And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Isaiah 8:17

If you are looking for messages about the Europe Area Humanitarian Mission, go to

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snow in Jerusalem!

Snow fell heavily in Jerusalem this week!  Enjoy the photos from Israel National News.

Looking over at Temple Mount

The citrus crop survived.

Hezekiah's broad wall

Historic Hurva Synagogue

Rebuilt Montefiori windmill

Mount of Olives

Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Earth vs. World in the Old Testament

This post is a response - with some explanatory Hebrew - to  Jeffrey M Bradshaw's post this week on Meridian Magazine.

Science and the Book of Genesis Part 2
By Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

Editor’s Note: This is the next installment of an extended version of a presentation given at the 2013 Interpreter Symposium on Science and Mormonism: Cosmos, Earth, and Man at the Utah Valley Convention Center, Provo, Utah.

Lesson Two: Scripture is a Product of a Particular Point of View

Nibley illustrates this idea:[1]
The Latter-day Saints, [like other Bible readers,] are constantly converting statements of limited application to universal or at least sweeping generalities. To illustrate, I was told as a child that the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachians, and the Andes all came into existence overnight during the great upheavals of nature that took place at the time of the Crucifixion — an absurdity that plays into the hands of critics of the Book of Mormon. But what we find in the 3 Nephi account when we read it carefully is a few sober, factual, eyewitness reports describing an earthquake of 8-plus on the Richter scale in a very limited area. Things that appear unlikely, impossible, or paradoxical from one point of view often make perfectly good sense from another.
The Nautical Almanac gives the exact time of sunrise and sunset for every time of the year, yet astronauts know that the sun neither rises nor sets except from a particular point of view, the time of the event being strictly dependent on the exact location. From that point of view and that only, it is strictly correct and scientific to say that the sun does rise and set. Just so, the apparently strange and extravagant phenomena described in the scriptures are often correct descriptions of what would have appeared to a person in a particular situation …
So with Noah in the Ark. From where he was, “the whole earth”[2] was covered with water as far as he could see … But what were conditions in other parts of the world? If Noah knew that, he would not have sent forth messenger birds to explore.
But doesn’t Genesis 7:19 say that “the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered”? Explaining his understanding of this verse, Walter Bradley observes:[3]
The Hebrew word eretz used in Genesis 7:19 is usually translated “earth” or “world” but does not generally refer to the entire planet. Depending on the context, it is often translated “country” or “land” to make this clear … [For example, i]n Genesis 12:1, Abram was told to leave his eretz. He was obviously not told to leave the planet but rather to leave his country… [Another] comparison to obtain a proper interpretation of Genesis 7:19 involves Deuteronomy 2:25, which talks about all the nations “under the heavens” being fearful of the Israelites. Obviously, all nations “under the heavens” was not intended to mean all on planet Earth.
[RHS NOTE: אֶרֶץ eretz is usually translated ‘earth’ or ‘land’ (as opposed to water).  There are two Hebrew words more commonly translated as ‘world’ (meaning the whole planet).  The most commonly used is תֵּבֵל tebel , which is used 37 times: it first shows up in 1 Sam 2:8 (which also has eretz translated as earth). See also: Psa 24:1 The earth (eretz) is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world (tebel) and they that dwell therein.
The other word sometimes translated as world is עוֹלָםolam , which we found in the Noah story in the phrase everlasting (‘olam) covenant (beriyth).  Some verses where ‘olam is translated as world include:
Ecc 3:11  He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world (‘olam) in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
Isa 45:17  But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting (olam) salvation (yasha – remember, that is the name, Jesus, in Hebrew):  ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world (‘olam) without end. (Great verse, huh?)
Isa 64:4 For since the beginning of the world (‘olam) men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. (another great verse.  I sure love Isaiah.) END of RHS NOTE]

[Back to Bradshaw]Elder John A. Widtsoe, writing in 1943, summed up the important idea of taking point of view into account when interpreting scripture:[4]
We should remember that when inspired writers deal with historical incidents they relate that which they have seen or that which may have been told them, unless indeed the past is opened to them by revelation.
[For example, t]he details in the story of the Flood are undoubtedly drawn from the experiences of the writer … The writer of Genesis made a faithful report of the facts known to him concerning the Flood. In other localities the depth of the water might have been more or less.

