The root of this possibility of doing good –
that we all have – is in creation. — Pope Francis
How did everything begin? This is the first question faced by any creation myth and … answering it remains tricky. … Each beginning seems to presuppose an earlier beginning. … Instead of meeting a single starting point, we encounter an infinity of them, each of which poses the same problem. … There are no entirely satisfactory solutions to this dilemma. What we have to find is not a solution but some way of dealing with the mystery …. And we have to do so using words. The words we reach for, from God to gravity, are inadequate to the task. So we have to use language poetically or symbolically; and such language, whether used by a scientist, a poet, or a shaman, can easily be misunderstood.— David Christian
SONGS about CREATION & NEW BEGINNINGS:
- Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles (rock): https://youtu.be/KQetemT1sWc?si=pyD-glNVBSeDN4IE
- O Great Spirit by Your Eyes R Your Windows (chant): https://youtu.be/7ycGsXeVddU?si=j19Hqc8ITuUHSwZI
- New Day by Danny Gokey (pop/Christian): https://youtu.be/0TrKXehB0pg
- New Every Morning by Audrey Assad (Christian): https://youtu.be/Grz3Hxw9GWU
- I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Cash (country):https://youtu.be/FscIgtDJFXg
- A New Day Has Come by Celine Dion (pop): https://youtu.be/NaGLVS5b_ZY
- Today My Life Begins by Bruno Mars (pop): https://youtu.be/rsqpdsgJxDc
- First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes (indie folk): https://youtu.be/xUBYzpCNQ1I
- Start of Something Good by Daughtry (rock): https://youtu.be/WKsyxZWQ_g0?si=knxwJhmbUhRXVQm2
- New Attitude by Patti LaBelle (pop): https://youtu.be/QWfZ5SZZ4xE
- It’s a New Day by Will.I.Am (hip hop): https://youtu.be/Wai6OM3YKTk
- Origin Story by Souveneer (pop): https://youtu.be/PdDq35n2rcg?si=yiARd7UQg6p8T6XA
- Dance Again by Selena Gomez (pop): https://youtu.be/YZ-LagCs6GA
- Brand New Day by Sting (rock): https://youtu.be/cA46ZNjrzeY?si=8Qq3xJ-W_9V-Gkm7
- When Will My Life Begin? by Mandy Moore (Disney/pop): https://youtu.be/kRXmAIHYQR4?si=xEPiXnFEoTn3mQrJ
- Begin Again by Taylor Swift (pop): https://youtu.be/cMPEd8m79Hw?si=AR4Ry4hF0HV80cvP
- New Rules by Dua Lipa (pop): https://youtu.be/k2qgadSvNyU
- Creation Sings by Keith & Kristin Getty & Stuart Townsend (Christian): https://youtu.be/rAE0vUurnUM?si=1EHZPaqdn1sgE-aH
- Start Over by Imagine Dragons (pop): https://youtu.be/z3_IGaOIq_4?si=zsu1QcbZJShjrVvD
- Creation Song by Saddleback Kids ft. Jared Ricgh (Christian children’s song): https://youtu.be/3-9_lOeaGhs?si=k2Jjhz6fUdEbsR2D
- All Creation by David & Nicole Binion (Christian): https://youtu.be/8qSO9HLutb8?si=O-ldKiiB1VUt8M6d
- Origin Story by Hopsin ft Future Kingz (rap with explicit lyrics): https://youtu.be/Won0HhZc0-M?si=l7mnv2aqBPpKHqIZ
- God of All Creation by Hillsong (Christan): https://youtu.be/2NEpSnwGz4Y
- SuperVillain Origin Story by whatyoudid (pop): https://youtu.be/ORFeK-gdcFQ?si=YMTytN1gS84zvgA7
- God of Wonders by Third Day Wonders (Christian): https://youtu.be/rAE0vUurnUM?si=1EHZPaqdn1sgE-aH
- Creation Story (Christian children’s song): https://youtu.be/2NEpSnwGz4Y
- Song of the Human by Pete Wyer (scientific thesis of human music and birdsong): https://youtu.be/JQaRUojja0w?si=QncO1WNm23lJnAlj
Mythology of Creation:
- Creation Stories from many cultures: https://wwnorton.com/college/history/ralph/research/creahelp.htm
- Origin Stories by Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/big-history-project/what-is-big-history
- Sioux Creation story:https://chnm.gmu.edu/exploring/pre_18thcentury/creationstories/pop_sioux.html
- Creation Stories: https://www.cs.williams.edu/~lindsey/myths/myths_7.html
- Sumerian creation stories: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/epic/hd_epic.htm
ORIGIN STORIES & CREATION MYTHS
A creation myth or cosmogonic myth is a type of cosmogony, a symbolic narrative of how the world began and how people first came to inhabit it. While in popular usage the term myth often refers to false or fanciful stories, members of cultures often ascribe varying degrees of truth to their creation myths. In the society in which it is told, a creation myth is usually regarded as conveying profound truths – metaphorically, symbolically, historically, or literally They are commonly, although not always, considered cosmogonical myths – that is, they describe the ordering of the cosmos from a state of chaos or amorphousness.
