Friday, October 5, 2012

"Holy Mystery"

While visiting a new church, I was struck by the congregation singing the repetitious refrain:
"We praise your name!"

I wondered to myself: What name is that?

Later in the day, I realized how much that 'praise song' irritated me.

Even if you believe Moses was given  the Ten Commandments "carved in stone," you must admit that he was not given the name to his query of the divine, but only an enigma: "I am that I am" (as rendered in the King James Bible.) So what does it mean to sing the phrase "We praise your name!" over and over?

In recent days, continuing on with The Daily Message~Through the Bible in One Year, I have been plowing through the book of Jeremiah, where Peterson uses his wording, "God-of-the-Angel-Armies" -- which disturbs me each time I see it. Try singing that: "We praise your name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!" Yuck!!

This issue of the name came back to me as I read Sister Joan Chitttister's e-newsletter for October. A letter from a reader used the term "Holy Mystery" which seems far more honest. I, for one, do not want to praise a "God-of-the-Angel-Armies." But I can relate to an effort to embrace the "Holy Mystery."

The reader's letter ended with this benediction to Joan:

May the Holy Mystery
continue to bother,
bless, and bolster you.

Amen and Amen.

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