Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jauchze Laut, Jerusalem!

There is an amazing Christmas Hymn in the German hymnbook, named "Daughter of Zion".* (And you can blame Ray for getting me thinking about German Christmas hymns in the middle of spring.) It goes:

"Daughter of Zion, rejoice! Jubilate, o Jerusalem!
See, thy King comes to thee,
yes, He comes, the Prince of Peace.
Daughter of Zion, rejoice! Jubilate, o Jerusalem!

"Hosanna, David's Son, may thy people be blessed!
Establish now thy eternal Kingdom,
Hosanna in the highest!
Hosanna, David's Son, may thy people be blessed!

"Hosanna, David's Son, be greeted, gentle King!
May thy throne of peace stand eternal,
Thou, child of the Eternal Father.
Hosanna, David's Son, be greeted, gentle King!"

Like many hymns, I think it should be sung at about twice the typical tempo. After all, it's talking about rejoicing! And it uses many exclamation points!

When I sing it to my daughters, I sing it with joy and when I sing, I feel prayer. What hymns make you want to jauchze**?

*all translations are loose. I'm hardly a professional.
**Rejoice or jubilate . . . but the word "jauchzen" feels so much more like it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Naming the Rose

One of my favorite authors, Madeleine L'Engle, explored the concept of Naming in her book, A Wind in the Door. To summarize, Naming is a process by which a Namer understands a thing and Names it what it truly is. Like so many of the spiritual ideas in L'Engle's work, this one resonated with me. Scripturally, it would explain why God and His messengers so often name the people they speak with before they deliver their message.

There is also an immense social power in the power of naming. That is why stereotypes will always exist to some extent. Names are symbols. When you name something, you bring with it all the connotation and symbolism inherent in that name. Perhaps this is why we so often try to define the people in our lives by certain names. This is the jock. He is the geek. She is the cheerleader. They are the Mormons.

Sometimes names mean slightly different things to different people, which is why miscommunication happens. Names act as a mental shorthand, allowing us to mean far more than we actually say. The Church's struggle with the name "Mormon" makes perfect sense in this context. Some people think "Mormon" and think plural wives, devil horns and child molestation. Others think of charitable works, the MoTab and temples.

If we accept a name that might not fit us with all its connotations, we find ourselves explaining a lot. Yes, I'm Mormon. No, I don't have any sister wives. Yes, I go to the temple. Yes, I believe the Bible.

Yet, perhaps there is power in explaining a name as well. So long as we don't let ourselves be defined by the name, but choose to define the name itself, we can accept it. As we do this, we have to be careful that when we are Named, we are truly understood. That means taking a Name upon us which we keep sacred by the way we live, the way we treat others.

Sure, "Mormon" is a name which can apply to us, but "disciple of Christ" should be the ultimate Name by which we are known. That should be the name that He Names us.

And remember, according to L'Engle, in order to be Named, the Namer has to understand the core of who we are. To be Named Christ's disciple, we have to truly be His.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Evidence Against Evolution

Everything that is "bad for you" tastes good, and almost everything good for you tastes bad. You would think that we would have developed a better taste for things that are healthy. On top of all that, why is it that in order to extend our life, we have to do something that leaves us flat-on-our-back, every-inch-hurting the next day? Wouldn't survival of the species mean less cosmic retribution for trying to be healthy? Wouldn't propagating the species lead to better physique and survival traits?*

I'm just sayin'.**

*Can you tell I'm starting to try to lose baby weight?

**No, this is not a serious post. If you truly feel the need to argue the pros and cons of faith in evolution, however, you may use the comments below. Just don't expect me to respond. I'll be over on the floor, whimpering in pain, begging for Cold Stone.

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