“Myrrh” – An Alphabyte

Nick reads the Alphabyte.

This is the last gift of the Magi to Jesus. Just as frankincense, myrrh is a gum resin from trees in the Middle East. The name in Arabic means “bitter.” It was a gift at the beginning of Jesus’ life, to become one at the end—the gift of a Roman soldier to soothe Jesus’ pain while hanging on the cross. While the gift was accepted at the beginning of Jesus’ life, it was refused at the end—no anesthesia to diminish the pain that transformed death into the beginning of resurrected life for Jesus and for us.

Myrrh is a symbol of suffering. Pain has within it, the power to transform. We often seek to mask suffering through activity. Resist this anesthesia⎯or any other addiction that seeks to bury the pain. Receive and accept suffering—don’t recoil from it. May suffering be a creative force to purify and transfigure our lives.

Alphabytes are object meditations
that move through the alphabet two times
in the course of the fifty-two weeks in the year.
“Myrrh” introduces the Eighth Week in Epiphany:
winter in the north, summer in the south.
To view all of them, see the menu option Alphabytes.

The Violence of Love

Sunday – The Gospels from the Lectionary
Matthew 5:38-48

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

Photo Courtesy – http://www.leaveoutviolence.org

There are familiar sayings of Jesus here that have been misunderstood. In no way does Jesus want you to be someone else’s doormat. The refusal to co-operate with violence brings forth a “violence” of love. Let us see this in the familiar “turning the other cheek.”

The first blow comes to the right check. In the ancient world, this could not be a blow of attack, since this would only be done by the person’s right hand; the left hand was used only for cleaning oneself. The punch with the right hand would hit the person’s left cheek, not the right one. The scenario here is of one receiving a blow of insult with the back of the right hand onto the right cheek of the other. Turning the other cheek means this: “Your first attempt to degrade me by this blow has failed; would you like to try it again?” The unrighteous anger of another is turned back upon that other.

Reinterpret your life’s experience according to fresh ways of understanding Jesus’ teaching about transforming non-violence into the shaking violence of love.

The Reading for Today
Text     Audio

Bible Breaths
What are these?
Struck on cheek, turning other v. 39
I will go the extra mile v. 41
Loving well my enemies v. 44
Being whole as You are whole v. 48

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

This is the Eighth Week in Epiphany, Year A.
See “Solar and Sacred Seasons” in the menu above.
Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from
The Revised Common Lectionary.
Year A is dedicated to the Gospel of Luke.

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