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Welcome to “read the Bible – expand your mind:”
The Book of Common Prayer says that by sharing Holy Communion, Christians become “very members incorporate in the mystical body” of Jesus. The words “corporate” and “mystical” are the key. They show that a healthy church has two sides. The often-overlooked “mystical” side asks, “How do I experience God?” This blog will try to answer that.
It has four main themes. The first is that God will accept anyone. (See John 6:37.) The second is that God wants us to live lives of abundance. (John 10:10.) The third is that Jesus wants us to read the Bible with an open mind. As it says in Luke 24:45: “Then He [Jesus] opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” The fourth theme – and most often overlooked – is that Jesus wants us to do even greater miracles than He did. (John 14:12.)
And this thought ties them together:
In the meantime:
September 10, 2023 – The next major Church Feast is Holy Cross Day, Thursday, September 14. Just before – in the Daily Office – come for readings for the Eve of Holy Cross: Psalms 46, 87, 1 Kings 8:22-30; Ephesians 2:11-22. Next up is the Feast day for St Matthew, Evangelist, Thursday, September 21. Then Friday, September 29 comes the Feast for St Michael and All Angels.
The thing is, I’ll be in France from September 11 through October 8, mostly to hike the GR 70, also called the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail. But I’ll only have a tablet, not a laptop, so covering those feast days will be problematic to say the least. So I’ll do this: Write up this post beforehand, then update it as I hike along the Trail. (After enjoying sights in Paris and Lyon.)
As far as traveling in France goes, I’ll put updates in between these two sets of asterisks:
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[To be filled in at a later date.]
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So be on the lookout. Meanwhile, for those September feast days, see Holy Cross, Matthew, and Michael – “Archangel” for starters, from 2018: “I wrote in 2016’s St. Matthew and ‘Cinderella‘ that two major feast days in September are Holy Cross Day (9/14) and St. Matthew, Evangelist.” A third major feast is September 29, for St. Michael and All Angels.
In English, it is called The Exaltation of the Holy Cross in the official translation of the Roman Missal, while the 1973 translation called it The Triumph of the Cross. In some parts of the Anglican Communion the feast is called Holy Cross Day…
As for Matthew, he was a tax collector, and in Jesus’ time they were hated. A lot. A “tax farmer,” like Matthew, was “sure to be hated above all men as a merciless leech who would take the shirt off a dying child.” And so – in Jesus’ time – devout Jews avoided them at all costs.
They were fellow Jews, but worked for the Romans as tax collectors. Also because they were “usually dishonest (the job carried no salary, and they were expected to make their profits by cheating the people from whom they collected taxes).” Which led to this lesson from Jesus:
[T]hroughout the Gospels, we find tax collectors (publicans) mentioned as a standard type of sinful and despised outcast. Matthew brought many of his former associates to meet Jesus, and social outcasts in general were shown that the love of Jesus extended even to them.
Which turned out to be good news for pretty much all us “sinful and despised.”
As for Michael, he’s mentioned most prominently in Revelation 12:7-10:
[T]here was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels. And prevailed not… [T]he great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying … the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
See also Michael (archangel) – Wikipedia, which noted that in the New Testament “Michael leads God’s armies against Satan‘s forces … where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan.” Also, he’s mentioned three times in the Book of Daniel, once as a “great prince who stands up for the children of your people.” So like I said in earlier posts, “I’ll take all the help I can get!”
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In the meantime, if you’re interested you could check out Walking the GR70 Chemin de Stevenson – I Love Walking In France. And finally, about those pilgrim hikes I go on each year. Check out On St. James (2023), Pilgrimage, and “Maudlin’s Journey,” from last July 29. (Back then I was planning this trip to France. Now it’s today when I fly out.)
I listed some reasons there, but mostly I do it for the adventure, and to get away from the rut of ordinary, everyday life. But I’ll probably add some more reasons in those updates from France, between the two sets of asterisks above. In the meantime, wish me Happy Hiking!
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The Book of Common Prayer reference. The “corporate-mystical” prayer is on page 339, the post-communion prayer for Holy Eucharist, Rite I.
The lower image is courtesy of Pilgrimage – Image Results, which led me to Why the Oldest Form of Travel Could Be the Most Popular in a Post=COVID World: “Pilgrimages are the oldest form of travel,” from the start to go to shrines or temples and leave offerings, and/or connect to God or ancestors. Also defined as a “hyper-meaningful journey” or “sacred endeaver,” making it different from regular forms of travel or leisure; “it is the meaning or transformation that occurs.”
One pilgrimage that has exploded is the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes in Europe. There are many pathways, but one of the main pathways is the Camino Frances, which is a trail that goes from France to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Santiago, Spain.
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As noted in the opening blurb, this blog has four main themes. The first is that God will accept anyone. (John 6:37, with the added, “Anyone who comes to Him.”) This is a consistent theme throughout the Bible. From the Old Testament, Psalm 9:10, “You never forsake those who seek you, O Lord.” (In the Version in the Book of Common Prayer.)
The second is that God wants us to live abundantly. (John 10:10.) The third is that we should do greater miracles than Jesus. (John 14:12). A fourth theme: The only way to do all that is read the Bible with an open mind:
…closed-mindedness, or an unwillingness to consider new ideas, can result from the brain’s natural dislike for ambiguity. According to this view, the brain has a “search and destroy” relationship with ambiguity and evidence contradictory to people’s current beliefs tends to make them uncomfortable… Research confirms that belief-discrepant-closed-minded persons have less tolerance for cognitive inconsistency…
So in plain words, this blog takes issue with boot-camp Christians. They’re the Biblical literalists who never go “beyond the fundamentals.” But the Bible can offer so much more than their narrow reading can offer… (Unless you want to stay a Bible buck private all your life…) Now, about “Boot-camp Christians.” See for example, Conservative Christian – “Career buck private?” The gist of that post is that starting the Bible is like Army Basic Training. You begin by“learning the fundamentals.” But after boot camp, you move on to Advanced Individual Training.”
However, after boot camp, you move on to Advanced Individual Training. And as noted in “Buck private,” one of this blog’s themes is that if you want to be all that you can be, you need to go on and explore the “mystical side of Bible reading.*” In other words, exploring the mystical side of the Bible helps you “be all that you can be.” See Slogans of the U.S. Army – Wikipedia, re: the recruiting slogan from 1980 to 2001. The related image at left is courtesy of: “toywonders.com/productcart/pc/catalog/aw30.jpg.” *
Re: “mystical.” Originally, mysticism “referred to the Biblical liturgical, spiritual, and contemplative dimensions of early and medieval Christianity.” See Mysticism – Wikipedia, and the post On originalism. (“That’s what the Bible was originally about!”) See also Christian mysticism – Wikipedia, “In early Christianity the term ‘mystikos’ referred to three dimensions, which soon became intertwined, namely the biblical, the liturgical and the spiritual or contemplative… The third dimension is the contemplative or experiential knowledge of God.” As to that “experiential” aspect, see also Wesleyan Quadrilateral – Wikipedia, on the method of theological reflection with four sources of spiritual development: scripture, tradition, reason, and “Christian experience.”
For an explanation of the Daily Office – where “Dorscribe” came from – see What’s a DOR?