No Music from Babylon

Thursday, October 31, 2013
Revelation 18

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1883)

Cruel persecutions from Roman emperors cause the blood of early Christians to flow on the ground of the Coliseum. How true the saying of Tertullian is: “The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians”! Overwhelmed by the tide of evil from this Empire, John receives visions of its ultimate downfall about Babylon, image of Rome.

Arrogance and pride find vicious voice in the expressions of Babylon. However, equally horrific is the fall of the empire of evil. Such visions gave hope to the sufferings of early Christians. May the same be true for you, when evil rises as a tide against you. Believe that the victory has already been won in the blood of the Lamb.

Do you find similarities that contemporary economic and political structures have with Babylon? All systems that stand in the temple of God’s presence boasting in Pharisaic arrogance are doomed to fall. No more music from them!

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
O God, I fly to Your side. v. 4
Mighty is the Lord our God. v. 8
Spirit, I long for Your fruits. v. 14
I rejoice in Your judgments. v. 20

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for the version for children and families.

This is the ninth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

Sacred Bookends

Wednesday,October 30, 2013
Psalm 146

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Photo Courtesy – olivyaz.blogspot.com

ALLELUIA: the only Hebrew home for this word is in the psalms. Alleluias are sacred bookends embracing either end of each of these last psalms, conclusions to the three-year cycle of Wednesdays.

This is the resurrection song of the soul dead and risen in Christ Jesus, the ultimate song of praise that the Spirit sings from within. Its strength and power is in proportion to the ashes of the song of repentance—a song the stronger and more sober because of the readings of this week.

Keep together the “medley” songs that the Spirit inspires within as you recall the week’s themes of goodness and evil, arrogance and humility that weave themselves throughout the week. While each day has its own reading, there is a stitch holding each one together.

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The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
O my soul, praise the Lord God. v. 1
All my hope is in the Lord. v. 5
God, you keep faith forever. v. 6
You lift those who are bowed down. v. 8

Click or touch the image
for the version for children and families.

This is the ninth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms, one each week over the three-year cycle.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

An Unholy Family

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2 Chronicles 21—24

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Photo Courtesy – http://villageofjoy.com

A most unholy family rules Judah—Jehoram, his son Ahaziah (also called Jehoahaz) and Jehoram’s wife, Athaliah. The utmost of brutal power and idolatry infect God’s people. The gushing forth of Jehoram’s intestines bears witness to the maxim: “As you live, so will you die.”

There are echoes in the protection of Moses and Jesus in their births as you read about the divine protection of Joash during the reign of the wicked Athaliah. He repairs the Temple and restores proper worship for God’s people. How sad to hear about how he ended his life, slipping into the apostasy that had driven its way into his life from previous generations!

Inspired by the verse for the day, pray that no similar intergenerational sin have any effect upon you.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
I’m called to live with justice. Ch 21
Being one with God’s people. 23:16
Restoring my soul for God 24:4
I will not forsake You, Lord. 24:20

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for the version for children and families.

This is the ninth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Tuesdays are dedicated the Hebrew “Writings.”

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

Grief in and for Jesus

Monday, October 28, 2013
Zechariah 11—12

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To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Photo Courtesy – http://thetruenorth.wordpress.com

Arrogant shepherds appear at the beginning of the reading, boasting as the Pharisee in yesterday’s parable. Hear the Lord’s outrage against such ones.

We are reminded of the suffering of Jesus, as we encounter verses from this prophet that Matthew and John have on their hearts in their passion narratives (Matt 27:3 ff; John 19:37).

Listen for the sounds of mourning that rise up from the people as they grieve—sounds in harmony with the expression of sorrow of the Publican of yesterday’s Gospel. Chapter 12, verse 10 reminds us that the Holy Spirit stirs such groans as birth pangs of the new creature you will become when you are dead to self.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
My strength through the Lord of hosts. 12:5
Come, Spirit of Compassion. 12:10
Looking on the one I’ve pierced. 12:10
Comforting those in mourning 12:10ff

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for the version for children and families.

This is the ninth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets,in this season the Minor Prophets.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

“Violin” – An Alphabyte

Alphabytes are object meditations
that move through the alphabet two times
in the course of the fifty-two weeks in the year.
“Violin” introduces the ninth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide:
autumn in the north, spring in the south.
Alphabytes in Kingdomtide: “Nose” to “Zoom Lens”

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

It soars, it stretches, it strains—so does the sound of heaven sing in the strings.
How joyous must the wood feel, wedded to wire, waiting for the drawing touch!

If the wood would speak, someone once imaged it saying:

“Dum in silvis, silui—Nunc mortua, cano.”
“While I was in the forest, I was silent.
Now that I’m dead, I sing.”

The Song of the Dead Self

Sunday, October 27, 2013
Luke 18:9-14

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


Photo Courtesy – http://thereforenow.com

Listen this week for the sounds of the sweet song that rises from the soul of the dead self. We begin with the parable of “The Pharisee and the Publican.” These two figures contrast the garish song of vanity of one with the humble chant of repentance of the other; between pride and humility, between true and false worship. The week’s readings will be filled with these contrasts—simply put, between good and evil.

Luke’s parable could have begun with him saying, “Two men went up to the Temple to pray; one did, the other didn’t.” The protestations of thanks on the part of the Pharisee are empty echoes on the walls of the temple of self-righteousness, pride and ultimately the vilest form of idolatry—self worship under the guise of prayer.

Enter the depths of your own soul and listen there to the music the Spirit makes.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Turning inward to my God v. 13
God, be merciful to me! v. 13
Those exalted are humbled. v. 14
Those humble are exalted. v. 14

Click or touch the image
for the original version.

This is the ninth of thirteen weeks in Kingdomtide, Year C.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary.
Year C is dedicated to the Gospel of Luke.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.

Where do We Go from Here?

Saturday, October 26, 2013
Genesis 23:1—24:9

Click or touch “Firestarter”
To listen to Nick read the one-minute introduction.


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The death of Sarah has a special poignancy about it. We have come to know Abraham and Sarah in a way no other human being from Adam and Eve to the family of Noah has even been known. We see their humanness, frailty, and sinfulness—including the cynical laughter of Sarah when she heard that she would conceive Isaac in her old age.

Familiarity with Abraham and Sarah permits you to enter into the mourning of Abraham for his beloved wife. Abraham is so very human in negotiating with neighbors after the funeral about, “Where do we go from here?”

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
Blessed are those who die in You 23:2ff
Near to those grieving in death 23:19
Abraham blessed in all things 24:1
My offspring found in Jesus 24:7

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for the version for children and families.

Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the third part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Scripture Recordings in over 700 languages!
Faith Comes By Hearing

Audio Bible App from www.bible.is

The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.