A critique of A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament part 2

In A Theological Introduction of the Old Testament, OnionBrueggemann notes, “In the Old Testament, only rare reference is made to these texts, (Genesis 1-2.) He sites Isaiah 54:9-10. It seems that the beginning of the world was simply not of interest to the writers, “J” “P” or otherwise. We note that Hebrew, Aramaic, and Semitic languages in general, do not have past, present, or future tenses to the verb. All is perfect, imperfect, or a participle, and can be perfect or imperfect in past, present, or future time. Fritz Pearls makes use of this in Gestalt Counseling, fitting all into present time.

We also notice that in Hebrew, Prayer is a reflexive verb. When we pray the Avinu, we pray, “Our Father, who is in הַשָּׁמַיִם, הַ the ש of מַיִם water. Dedicated is your name. Your will be done as in heaven, and upon the earth.” We again start with the primal chaos, which started with the creation of the world and discuss how to move forward. We need to think of this in reflexive terms. This is not a request for God to do his will. It is us, sitting down with God, discussing how we, together, will accomplish his will.

Then we discuss the how. Give us our daily bread. This is reflexive. We discuss with God how he will help us (Genitive plural) provide food for each other. Jesus then tells us that it starts with repentance and forgiveness for failures in the past. Only then can we start to move forward with departure from temptation and removal of rot.

In Part One we noted how in New Testament studies we discuss High Christology and Low Christology. High Christology takes time to develop, and generally comes from the academics in the urban areas, in the universities. Likewise, in studying Torah, Prophets, and Writings, we note a High Theology and a Low Theology. Genesis 1-11 is a very High Theology. Genesis 1, as the cover for the Torah Scroll, may be the last chapter written for the scroll. This is my own conjecture, and yes it is a conjecture.

Later, Walter Brueggemann relates, “The opening pages of the Old Testament are key to a proper discernment of the whole. How would the reader experience this “opener”? This material is not laid out simply to give the reader some information about the world or the beginnings of things. The story does not begin with the chosen people or even with the human race. The strategy is to catch the reader up into a universal frame of reference. Readers are invited to view a screen that is cosmic in its scope and to engage in an act of the imagination that carries them beyond-far beyond-their little corner of the world, wherever that may be.”

“In serving this strategy, Genesis 1-11 presents a rhythmic interweaving of story and genealogy that focuses the mind on certain recurring images, especially those of God and the world. They set the tone and direction for reading all that follows in the Old Testament.”

The same is true about our mural at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada. True art is more than just images on the canvas. According to Isabel Piczek, one of the artists who completed the mural at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada, “Great art is more important than merely a decoration. It must carry a message. The message of sacred art is the manifestation of divine truths. It is through the human being that the great eternal truths and spiritual qualities are expressed.”

Our mural in Reno Nevada is the opus of renowned artists, Edith and Isabel Piczek. Edith referred often to her lifetime vocation of “visualizing God’s Word and His creation. It takes constant studying of Scripture and theology to find the images, shapes, and forms to translate God’s beauty.” The artist is creating visual representation … to see the sacred in each of us, to show the love of God through art for the Church.”

If the writer of Genesis 1 created a work of art, he probably thought along the same lines. If Genesis 1 is a verbal landscape, it is not a mere decoration. It must carry a message. It must manifest divine truth. It must be the work of scholars of his age. It must be a work of theology that looks for the shapes, forms, and images to translate what God is trying to say in the rest of Torah.

Walter Brueggemann notes that Genesis 1-2:4 and Genesis 2:4- 4:26 are not two creation accounts, but two creation accounts woven together to form one whole. It is true that someone in the “P” school wrote Genesis 1:-2:4, while someone in the “J” school wrote most of what follows. On the other hand, the first writing from “P” may be a very artistic verbal landscape that sets the tone for all that follows. He is doing art, and we vainly try to interpret it as pre-science or even as science. At this level, we are looking at Torah as the outer layer of the onion. To get to the sources of Torah, as we know it, we must first begin with this outer skin, what it meant to the people who heard it for the first time as related in Nehemiah 8:1.

