Saturday, August 07, 2010

Scripture Saturday--Where is our power?

Today's Scripture readings are taken from the Mass readings for the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6th.

August 6 is also the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan in 1945. These two events, occurring on the same day, beg the question: Who is God? Whose power and light do we follow and why?

The first reading is from the Book of Daniel:
As I watched:
Thrones were set up
and the Ancient One took his throne.
His clothing was bright as snow,
and the hair on his head as white as wool;
his throne was flames of fire,
with wheels of burning fire.
A surging stream of fire
flowed out from where he sat;
Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him,
and myriads upon myriads attended him.
The court was convened and the books were opened.
Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14 
Here, God is seen as light and fire.  He is also convening a court of judgement.  On us, perhaps?

The first atomic bomb that was ever tested was code named "Trinity".  Why in the world would the designer of the atom bomb, Robert Oppenheimer, chose that name?!   He said later, that it was because of the religious poetry of John Donne: "Batter my heart, Three-person'd-God".  

When  he saw the results of the first atom bomb test, Oppenheimer quoted the Hindu scripture, Bhagavad Gita, "We are become as gods, destroyers of worlds."

In the second reading on the feast of the Transfiguration, St. Peter tells the early Christians that the power he witnessed at the Transfiguration was "a lamp shining in a dark place"  and that we should "be attentive to it...until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."
We did not follow cleverly devised myths
when we made known to you
the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received honor and glory from God the Father
when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory,
“This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven
while we were with him on the holy mountain.
Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.
You will do well to be attentive to it,
as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
2 Peter 1: 16-19
From where do we get our power?  Where is our trust?  In man's ability to destroy the world or in God's eternal Light?

Note: Much of the information for this post came from an article in Inside the Vatican magazine by Robert Moynihan via Spirit Daily.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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