Bokovoy, David E. "'The book which thou shalt write': Higher criticism and the book of Moses." Presented at the The Expanded Canon: Perspectives on Mormonism and Sacred Texts, Orem, UT: Utah Valley University, April 5, 2013.  (accessed September 11, 2013).
Bradley, Walter. "Why I believe the Bible is scientifically reliable." In Why I Am a Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe, edited by Norman L. Geisler and Paul K. Hoffman, 161-81. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001.
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God's Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Publishing, 2014.

Evans, Craig A., Joel N. Lohr, and David L. Petersen, eds. The Book of Genesis: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, Formation and interpretation of Old Testament Literature 152, ed. Christl M. Maier, Craig A. Evans and Peter W. Flint. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2012.
Friedman, Richard Elliott. The Hidden Book in the Bible. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998.
———, ed. Commentary on the Torah. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2001.
———.1987. Who Wrote the Bible? San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997.
Gertz, Jan Christian. "The formation of the primeval history." In The Book of Genesis: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation, edited by Craig A.
Evans, Joel N. Lohr and David L. Petersen. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, Formation and interpretation of Old Testament Literature 152, eds. Christl M. Maier, Craig A. Evans and Peter W. Flint, 107-35. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2012.
Nibley, Hugh W. 1980. "Before Adam." In Old Testament and Related Studies, edited by John W. Welch, Gary P. Gillum and Don E. Norton. The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 1, 49-85. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1986.
Sailhamer, John H. "Genesis." In The Expositor's Bible Commentary, edited by Frank E. Gaebelein, 1-284. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990.
Schmid, Konrad. "Genesis in the Pentateuch." In The Book of Genesis: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation, edited by Craig A. Evans, Joel N. Lohr and David L. Petersen. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, Formation and interpretation of Old Testament Literature 152, eds. Christl M. Maier, Craig A. Evans and Peter W. Flint, 27-50. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2012.
Smith, Joseph, Jr. 1938. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1969.
Widtsoe, John A. 1943, 1947, 1951. Evidences and Reconciliations. 3 vols. Single Volume ed. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1960.
[1] H. W. Nibley, Before Adam, pp. 64-66.
2 Genesis 8:9. See J. M. Bradshaw et al., God's Image 2, pp. 267-270 for perspectives arguing for a local (rather than global) Flood.
[3] W. Bradley, Why, pp. 177-179.
[4] J. A. Widtsoe, Evidences, p. 127.
[5] See, e.g., R. E. Friedman, Who; R. E. Friedman, Hidden. For an in-depth LDS perspective on the Documentary Hypothesis and other questions relating to Higher Criticism, see D. E. Bokovoy, Book Which Thou Shalt Write.

[6] Although broad agreement persists on many issues of longstanding consensus, the state of research on the composition of the Pentateuch continues to evolve in important ways. In 2012, Konrad Schmid gave the following assessment (K. Schmid, Genesis, pp. 28-29):
[6]Pentateuchal scholarship has changed dramatically in the last three decades, at least when seen in a global perspective. The confidence of earlier assumptions about the formation of the Pentateuch no longer exists, a situation that might be lamented but that also opens up new and — at least in the view of some scholars — potentially more adequate paths to understand its composition. One of the main results of the new situation is that neither traditional nor newer theories can be taken as the accepted starting point of analysis; rather, they are, at most possible ends.
[6]With respect to Genesis in particular, “it is fairly obvious that the book of Genesis serves as a kind of introduction or prologue to what follows in Exodus through Deuteronomy” (ibid., p. 29). “Nevertheless,” continues Schmid in his highlighting of one prominent theme in the most recent thinking on the topic (ibid., pp. 30, 32, 45), “the function of Genesis to the Pentateuch is apparently not exhausted by describing it as an introduction to the Moses story .… Genesis … shows … clear signs of having existed as a stand-alone literary unit for some portion of its literary growth. Genesis is a special book within the Pentateuch: it is the most self-sufficient one .… In current scholarship, it is no longer possible to explain the composition of the book of Genesis from the outset within the framework of the Documentary Hypothesis.” For a broader survey of current research, see J. C. Gertz, Formation. For details of textual transmission and reception history of Genesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, see C. A. Evans et al., Book of Genesis, pp. 303-632.
[7] R. E. Friedman, Commentary, p. 16.
[8] J. H. Sailhamer, Genesis, p. 5.
[9] J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 15 October 1843, p. 327.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Prodigal (from a mother's perspective)

Brian Kershiznik’s “Halo Repair” has an excellent post Here by Margaret Blair Young today, entitled "The Prodigal (from a mother's perspective)." 