Walter Brueggemann wrote, “One panel moves from beginnings (1:1-2:25) to deviant individuals (3:1-24), through family (4:1-26), through ten generations (5:1-31), out into the larger world (6:1-8:19), moving in catastrophe. A parallel panel begins anew after the flood (8:20-9:17), moving again through deviant individuals and family (9:18-27), out into the world (10:1-11:19), only this time into a world that Israel clearly know.” That is catastrophe.

We note how the main sources for the creation account are Isaiah 48, Isaiah 54:9-10, and Ezekiel 37. We also find glimpses in Psalm 18, Psalm 104, and Psalm 148. For those listening to Genesis 1 for the first time, the chaos they witness is the chaos in their lives as they remember life in the Babylonian Exile. Walter Brueggemann states we must understand Genesis 2 somewhat literally, or we have no beginning for the fall. This is not the case. The fall is what happens during the next ten generations, and what happens that results in the Babylonian Exile. Understanding this catastrophe is what Genesis 1-11 is all about.

Genesis 1-11 is also all about helping us in our own time as we look forward to apocalypse, through the fiscal cliff, solar storms, the Mayans, global warming, nuclear war… to understand the whats, whens, wheres, hows, and whys. It also helps us to understand God’s role in our world.

Through the lens of these images, the God of the opening chapters of Genesis is portrayed as a relational God. He is present and active in the world, enters into a relationship of integrity with the world, and does so in such a way that both world and God are affected by that interaction.

God involves the human in responsibilities for creation (1:28;2:15); he walks in the garden and engages the human in dialogue (3:8-13); he gives counsel with respect to human behavior (4:6-7); he softens his judgments (4:15); he suffers a broken heart (6:6); he limits the divine options in relation to failure and rot (8:21-22); and paints a reminder in the sky for whenever the clouds of judgment thicken (9:8-17).

God’s speech does not stand isolated from his deeds. Walter Brueggemann makes it a point to not from Isaiah 48, or Deutero-Isaiah, a work of High Theology and Ezekiel 37, the story of the dry bones, to show how God’s works are not separable from his Omer, his word. This thinking passes on into the New Testament where St. John uses a pun in Aramaic where Omer means both Lamb and Word. We also see this when God talks with Job at the end of that book, in Psalm 19, In Psalm 104 which contains the Barachah for the blessing of bread and wine, and Psalm 148, which also speaks of how God speaks and as he speaks things happen. We note how Genesis 2:1-5 ends with Kiddush, the blessing over the wine, a liturgical act.

Far from presenting a legalistic God, God of Genesis is at the same time, transcendent and very imminent. He is very personal. That is why Genesis 2 will go on to use the very Personal Name of God, HaShem, or the Name, the four-letter word for the name of God.

A critique of A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament part 1

New Testament scholars write of High Christology and Low Christology. St. Mark and St. Matthew represent the later; St. John is clearly the former. In the same way, it is proper to think of the Torah, Prophets, and Writings in terms of High Theology and Low Theology. The creation accounts and most of Genesis represent High Theology. The stories about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob represent Low Theology. The creation accounts depict God as transcendent over all creation. The stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob refer to God, or the gods, as the gods of place, or of the family clan.

Book coverA Theological Introduction to the Old Testament by Walter Brueggeman tries a chronological path as it travels from Genesis through the later prophets as it grapples with understanding Torah, Prophets, and Writings. It would be better to view Torah, Prophets, and Writings in terms of a diamond or an onion.

St. Augustine in “On Christian Doctrine,” Book Three, Chapter Four, seems to say that when choosing which translation is the best, we should read them all. We can compare our Bible to a diamond, with many facets. No one translation can ever grab more than one facet of the incredible diamond. Properly to see the diamond, we must look at it from multiple views, translations. Likewise, it is best to compare Torah, Prophets, and writings to an onion. The translation we have before us comes from the men of the Great Assembly, a group of 120 men who wrote during the Fifth Century before the Common Era. This is the outer layer of the onion. We read Torah, Prophets, and Writings as the Men of the Great Assembly present them to us.

To do this, we must ask what Torah, Prophets, and Writings are. Who commissioned the work? Why did they write this work? Whom were they writing to? To do this, we need to read Nehemiah and Ezra first. They present the chaos of the time these men were writing.