Creation myths often share several features. They often are considered sacred accounts and can be found in nearly all known religious traditions. They are all stories with a plot and characters who are either deities, human-like figures, or animals, who often speak and transform easily. … Creation myths address questions deeply meaningful to the society that shares them, revealing their central worldview and the framework for the self-identity of the culture and individual in a universal context. — Wikipedia.com
Creators aren’t gods. They make places, which is quite hard. It’s men that make gods. This explains a lot.— Terry Pratchett
Myths are funny. Unlike histories, they are symbolic narratives; they deal with spiritual rather than fact-based truths. They serve as foundations for beliefs, illustrating how things came to be and who was involved, but they’re often sketchy about when or why. — Lisa Hannett, The Atlantic
Myth narrates a sacred history; it relates an event that took place in primordial Time, the fabled time of the “beginnings.” In other words, myth tells how, through the deeds of Supernatural Beings, a reality came into existence, be it the whole of reality, the Cosmos, or only a fragment of reality – an island, a species of plant, a particular kind of human behavior, an institution. — Mircea Eliade
The earth-diver is a common character in various traditional creation myths. In these stories a supreme being usually sends an animal (most often, a type of bird, but also crustaceans, insects, and fishes in some narratives) into the primal waters to find bits of sand or mud with which to build habitable land. — WIkipedia.com
When he, whoever of the gods it was, had thus arranged in order and resolved that chaotic mass, and reduced it, thus resolved, to cosmic parts, he first moulded the Earth into the form of a mighty ball so that it might be of like form on every side … And, that no region might be without its own forms of animate life, the stars and divine forms occupied the floor of heaven, the sea fell to the shining fishes for their home, Earth received the beasts, and the mobile air the birds … Then Man was born:… though all other animals are prone, and fix their gaze upon the earth, he gave to Man an uplifted face and bade him stand erect and turn his eyes to heaven. ― Ovid, Metamorphoses
In emergence myths, humanity emerges from another world into the one they currently inhabit. The previous world is often considered the womb of the earth mother, and the process of emergence is likened to the act of giving birth. The role of midwife is usually played by a female deity, like the spider woman of several mythologies of Indigenous peoples in the Americas. Male characters rarely figure into these stories, and scholars often consider them in counterpoint to male-oriented creation myths, like those of the ex nihilo variety. — WIkipedia.com
Ve and Vili and Odin looked at each other and spoke of what was needful to do, there in the void of Ginnungagap. They spoke of the universe, and of life, and of the future.
Odin and Ve and Vili killed the giant Ymir. It had to be done. There was no other way to make the worlds. This was the beginning of all things, the death that made all life possible. — Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology
There are two types of world parent myths, both describing a separation or splitting of a primeval entity, the world parent or parents. One form describes the primeval state as an eternal union of two parents, and the creation takes place when the two are pulled apart. The two parents are commonly identified as Sky (usually male) and Earth (usually female), who were so tightly bound to each other in the primeval state that no offspring could emerge. These myths often depict creation as the result of a sexual union and serve as genealogical record of the deities born from it.
In the second form of world parent myths, creation itself springs from dismembered parts of the body of the primeval being. Often, in these stories, the limbs, hair, blood, bones, or organs of the primeval being are somehow severed or sacrificed to transform into sky, earth, animal or plant life, and other worldly features. — WIkipedia.com
The Way gave birth to unity; unity gave birth to duality; duality gave birth to trinity; trinity gave birth to the myriad creatures. — Daodejing
and who can swear,
How creation came,
when or where!
Even gods came after
Who really knows and
who can truly say,
When and how
did creation start?
Did He do it?
Or did He not?
Only He, up there,
not even He.
Every act of creation is first an act of destruction. — attributed to Pablo Picasso and/or e.e. cummings
Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation. — Rabindranath Tagore
You aren’t your work, your accomplishments, your possessions, your home, your family… your anything. You’re a creation of your Source, dressed in a physical human body intended to experience and enjoy life on Earth. — Wayne Dyer
The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists. — Charles Dickens
The key to nature’s therapy is feeling like a tiny part of it, not a master over it. There’s amazing pride in seeing a bee land on a flower you planted – but that’s not your act of creation, it’s your act of joining in. — Victoria Coren Mitchell
Every moment there is creation, every moment destruction. There is no absolute creation, no absolute destruction. Both are movement, and that is eternal. — Ramana Maharshi
Every human is an artist. And this is the main art that we have: the creation of our story. — Miguel Ruiz
Love is anterior to life, posterior to death, initial of creation, and the exponent of breath. — Emily Dickinson
The creation continues incessantly through the media of man. — Antonio Gaudi
The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails. — James Joyce
If God gave the soul his whole creation she would not be filled thereby but only with himself. — Meister Eckhart
In each individual the spirit is made flesh, in each one the whole of creation suffers, in each one a Savior is crucified. — Hermann Hesse
All the principles of heaven and earth are living inside you. Life itself is truth, and this will never change. Everything in heaven and earth breathes. Breath is the thread that ties creation together. — Morihei Ueshiba
The eyes of the cheerful and of the melancholy man are fixed upon the same creation; but very different are the aspects which it bears to them. — Albert Pike
An original is a creation motivated by desire. Any reproduction of an originals motivated be necessity. It is marvelous that we are the only species that creates gratuitous forms. To create is divine, to reproduce is human. — Man Ray
Man is a creation of desire, not a creation of need. — Gaston Bachelard
Every thread of creation is held in position by still other strands of things living. — Don McLean
I know that you are part of me and I am part of you because we are all aspects of the same infinite consciousness that we call God and Creation. — David Icke
The art of creation is older than the art of killing. — Ed Koch
Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. … In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery. ― Cormac McCarthy, The Road
On EVOLUTION, BIG BANG, STRING THEORY & SCIENCE as Tools of Understanding
When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so. God is not a demiurge [demigod] or a magician, but the Creator who gives being to all entities. Evolution in nature is not opposed to the notion of Creation, because evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve. — Pope Francis
Was the big bang really the beginning of time? Or did the universe exist before then?… developments in theoretical physics, especially the rise of string theory, have changed their perspective. The pre-bang universe has become the latest frontier of cosmology… In one form or another, the issue of the ultimate beginning has engaged philosophers and theologians in nearly every culture.