You all know I enjoy rereading scriptures from a woman's perspective and this essay does that very well

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sukkot : Booths : Feast of Tabernacles

We are currently in the middle of the 8 days of Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles.  These are the 8 holy days in which the Children of Israel were to "dwell in booths" commemorating their 40 years in the wilderness with the LORD.

Modern observant Jews build their sukkot of various materials.  Here are typical ones.

Read about the Biblical and rabbinic rules for kosher sukkot (booths)here.

Meanwhile, at NYU (where my son got his masters), a group decided to hold a competition designing new/old more interesting sukkot.    They called the contest :Sukkah City NYC 2010 . 

They received over 600 entries and the results ranged from humorous to ethereal.

Now they have completed a documentary film on the project.  You can watch a trailer  here.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Movie Preview: Missionaries in Russa

A new movie has been made about the LDS missionaries kidnapped in Russia a few years ago.  They are inviting people to come to a free preview and give them feedback.  Enjoy!



On what seemed like any other day during their two-year LDS missions, Elders Travis Tuttle (Corbin Allred) and Andrew Propst (Maclain Nelson) are approached by Nikolai (Nikita Bogolyubov) to meet a friend. But then the missionaries experience the unimaginable -- kidnapped, beaten, and held for ransom for nearly a week -- on the other side of the world in Saratov, Russia. While their family, friends and the world pray for their safe return, Tuttle and Propst are tested physically, emotionally and most of all -- spiritually. 

But in abducting the missionaries, Nikolai unwittingly sets in motion a course of events that draws him and them closer to each other and to God in ways never expected. Through the harrowing experience they each discover the universal truth that there is a greater plan, a different way, a different approach to life – “The Saratov Approach.”

Inspired by actual events, THE SARATOV APPROACH is the extraordinary, untold story of Elders Travis Tuttle and Andrew Propst and their week-long abduction in Saratov, Russia. Through this harrowing experience, these men of God and their abductors alike discover a different approach to life – “The Saratov Approach.”

The screenings are as follows:
  • September 19th: General Public Advanced Word-of-Mouth screening at the Megaplex Theater at the District South Jordan, UT, at 7:00pm.
  • September 25th: General Public Advanced Word-of-Mouth screening at the Megaplex Theater at the Jordan Commons Sandy, UT, at 7:00pm.
  • September 26th: For the Press and Media.  At the Megaplex Theater at the Gateway SLC, at 10:30am.
  • October 8th: VIP Premier Event. Meet the Elders that the film is based on along with the full cast and crew. Megaplex Theater at the Jordan Commons, at 7:00pm. Tickets will go on sale soon at Jordan Commons box office.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yom Kippur is Today

Can I Use a Scapegoat on Yom Kippur?

. . . or is there a catch?

 “I heard that in the original Yom Kippur services, the Jews used to send a scapegoat away with all their sins, and then they could start all over again. I’m looking for a scapegoat, but not sure exactly what to do with it when the day comes.” 

You got some of it right, but I need to set you straight on a few details. For one thing, there were two goats. One was an offering on the altar. The other was sent away.
You’ve got a goat inside. It has two sides.

For another, the goat helps only when the entire community is involved, fasting, expressing remorse, and otherwise dealing with their past. Even then, the requirements stipulate a Temple built according to exact specifications on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and a high priest to officiate. If you can put all that together by the holy day, we’ll all be grateful. And impressed.

But wait, there’s still hope. Even if you can’t do this with a regular, woolly goat nowadays, you can still do it with your inner goat. Here’s how:

You’ve got a goat inside. It has two sides. On the one hand, you can’t live without it, and it’s not at all bad. Maybe it’s like one of those nice goats that provides milk, wool and playfulness. On the other hand, it can get into some darned awful habits that can prove pretty embarrassing in your relationship with others. Even more embarrassing when it comes to your Creator.

So, you need to split that goat into two goats. And then send one of them away.

There’s a caveat here, something you really have to know: You can’t send a goat away unless you first take ownership of it. You gotta know, “This is my goat. It’s part of me. What it did, I did. I take full responsibility.”

