Morning Prayer and Ruth

The Old Testament reading in the Daily Office this week (7 Epiphany, Year A) is the Book of Ruth.1 An appropriate text as we head into Lent, Naomi and Ruth experience the vicissitudes of life, from grief and widowhood, migration and isolation, to friendship, loyalty, and love. If you are looking for more resources on the Book of Ruth you will find at the menu above my brief commentary on the Book of Ruth, essays […]

Raised Imperishable

So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.  1 Cor 15:42-44 The last two weeks (6th and 7th Sunday after […]

Blessings and Woe: For Everything There is a Season

This past Sunday our Gospel reading was Luke 6:17-26. After a short preamble, Jesus begins his “sermon on the plain.” 6:20 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 “Blessed are you when people hate you, and […]

Confusion is Sovereign

Warning: This short post is the definition of pedantic. I am going to quibble with the use of the word “sovereign” as applied to God by many Reformed theologians.  It is not surprising that exploring the topic of suffering and grace has led me to consider questions of humanity’s free will, predestination, and God’s sovereignty. For many, the origins and purpose of suffering are directly related to the latter, God’s control over all of creation and history. If God is truly “sovereign” then all events in our lives are controlled and dictated by God. God truly is sovereign . […]

Illuminated Ruth

I have been spending some very enjoyable hours perusing the British Library’s Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts. They are graciously making the images freely available for use.

John Piper’s Warped & Harmful Teaching on Suffering

A few caveats to begin. Although I have known of John Piper for years, I am just now coming to read his teachings on suffering and the sovereignty of God. The book by that name is graciously made available for free download on his “Desiring God” site and is worth reading; there are multiple authors with thought-provoking comments. It was published in 2006. Finally, I know that he and the other contributors are motivated by […]

New Intro to Lamentations & Menu Organization

I have reorganized the menus (drop down menus at the top of the site) to try and make them more useful and accessible. You will find “Ruth and Its Targum” and “Lamentations and Its Targum” with submenus. Clicking on any of the titles will take you a page of material or posts. For example, clicking on “Lamentations and Its Targum” will take you to the landing page with general information about the Book of Lamentations […]

Dragon Illustration in a 14thC Ruth Text

Noodling around on the British Museum catalogue of illuminated manuscripts I came cross this curious dragon drawn in a 14th century Machzor next to the opening of the Book of Ruth. From the site: Title Biblical readings from a festival prayer book (mahzor): Song of Songs, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations Origin Germany Date 1309 Language Hebrew Script Ashkenazi square script, punctuated; Ashkenazi semi-cursive script, unpunctuated Scribe Solomon ben Jehiel Artists Decoration probably by the scribe. Update: […]

Permission to Lament

Shortly after Mack died our good friend and colleague Gary Knoppers gave me Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Lament for a Son. Gary included a brief note, offering his condolences and sharing that NW had been one of his “main profs” at Calvin and that Eric, the son who had died in a tragic accident, had been his friend and housemate. Gary died shortly before Christmas, taken far too early by cancer, but leaving an incredible legacy of […]