To understand this chaos, we can look at a recent novel by a Molly Maguire McGill, “Eight Friends From Washington D.C.” In this novel, weak leadership in our country has lead to America splitting into eight parts. At the novel’s end, the eight young people who helped divide the country try to find a way to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. In the case of Torah, Prophets, and Writings, we see the men of the Great Assembly trying to do this.

The unnamed person commissioning this work is the Persian satrap governing the new province of Judah. He is not interested in world history. He learned that in his college days. He wants to know if this backwater is in fact a people, and he commissions the work to give the writers a chance to show this people is in fact a people.

This brings us to the two-audience view for the writing of Torah, Prophets, and Writings. The first audience is the Persian Satrap. The work must convince him that this people, is in fact a people. The other audience is also a multiple audience. It is the returning exiles, some of whom are from the northern kingdom of Israel, and some of whom are from the southern kingdom of Judah.

As we compare this with “Eight Friends from Washington D.C.,” we start to see the difficulty of the task. Some people are from the Confederate States of America. Some are from Appalachia. Some are from New England, some from the Confederate States of the Great Plaines. Still others are from Texas and others from the Pacific. Some are from rural areas and some from the city. Looking at the demographics of our last election, we see how differently rural areas vote from urban areas.

As noted earlier, there is a clear High Theology and a Low Theology among the masses. The writers must address all of these groups or the groups the writers miss will not identify with the text, voice their disagreement with it, the Persian satrap will notice, and the rabbis will not get to rebuild their temple. The women with their children will want to see Humpty Dumpty, Paul Bunyan, and George Washington with his cherry tree and his famous dollar on the other side of the Potomac River.

We cannot leave our interpretation of Torah, Prophets, and Writings at this level, any more than we could leave an American history at the level our eight friends would write. Where did these men get these stories anyway? Who is Humpty Dumpty? Who are Hansel and Gretel and why are they an important part of our history? Who is Paul Bunyan and why do we read about him in grade school? As we tear into these questions we learn what it mean to be an American.

Likewise, why is there a talking snake and a talking donkey in Torah? Do we really think the writers of a text, which survived two millennia, were so stupid as to think God could create light on the first day, the trees on the third and the source of the light on the fourth day? Did they really believe in talking snakes and donkey’s, or were they more likely putting together a time capsule of Jewish heritage?

Our Reno Cathedral mural helps us understand our Eucharistic Heritage pt 3

No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, Ben Adam. Just as Moses lifted up the Taanah in the desert, so must Ben Adam be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

Our mural in Reno Nevada
Our mural in Reno Nevada

Mountain Scene spray 100_1804 100_1808 In the beginning there was the blizzard 581398_356529854436705_624617725_nAs we look toward the center of the mural, we see to the center right, Jesus with the apostles St. Peter and St. John. Behind Jesus is St. Paul with a sword. St. Paul is never depicted with a sword. We wonder about the meaning of the sword. The Hebrew word for sword is Horeb. In Deuteronomy, the mountain of God where Moses receives the Ten Commandments, is Horeb.

We look to the left of the mural and again find a sword, held by Abraham as he prepares to sacrifice Isaac, whose name means, “Laughter,” which sounds like, “Crying out,” in Hebrew.

The Talmudic sages teach that Isaac was thirty-seven, likely based on the next biblical story, which is of Sarah’s death at 127, being 90 when Isaac was born. On the right side of the altar, is the Omer, the Word, the Lamb of God, who we sacrifice in the Mass. On the left is the one who cries out, Isaac, the sacrifice who is replaced by a ram.

If we follow the dating of Jesus birth in St. Matthew and St. Mark, Jesus was also around 37 years old at the start of his ministry. Most scholars date the star of St. Matthew as a conjunction of planets, which occurred in the spring and fall of 7 B.C. Jesus crucifixion is firmly established as 6 April, 33 A.D. In the temptation of Jesus, Jesus was tempted 40 days and 40 nights. The Great accuser left Jesus. The living beings, in Aramaic, Chai, came and ministered to him. This is where we would expect to find the thesis statement in St. Matthew and St. Mark.

Each day is one year for each year of Jesus’ life. The Chai are Jesus’ followers, and the messengers are the apostles. If we follow a three-year ministry for Jesus, Jesus is 37, the same age as Isaac at his binding, when he begins his ministry. Our Jewish brothers commemorate this main event in the life of Isaac in the reading of the Acheidah, the binding, Genesis 22:15.

