Friday, February 24, 2012

Hoch - This means YOU!

  chaw' Hoch the tera' taHvIp joH'a'. chaw' Hoch the nganpu' vo' the qo' Qam Daq awe vo' ghaH. 

 Let all the earth fear the LORD.  Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.  ps 33:8

How do you imagine that Klingons recruit?

I think, though I don't know, that it would be direct, not some sweet winsome wooing or promise of reward.  I picture it more as

yIqIm!     /  Attention
qaneH  / I need YOU!
DaH!  /   NOW!
SoHvaD Dochvam /   THIS MEANS YOU!

Military recruitment, or proposal of marriage - that's the sort no-nonsense approach I imagine would be the Klingons.  Particularly SoHvaD Dochvam /   THIS MEANS YOU!

  chaw' Hoch the tera' taHvIp joH'a'. chaw' Hoch the nganpu' vo' the qo' Qam Daq awe vo' ghaH. 

 Let all the earth fear the LORD.  Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.  ps 33:8

The word here "all" is one of those happy (however rare) cases where the KLV is right on - ALL in this verse, in Hebrew KOL, nicely is translated here as the Klingon Hoch.  The Psalmist here speaks of ALL, that is everyone, everybody - in other words SoHvaD Dochvam /   THIS MEANS YOU!

Consider what Spurgeon observes about this verse:

The psalmist was not a man blinded by national prejudice, he did not desire to restrict the worship of Jehovah to the seed of Abraham. He looks for homage even to far off nations.
We hear this through the Psalms:

joH'a' DichDaq ghurmoH maH. Hoch the ends vo' the tera' DIchDaq taHvIp ghaH. 
God will bless us. All the ends of the earth shall fear him.  Ps 67.7

lalDan toy' joH'a' Daq le' array. Tremble qaSpa' ghaH, Hoch the tera'. 
Worship Yahweh in holy array. Tremble before him, all the earth. Ps 96.9

SoHvaD Dochvam /   THIS MEANS YOU!

There are two dimensions to this:  The scripture reminds us again and again that ALL will be judged and ALL are called:

    vaD maH must Hoch taH 'angta' qaSpa' the yoj seat vo' Christ
     For we must all be revealed before the judgment seat of Christ; 2Co 5:10
    ( Mt 25:32; Ac 17:31; Ro 2:16; 14:12; 2Co 5:10; Re 20:12)

  SoHvaD Dochvam /   THIS MEANS YOU!  But this  isn't a bad news story - because the same Bible also tells us:

 vaD pa' ghaH ghobe' distinction joj Jew je Greek; vaD the rap joH ghaH joH vo' Hoch, je ghaH rich Daq Hoch 'Iv ja' Daq ghaH.
 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all who call on him. Ro 10:12

   ( Joh 3:16; 10:16; Ro 10:12; 1Ti 2:4)

 So call on Him today!  SoHvaD Dochvam /   THIS MEANS YOU!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Known or Nobody

Podcast Version

Thanks to Think-a-Tron and Digicomp I, I can happily claim to have worked with computers for something like forty years. From the days of those toy computers to today I've used punch cards, paper tape, magnetic tape and disks, compact disks, and now, small flash-ram "jump drives" to store and retrieve information. We've seen the same progress with our music. From vinyl to eight track and cassette tapes to compact disks and mp3 players, every year seems to bring a new way to record our tunes.

We can't imagine what will be used in the future. Though we can assume the obvious: things will continue to hold more and more data in smaller and smaller devices.

Yet these improvements introduce a problem: as older storage techniques become obsolete, we may lose access to important information. It seems funny to think that we have scientific data from the 1960's that is becoming inaccessible. We still possess the records - but as time goes on we're losing the ability to read them.

vaD joH'a' SovtaH the way vo' the QaQtaHghach
'ach the way vo' the mIgh DIchDaq chIlqu'.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous but the way of the wicked shall perish. Psalm 1:6

To be known by our God - or perish. This is the contrast presented by the last verse of Psalm 1. It is a difference in outcome that I think we see with computers and music. Not many people are prepared to listen to an 8 track, or read a program off of a paper tape: information kept those ways is perishing.

But the things worth knowing, worth keeping, have been preserved. Copied from tape to disk to chips - and who knows? In the future, maybe kiloquad isolinear storage chips, or whatever the Federation uses. As long as the information is kept in a readable form, it won't perish: it will be known.

This psalm was another case where the KLV lexicon needed help. In particular I lacked a word for "perish."abad the Hebrew word, carries the idea of "to wander away, i.e. lose oneself; by implication to perish." So I used the Klingon word chIl, to be lost, and added the intensive suffix -qu'. mIgh DIchDaq chIlqu' : that is, the wicked shall be utterly lost.

What does this mean? I think the Psalm is reminding us that there are two ways ahead of us. As we look through all of our tomorrows and into eternity, what is ahead? Here we see the way of the righteous - the life of the blessed that this psalm describes, or the way of the wicked, those who scoff and turn their backs on God.