… We can trace our lineage back through the generations, back through our animal ancestors, to early forms of life and protolife, to the elements synthesized in the primordial universe, to the amorphous energy deposited in space before that. Does our family tree extend forever backward? Or do its roots terminate? Is the cosmos as impermanent as we are? … The ancient Greeks debated the origin of time fiercely. Aristotle, taking the no-beginning side, invoked the principle that out of nothing, nothing comes. If the universe could never have gone from nothingness to somethingness, it must always have existed. For this and other reasons, time must stretch eternally into the past and future. Christian theologians tended to take the opposite point of view. Augustine contended that God exists outside of space and time, able to bring these constructs into existence as surely as he could forge other aspects of our world. When asked, What was God doing before he created the world? Augustine answered, Time itself being part of God’s creation, there was simply no before!
… So, when did time begin? Science does not have a conclusive answer yet, but at least two potentially testable theories plausibly hold that the universe–and therefore time–existed well before the big bang. If either scenario is right, the cosmos has always been in existence and, even if it recollapses one day, will never end. — Gabriele Veneziano, Scientific American (full article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-myth-of-the-beginning-of-time-2006-02/)
In essence, String Theory describes space and time, matter and energy, gravity and light, indeed all of God’s creation… as music. — Roy H. Williams
The capacity to be puzzled is the premise of all creation, be it in art or in science. — Erich Fromm
Creation is a process that is still happening and we’re in on it! We are a part of this endless creativity of God. — Fr. Richard Rohr
Believing as I do in evolution, I merely believe that it is the method by which God created, and is still creating, life on earth. — Rachel Carson
The environment selects those few mutations that enhance survival, resulting in a series of slow transformations of one lifeform into another, the origin of a new species. — Carl Sagan
I believe God did intend, in giving us intelligence, to give us the opportunity to investigate and appreciate the wonders of His creation. He is not threatened by our scientific adventures. — Francis Collins
Seeking to populate this otherwise sterile universe with living creatures, God chose the elegant mechanism of evolution to create microbes, plants, and animals of all sorts. — Francis Collins
Evolution is amazingly versatile in adapting the materials at hand to other uses. — George Gaylord Simpson
Mutation is random; natural selection is the very opposite of random. —Richard Dawkins
From the paramecium to the human race, all life forms are meticulously organized, sophisticated aggregates of evolving microbial life. Far from leaving microorganisms behind on an evolutionary ‘ladder,’ we are both surrounded by them and composed of them. — Lynn Margulis
Today, I believe that humanity is at a critical crossroad. The radical advances that took place in neuroscience and particularly in genetics towards the end of the twentieth century have led to a new era in human history. Our knowledge of the human brain and body at the cellular and genetic level, with the consequent technological possibilities offered for genetic manipulation, has reached such a stage that the ethical challenges of these scientific advances are enormous. It is all too evident that our moral thinking simply has not been able to keep pace with such rapid progress in our acquisition of knowledge and power. Yet the ramifications of these new findings and their applications are so far-reaching that they relate to the very conception of human nature and the preservation of the human species. So it is no longer adequate to adopt the view that our responsibility as a society is to simply further scientific knowledge and enhance technological power and that the choice of what to do with this knowledge and power should be left in the hands of the individual. We must find a way of bringing fundamental humanitarian and ethical considerations to bear upon the direction of scientific development, especially in the life sciences. By invoking fundamental ethical principles, I am not advocating a fusion of religious ethics and scientific inquiry. Rather, I am speaking of what I call “secular ethics” that embrace the key ethical principles, such as compassion, tolerance, a sense of caring, consideration of others, and the responsible use of knowledge and power – principles that transcend the barriers between religious believers and non-believers, and followers of this religion or that religion. — His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
CHRISTIAN COMMENTARY on BIBLICAL CREATION STORY
As God has not made anything useless in this world, as all beings fulfill obligations or a role in the sublime drama of Creation, I cannot exempt from this duty, and small though it be, I too have a mission to fill, as for example: alleviating the sufferings of my fellowmen. — Jose Rizal
Religion is essentially the art and the theory of the remaking of man. Man is not a finished creation. — Edmund Burke
I confess that I am a Christo-centric universalist. What that means to me is that, whatever God was accomplishing, especially on the cross, that Christological event, was for the restoration and redemption and reconciliation of all things and all people and all Creation – everyone. Whatever God was getting done there, that is for everyone. How God manages to play that out through other religions, other symbol systems, I will never understand. I have to allow for the idea that God is actually nimble enough and powerful enough and creative enough to do that. — Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber
They define virtue thus—that it is a living according to Nature, and think that we are made by God for that end; they believe that a man then follows the dictates of Nature when he pursues or avoids things according to the direction of reason. — Thomas More
What is Man? Man is a noisome bacillus whom Our Heavenly Father created because he was disappointed in the monkey. — Mark Twain
For Christians, who believe they are created in the image of God, it is the Godhead, diversity in unity and the three-in-oneness of God, which we and all creation reflect. — Desmond Tutu
