Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quch - Joy

Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε , ἀδελφοί μου , ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις 

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials

Count 'oH Hoch Quch, wIj loDnI'pu', ghorgh SoH pum Daq various temptations   James 1:2

(click for podcast)

This morning I had to alter my normal bike route.  I needed to swing by the ATM as well as drop off an overdue book at the library.  So I found myself biking down an unfamiliar street.  As I moved through, I spotted a flash of movement - a bird?  No, it was a paper airplane.  When I looked again, I saw its "pilot,"  a 7 year old barefoot boy in his pajamas, happily launching his plane into the air again and again.

I can't say why, but that moment just gave me a lift.  As I sailed on to work, I thought of him, enjoying a warm summer morning, standing, running and leaping in his front yard to fly on his wings of paper.

The apostle James, in his letter to believers scattered throughout the known world, reminds us

Consider it all joy  Count 'oH Hoch Quch

As we've spread farther across Earth,  as we spread out into the solar system and beyond, we need to hear those words.

This joy spoken of in the Bible - Xara in the Greek, is cheerfulness, i.e. calm delight - something I think I saw in that boy as he launched out into the morning skies with his airplane.  It's what James advises us to find in the midst of lifes trials.  Never forget - the Bible is NOT unrealistic.  The call to joy isn't blind optimism, but a trusting faith that relies on a loving God to lead us through trouble.

Certainly no Klingon would think that Quch - happiness - was found denying the difficulties of life.  But Klingons would NOT let those trials prevent them from finding the Quch, the Joy in life as we do find it.

Whether we speak of JOY, or XARA or QUCH - remember, that calm delight is indeed what God wants you to find.  This is what Jesus is promising when he says:

              tlhob, je SoH DichDaq Hev, vetlh lIj Quch may taH chenmoHta' teblu'ta'.

              Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.  John 16:24

This summer day, as you have opportunity, kick off your shoes!  Run through the grass!  Take delight in God's love and the reassurance that he does indeed desire that  lIj Quch may taH chenmoHta' teblu'ta' - your joy may be made full.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

tIq - Heart

joH'a' precepts 'oH nIH, rejoicing the tIq. joH'a' ra'ta'ghach mu' ghaH pure, enlightening the mInDu'.

The LORD's precepts are right, rejoicing the heart. The LORD's commandment is pure, enlightening the eyes.  PS 19:8

(click for podcast)

This summer is turning out to be a busy one for me.  It's my own fault - I tried out for - and got in - a musical.  That's only one of the reasons I haven't had much time for podcasts, but it's a big one.  It's been a long time since I was in a show like this - I'd forgotten how much it was like taking a second job.  Despite the work, it's a great group and really a lot of fun.

If you've ever been in a show, you'll know that, among other things the work includes the task of memorizing the music and words you're expected to sing and say.  This is somthing you can't fudge - you've got to get it right.  You need to know those words by heart.  The words have to be ready at the moment you're expected to say (or sing) them. AND EVERYONE in the show has to do this - you need to be ready and quickly say your part in turn.  When you do, the show comes to life.

The psalmist here reminds us of the power of bringing the Word to your heart   When it goes IN to your heart - it can give a rejoicing heart, and it gives you an OUTLOOK, a way to look and see clearly.

As the NLT puts it:
The commandments of the LORD are right,
bringing joy to the heart.
    The commands of the LORD are clear,
giving insight to life.

Today, we think of "the heart" -(lebh in Hebrew, or tIq in Klingon) as "the emotions."  It's often contrasted with our logical, mental side - but this isn't the Biblical picture, for the heart encompasses the whole range of our inner life.  We go too far when we think we can divide our selves into pieces, like parts of a machine.  As Easton's Bible Dictionary notes:

According to the Bible, the heart is the centre not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life. "Heart" and "soul" are often used interchangeably (Deut. 6:5; 26:16; comp. Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30, 33), but this is not generally the case. The heart is the "home of the personal life," and hence a man is designated, according to his heart, wise (1 Kings 3:12, etc.), pure (Ps. 24:4; Matt. 5:8, etc.), upright and righteous (Gen. 20:5, 6; Ps. 11:2; 78:72), pious and good (Luke 8:15), etc. ...The heart is also the seat of the conscience (Rom. 2:15). 

When we take this word into our heart, our leb, in the Hebrew, or tIq in Klingon - we can rejoice.  Not because we've stored up something and are holding it inside, but because that word, once inside, drives us with a new outlook - it can give us the "script" as it were to guide us in our lives.

In less than two weeks I'll be on a stage with dozens of other cast members putting on a show.  We've had the scripts for weeks and have all been working on this show.  IF we only learned the words, and held them in our mental filing cabinets - well, the show would be a bust.  But when we learn it all by heart, and then use those words to ACT, to interact, to laugh and sing - we will bring our story to life.  

And it's a reminder that all of us need to store up God's word in our heart - not as more index cards in our mental file, but the script for our lives, to drive our actions!

joH'a' precepts 'oH nIH, rejoicing the tIq. joH'a' ra'ta'ghach mu' ghaH pure, enlightening the mInDu'.

The LORD's precepts are right, rejoicing the heart. The LORD's commandment is pure, enlightening the eyes.  PS 19:8