A friend asked in email what my five favorite bible verses were. I’ll admit here that I don’t usually think of the Bible like that – I have themes and stories that I love, but I was always crap at remembering verses, and I never can remember where they’re from. But, from some of my favorite themes and stories, I managed to find five verses that speak to me, and I thought I’d share.
Exodus 3:14a God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”
I love Moses. He was such a fuck up, and he managed to be useful anyway. He had no self-esteem, but God loved him endlessly. He frequently didn’t get the point, but God was always far more patient than Moses, and so it worked out… I love how God reveals Godself here. Hebrew scholars have a heyday with the meaning of YHWH. It could be I am. It could be I am who I am. It could be I am who I will be. It could be I am that I will be. It could be I will be who I am. It could be I will be who I will be. It could be I will be that I will be. There is a sense of time, of motion, and of existential magnitude, however, in the original hebrew. God. My dynamic, wonderful, brilliant, unexpected God.
Psalm 130: 1-4 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.
I used to hate the Psalms. They annoyed me. I didn’t understand them. Then I got reeeeeally sick. I had a professor who adored them, which I hadn’t understood at the time, until I read 1/3 of them in one sitting, feeling very much that if I was going to die, I didn’t want to go like this. It was about that time that I finally understood the pslams of lament. After that, the rest of them followed.
Jeremiah 1: 5-8 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.”
This was one of the readings at my ordination.
John 13:34-35 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Ghandi once said that if every Christian acted like Christ, the world would be Christian in short order, but that as few Christians acted like Christ, he could never give Christians much credence. I feel like in many of our church squables and disagreements, in the midst of our own self-righteousness of being correct or clear on some relatively minor point of doctrine and practice, we entirely lose sight of the much, much, much larger, much more important point: God is love. Live in love. We can have our disagreements, but we can have them in full knowledge that we genuinely love each other.
1 John 3:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
I am beginning to believe in the eternal patience and love of God. It certianly wasn’t a theology I was raised with.
I’d join the movement if there was one I could believe in.
I’d break bread and wine, if there was a church I could recieve in – cause I need it now.
To take the cup, to fill it up, to drink it slow, can’t let you go.
And I must be an acrobat, to talk like this, and act like that.
…So you can dream, so dream out loud, and you can find your own way out…