That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.―from “Loving Your Enemies”
The intention that man should be happy is not in the plan of Creation. ―
… God who created the universe out of ‘nothing,’ that can put flesh on dry bones ‘nothing,’ that can put life in a dusty womb ‘nothing.’ I mean, let’s face it, ‘nothing’ is God’s favorite material to work with. — Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber
While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation. — Maya Angelou
I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking. ― George MacDonald
Christianity is, I believe, about expanded life, heightened consciousness and achieving a new humanity. It is not about closed minds, supernatural interventions, a fallen creation, guilt, original sin or divine rescue. — John Shelby Spong
Creation exists first of all for its own good sake; second to show forth God’s goodness, diversity, and beneficence; and then for humans’ appropriate use. Our small, scarcity-based worldview is the real aberration here, and I believe it has largely contributed to the rise of atheism and the “practical atheism” that is the actual operative religion of most Western countries today. The God we’ve been presenting people with is just too small and too stingy for a big-hearted person to trust or to love back. — Fr. Richard Rohr
A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God. ― Sidney Sheldon
We could not become like God, so God became like us. God showed us how to heal instead of kill, how to mend instead of destroy, how to love instead of hate, how to live instead of long for more. When we nailed God to a tree, God forgave. And when we buried God in the ground, Got got up. ― Rachel Held Evans
God wants us to know that life is a series of beginnings, not endings. Just as graduations are not terminations, but commencements. Creation is an ongoing process, and when we create a perfect world where love and compassion are shared by all, suffering will cease. — Bernie Siegel
It is the spirituality of creation—our affinity, our care, for the rest of creation—that really stretches us to the wholeness of ourselves and to the wholeness of God, as well.
Only when we see ourselves, humans, as part of creation, rather than as the crown of creation, will we ever be able to come anywhere close to really grasping the greatness of God and God’s gifts to us. Only then will we begin to see the glowing face of God everywhere. Only then will we begin to understand that we are all meant to come to fullness of life together—plants, animals, planet, and humans in one great reciprocal circle of a common creation. Until we do, all of us will go on living life with spiritual blinders.
What we do not do to save the whole of creation will shrink our own spiritual vision and separate us, starved and emaciated in soul, from the wholeness of life. We will look at forests and, like the loggers destroying the rain forests on this earth, fail to see the living gift of them. We will take for granted the devotion of our pets and fail to recognize that real human relationships are about more than sex or social comfort or authority. We will watch our children grow up in cement jungles, denied the right to plant tomatoes or the wonder of picking flowers. We will find innocent enemies and set out to destroy them rather than protect them as sisters and brothers and make them our friends.
What we do to the rest of creation we do to ourselves. What we destroy in the rest of creation makes it even easier to destroy in our own.
But God sees the despoliation of all that is “good” and comes closer to those who are its saviors. And therein lies the secret of both the quality of our “dedication” and the depth of our relationship with God. Why? Because it’s profitable to steward the world well? No. Because it is holy to care for the world as God cares for the world. Because co-creation is the task of being human.— Joan Chittister, from The Monastic Way
We know what we are, but not what we may be. ― William Shakespeare
When I discover who I am, I’ll be free. ― Ralph Ellison
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. ― Mahatma Gandhi
He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves. ― Gabriel García Márquez
We are braver and wiser because they existed, those strong women and strong men… We are who we are because they were who they were. It’s wise to know where you come from, who called your name. — Maya Angelou
Identity. It’s always God’s first move. Before we do anything wrong and before we do anything right, God has named and claimed us as God’s own. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
SONGS about NAME & IDENTITY:
- In My Life by the Beatles (rock): https://youtu.be/YBcdt6DsLQA
- Underdog by Alicia Keyes (pop): https://youtu.be/izyZLKIWGiA
- Come and Get Your Love by Redbone (rock with Native American roots): https://youtu.be/bc0KhhjJP98
- This Is Me from The Greatest Showman (musical anthem): https://youtu.be/wEJd2RyGm8Q
- Free to Be Me by Francesca Battistelli (Christian/pop): https://youtu.be/EKSQjSdU8VA
- Sing a Song performed by Earth, Wind & Fire (rock/pop): https://youtu.be/HBpsOu8jyU8
- All Kinds of Kinds by Miranda Lambert (country): https://youtu.be/02X8bX_EBv4
- My Life by Billy Joel (blues/rock): https://youtu.be/h3JFEfdK_Ls
- My Way by Frank Sinatra (swing/jazz): https://youtu.be/qQzdAsjWGPg
- I Am Enough by Daphne Willis (pop): https://youtu.be/zm-E33zgxXQ
- I Am Enough by Darnell Peters (Christian pop): https://youtu.be/o-quzpjwXxM
- He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli (Christian pop): https://youtu.be/1NHQJWdXfFE
- We Are the Children by Chris Kando Iijima, Joanne Nobuko Miyamoto, “Charlie” Chin (folk): https://youtu.be/_v4Teezq2KE
- Me! by Taylor Swift (pop): https://youtu.be/FuXNumBwDOM
- Songs About Me by Trace Adkins (country): https://youtu.be/dOvRw4dstkE
- Stereotypes by Black Violin (rock/pop): https://youtu.be/WYerKidQGcc
- Follow Your Arrow by Kacey Musgraves (country: https://youtu.be/kQ8xqyoZXCc
- Born This Way by Lady Gaga (rock): https://youtu.be/wV1FrqwZyKw
- Beautiful by Christina Aguilera (pop): https://youtu.be/eAfyFTzZDMM
- Complicated by Avril Lavign (pop): https://youtu.be/5NPBIwQyPWE
- Worth by Jade Turner (aboriginal music): https://youtu.be/wSEHi7uhAeA
- Invisible by Hunter Hayes (country): https://youtu.be/LiUqgL5urWc
