In I Samuel 10 of this week’s lectionary readings we see Samuel preparing Saul for kingship. Samuel gives Saul a whole string of seemingly random instructions: Go to the oak of tabor. Meet three men. One will be carrying kids, another bread, another wine… etc. It seems significant and meaningful. At this point (I hope to learn more) I’m not sure what all the instructions from Samuel mean, but the end result appears to be preparing him for kingship, to be “turned into a different person.” Then we are told “God gave him another heart; and all these signs were fulfilled that day.”
God gave him another heart.
Later, when he went home, people asked: “What did Samuel tell you,” but Saul would not say. It’s almost as though to tell them would be pointless, unless they too had another heart.
And is it a coincidence that another man named Saul presided over the martyrdom of Steven in today’s reading from Acts. And that later God gave this Saul a new heart on the road to Damascus?
Today’s morning reading on the Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul contains a jewel from the simple, beautiful core of Christianity: “Then God has given even the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”
I’m struck by the simplicity and beauty of the core stories from the “Old” Testament (I like the term “First” Testament better, I think) in this week’s morning lectionary readings. A couple of days ago, God says to Samuel, “They have not rejected you, they have rejected me from being king over them.” And in today’s reading, in Acts: “I have come down to rescue them.”
“The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.”
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“The family meal is really the nursery of democracy. It’s where we learn to share; it’s where we learn to argue without offending.
via The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor | A poem each day, plus literary and historical notes from this day in history.
Peggy Noonan writes a weekly column, “Declarations,” for the Wall Street Journal. She is a clear thinker and expressive writer, although too often her considerable gifts are wasted on Republican polemics. When she turns her attention to events of significance, as she does in her column headlined “Salmon Rushdie, Meet Charlie Hebdo,” she nearly always hits the mark.
In this week’s column, she points that free speech is central to us as Americans. She compares and contrasts the reactions of Americans to offensive, even scatalogical speech, to the response of extremist Islamists. There is a real difference, and it’s a difference we should be proud of.