Honorable Mentions: Ebenezer and Mary, April 14, 2019

Honorable Mentions: Ebenezer and Mary, April 14, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References:  Moses and the Burning Bush, Exodus 3; Samuel and Ebenezer, 1 Samuel 7:12; Mary Magdelene Luke 8:2-3; Mark 16:9-12; Mark 15:10; Matthew 27:56; John 19:25; Luke 23:49


I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. –Isaac Newton

In this universe, there is one great energy, and we have no name for it.–Alan Watts, Zen Buddhist

The Tao which can be defined is not the real Tao–The Tao Te Ching

Beauty is truth, truth beauty, —that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know – Keats, from the poem “Ode to a Grecian Urn”

The original signification of the sacred stone is well illustrated by the account of the one at Beth-el (Gen. xxviii.). Jacob slept with a stone for a pillow and dreamed that the Lord addressed him. When he awoke he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not”; then he anointed the stone, or, in other words, rendered an offering to it. This belief in a maẓẓebah, or in a stone, as the habitation of a deity is spread throughout the world, and even the designation “Beth-el.” was adopted among the Greeks and Romans, under the forms βαιτύλιον and “bætulus,” to denote a stone of this character. –From The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906, which goes on to say that even the worship of sacred stones was widespread among Semitic people.

Other References:  Link to the blog post by Cynthia Borgeault of April 12, 2019 https://cac.org/dying-and-rising-2019-04-12/

Christ means Anointed, by Cynthia Borgeault

[Mary Magdalene’s anointing of Jesus] provides a powerful ritual access point to Christianity’s own deepest transformative wisdom. To begin with, it makes it virtually impossible to experience the Paschal Mystery in any other way than as an act of redemptive love. When Mary Magdalene is returned to her traditional role as the anointer of Jesus, a very important symmetry is also restored. We see that Jesus’s passage through death is framed on either side by her parallel acts of anointing. At Bethany she sends him forth to the cross wearing the unction of her love. And on Easter morning he awakens to that same fragrance of love as she arrives at the tomb with her spices and perfumes, expecting to anoint his body for death. He has been held in love throughout his entire passage.

As Bruce Chilton succinctly summarizes: “She connects his death and Resurrection.” [1] And she accomplishes this precisely by bracketing the entire experience in the parallel rituals of anointing. In so doing, Chilton adds, “Mary Magdalene established the place of anointing as the central ritual in Christianity, recollecting Jesus’s death and pointing forward to his resurrection.”

But what is it that she is actually pointing forward to? What is this Paschal journey from a wisdom standpoint? In the common understanding, Christianity has tended to view the resurrection as Jesus’s triumph over physical death. But for Christians in the wisdom tradition (who include among their ranks the very earliest witnesses to the resurrection) its meaning lies in something far deeper than merely the resuscitation of a corpse. Jesus’s real purpose in this sacrifice was to wager his own life against his core conviction that love is stronger than death, and that the laying down of self which is the essence of this love leads not to death, but to life…Thus, the real domain of the Paschal Mystery is not dying but dying-to-self. It serves as the archetype for all of our personal experiences of dying and rising to new life along the pathway of kenotic transformation, reminding us that it is not only possible but imperative to fall through fear into love because that is the only way we will ever truly know what it means to be alive.

Within the context of the resurrection, then, anointing becomes the ritual most closely associated with the passage from death of self to fullness of life, from egoic alienation to “union on a higher plane.” As such, it conveys the very essence of Christianity’s transformative wisdom.

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