- Who Says by Selena Gomez (pop): https://youtu.be/akaRg5C1VO8
- Name by the Goo Goo Dolls (rock): https://youtu.be/QDNka9NOsE4
- What Do You Think About That? by Montgomery Gentry (country): https://youtu.be/tJixs2FoZ_Y
- Mujeres by Julieta Venegas (LatinX rock/pop): https://youtu.be/lqwnuWWs5i4
Songs about the Names of God:
- El Shaddai by Amy Grant (Christian): https://youtu.be/DuXB1a3NBCw
- Jesus Messiah by Chris Tomlin (Christian): https://youtu.be/aZdJjxNHdow
- You Are I Am by MercyMe (Christian): https://youtu.be/2JI4CPfuLW0
- Tremble by Lauren Daigle (Christian): https://youtu.be/OE4X1avLT3E
- What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong (Christian):https://youtu.be/nQWFzMvCfLE
- Agnus Dei by Michael Smith & Skye Reedy (Christian):https://youtu.be/rEWHCkFMfLQ
Please Call Me By My True Names— Thich Nhat Hanh
Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow—
even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.
I am a mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.
I am a frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am also the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his “debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.
My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up
and the door of my heart
could be left open,
the door of compassion.
Lullaby — Neil Gaiman
Sleep my little baby-oh
Sleep until you waken
When you wake you’ll see the world
If I’m not mistaken…
Kiss a lover
Dance a measure,
Find your name
And buried treasure …
Face your life
Leave no path untaken.
A Star Without a Name – Rumi
When a baby is taken from the wet nurse,
it easily forgets her
and starts eating solid food.
Seeds feed awhile on ground,
then lift up into the sun.
So you should taste the filtered light
and work your way toward wisdom
with no personal covering.
That’s how you came here, like a star
without a name. Move across the night sky
with those anonymous lights.
NAME & IDENTITY
What’s in a name? — Shakespeare
I realize then that it’s not enough to know what someone is called. You have to know who they are. ― Gayle Forman
The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. — Maya Angelou
I am out with lanterns, looking for myself. ― Emily Dickinson
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will. ― Charlotte Brontë
We can spend our lives letting the world tell us who we are. Sane or insane. Saints or sex addicts. Heroes or victims. Letting history tell us how good or bad we are. Letting our past decide our future. Or we can decide for ourselves. And maybe it’s our job to invent something better. ― Chuck Palahniuk
I find I am constantly being encouraged to pluck out some one aspect of myself and present this as the meaningful whole, eclipsing or denying the other parts of self. ― Audre Lorde
Each person you meet is an aspect of yourself, clamoring for love. ― Eric Micha’el Leventhal
Feelings are something you have; not something you are. ― Shannon L. Alder
I am not one and simple, but complex and many. ― Virginia Woolf
It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story. ― Patrick Rothfuss
We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are. ― Madeleine L’Engle
What we know matters but who we are matters more. ― Brené Brown
The good news is you are a beloved child of God; the bad news is you don’t get to choose your siblings. ― Rachel Held Evans
Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.— Theodore Roosevelt
Bee to the blossom, moth to the flame; Each to his passion; what’s in a name? — Helen Hunt Jackson
Action without a name, a ‘who’ attached to it, is meaningless. — St. Jerome
It is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself. The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have never faced it before. It is frightening when a woman finally realizes that there is no answer to the question ‘who am I’ except the voice inside herself. ― Betty Friedan
Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence. ― Henri J.M. Nouwen
A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble. — Charles Spurgeon
WHO DO THEY SAY I AM? – MESSIAH: Commentary
- BibleProject video about the Messiah: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/messiah/
“Messiah comes from the Hebrew word, Mashiach, meaning “the anointed one,” or “the chosen one.” In Old Testament times, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed by oil when they were set apart for these positions of responsibility. The anointing was a sign that God had chosen them and consecrated them for the work He had given them to do. Christos (Christ) is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew term, Messiah...” — BibleInfo.com
“Indeed, in Scripture, no two people encounter Jesus in exactly the same way. Not once does anyone pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” or ask Jesus into their heart. The good news is good for the whole world, certainly, but what makes it good varies from person to person and community to community. Liberation from sin looks different for the rich young ruler than it does for the woman caught in adultery. The good news that Jesus is the Messiah has a different impact on John the Baptist, a Jewish prophet, than it does the Ethiopian eunuch, a Gentile and outsider. Salvation means one thing for Mary Magdalene, first to witness the resurrection, and another to the thief who died next to Jesus on a cross. The gospel is like a mosaic of stories, each one part of a larger story, yet beautiful and truthful on its own. There’s no formula, no blueprint.” ― Rachel Held Evans
“The idea that a human being–the Messiah–will help usher in the redemption of the Jewish people has roots in the Bible. However, Jewish sources have not, as a general rule, focused attention on the specific personal qualities of the Messiah. Images of the Messiah as humble or as a child are juxtaposed with images of a victorious and wise ruler–perhaps contrasting Israel’s current, unredeemed state and the prophetic vision of the future. In recent times, some Jews have “democratized” the concept of the Messiah, seeing the process of, or the preparation for, redemption in the actions of regular people.” — My Jewish Learning: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/who-is-the-messiah/