The right side of our mural represents Isaac through the person of St. Tarsicius the first martyr of the Sacrament. A rabble attacked Tarsicius, carrying the Blessed Sacrament, and he suffered death rather “than surrender the Sacred Body,” as New Advent quotes Pope Damasus.

A sixth-century legend makes Tarsicius, an acolyte. The death of this martyr occurred in one of the persecutions that occurred between the middle of the third century and the beginning of the fourth, around the time of St. Augustine. No matter how unimportant we think we are, even a low acolyte, through dedication to the Blessed host, we can find ourselves represented on our great mural.

On the right center of our mural, in downtown Reno Nevada, Jesus holds the elements of our Eucharist, the Bread and the wine. Melchizadek, on the left side of the mural, counterbalances Jesus. Jesus is Melchizadek, or Melchi, Hebrew for “My King,” or “My Messenger is Charitable.” Melchizadek is the charitable king who greeted Abraham at Salem, which becomes, “City of Salem” or “City of Peace,” in Hebrew, Jerusalem.

We notice that people looking for freedom from oppression in Egypt come to Jerusalem, the City of Peace. All people looking for true freedom come to cities of peace. People looking for true peace do not go looking for freedom. True freedom only comes when there is true peace between man and his brother.

Two Israelite men kneel on the left side of our mural. They represent the Jewish people as they find the manna in the desert. Why choose two unknown men to represent the manna? To the right, are St. Peter and St. John. Even the city, the capital of the nation can seem like the desert when there is suffering. The men on the mural’s left look for manna in the desert. We look for the manna, the bread of life in the person of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

One Latin word for God is Dominus, from which we get our word, “Dominate,” and more important, our word, “Domicile,” our home. The Greek word is Oikos, from which we derive our word, “Economy.” God is the great provider of our house, our economy. The Hebrew word for head of the house is “Baal”; God is the Husband of our home, the only economic force we look to for spiritual and physical subsistence in our economy, our home.

This is part three, please click here for part 2

Please click here for part 1



Our Reno Cathedral mural helps us understand our Eucharistic Heritage pt 2

In our mural in Reno Nevada, we see St. Joseph the worker, whose feast is May 1, of each year, Labor Day in most of the world. Above the statue, again, is a depiction of the Holy Family. St. Joseph is central. This is the moment of his death. Jesus and Our Blessed Virgin hover next to him, symbolizing how the Lamb of God and Holy Mother Church are with us from our birth to the moment of our death. “Pray for us, Holy Mother of God, now and at the moment of our deaths.”

Isabel Piczek
Isabel Piczek
Our mural in Reno Nevada
Our mural in Reno Nevada
Lambs of God
Lambs of God

Our Lady Seder plate small Our Cathedral in Panarama

Shalom means much more than Peace.
Shalom means much more than Peace.
Great scholars like St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and John Locke have discussed Justice, giving us an idea of what "Holy," might mean.
Great scholars like St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and John Locke have discussed Justice, giving us an idea of what “Holy,” might mean.

Over the past 32 years many of us have ceased being manual laborers, and no longer identify as workers. As bankers, lawyers, salespersons, and yes, even retired or unemployed, we are still workers. “White collar, unemployed and retired” are still just adjectives modifying, “Worker.”

In English, we have two key words, “Vocation,” and “Profession.” “Vocation” is but a fancy Latin word meaning our calling, as in our calling from God. “Profession,” comes from the root meaning to profess, whether we like it or know it, or not. We profess our faith, and fulfill our vocation, our calling from God, through what we do as professional bankers, lawyers, and salesmen. This statue of St. Joseph constantly serves to remind us that we are all one community, a community of workers in service to God.

Our mural in Reno Nevada is the opus of renowned artists, Edith and Isabel Piczek. Edith died this past year. She referred often to her lifetime vocation of “visualizing God’s Word and His creation. It takes constant studying of Scripture and theology to find the images, shapes, and forms to translate God’s beauty.”

The artist is creating visual representation … to see the sacred in each of us, to show the love of God through art for the Church.” Edith told The Tidings in 2000. “We came to bring God closer to people and people closer to God, through the work we do. We are not rich, but we have more happiness, more fulfillment, more satisfaction, through the kind of work we do, serving God, and through God serving his people.”