Once you’ve done that, you can wave goodbye, close the door, and never let it back in again. Then get to work on raising up the other goat into a truly divine offering.

That sounds pretty simple, but I have to bring it up because most people seem to find it real hard. We tend to think the scapegoat is our mother, father, fourth-grade school teacher, wife, husband, job, employer, rush-hour traffic, pharmaceuticals, condition, or some crazy rabbi who gives nutty advice.

You can’t send the goat away as long as you deny that it’s your goat.

That doesn’t work. You can’t send the goat away as long as you continue denying that it’s your goat. Only once you say, “Yes, that’s me,” then you can say, “No, that wasn’t me. Not the real me. That was beneath me.
“And I’m never going to see that goat again.”

BY TZVI FREEMAN  a senior editor at, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files.

You can read more on Yom Kippur here

42nd Sperry Symposium on "Ascending the Mountain of the Lord"

Figures they would have my favorite topic while I am out of the country.  

It is FREE.  You should go.

You can get more information and a schedule HERE

Friday, August 2, 2013

Temple Visitor's Center in Jerusalem : Seriously!

The Jewish organization called the Temple Institute has built a visitors' center in anticipation of the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.  You can see a 7 minute video tour of the visitors' center here.

This is my favorite image from the tour: notice the building just behind the left side of the rebuilt temple: BYU Jerusalem Center!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Margaret Barker and "The Mother of the Lord" in Logan

If you missed the last conference in Logan with Margaret Barker, here is your chance to go and hear her and meet her in person!  And what a cool topic!  I would LOVE to go (or better yet, to speak!). 

The Academy for Temple Studies and the Utah State University Religious Studies program announce a conference we believe may be of interest to you, to be held on October 23, 2013, on the campus of Utah State University.  We invite you to save the date.

This conference will approach this topic from a temple perspective with biblical, archeological, liturgical and LDS components.

The speakers will include:

Margaret Barker, well-known for her numerous books and articles on temple theology whose book called The Mother of the Lord:  The Lady in the Temple was published last year.

•Laurence Hemming, a Catholic philosopher and theologian who lives in London; an expert in early Catholic liturgy and author of numerous books and articles, including Worship as a Revelation: The Past, Present, and Future of Catholic Liturgy.

•William Dever, distinguished professor of Near Eastern Studies; has written 26 books and 350+ articles on Near Eastern archeology, and author of the book, Did God Have a Wife?

•Alyson Von Feldt, who has explored temple theology as reconstructed by Barker from an LDS perspective in her review of Dever's Did God Have a Wife? and an analysis of the Book of Mormon, "His Secret is with the Righteous: Instructional Wisdom in the Book of Mormon."  These can be found at:

• Valerie Hudson, Professor and George H. W. Bush Chair of international affairs at Texas A&M University, who is co-author of Women in Eternity, Women of Zion, a comprehensive examination of LDS doctrine concerning women.  In 2009 she was named by Foreign Policy to be one of the top 100 Most Influential Global Thinkers.

Registration for the day-long conference will be $50.00. Students with a valid student ID
will be admitted for $10.00.

Seating will be limited. You can register on-line at this link.

More detailed information on the conference will soon be made available.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Great Research Databases at "Academy For Temple Studies"

The website "Academy For Temple Studies" has some excellent resources for students interested in the temple (that's all of us, right?). 

It has reviews of books, articles and dissertations.  There is a lot you can learn from just these reviews. For example, here is part of a paragraph reviewing the chapter entitled . “The Temple: Place of Yahweh’s Presence and Sphere of Life” in  Othmar Keel's book, Symbolism of the Biblical World: Ancient Near Eastern Iconography and the Book of Psalms, [translated by Timothy J. Hallett, 111-76.  Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1997].

  “ One important example is Keel’s suggestion that the idea of the “house” of God, grows out of the standard residential buildings in the Near East.  They were rectangular structures with a central courtyard which contained an oven and a cistern.  Keel argues that ancient temples followed this pattern for God’s house, an inner courtyard with a sacrificial altar analogous to the oven and some form of water catchment such as a cistern, pool, or even a lake.”

Wow.  So simple, and yet I had never thought of the temple that way: a depiction of God’s house in the everyday sense.

Amazing what you can learn.  Hurry right over to the “Academy for Temple Studies” which also is compiling a monstrous huge database of EVERYTHING related to temples (ours, Biblical, pagan: all temples) ever published.  So many books.  So little time!

