zenpundit.com » gospel

Archive for the ‘gospel’ Category

On mercy’s side — the Scott Warren case

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — Scott Warren faces justice for providing water to migrants in the desert — surely, an act of mercy on his part ]
.

The ceremony for the Coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II included the words:

Be so merciful
that you be not too remiss,
so execute justice
that you forget not mercy.

This derives, if from no other source, from the consecration of a bishop as ordained in the first Book of Common Prayer of 1549:

Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not. Hold up the weak, heal the sick, bind together the broken, bring again the outcasts, seek the lost : Be so merciful that you be not too remiss, so minister discipline, that ye forget not mercy, that when the chief Shepherd shall come, ye may receive the immarcessible Crown of glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is background.

**

The BCP’s so minister discipline and the Coronation rite’s so execute justice are set against mercy, a juxtaposition that we may also note in classical Kabbalah, where the Sephirotic Tree features two matching pillars, one on either side — those of Justice (Din) and Mercy (Hesed), whose balance is illuminated in the central pillar and the sephirah of Beauty (Tipheret.

It is also worth noting that in the Coronation rite, there are eight instances of the words just, justly and justice, and 28 instances of mercy and merciful, including the great appeal known as the Kyrie Eleison:

Lord have mercy upon us.
Christ have mercy upon us.
Lord have mercy upon us.

And although the notion of a Judgment Day is found in some strains of Judaism and is intrinsic to both Christianity and Islam, no-one prays for the opposite — Lord, have judgment upon us — .

All this has been background.

**

Now:

Justice and mercy in action:

Hey, justice as context:

4 Arizona Women Convicted for Leaving Water for Migrants

Four aid workers were convicted Friday on charges connected to their efforts to leave food and water for migrants in an Arizona wildlife refuge along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The volunteers, who are members of the faith-based humanitarian aid group No More Deaths, were caught on Aug. 13, 2017, by a Federal Wildlife officer as they left water jugs, beans and other supplies for migrants in Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, which shares a 50-mile border with Mexico. No More Deaths claims that 155 migrants have died in the refuge since 2001, and that the organization aims to save lives by providing basic supplies.

And to set beside that, more memorable context:

Indian migrant girl, 6, died in Arizona desert as mother sought water

A six-year-old girl from India died of heat stroke in an Arizona desert after her mother left her with other migrants to go in search of water, a medical examiner and U.S. Border Patrol said on Friday.

**

And with all that in background and as context:

Scott Warren faced judgment and mercy:

Scott Warren Provided Food & Water to Migrants in Arizona; He Now Faces Up to 20 Years in Prison

Mercifully, FELONY TRIAL OF NO MORE DEATHS VOLUNTEER SCOTT WARREN ENDS IN MISTRIAL

Eight jurors believed Warren was innocent on all counts. Four believed he was guilty. .. The judge asked the jurors if they all believed that further deliberation would fail to yield a unanimous decision. On that point, they were all in agreement: The jury was hung.

That suggests a ratio of mercy to justice of two to one.

**

Okay.

There’s a saying of Jesus recorded in the gospels:

Judge not, that ye be not judged

I’ve searched in vain, but in neither Testament do I find it written:

Be not merciful, lest ye receive mercy..

And Shakespeare tells us plainly:

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.

Okay?

>”

Sunday surprise, what can happen to music

Monday, May 13th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — Aretha to rabbinic wisdom via N’Orleans — five versions of the one great song — with a Mother’s Day greeting to all Marthas and all Marys ]
.

Consider this song as sung by the awesome Aretha Franklin:

Here’s the story of Mary and Martha, as John’s Gospel tells it [John 40: 38-42]:

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

You might say that Martha is the mother of service, and Mary the mother of devotion: they are equally celebrated in the church, yet Mary has the better part.

Wonderful, then, to encounter the same song as played and sung by N’Orleans’ own Theresa Andersson:

That’s the extraordinary creative re-creation I was wanting to share with you.

**

The Parting of the Waters [Exodus 14: 21-29]:

And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

Wait: there’s a curious — and beautiful — counterpoint to this story in rabbinic lore:

The Talmud teaches us that on the night that the Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea, the first true moment of freedom for the Jews fleeing Egypt, God refused to hear the angels sing their prayers, and said “my creations are drowning in the sea, and you will sing songs?”

**

Appendix:

We could also take — if you have time to join me — another path through that song.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers:

Mary’s there, but no Martha. That’s the earliest recording of the song that survives.

Then there’s The Swan Silvertones:

Mary don’t you weep — Martha don’t have to moan — it’s been decided that Mary of the song — who might be the sister of Moses — is, or is also, Mary the sister of Martha..

And let’s close with Take-6:

**

Sources:

  • Jerry Zolten, “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep”–The Swan Silvertones (1959)
  • Wikipedia, Mary Don’t You Weep
  • Art & Theology, “Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep”: Death, Resurrection, and the New Exodus
  • What we say to QAnon and the Storm

    Sunday, August 19th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — one of those happy chance coincidences, no conspiracy intended ]
    .

    Welcome to the Storm:

    Welcome to QAnon, sometimes referred to as “the Storm.” It’s a conspiracy theory that’s swept social media and is starting to break into the mainstream, with Trump rally attendees in Florida on July 31 holding signs and wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “We are Q” and the conspiracy theory’s main catchphrase, “Where we go one, we go all.”

    What we say to QAnon and the Storm:

    Detroit Mass Choir – The Storm Is Passing Over

    Thank you, good-bye.


    Switch to our mobile site