Embodying the Word

How is it that the word becomes flesh?  We may find some help toward an answer in a post at the New Yorker in which Brad Leithauser reflects on the importance of memorizing poetry, even in an age of smart phones and instant Google access.  We should memorize poetry, he concludes, because doing so is a way of making the words of poetry a part of the body. The best argument for verse memorization may be that it provides us with knowledge of a qualitatively and physiologically different variety: yo … [Read more...]

Memorize Monday: The Prayer of St. Francis

The "Prayer of St. Francis" is a powerful reorientation of our souls toward God's kingdom and values.  This week work to memorize this prayer and as you do reflect on what it would mean to truly live into what is being prayed.A Prayer of St. FrancisLord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, … [Read more...]

Memorize Monday: Psalm 108:1-5

Psalm 108 is a song for morning.  Imagine greeting the dawn with these verses as a song to God.  It is time to wake up the world--both within and without--to God's glory and goodness.Psalm 108:1-5 (NRSV):A Song. A Psalm of David. My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make melody. Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn. I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples, and I will sing praises to you among the nations. For yo … [Read more...]

Memorize Monday: You’re Blessed

The Exercise: Memorize Matthew 5:1-12 in The Message translation.The Why:The Beatitudes answer the question: who is well off?  But too often the answers we get in some translations just lead to more confusion.  Eugene Peterson's The Message is a helpful tool in that it does more than merely translate the language, but also its meaning.  Such work is never perfect, but it is helpful to use such translations to get a better idea of what was originally expressed by a passage.  Read, savo … [Read more...]

Memorize Monday: Clothe Yourselves with Love

The whole of Colossians chapter 3 is a powerful exposition of how Christians should live as the church in the world.  The verses we will seek to memorize this week, Colossians 3:12-14, sum up the whole of the passage.  Notice the metaphor of clothing ourselves with love.  Place this verse near where you dress each day and as you dress imagine clothing yourself with love. … [Read more...]

Memorize Monday: Prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian

In addition to memorizing scripture it is also fruitful to memorize prayers, especially ancient prayers that have played a significant role in the church.  The prayer of St. Ephrem is such a prayer.  Likely composed in St. Ephrem's name around 373, the prayer of St. Ephrem is a penitential prayer and is used as a the essential prayer of Lent by the Eastern Orthodox Church.  It is a beautiful prayer that in a few sentences helps name the sins that so many of us wrestle with day in and day out.  M … [Read more...]

Memorize Monday: Deuteronomy 10:12-21

Spend twenty minutes reading and rereading Deuteronomy 10:12-21.  This passage sums up the relationship of God and God's people.  Over the next week work on memorizing the passage or a shorter selection from it. … [Read more...]

Memorize Monday: 2 Peter 1:2-10

Read, re-read and meditate on 2 Peter 1:2-10.  Then work on memorizing the passage over the week.  What does it mean for us to be "partakers of the divine nature"? … [Read more...]