In Abrahamic religions, a messiah (… lit. ’the anointed one’) is a saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of mashiach, messianism, and of a Messianic Age originated in Judaism, and in the Hebrew Bible, in which a mashiach is a king or High Priest traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil. Ha mashiach (… ‘the Messiah’), often referred to as melekh mashiachמל (…’King Messiah’) is to be a Jewish leader, physically descended from the paternal Davidic line through King David and King Solomon. He is thought to accomplish predetermined things in a future arrival, including the unification of the tribes of Israel, the gathering of all Jews to Eretz Israel, the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, the ushering in of a Messianic Age of global universal peace, and the annunciation of the world to come
Messiahs were not exclusively Jewish, however, and the concept of ‘the’ Messiah as a single individual is a strictly post-Biblical tradition as it is not found in the Old Testament.
The Greek translation of Messiah is Khristós … anglicized as Christ. Christians commonly refer to Jesus of Nazareth as either the “Christ” or the “Messiah”, believing that the messianic prophecies were fulfilled in the mission, death, and resurrection of Jesus and that he will return to fulfill the rest of messianic prophecies. Moreover, unlike the Judaic concept of the Messiah, Jesus Christ is additionally considered by Christians to be the Son of God.
In Islam, Jesus (… romanized: Isa) is held to have been a prophet and the Messiah sent to the Israelites, who will return to Earth at the end of times … — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah
What if Christ is a name for the transcendent within of every “thing” in the universe? The Christ Mystery anoints all physical matter with eternal purpose from the very beginning. The word translated from the Greek as Christ comes from the Hebrew word mesach, meaning “the anointed” one or Messiah. He reveals that all is anointed! Many people are still praying and waiting for something that has already been given to us three times: first in creation; second in Jesus… (1 John 1–2); and third, in the ongoing beloved community (what Christians call the Body of Christ), which is slowly evolving throughout all of human history (Romans 8:18). We are still in the Flow. All of us take part in the evolving, universe-spanning Christ Mystery. Jesus is a map for the time-bound and personal level of life; Christ is the blueprint for all time and space and life itself. Both reveal the universal pattern of self-emptying and infilling (Christ) and death and resurrection (Jesus), which is the process humans have called “holiness,” “salvation,” or “growth.” … — Richard Rohr, more info: https://cac.org/another-name-for-every-thing-2019-02-12/
“Christians have claimed from their beginnings that Jesus was the Messiah foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures…Jesus did not replace or deny the expectations of a messiah previously told …Isaiah 9:2-7 is a well-known oracle, a divine utterance…that uses four royal titles…As we ponder the use of those titles … two things become clear. First, in the witness to Jesus by the early Christians in the New Testament, they relied heavily on Old Testament ‘anticipations’ of the coming Messiah. But second, Jesus did not fit those ‘anticipations’ very well, such that a good deal of interpretive imagination was required in order to negotiate the connection between the anticipation and the actual bodily, historical reality of Jesus.
The oracle of Isaiah 9:2-7 is well known among us because of Handel’s Messiah. The oracle did not anticipate or predict Jesus. There is no doubt that it pertained to the eighth century BCE, the time of Isaiah the prophet. While the oracle might have been utilized to announce and celebrate the birth of a new royal prince in Jerusalem, namely Hezekiah, it is more probable that it pertained to the coronation of the new king.” — Walter Brueggemann, Names for the Messiah
“Jesus was not the powerful or effective Messiah that the Jews hoped for—or that Christians seem to want, for that matter. … The revelation of the death and resurrection of Jesus forever redefines what success and winning mean—and it is not what any of us wanted or expected. On the cross, God is revealed as vulnerability itself (the Latin word vulnera means woundedness). That message is hard to miss, but we turned the cross into a transaction and so missed its transformative message for humanity.” — Richard Rohr, more info: https://cac.org/redefining-success-2017-07-31/
“Instead of bringing about the onset of redemption, messiah will herald its completion. The actual work of redeeming the world is turned to us in history, and is done by all of us, day by day. Messiah has been waiting in the wings, as it were, since the very beginning of history, ready to come forth when the time is right. According to one legend, he sits among the lepers at the gates of Rome–today we would be likely to find him in an AIDS hospice–tending to their wounds. Only when redemption is about to be completed will messiah be allowed to arrive. Rather than messiah redeeming us, we redeem messiah.” – Rabbi Arthur Green
WHO DO THEY SAY I AM? – SON of … MAN? GOD? Commentary
- Podcast series on Son of Man:https://bibleproject.com/podcast/series/son-of-man-series/
- Podcast on Is Jesus God? https://bibleproject.com/podcast/theme-god-e15-jesus-god/
- Animated video on Son of Man: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/son-of-man/
- Animated video on Who Is the God of the Bible? https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/god-video/
“While the title “the Son of man” is always, except once, applied by Jesus to Himself, “the Son of God” is never applied by Jesus to Himself in the Synoptists. When, however, it is applied to Him by others, He accepts it in such a way as to assert His claim to it. Now and then He Himself employs the abbreviated form, “the Son,” with the same intention; and He often speaks of God as “the Father” or “my Father” or “my Father who is in heaven” in such a manner as to betray the consciousness that He is the Son of God.” — more info: https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/son-of-god-the/
“Though the Bible does not define its exact meaning, the title “Son of Man” probably refers to the fact that Jesus was perfect humanity. He, as God, came down and lived among us as the perfect human being. By doing this, He fulfilled the Law of Moses and did what no other human being was able to do. By using this title, He is identifying with the people He had come to save.
