Tag Archives: words

Prayer of a Sojourner

 

I am a sojourner on the earth,
hide not from me Thy commandments.
My soul hath longed to desire Thy judgments at all times.
…..
Remove from me reproach and contempt,
for after thy testimonies have I sought.
For princes sat and they spake against me,
but Thy servant pondered on Thy statutes.
For Thy testimonies are my meditation,
and Thy statutes are my counsellors.
My soul hath cleaved unto the earth;
quicken me according to Thy word.
…..
My soul hath slumbered from despondency,
strengthen me with Thy words.

-From Psalm 118/119

 

Abibliophobia – is it a problem or not?

I think of Deb at Readerbuzz as omnilegent,  someone who has read everything. There’s no denying, in any case, that she reads a lot of books. She is a librarian who often comes up with much more than book reviews on her blog, like this recent post about words for book lovers. One of the words is abibliophobia, the fear of running out of reading material. At first I thought, Ha! I don’t have that, although I am a little sad (not fearful) that I’m running out of time to become omnilegent. But maybe abibliophobia is exactly what I am demonstrating when I obsess about which and how many books to take on a short trip, when I will probably not have time to read a chapter of anything.

If I had a vade mecum, it would take care of a good deal of book angst. Well, perhaps I do, if you count the pocket-sized one I sometimes carry in my purse. You might like to go read Deb’s list, with definitions, for yourself. But for me, it’s time to move on to other less mind-y work. Please tell me if you have, or ever did have, a vade mecum. My friend Di told me recently that when she was in high school, hers was Sartre’s Being and Consciousness. I had planned to use that bit of trivia in a future post but in case I don’t get there…

Enjoy your reading and your whole life.

We are not describing the Holy Spirit.

In the Orthodox Church, when we celebrate a feast commemorating an event in our salvation history, such as Pentecost, also known as Holy Trinity Sunday, it is followed directly by another feast honoring a person who figures heavily in the previous day’s event. In the present case, tomorrow is Holy Spirit Day. It seems a good time to post these thoughts from Metropolitan Anthony:

When we say that God is spirit, we say simply that he is not matter as we know it, that he is something quite different. In that sense it is a negative description that belongs already without the word, to that form of theology which is negative theology, apophatic theology, a theology of paradoxes, a theology that uses words to point toward the ineffable — that which can neither be described nor put into words and yet which must be indicated somehow in speech.

One could avoid speech. In Siberia there were pagan tribes that had deliberately rejected every human word for God. And when in conversation they wanted to indicate God they raised their hand towards heaven. This is possible in a civilization of direct communication by speech. It is no longer possible in a civilization of books. But whatever words we use we have got to be aware of the fact that we are not describing, we are not defining what God is, because the very thing we know about God is that he is beyond defining, beyond describing. So that when we say of God that he is a Spirit, when we speak of the Holy Spirit in particular, we do not mean to give a concrete definition or any description of what he is. We point towards the fact that he is beyond our conceptual knowledge, beyond every formulation, that is is what we don’t know, and this is what we mean to say by saying that he is a spirit as contrasted with us.

–Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, excerpt from “Our Life in God,” from Essential Writings

Pentecost icon (fresco)

Morning Melange

As I was getting dressed and forgetting to make my bed this morning, I listened to Fr. Michael Gillis of Praying in the Rain blog, on his podcast of the same name, an episode in which he “deconstructs the notion that choice translates into freedom.” I really liked him, and the message. His recent blog post about fleeing to the desert (a little bit), is really helpful, too. How can we flee to the desert when many of us aren’t leaving our houses? It’s a provoking meditation, in the best way.

Before sunrise, I had trekked downstairs in my slippers to check on the greenhouse heater that I finally installed last week. The thermostat was set so that it should have come on, going by my phone, where I read that the outdoor temperature was 32 degrees. Yes! Success!

Last night I had defrosted a container of the tiny snow peas I toiled over preserving last spring. They were incredibly labor intensive at every stage, and I vowed never to buy from that seed company again, and only to use seeds that were likely to produce large pea pods.

But this morning the peas I’d saved were a welcome addition to the pan to which I added eggs, and this seasoning mix from Trader Joe’s that I seem to be sprinkling on everything lately.

I ate a giant pink grapefruit, too, which made me think about my childhood when I didn’t like that fruit, and about the funny name of it, which was easy to learn in Turkish because they call it greypfrut. Who named it first? I couldn’t remember, so I looked it up in this wonderful book that was my grandfather’s. He was a citrus farmer, too, and when he was visiting our family, there was no chance of any child getting out of eating grapefruit for breakfast. We were allowed to put honey on it, but in my case that didn’t help much.

That book, The World in Your Garden, is the source of the pretty picture at top. It says that the name originated in Jamaica!

Grapefruit is one thing I wouldn’t try to eat while sitting at the computer, so I watched the birds. All the larger species were visiting, doves, and the blue jay, and even the flickers. I’m pretty sure I saw the Cooper’s Hawk, too, spying out his breakfast.

I’ve been trying to find the right food to scatter on the patio for the doves and other ground-feeders. So many blends I have tried in the past have some ingredients that are ignored, and go to waste. My latest offering is something designed for pigeons, and many of the birds have been eating most of that mix. There are still some split peas, they look like, that go untouched so far. When this bag is gone, I will just buy some plain millet; that’s what I have been looking for for a year, but haven’t found it yet.

I’m leaving soon to drive to the beach — again! I have been doing it a lot, and plan to start a sort of Beach Diary page here on my blog. But being on the beach is taking time away from writing… By the time I get there, morning will have turned to afternoon, and I hope the sun will be shining.

Blessings to all from my corner of the cosmos.