Friday, July 5, 2013

New Hebrew Class starting in Sandy in September.

Want to learn to read Hebrew?  

My good friend, Diana, is starting a brand new beginning Hebrew class in September.  The class will start on September 5th.

This will be the third group of students - many from my classes - to take advantage of the generosity of this great teacher.

The class will be held at Diana's home in Sandy (1630 Siesta Drive, 84093) on Thursdays at 2 pm

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mysteries of Solomon's Temple

There is an interesting new post on 

 Mormon Scripture Explorations

Mysteries of Solomon’s Temple

by William Hamblin
"This is a recording of a presentation I [William Hamblin] gave recently concerning Solomon's temple.  I first examine the problem of the limited nature of biblical accounts of the temple, and the question of esoteric teachings and mysteries.  I then analysze of five of the esoteric teachings or mysteries associated with Solomon's Temple.  1- celestial temple and throne; 2- Before the Beginning; 3- Council of God in the celestial temple; 4- Human participation in Council of God; 5- Entering the Holy of Holies."
You can watch the presentation HERE
Here is a great pdf handout of the Keynote slides

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Maxwell Institute Summer Seminar Symposium (July 11, 2013)

The Maxwell Institute Summer Seminar, co-sponsored by the Mormon Scholars Foundation and the Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley Institution, will be holding a public symposium on Thursday July 11th, 2013 at Brigham Young University, for all interested parties.

This years seminar has continued the series of seminars on Mormon culture begun in the summer of 1997. The seminar was conducted by Terryl Givens, Professor of Literature and Religion and James A. Bostwick Chair of English at the University of Richmond.
This particular seminar has continued a series begun three years ago on the history of Mormon thought. A principal evidence appealed to by early Mormon writers and missionaries, on which they based their claim to authoritative restoration, was the abundance of spiritual gifts manifest among believers in the church founded by Joseph Smith. Closely allied to these gifts was the Latter-day Saint claim to genuine priesthood authority. The participants of the seminar have studied how early Saints understood the workings of the spirit and spiritual gifts, and how those perceptions and manifestations have changed through Latter-day Saint history. They have also investigate the theology behind early Mormon exercise of the priesthood, their understanding of the role of ordinances in salvation, and how such understanding was shaped by and responded to Protestant notions of the sacraments.
The topic for this years seminar is, “Workings of the Spirit and Works of the Priesthood: Gifts and Ordinances in LDS Thought and Practice.” Therefore, presentations for this years symposium will largely revolve around this broad topic.
Presenters will include (listed in alphabetical order):
Helena Bushman, University of Cambridge
Kirk Caudle, The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship
Alan Clark, Claremont Graduate University
Carl Cranney, Catholic University of America
Ryan Davis, Harvard University
James Egan, Brigham Young University
Mie Inouye, University of Toronto
Jeremy Leatham, Baylor University
Kaitlyn Pieper, British Institute at Ankara
Alexander Struk, London School of Economics
Jeremy Talmage, Yale University
Matt Whitlock, University of California Berkeley
Final program, including presentation titles and times, will be announced at a later date. 
The symposium will be held at Brigham Young University in room B-092 in the JFSB  from 9am-4pm. All are invited to attend and the event is free. 
This announcement was posted by kirkcaudle on June 18, 2013  HERE

Art and the Temple : J Kirk Richards Essay

HOPE by J Kirk Richards
 J Kirk Richards has written a great essay about art and temples.  I LOVE looking at the murals in temples during the service.  I find I concentrate better and my mind wanders less (am I the only one with that tendency?).  I love the art used in the film as well.  You can read his essay here.

One of the things he discusses is the use of darkness and light, especially in depicting Christ, like in this Rembrandt:

Now take a look at this Supper at Emmaus by Rembrandt, not to mention this popular painting of Christ walking on the water. Perhaps the former example might come off a bit spooky in the estimation of some, but the device itself is strikingly gorgeous.

Another topic is the use of symbolism and abstraction in art, which apparently is discouraged by the temple art guidelines.  Interesting, given the use of symbolism and abstraction in the REST of the temple experience!
Mother and Child by J Kirk Richards

Monday, May 27, 2013

2013 FAIR Conference

The PRICE to attend the 2013 Annual Fair Conference is about to increase.

