The Psalms were written in Hebrew, the gospel of John in Greek. Unlike Laura Mayo, I have not studied and cannot read Hebrew. Neither can I read or analyze Greek. I cannot, therefore, fully “explicate” these sometimes most difficult, always mystical, biblical writings. But I will remark on a small amount of laymen’s commentary that I have read.
Psalms 115, which scholars say was not written by David and perhaps has two or more unknown authors, was sometimes sung at the end of Passover. The “Aaronites” in the Psalm were priests—and even they at the time of this writing. (Most scholars think after the Babylonian exile, at the era of the Second Temple, around the first century B.C.). Even some of the priests of the Hebrew religion had apparently turned against the one “true” God. (Not worshipping money, boats, cars, houses, land, jobs, prestige, ego, but other graven [made]“idols” of their day.) Then there were the other groups mentioned, who worshipped the Hebrew god, an unseen deity—not like the pagans’ tangible images. All Hebrew worshippers were to praise only their unnamed God (“I am that I am”) for what “He” had done for them. They were not to give homage to idols, or images. They were to sing Him constant hymns of praise.
The 13th-16th chapters of the most mystical and last of the gospels, John, were said to be Jesus’ last messages and teachings to his disciples at their final Passover together. He was on his way to death. Yet he took time and care to still teach them. “I am going away, but I will leave you something,” he taught,” (in St. John terms, the “paraclete”) or the “counselor” or “The Holy Spirit. “ This spirit was love.
The disciples were admonished to love one another and to remember him always, and he “would be with them.” He warned them that night that Judas Iscariot was going out to betray him—and he did. He told Peter that before the rooster crowed he, Peter, would deny his master three times. He did. Jesus adjourned them, and kept on teaching and talking as they left—he told parables: he and God were the vine; they were the branches. Even productive branches, bearing fruit, have to often be pruned in order to keep on producing, and those that do not produce are cut off, and burned. They must “abide in him” and not be like a cut off branch and be discarded. He was “going to prepare a place for them, bring them to him,” and so forth. The disciples did not understand all of these words. So how can we?
The predicted narrative came true as Jesus had said, however. Judas did “sell him” for silver. Peter did say three times before dawn, while Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, that he had never known such a man. Christ was falsely “tried” and killed the next day. Three days passed while the women waited and watched.
Then whatever happened on “Easter,” (which means, partly, rising up—as in yeast--, or beginning again,) took place.
There is a little girl who is about two and a half years old. She sometimes stays in the nursery on Sunday mornings in a church in Houston called “Covenant Ecumenical Liberal Baptist.” Often she is left there from about 9:30-until noon. Sometimes she stays for just the last hour of that time. She enjoys the other kids, seeing babies, trying to hold colors, playing with blocks, puzzles and Legos. There is a boy, twice her age, who goes to a Sunday School class, but occasionally plays in the nursery for the last hour of church. The girl child’s name is Himma. (Her grandparents have attempted much research to learn what her name might mean. They know it comes from Sufi Arabic, and means something like “learning, by the heart, to live totally in God—again.” Sufi teaching is that we all came from total unification with God. The trials and angers of life pull us away. Our lives are meant to be a path back. A remembering of where we first began.) The boy’s name is Owen. I am not sure of the meaning of his name, but I know he has a famous mother, and father, and brother, too.
One day Owen had decided to build something with blocks. Now building is mostly a good thing. Owen was building a high block tower, patiently and carefully. Himma’s tiny hands were not large or skilled enough to build a tower, as Owen’s were. Himma watched. Probably she envied. She saw that “Emma do it!”—a fond slogan of hers—would not work for her this time.
Owen was quite proud of his tower, standing on the floor, while he carefully sat, and put one block upon the other, and they all stood, exceptionally well, multicolored and delicate. Suddenly, for no apparently reason, Himma up and whopped Owen’s tower to the floor. Not but some of it, either. But all. Everything was lost. Owen did not totally lose his cool, just partially. He was obviously quite angry, and physically made a motion of anger toward Himma and also gave her “the look,” which meaning maybe, “I would hit you, but you are a tiny girl, and besides that, my mom and dad might lose their own cools if I did.”
One of Himma’s grandfathers was in the room. He sat silent and still, watching the drama unfold. He was rather puzzled by Himma’s action, and having been a five-year-old boy once who built things, no doubt sided with the boy and his tower. But being a good and wise grandfather, he quickly decided to say or do nothing.—at first. Himma, on her own, walked over and chose up a special puppet she liked, and handed it to Owen, as if in recompense. Owen accepted the gift-apology. Then the grandfather decided to help Himma. He handed her all the blocks, one by one, to hand back to Owen. He encouraged Owen to build the tower again. All together, they did.
- Sybil Pittman Estess