Edith and Isabel named our mural, “The Adoration of the Lamb of God, our Lord in the Blessed Eucharist.” A work of art, it has incredible balance, with exactly 16 people representing each the Torah, and the New Testament. For each person representing Torah, there is a corresponding person representing the New Testament, and vice versa.

As we look at our mural, we first notice that this is a Thomistic mural. We see Franciscans in the mural and St. Augustine, no Thomas Aquinas. Still, the mural is full of Thomistic images if we know where to find them. The Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God at the top of the mural. We also notice to the bottom left of the mural, Abel, whose name means “Mist,” holding a lamb. To the right, we again notice, the Lamb of God, in Aramaic, the Omer Elohim, in the person of the infant Jesus. The Aramaic word for lamb, “Omer” also means “Word.” St. John tells us:

In the beginning was the Omer/Word/Lamb. The Omer/Word/Lamb was with God; the Omer/Word/Lamb was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him, nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Soon afterward St. John tells us, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, “Behold, the Omer/Word/Lamb of God, who takes away the failure of the cosmos. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.”

We notice the triangle, the lamb which Abel holds, the lamb which Our Blessed Virgin holds, and the lamb atop the mural. The characters in our mural form a triangle, with the Lamb of God atop the mural. The three points of the triangle represent the theological virtues, Amen, Hatikva, and Ahabbah.

Amen is faith. Hatikva is hope, and is Israel’s national anthem, the hope for the coming of God. Ahabbah comes from Haba, the one who is to come, the Paraclete, the Lamb of God, and the Father, Abba. We notice the four rivers of life atop the mural.

This house stands by four corners for this reason, the firm fabric of our mind is upheld by Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice. This house is grounded on four corners. The whole structure of good practice is raised in these four virtues. Four rivers of Paradise water the earth. Sometimes self-love invades the mind, makes it swerve by a secret declension from the straight line of justice: and in the degree that it refuses to refer itself wholly to its Maker, it goes contrary to the claims of justice.

‘A strong wind strikes the four corners of the house,’ in that strong temptation, by hidden impulses, shakes the four virtues; and the corners are struck, the house is uprooted, when the virtues are beaten, the conscience is brought to trouble. Gregory the Great, Moralia, Book 2

We notice seven groupings of people in our mural. On the right and the left, each represents what had been the focus of Catholic moral teaching until some thirty years ago. On the right Abel, we clothe the naked; Melchizadek, we give the thirsty something to drink: Moses, We ransom the captive; the manna we feed the hungry; Ruth, We harbor the harbor-less; John the Baptist, we visit the sick; Abraham, we bury the dead.

On the right are also seven groupings: Our Holy family comforts the afflicted; St. Augustine instructs the ignorant; St. Clair counsel the doubtful; St. Tarsicius bears wrongs patiently; Jesus, forgives offences willingly; St. Charles Borromeo, admonishes sinners; Pope Pious X prays for the living and the dead.

The lamb Abel/Mist holds, foreshadows the lamb our Blessed Virgin holds on the right side of our mural. Both of these lambs point to the lamb at the head of our mural, the Lamb of God who stands over the four rivers of life.

Cain represents those who raise themselves above their brothers, thinking they are owed more, because, and then give a reason. Abel stands alone with his lamb, symbolizing how short and brutish life is when we face the wrath of Cain, without the help of our neighbor. Cain asks God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” All the angels in heaven respond, “Now that you mention it…” In the original Hebrew God tells Cain, “My blood of your brother calls to me from Adam.” “My blood,” for God this is personal. God’s blood calls from Adam, the first man. We are all related.

The lamb to the right of the altar symbolizes the Divine family and the benefits of the grander community. Our Blessed Virgin is the mother of us all. As Eve and Cain bring death into the world, Jesus and Our Blessed Virgin bring life into the world, and not just life, but as St. John tells us in John 10:10, life lived to its fullest, for all people. This bringing of life into our world is the hallmark of our faith.

On the other side of our mural stands Moses. The mural tempts us to believe that the natural pair for Moses is St. Augustine who appears opposite Moses in the mural. This is not correct. Moses does not appear in the traditional pose, holding the Ten Commandments.