… The title “Son of Man” was a designation for the Messiah. The Book of Daniel predicted that the Son of Man would inherit God’s everlasting kingdom … When Jesus was on trial and was asked if He were the Messiah, He referred to this prediction.” — Blue Letter Bible, more info: https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_793.cfm
“Although Jesus is called the “Son of God” we also find this term applied to humans and angels. The term “son of God” is applied to the first man Adam, angels, Israel, those who make peace, and Christians… The Bible often uses the word “son” to mean, “possessing the nature of,” or, “on the order of… Jesus possesses the same nature of God… God the Father, the angel Gabriel, His own disciples, the Apostle Paul, and even the demons acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. Although Adam, angels, Israel, peacemakers, and Christians are all called “sons of God” the Scripture designates Jesus as the unique Son of God. He possesses the same nature as the Father – God. However He is not a literal offspring for He has existed for all eternity. The Bible often uses the word “son” in the sense of “possessing the nature of.” Jesus is the “Son” of God in this sense- possessing the nature of God. The title “Son” does not, in any way, suggest the Son if inferior to the Father. — Blue Letter Bible:
“Who is this Son of Man? Jon asks if it’s a physical child. Tim explains that it’s actually biblical imagery to depict a class of being. This is a “son” similar to the “sons of the prophets/Elijah” depicted in the Old Testament. Tim says the point of the vision is that Daniel represents a summary of the future hope of the Hebrew Bible, and it envisions the coming of God’s Kingdom as the coming of a human figure (“a son of humanity”), who will sit beside God, share in his rule over the beasts (remember the plural “thrones”), and receive worship from all nations.
… Tim says that the Christian claim of God existing “three in one” and the divine complexity is a thoroughly Jewish idea, but Jews have long debated who the actual “Son of Man” is. Tim says there’s a ancient Jewish author called Ezekiel the Tragedian, who believed that the vision of Daniel’s Son of Man was actually referring to Moses. Tim also says that it’s clear that the New Testament authors believed Jesus is the Son of Man, and they combine all of God’s attributes (word, spirit, wisdom, etc) with the idea of a human being elevated to God’s status.” The Bible Project, https://bibleproject.com/podcast/theme-god-e14-who-son-man/
- Son of God Biblical references reviewed in BibleTools.org: https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/441/Sons-of-God.htm
“Tim outlines the historical path of Jesus. He says that within Jewish culture, Jesus stands unique. For example, in early Christian culture, there were hymns singing songs of praise to Jesus, not just about Jesus. Christians can “praise the name of Jesus” and Paul can use the phrase “maranatha,” which means “our Lord come” in Aramaic. Tim says the point is that Paul can write to a Hebrew or Greek audience with an Aramaic phrase and have it apparently make sense. The significance is that what Jews would have said about Yahweh––“our Lord come”––Christians were then saying about Jesus in Paul’s letters. Tim says that by doing this you are essentially equating Jesus to Yahweh … Tim lays out more accounts of Jesus and says that Jesus positions himself as “Yahweh returning” from the Old Testament. For example in Mark 1:1-3 …“Lord” here is in Greek (kurios), the Greek Septuagint translation of “Yahweh.”… So In Mark 1:9, we’re introduced to Jesus as ‘kurios’.” — The Bible Project: https://bibleproject.com/podcast/theme-god-e15-jesus-god/
Jesus is referred to as the “Son of Man” 88 times in the New Testament. In fact, Son of Man is the primary title Jesus used when referring to Himself (e.g., Matthew 12:32; 13:37; Luke 12:8; John 1:51). The only use of Son of Man in a clear reference to Jesus, spoken by someone other than Jesus, came from the lips of Stephen as he was being martyred (Acts 7:56).”
Son of Man is a title of humanity. Other titles for Christ, such as Son of God, are overt in their focus on His deity. Son of Man, in contrast, focuses on the humanity of Christ. God called the prophet Ezekiel “son of man” 93 times… Son of man is simply a … term for “human.” Jesus Christ was truly a human being. He came “in the flesh” (1 John 4:2).
