inner stillness: when everything is all the same to you, and you live for the day, and you are not dreaming and waiting

john r. harrison

my other websites
The United Methodist Churches of Sheldon, Bronaugh, and Moundville

The Southwest District of the Missouri West Conference of The United Methodist Church

The Rotary Club of Nevada, Missouri

The Beloit, Kansas, High School Class of 1960

The Academy for Spiritual formation #17

books I've been reading
Communion, Community, Commonweal: Readings for Spiritual Leadership, by John S. Mogabgab

The Ascent of a Leader: How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence, by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and Ken McElrath

The Catholic Imagination, by Andrew Greeley

Spiritual Guides for the 21st Century: Faith Stories of the Protestant Reformers

Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ, by Dallas Willard

movies I'd like to see
American Splendor


Lost in Translation

The Station Agent

Winged Migration

sermons in process
Ruth 1:1-18--"Why Go with Me?"

Mark 12:38-44--"Abundance and Poverty"

1 Samuel 1:4-20--"The Desperation of Hannah"

John 18:33-37--"An Interrogation"

Malachi 3:1-4--"Messages and Messengers"

lectures on tape in my car
Introduction to Renaissance Literature

Dante's Life and Times

Dante's Literary Antecedents

Erasmus, In Praise of Folly

Introduction to Shakespeare


-- HOME --

This page is powered by Blogger. Why isn't yours?
Sunday, March 24

It is Palm Sunday. My usual practice on this Sunday is not to preach but rather to read the passion story, this year from the gospel according to Matthew. I like to read Eugene H. Peterson’s verson of “The Message in Contemporary Language.” And I do so to give folks something different from the King James Version or whatever else they might have become accustomed to. I suppose that there are those who would refer to Peterson’s translation as “cool.” And, he does a good job. However, the more I use his stuff, the more I think to myself, “I could do this better.” Well, maybe “better” is the wrong word. It might be more appropriate for me to say, “I could translate this into a language with which I am more comfortable.” When we deviate from traditional language and try to put something into a contemporary vernacular, we then discover how different all of us are. What one person is comfortable with another person may find difficult to listen to. And then there are some strangely contrived phrases. One of my parishioners called to my attention a sentence in Matthew that seemed particularly awkward. When Jesus was chiding his disciples for falling asleep at Gethsemane, he said, “But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” So what was Peterson translating? “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Whereas the New Revised Standard Version has Jesus saying, following the institution of the Lord’s Supper, “You will all become deserters because of me this night,” Peterson has him saying, “Before the night’s over, you’re going to fall to pieces because of what happens to me.” This interpretation raises interesting questions. Of course, the disciples DID desert Jesus; but is it fair to say that they “fell to pieces”? That language is colorful, but is it appropriate? Is it useful? The Contemporary English Version says, “During this very night, all of you will reject me.” And I think that is more appropriate than Peterson’s colorful language. For my usual first Sundays of the month, when I celebrate communion, I omit the reading of the scriptures. It saves on time in the service. However, for Palm Sunday I leave in the passages from the gospel and Isaiah. This time I noticed that it lengthened my services. I barely made it to Bronaugh and Sheldon for the scheduled starting times. I usually have ample time to spare. It’s too bad that all three congregations want me around for both the beginning and the ending of the services. In order to fit my travel time in, that allows for only a forty-five to fifty minute service. Services of that length require that something needs to be cut, and what I have cut out are hymns. When I was in Seneca and Slater I always have four hymns in each service. But then, I had no service to attend afterward. I think my congregations now would benefit from more music.

posted by John Harrison at 7:40 PM

thinking links

Alan Colmes

America Held Hostile

American Civil Liberties Union

America's War On Terrorism is about oil

The Association of World Citizens

Barnes & Noble



Bush Occupation

Bush Watch

BuzzFlash Report

Common Cause

Common Dreams

A Common Reader



Democratic Underground


Doc Searls Weblog

Earth Education

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Guardian Unlimited

i.e. America Radio Network

International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)

Journal of the Hyperlinked Organzation

Let's talk sense

Liberal Slant

London Review of Books





The Nation

The New York Review of Books

The New Yorker

Nothing Like the Truth

Political Strikes

The Progressive

Public Action, Inc.


The Smoking Gun

Smudge Report




The Upper Room


Young Democrats of America