Monday, June 29, 2009

Be Still, My Soul

[These are tough economic times for people. And, yet, the timeless wisdom and loving care of God never change.]

Be still, my soul*: the Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to your God to order and provide:
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: your God will undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake:
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
Christ's voice, which ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears.
Then you shall better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe your sorrow and your fears.
Be still, my soul: your Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise;
While still on earth, sing to your Lord on high.
Acknowledge Him in all your words and ways**,
So shall He view you with a well-pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of Life*** divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and bless├Ęd we will meet at last.
---Katharina A. von Schlagel, 1752 (German); translated 1855 Jane L. Borthwick; adapted c.m.b., 2009
*Psalms 46: 10 & 42: 4-11
**Proverbs 3: 5-6
***Malachi 4:2; Jesus as the "Sun of Righteousness"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Narnia Findings

I'm totally a fan of C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. (Nature alert: if you read his books with the love of nature in mind, you see Lewis's sensitive treatment of nature all over the place.) But I have a beef with how the many productions cast the Narnia characters because I've read and re-read these books about 8 or 9 times, at least. And they don't bother to get the physical charactertics right. (And don't even get me started on how the big budget films just bury the warm, cozy joys of the books in special effects!) Anyway, for you Narnia buffs, here's how Lewis described them:

Digory, Edmund, Lucy, Cor (Shasta) & twin Corin, Caspian X and Prince Rilian all had "golden" or blonde hair.
Susan had "raven" (black) hair.
Jill was curly-headed.
Frank was red-faced and a good singing voice.
Helen/Nellie was young.
Jadis (the White Witch) had long hair; was 7 feet tall; was 1/2 Jinn (genie??) and 1/2 giantess; had white, white skin (like snow or paper) and bright red lips (which became that color when she ate the "forbidden fruit").
In all my combing through, I have not detected what color Peter's hair was. Same for Polly and Trinian.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Making Known God's Glory

(an original translation of Psalm 19; verse numbering follows the Hebrew text)
(1) For the choir director. A song of David.
(2) The heavens are recounting
The glory of God*,
And their expanse makes conspicuous
The work of His hands.
(3) Day to day speech bubbles up,
And night to night knowledge is told.
(4) There is no speech nor are there words:
Their voice is not heard.
(5) [Yet] In the whole earth,
Their line has gone out,
To the end of the earth, their utterances**.
He has set up a tent for the Sun in them.
(6) And he [the Sun] is like a bridegroom
Coming out of his canopy;
He rejoices as a strong man
To run the course.
(7) From the end of the heavens
Is his going forth;
And his circuit is at the ends:
There is nothing hidden from his heat...
(8a) The Torah *** of Yahweh is perfect,
Turning back the soul...
(10b) The judgments of Yahweh are true,
They are altogether righteous...
(12) Also by them is Your servant warned;
In keeping them is great reward****...
(15) Let the words of my mouth
And the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your Presence,
O, Yahweh, my Rock and my Redeemer.
*St. Paul speaks in Romans 1:19 how all creation reflects God's divine power
**Romans 10:18 quotes this to show how evangelists have taken God's Word out into the world.
***"Torah" is sometimes translated "Law", due to old Jewish use. It more properly means the entire collections of Moses, the Prophets, and the special writings; in other words, the Old Testament. (Not all of the O.T. is "Law"!!)
****"Great reward"; following the best path usually provides its own rewards in this life by keeping you out of trouble. The teachings in the Bible keep you connected to Christ, who actually gives the eternal reward.