measure each ounce every gram of cargo and carry fuel and more fuel to reach our goal.

SoH encouraged jIH tlhej HoS Daq wIj qa'.
You encouraged me with strength in my soul.


The Bible reminds us that we don't stand alone, that God is ready to help us, give us power to reach our goals. Turn today in prayer, for the HoS, the power that you need.