Physical hardships like blindness are not punishments for sins.

Sunday, 3/26/17

St. John’s Gospel includes this story to show how Jesus rejected the idea that blindness and other physical handicaps come to us as punishments for our sins.

In this story the man born blind was excluded from the synagogue gatherings because they saw his blindness as evidence that he was not right with God.

This story is like a three act play. In the first act the man born blind was forced to remain outside while the people of the market begin their Sabbath rest by entering the synagogue at sunset on Friday.

In Act Two Jesus and his disciples enter the deserted market place, and the disciples ask if the man’s blindness was punishment for his own sins or for the sins of others. Jesus answers that it was neither; then he makes mud, smears it in the blind man’s eyes, sending him to was in the pool at Siloam.
In Act Three, as the people come out from the synagogue, the man born blind returns seeing. The people who were convinced that his blindness was a life-long punishment for sins, push him aside. And the Jewish officials banish him for defending Jesus.

By fitting in songs for the various roles, we have made this into fine dramas for school kids.

I sing of a maiden who is maneless.

Saturday, 3/25/17

For this Feast of the Annunciation we will go back to a poem written in 1400 honoring 
her privilege. It is called, “I Sing of a Maiden’” and it started like this in its original version:

“I syng of a mayden that is makeles. King of alle kings to here sone che chees.”

It’s Modern English version goes like this:

I sing of a maiden that is makeless, King of all kings for her son she chose.

He came as still where his mother was as dew in April that falls on the grass.

He came as still to his
  mother’s bower as dew in April that falls on the flower.

He came as still where his mother lay as dew in April that falls on the spay.

Mother and maiden there was never none but she. Well may such a lady God’s mother be.

The Lord is God, the Lord alone.

Friday, 3/24/17

When asked about it, Jesus said the greatest commandment was, “Hear, Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord alone.”

I have heard that the Hebrew for that was, “Shma, Israel, Adonai Elohim, Adonai

There, the Hebrew “Shma” is much stronger than our English “hear.” It meant, “Be quiet and listen.”

Now, for the Jews, God’s personal name was Yahweh, but we meet with two difficulties there.
For one thing, when writing in Hebrew they left out letters for the vowels, depending on the reader knowing what fit in there. That being so, for Yahweh, they wrote only the letters YHWH.

The second difficulty they made for us there was that for fear of breaking the commandment against taking the Lord’s name in vain, when they came to the written YHWH, they substituted the other name for “Lord’ which was “Adonai.”

Since the name Yahweh was never pronounced, people began adding other vowel sounds to make uo the non name of Jehova.