To be known and not be discarded - the promise of such a future is the confidence we can find in Psalm 1. There is security in being known by the Lord. It is like the prophet Nahum reminds us:

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7

Friday, February 10, 2012


(note: this was originally podcast in 2005)
podcast version

As I wrote this, space enthusiasts around the world are waiting to hear the fate of Cosmos 1, the first attempt to launch a solar sail powered spacecraft. The prognosis isn't looking too good right now. Almost no communications have been received since launch. Most evidence points to a failed launch - at best a lower orbit than planned. This exciting project used a decommissioned Soviet missile as a launch vehicle and was run by a combination of international teams headed by the Planetary Society. They are pioneering the most efficient technology we know to head out to the planets, and the best to get to the stars!

However, first we have to get the project under way, first we have to - literally - get it off the ground. (Well, okay, off the water - they used a sub to launch the rocket.)

vaj the mIgh DIchDaq ghobe' Qam Daq the yoj
Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment Psalm 1:5

Those words in Psalm 1 speak of "getting off the ground," too. We hear that the wicked shall not Qam or stand (the Hebrew word is quwm which means 'to rise.') In other words, we're talking about rising up, taking one's place: taking a stand. This verse echoes the beginning of the psalm, where we heard that a blessed person won't hang around with the wicked, won't "stand in the way of sinners." Now we hear that - ultimately - the wicked won't stand either. That is, they will not be able to stand alongside the blessed, or be accepted Daq the tay' ghotpu' vo' the QaQtaHghach, "in the congregation of the righteous."

In another psalm we hear the question:

Who may ascend to the LORD’s hill?
Who may stand in his holy place? Psalm 24:3

Who indeed? If we wish to lift off, to rise up before the Lord, and following him to sail beyond merely the planets and the stars, then I think the Psalmist is directing to consider what stand we take in our lives today. We can't do it ourselves. Just as a spacecraft can't get into orbit without a sufficient booster - our ability alone won't lift us up to stand in the judgment.

St. Paul notes this, quoting the Hebrew scriptures, when he wrote to the Ephesians:
That is why the Scriptures say,
'When he ascended to the heights,
he led a crowd of captives
and gave gifts to his people.'

Paul goes on to say:

Notice that it says 'he ascended.'

This means that Christ first came down to the lowly world in which we
live. The same one who came down is the one who ascended higher than
all the heavens, so that his rule might fill the entire universe. Eph 4:8-10 NLT

If you want to rise up, to take your stand with the one whose rule fills the universe - you'll need to follow the advice of Psalm 1: Avoid accepting, and participating with what is wrong. Give your time and attention to the scriptures that tell us what is right.

But your effort isn't enough. We need to accept the gift, the grace of the one who can make us stand, and lift us higher than all the heavens.

Are you ready for liftoff?

Friday, February 03, 2012

Blown Away!

The mIgh 'oH ... rur the yub nuq the SuS drives DoH.
The wicked are ... like the chaff which the wind drives away. Psalm 1:4

podcast version

Picture for a moment what you consider to be your enemies. Imagine them before you. Consider those who represent to you, the most formidable villains. This is the wicked, the rishaim in Hebrew, or mIgh in Klingon. These are the adversaries of all that was described in the first three verses of Psalm 1. In this psalm we have read that the blessed person will refuse to join in with the wicked. We've heard that these blessed ones who dwell on God's words will flourish like a well rooted tree. Such a blessed person will endure.

The psalmist now turns back to consider the other side of the coin: the wicked. These are those who rur the yub SuS drives DoH (are like the chaff the wind drives away).

Chaff: Not a familiar term in an increasingly urban world. This verse depends on our knowing that grains like wheat actually have to be processed, crushed so the outer cover of the the grain, this chaff, can be thrown away.

These words assure us that ultimately the threat of the wicked is insubstantial. Their works will not last. Perhaps reflecting on this Psalm, one ancient writer wrote:

"The hope of the wicked is like
thistledown blown by the wind
or like foam blown by a storm.
It is like smoke dissipated by the wind,
It is soon forgotten..." (Wisdom 5:14)
The wicked, however powerful they may seem, will finally be blown away, leaving no trace.

I would say that the duties of believers includes helping one another remember this. We need to support each other in the face of the most crushing defeats of life. Defeats that we cannot always avoid. Remember, the process of separating the wheat from the chaff meant crushing the grain so that the worthless chaff is removed.

The Hebrew word for chaff, mowts, is rendered here with the Klingon word 'yub.' yub refers to something like the rind or shell of a naH, a fruit or nut. It's the part you throw away. And I like to think about how with grain, this "throwing away" is accomplished by simply letting the wind carry it off. It underlines to me how flimsy these enemies, the wicked, ultimately are. Like shutting down a hologram projection, they will be gone completely.

There is more to think about here. The contrast presented, the "wicked" versus the "blessed," represents the choice each of us faces in life. Considering this verse, one writer notes:

"Chaff is very light and is carried away by even the slightest wind, while the good grain falls back to the earth. Chaff is a symbol of a faithless life that drifts along without direction. Good grain is a symbol of a faithful life that can be used by God. Unlike grain, however, we can choose the direction we will take." (Life Application Bible)

yub naH ghap? Chaff or wheat? Which will you, and I, choose to be?