Son of Man is a title of humility. The Second Person of the Trinity, eternal in nature, left heaven’s glory and took on human flesh, becoming the Son of Man, born in a manger and “despised and rejected by mankind” (Isaiah 53:3). The Son of Man had “no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). The Son of Man ate and drank with sinners (Matthew 11:19). The Son of Man suffered at the hands of men (Matthew 17:12). This intentional lowering of His status from King of Heaven to Son of Man is the epitome of humility (see Philippians 2:6–8).
Son of Man is a title of deity. Ezekiel may have been a son of man, but Jesus is the Son of Man. As such, Jesus is the supreme example of all that God intended mankind to be, the embodiment of truth and grace (John 1:14). In Him “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). For this reason, the Son of Man was able to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6). The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). The Son of Man came to save lives (Luke 9:56; 19:10), rise from the dead (Mark 9:9), and execute judgment (John 5:27). …
Son of Man is a fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus’ claim before the high priest to be the Son of Man was a reference to the prophecy of Daniel 7:13–14 … Daniel saw glory, worship, and an everlasting kingdom given to the Messiah—here called the “Son of Man”—and Jesus applied this prophecy to Himself. …
— more info: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-Son-of-Man.html
“While to the common mind “the Son of man” is a title designating the human side of our Lord’s person, “the Son of God” seems as obviously to indicate the divine side. But scholarship cannot take this for granted; and, indeed, it requires only a hasty glance at the facts to bring this home even to the general reader, because in Scripture the title is bestowed on a variety of persons for a variety of reasons. First, it is applied to angels, as when in Job 2:1 it is said that “the sons of God came to present themselves before Yahweh”; they may be so called because they are the creatures of God’s hands or because, as spiritual beings, they resemble God, who is a spirit. Secondly, in Luke 3:38 it is applied to the first man; and from the parable of the Prodigal Son it may be argued that it is applicable to all men. Thirdly, it is applied to the Hebrew nation, as when, in Exodus 4:22, Yahweh says to Pharaoh, “Israel is my son, my first-born,” the reason being that Israel was the object of Yahweh’s special love and gracious choice. Fourthly, it is applied to the kings of Israel, as representatives of the chosen nation. Thus, in 2 Samuel 7:14, Yahweh says of Solomon, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son”; and, in Psalms 2:7, the coronation of a king is announced in an oracle from heaven, which says, “Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee.” Finally, in the New Testament, the title is applied to all saints, as in John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name.” When the title has such a range of application, it is obvious that the Divinity of Christ cannot be inferred from the mere fact that it is applied to Him.” — more info: https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/son-of-god-the/
“The Gospels often call Jesus the Son of God. Mark’s Gospel especially favors this term, noting Jesus as divine via His relationship with God the Father. In Matthew 15:15-16, Peter acknowledged Jesus as the son of the living God, a view Jesus affirmed as correct. John 3:16 also famously refers to Jesus as God’s only begotten Son.” — more info:https://www.compellingtruth.org/Jesus-Son-of-God.html
“The New Testament also often refers to Jesus as the Son of Man. Matthew’s Gospel especially favors this phrase, using it more than thirty times. This title highlights both His humanity as well as His fulfillment as the Son of Man predicted in the Old Testament, especially Daniel 7:13-14 related to the coming Messiah.” — more info: https://www.compellingtruth.org/Jesus-Son-of-Man.html
Of History and Hope (excerpt) — Miller Williams
We have memorized America,
how it was born and who we have been and where.
In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
telling the stories, singing the old songs.
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.
… But where are we going to be, and why, and who?
…. We mean to be the people we meant to be,
to keep on going where we meant to go.
… Who were many people coming together
cannot become one people falling apart.
Who dreamed for every child an even chance
cannot let luck alone turn doorknobs or not.
Whose law was never so much of the hand as the head
cannot let chaos make its way to the heart.
Who have seen learning struggle from teacher to child
cannot let ignorance spread itself like rot.
We know what we have done and what we have said,
and how we have grown, degree by slow degree,
believing ourselves toward all we have tried to become—
just and compassionate, equal, able, and free …
Hope: Optimism With a Plan— Ron Breazeale, Psychology Today
- First of all, hope is future oriented. …
- And secondly, hope is based on a system of belief that you can find a pathway to achieve your goal …
- And last of all, hope involves a plan.
Link: A Guide to Grounded Hope — Option B
Reflections on Hope
Hope is patience with the lamp lit. — Tertullian
I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe. — Dalai Lama
Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings. — Elie Wiesel
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. — Dale Carnegie
A lot of people have their big dreams and get knocked down and don’t have things go their way. And you never give up hope, and you really just hold on to it. Hard work and perserverance. You just keep getting up and getting up, and then you get that breakthrough. — Robert Kraft
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Where there is no vision, there is no hope. — George Washington Carver
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. — Robert Kennedy
Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future. — Lewis Smedes
You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful. — Marie Curie
On Personal Hopes
My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return. — Maya Angelou
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’. — Erma Bombeck
I have hope in people, in individuals. Because you don’t know what’s going to rise from the ruins. — Joan Baez
On Present Hope
We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds. — Aristotle Onassis
Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. — Thich Nhat Hanh
On Future Hope
Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. — Nelson Mandela
Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future. — Robert H. Schuller