The Big Picture Bible Course – session 3 “Creation”
- Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
- And kindle in them the fire of your love.
- Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created
- And you will renew the face of the earth.
Prayers from the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy as we reflect on coming to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit, to pray for one another and our world.
Let us pray;
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and the Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Your Dearly Beloved Son. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
St. Faustina Pray for us.
St Joseph Pray for us.
Time of Sharing
How did you get on with the week’s tasks?
Discuss with reference to the week’s scriptures.
- Reflections on how we see God.
- Receiving God’s revelation
- Things that get in the way.
- The many names of God.
- Born to be loved
- God’s big plan
Names of God
You may be wondering why the book is pointing us to all these Hebrew names of God. After all, aren’t we having enough getting to grips with the bible in English?
Well, each of these names tells us something about God and how those people of the bible tried to understand Him.
The “El” names are the simplest and are normally given with a descriptive term as in El Shaddai – God almighty or mountain God.
El Roi – the God who sees me.
There are many other names with “El” in them;
Michael – Who is like God?
Gabriel – God is mighty
Emmanuel – God with us
Elijah – my God is the Lord
Elisha – God is salvation
Raphael – God has healed
Then we come to God’s own revealed name as given to Moses. “I Am who I Am”. In other words I am not a God of adjectives who can be pinned down and controlled. I am a God of surprises, always more than you can think or imagine – and yet I choose to reveal myself to you.
In Hebrew God’s revealed name is given as 4 letters. In English letters this is YHVH. Hebrew is all consonants and has no vowels, although vowel points are now added to make things easier. However, as this name is regarded by the Jews as so Holy that it should not be said, it is uncertain exactly how it should be pronounced. Attempts to pronounce this name have given us Yahweh or Jehovah. But any Jew will tell you they don’t say either and never have. Instead they substitute Adonai – Lord or Hashem – the Name.
The Jerusalem bible uses Yahweh in the Old Testament as well as some of the El names. I find this useful in pointing me to the Hebrew but out of respect for the Jews, and early church tradition, the Catholic Church has said that we shouldn’t say this name but instead substitute Lord. This was in the document Liturgium Authenticam in 2001 and the Letter to the Bishop’s conferences on “The Name of God” in 2008.
The CTS bible uses the Jerusalem translation but with Lord instead of Yahweh.
Though you may come across the name Yahweh in an academic setting, it is important to remember that we are asked not to say it or use it in Liturgy.
If you want to use a Hebrew name in you own reading use Adonai and you will have given your reading an authentic Jewish flavour.
Last Weeks Extras
Moses and the incident of the Golden Calf – Exodus 32: 1-30
-We could consider why an episode of law breaking coincides with law making?
-We could consider why Moses had to take such drastic action?
-But let’s look at Moses as intercessor;
-interceding for the people, Exodus 32: 30
-interceding for his own brother Aaron, Deuteronomy 9: 20
And Jesus interceding for us with the Father in heaven;
Romans 8: 34 – Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Pauls Letter to the Ephesians
Have you figured out what our sword is?
Eph 6: 17 …and receive the word of God from the Spirit to use as a sword.
Answer – The Bible
This week’s extras
Old Testament – There are times when I just like to read the bible for enjoyment, so here is a bit from Judges just for fun.
Judges 4: 1 to 22, A tale of two women – Deborah and Jael
You may want to reflect on the interplay between Deborah and Barak and his reluctance to do battle. She certainly comes out better than he.
Then we come to Jael. I’m not drawing any great lesson from this so all the men can rest easy in their beds, but one question does come to mind. How long was this tent peg?
New Testament – Back to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians
In this letter in various places Paul uses the word saints with a small “s”.
This occurs in Eph 1:1, 15, 18; 2:19; 3:8, 18; 4:12; 5:3; 6:18
As Catholics we are accustomed to the word Saints with a capital “S” as applied to those recognised as such by the church following their deaths and a process of canonisation. But just what does Paul mean when he uses this word saints with a small “s”.
As the epistles were originally written in Greek it is useful to look at what Greek word is being used here, bear with me because this is really good.
The Greek word used is ἅγιος, putting this into English letters gives us hagios from which we get the word hagiography which means writings (biographies) of the lives of the Saints. The word can also be translated as holy and can be applied to people or things. Therefore as applied to people we can see this as saints – holy people.
So how does this work in St Paul’s context of saints with a small “s”.
Paul is applying this to people in the church.
What might their characteristics be?
-They have believed in the Lord Jesus.
-They have repented.
-They have been baptised.
-They have received the Holy Spirit.
-They persevere, that is they are going on with the Lord even in the face of difficulties and sufferings, indeed this is why they need the armour of God as mentioned in Eph 6: 10-17.
Now if we have those same characteristics, then we can say we are saints with a small “s”. This is absolutely incredible and fantastic especially as I don’t see myself as holy.
Consider a line from the song, “Take our bread”
- Your holy people stand washed in your blood
You Tube – Take our bread we ask you
So there we have it, holy not of ourselves but because Jesus makes us so. He takes our sins and gives us His righteousness. What an exchange.
Are you ready to sing “When the saints go marching in.”
Marking out next weeks scriptures.