It is no accident that Moses holds the bronze serpents. If we look to the right, we see St. Joseph in an interesting pose as he places his robe, the same color as the bronze serpents, around our Blessed Virgin, and by extension, Jesus. The robe causes us to look up to our New Moses and to Jesus’ death.

This is part 2 of the series. For part 1 please click here.

Our Reno Cathedral mural helps us understand our Eucharistic Heritage pt 1

According to Isabel Piczek, one of the artists who completed the mural at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada, “Great art is more important than merely a decoration. It must carry a message. The message of sacred art is the manifestation of divine truths. It is through the human being that the great eternal truths and spiritual qualities are expressed.”

Bishop Dywer and Monsignor Brennan, a California liturgist, assisted in planning the intricate mural, interpreting Thomistic teaching on the Holy Eucharist. Our Catholic tradition comes from a time when the masses could not read, at least what we traditionally call writing. The question is, “Can we read our mural and our stained glass?”

As we look at our altar from our church pews, we see to our left, Our Blessed Virgin. Above our Blessed Virgin is a small mural by Edith and Isabel depicting the Holy Family. The center of this mural is our blessed Virgin. St. Joseph bows to her. Lambs mill around as she holds the Omer Elohim, the Lamb of God, in her hands. This centrality of the Holy Family is central to Edith and Isabel. They depict the Holy Family in the main mural, and in the mural above the statue of St. Joseph. The Holy Family, and what it represents, separates Catholics from Protestants.

Revelations 12:5 speaks of her, “A woman gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne.” Psalm 2:6-9 refers to this child as a king who will rule the earth with an iron hand.

Revelations 12:17, “The Taanah became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those keeping God’s commandments, and bearing witness to Jesus.”

The great question of Revelations 12:17, and what separates Catholics from Protestants is, “Who are “The rest of her offspring,” and what does it mean to be “The rest of her offspring?” Our English word, “Nativity,” and our English word, “Nation,” have the same root. A nation is a people born together, by heritage, if not by location or blood. We are all offspring of the Blessed Virgin, adopted into the Catholic Family through baptism in Holy Mother Church.

Being family implies moral obligations to each other not inherent in the Protestant understanding of basic morality. We bear witness to Jesus, “The Personal Name Saves.” We bring knowledge of Salvation, Jesus. As part of the Evening Liturgy of the Hours, we recite to each other:

The Almighty has done great things for me and dedicated is his Name

He has shown mercy on those who look to him in every generation

He has shown the strength of his arm; he has scattered the proud in their conceit

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones; and has lifted up the lowly

He has filled the hungry with nobility and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant he who struggles with God for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers to Abraham, E Pluribus Unum, and his children forever.

This is a manifesto from our very poor Blessed Virgin to Elizabeth, the oath of Elijah, the wealthy wife of a priest, Remembrance/Zechariah. She speaks of equality among her children. He pulls down the mighty from their thrones, and lifts up the lowly. He fills the hungry with nobility and sends the rich away empty. The sense of being equal, one with another, children of the same common mother, unites us.

Looking to our right, we see St. Joseph the worker, whose feast is May 1, of each year, Labor Day in most of the world. Above the statue, again, is a depiction of the Holy Family. St. Joseph is central. This is the moment of his death.

Jesus and Our Blessed Virgin hover next to him, symbolizing how the Lamb of God and Holy Mother Church are with us from our birth to the moment of our death. “Pray for us, Holy Mother of God, now and at the moment of our deaths.”

Many of us have ceased identifying manual laborers as workers. We are now white-collar, retired, or unemployed workers. “White collar, unemployed and retired” are adjectives modifying, “Worker.” We are still workers.

English, has two key words, “Vocation,” and “Profession.” “Vocation” is Latin for “calling,” our calling from God. “Profession,” comes from the root, “to profess.” We profess our faith, and fulfill our vocation, our calling from God, through our vocation as professional bankers, and lawyers. St. Joseph reminds us, we are all one community of workers in service to God.

Of the creed and creation

Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα Θεὸν Πατέρα παντοκράτορα ποιητὴν οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς ὁρατῶν τε πάντων καὶ ἀοράτων·

We believe in One God, the father, All-powerful, maker of heaven and earth.