I highly recommend this conference.  There is a wide variety of topics covered, books are available for purchase.  The presenters in the past have been interesting and knowlegeable.  Other attendees are fun to get to know especially at LUNCH (usually box lunches are available by preorder).

So, check you calendar or save the date: August 1-2. 

This year the conference will be at a new location: the NEW Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah.  If you live somewhere else, you can purchase streaming video of one or both days of the conference.  Get more information about the conference here

And, as always at FAIR, most presentations will be available in a few months to watch free on their YouTube channel.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

FREE Online OCR : AKA 'Help with Handouts'

I was sad to discover that the scanner and computer in our office in Frankfurt are not set up to do OCR (Optical Character Recognition).  What that means is that ALL the handouts for class that my husband and I scanned and brought with us were only usable as photographs, not editable text.
And you know how photographs of texts are just not anywhere near as CLEAR and LEGIBLE as a Word document is.

Here is the original I wanted to change: Canon Lists for Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, Vulgate and King James Versions of the Old Testament.

So I looked on Google for some free OCR software.  VERY scary results.  You had to agree to download and install their toolbars, search engines, browser home page, etc, etc.  NO THANKS.

Then I Googled "Free OCR Online" hoping I could upload a photograph or PDF to their site and get back editable text.  The very first hit was "Online OCR."  

By registering, I get 20 free document scans.  I can buy more.

The document came back with only about 5 letters that needed to be corrected.  THAT is really good.  And I am a happy camper again.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Enoch" Conference Videos Now Available for viewing FREE

Videos of the presentations at the 2013 "Enoch and the Temple" Conference - which was held in Logan and Provo - are now available for viewing FREE here. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day - which is often a difficult day for so many of us - I offer you this essay, written by Mary Martin Wiens, wife of a pastor whose blog I recently discovered.  

by Lesli Summers Stay

And remember as you read, that the Hebrew word for 'HOUSE' is BETH, which is also the word for DAUGHTER. 

So, EVERY woman IS a HOUSE.
Every woman is BETHEL, the House of God.

"Whether we are women or men, whether we mother children or mother in other ways, Mother’s Day is one of those days that can highlight our needs. You may come to this day with the need to remember. To forget. To be remembered. To be honored. To be comforted. To be forgiven. To be given hope. To be given an “A.” I am more convinced than ever that we are to take our needs and run to our Home. Our Home is within the One who made us and loves us and in that place we are tenderly, intimately cared for like the best of parents would care for a child, but oh so much better. So, I want you to imagine with me that in the MIDST a long journey (perhaps the long journey of parenting, of infertility, of grieving, whatever the long journey of your life is right now) you suddenly arrive at the place where the heart of God dwells. And God, like a Mother—but the kind of mother God would be—meets you at the door with a look of unabashed welcome and invites you in. What might that be like?

When you come to the house of God
With the mud of trying dripping from your sleeves
Covered in cruelties
Your own and others
Obscured by false agreements
She cleans your clothes, shakes them out and hangs them up to dry
And you she washes, washes, washes
Like water lapping on rock saying
Let me get that off of you and
There you are and
Now do you remember?
So let us run to the house of God

When you come wounded to house of God
She builds a circle around you
She stands guard and houses your pain
She holds your weeping head in her lap and
Whispers, I know
Gently, methodically she tends each hurt saying
All is well
You will be well
At all times I work to make all things well
So let us run to the house of God

When you come undone in the house of God
She gathers you up
She brings back all your scattered parts
She remembers who you are
She breathes vitality back into you saying
Here. Here is your body
Here again are your hands, are your feet, is your mouth
Here is your mind
Here is your spirit
Here I am
Here you are
So let us run to the house of God
When you are hungry in the house of God
She sets out to nourish you entirely
She satisfies and delights your whole being
She heartens you with substance saying
Take your time
Listen to me
I have all you need
It is free. Free. Free.
So let us run to the house of God
When you are naked in the house of God
When you stand exposed by the limits of being human
What you can’t make happen
What you can’t stop from happening
What you can’t know
She covers you
She sees you and
She clothes you saying
Here is safety
Here is grace
I know how you are made
I call you good. Good. Good.
So let us run to the house of God
And, When the time is right in the house of God
She does a dance
She opens wide the doors
She presents you to the world saying
Here is my Beloved with whom I am pleased
So pleased
So very pleased"

You can read Steve Wiems blog at