In the beginning there was the blizzard      In the beginning, the Almighty Judge created the heaven and the earth. The earth was a great blizzard, with biting wind and stinging snow. Darkness was upon the face of the blizzard as the snow was deep. High above, in the howling wind, a great spirit hovered upon the blow snow as an eagle hovers over its brood, brooding over its young in the chaotic howling winds below.

The Almighty Judge said, “Light be!” Is light.

Suddenly, the overpowering darkness of white was replaced by the radiant colors of red, green, and blue, orange, purple, and yellow. Dead and lifeless snow was replaced by birds, flowers, trees, effervescent, vital, and vivacious life. First among these was an Omer, a lamb, the word of God, incarnate among us. What appeared were the ὁρατῶν, the formed, and the ἀοράτων, the unformed, the educated and the wise, the simple and the foolish. What appeared were the quarks, the microscopic reality generating all life, and the huge gas giants of the heavens/stars, some visible, and some billions of light years away, and invisible.

What appeared was the visible, starting with my beautiful wife sitting with us, and each of us, and visible and vibrant before us. What also appeared were the invisible, the man on the street corner begging for food, the dead and the pre-dead, waiting to die from a lack of food, on Neal Road and Montello, on Second Street and Arlington, in Ethiopia, and Afghanistan. What appeared were the vibrant, visible soldiers ready for war and the invisible Veterans with PTSD begging for shoes.

We believe in one Kyrie, Jesus Christ, the only generated son of the Father, Jesus Christ, generated before all eons. He is Light from Light, True God from True God.

He is light as light lived, incarnate among us, Luke 4

“The Breath of Kyrie is upon me; he anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind,

to let the oppressed go free,  and to proclaim a year acceptable to Kyrie.”

He is True God from True God: Psalm 82

God takes a stand in the divine council, gives judgment in the midst of the gods.

“Defend the lowly and fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and needy.

Rescue the lowly and poor; deliver them from the hand of the Russia, those who think themselves first.”

He gives light to those who are not gods, “Yet like any mortal you shall die; like any prince you shall fall.” He gives warning to the shepherds who are not shepherds:

Whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. Whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice.

I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before are thieves and robbers. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. He works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. John 10

γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί

He was generated not made, one in Being to the Father.
δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο· Through him all things are generated. There is only one Great Provider, one head of the house. There is only one Baal, one husband to the divine economy: It is not Baal, or Hermes, or Mercury, some market or invisible hand. God is Almighty and God is one.

τὸν δι’ ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν who for us men and for our salvation/Jesus/.ישועתנו Yes, the Hebrew word for Salvation is Jesus, and yes Jesus and Salvation are One.

κατελθόντα ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ σαρκωθέντα ἐκ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς παρθένου καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσαντα. Descended from the great flow of the sky, he took on flesh from the Dedicated Spirit and our Blessed Virgin Mary, and became man.

σταυρωθέντα τε ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου καὶ παθόντα καὶ ταφέντα. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered, died, and was buried.

καὶ ἀναστάντα τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ κατὰ τὰς γραφὰς καὶ ἀνελθόντα εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς. He arose on the third day, according to the writings, and ascended into heaven.

καὶ καθεζόμενον ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ Πατρὸς. He sits upon the right hand of the Father.

καὶ πάλιν ἐρχόμενον μετὰ δόξης κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς . He will come again with doxology/good thoughts, to judge the living and the dead.

οὗ τῆς βασιλείας οὐκ ἔσται τέλος. His kingdom will have no end.

καὶ εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον τὸ Κύριον καὶ Ζωοποιόν. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Kyrie and maker of life.

τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον τὸ σὺν Πατρὶ καὶ Υἱῷ συμπροσκυνούμενον καὶ συνδοξαζόμενον. He proceeds from the Father and the Son and with them we bow down and give doxology.

τὸ λαλῆσαν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν.  As spoken through the Navy, the prophets.

εἰς μίαν ἁγίαν καθολικὴν καὶ ἀποστολικὴν ἐκκλησίαν. We believe in one Holy Catholic and apostolic called out community.

ὁμολογοῦμεν ἓν βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν· We acknowledge one baptism for the freedom from our failures.

προσδοκῶμεν ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν καὶ ζωὴν τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος.  We look for the rising from the dead and the life of the coming eons.