AMEN: word of agreement, typically in affirmation of words spoken in prayer

Anthropomorphising: to attribute human characteristics or behavior to an animal or object.

Antiquties of the Jews: written by Jewish historian and Roman citizen, Flavius Josephus c. 93 AD. Except cited in May 17, 2020 blog posting reads as follows: . Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man; if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was a doer of wonderful works; a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross; those that loved him at the first did not forsake him. For he appeared to them alive again, the third day: as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

Apostle Paul: also known by his Hebrew name, Saul of Tarsus, is generally considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age. From the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD he founded several Christian communities in Asia Minor and Europe.  Thirteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament have traditionally been attributed to Paul. Today, Paul’s epistles continue to be vital roots of the theology, worship and pastoral life in the Latin and Protestant traditions of the West, as well as the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox traditions of the East. 

Aramaic: Aramaic is thought to have first appeared among the Aramaeans in the 11th century BC. By the 7th and 6th centuries BC, it became the common language of the Middle East, and, in 559-330 BC, the official language of the Achaemenian  Persian dynasty. Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, Aramaen was replaced by Greek. In the 6th century BC, Aramaic replaced Hebrew as the language of the Jews, particularly in Syria and Palestine. Portions of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and versions of the Talmud are written in Aramaic. The Dead Sea Scrolls  were also written in Aramaic, in addition to Hebrew and Greek. Aramaic is believed to have been the native language of Jesus and the Apostles.  The language continued to be widely used until it was replaced by Arabic around 650 AD.(information adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica online)

Ascension: the physical rising of Christ from earth into the presence of God in heaven. The event is appears in the Gospels of Mark (Mark 16) and Luke (Luke 24); also in the New Testament book of Acts (Acts 2) The Ascension of Christ is celebrated by the church on the fortieth day after Easter.

Cephas: Aramaic for rock

Christian Year: begins with the first Sunday of Advent (Advent designates the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day) and ends with Christ the King Sunday. In the 2019-2020 Christian year, we began with First Advent on Dec 1, 2019 and the year will end with Christ the King Sunday on November 22, 2020. Obviously these dates change to correspond to the date of Christmas Day.

Clinicians: ‘doctors’ having direct contact with patients rather than being involved with theoretical or laboratory studies

Cloak: a cloak was more than just a cloak, it was a priceless possession among the poor and homeless: a blanket at night, a coat/rain coat/shawl in inclement weather, and a mat to catch coins received by begging during the day.

Cuckold: a man whose wife is sexually unfaithful, often regarded as an object of derision

Corrymeela Community: The Corrymeela Community was founded in 1965 by Ray Davey, along with John Morrow and Alex Watson, as an organization seeking to aid individuals and communities which suffered through the violence and polarization of the Northern Irish conflict. 

Decartes, René: René Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. (Mar 31, 1596 – Feb 11, 1650).

Diagnostician: a person trained to identify the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms

Diaspora: in Biblical context, it refers to the dispersion of the Jews beyond Israel among the Gentiles following the Babylonian exile in 586 BCE

Eastertide: the period of time within the Christian year from Easter Sunday through Pentecost – a period of 50 days. During this time, the risen Christ was present to his followers for 40 days, ascended into heaven on the fortieth day, commanding His followers to wait in Jerusalem for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came on the followers 10 days later – on Pentecost

Epiphany: manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles

Exegesis: critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture

Gentiles: a person who is not Jewish

Gospel: means ‘good news.’ The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ and is an accounting, in various forms of the life of Christ in the person of Jesus. The Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The first three are fairly similar in their accounts though each written with a different audience and purpose in mind – a ‘so what’ if you will. John is the most ‘spiritual’ and mystical of the four.

Hebrew Bible: also called Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament, or Tanakh, is the collection of writings that was first compiled and preserved as the sacred books of the Jewish people. It also comprises a large portion of the Christian Bible. (

Holy: set apart; dedicated to God; consecrated to God for a sacred purpose

Holy Spirit: the third person of the divine Trinity. Co-equal with the Father (Creator) and the Son (Redeemer/Savior), the Holy Spirit and is often referred to as the Comforter and Teacher. Christians worship one God manifest in three person.

Hypocrite: the word hypocrite ultimately came into English from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.” The Greek word itself is a compound noun: it’s made up of two Greek words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.” That bizarre compound makes more sense when you know that the actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from underneath their masks. The Greek word took on an extended meaning to refer to any person who was wearing a figurative mask and pretending to be someone or something they were not. This sense was taken into medieval French and then into English, where it showed up with its earlier spelling, ypocrite, in 13th-century religious texts to refer to someone who pretends to be morally good or pious in order to deceive others. (Hypocrite gained its initial h- by the 16th century.) It took a surprisingly long time for hypocrite to gain its more general meaning that we use today: “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.” Our first citations for this use are from the early 1700s, nearly 500 years after hypocrite first stepped onto English’s stage.

Idumea/Idumean: Idumea is the name given to the land controlled by the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother, known as the Edomites (Genesis 25:30, 36:8). Throughout their history, they would have a troubled relationship with

King David: David, second king of ancient Israel, an important figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He was the father of Solomon. The primary evidence for David’s career is constituted by several chapters of the books 1 and 2 Samuel in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Familiar biblical accounts of David’s life include his life as a shepherd boy, confrontation with the Philistine military champion, Goliath, and his authorship of many of the Psalms.

Lectionary: the selection of scriptures used throughout Christian year within the liturgy. The lectionary each week comes from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), includes a Psalm (one of the books of poetry in the Hebrew Bible), a New Testament reading, and finally a Gospel reading. The lectionary is divided into three years – one year focusing on one Gospel in particular. Year A – Matthew; Year B – Mark; Year C – Luke. Readings from John are mostly used during the most significant days in the life of Christ. We are currently in Year A. (2020).

Lent: a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday. 

Leprosy: also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. Leprosy is known to occur at all ages ranging from early infancy to very old age. Leprosy is curable and early treatment averts most disabilities. The exact mechanism of transmission of leprosy is not known. At least until recently, the most widely held belief was that the disease was transmitted by contact between cases of leprosy and healthy persons. More recently the possibility of transmission by the respiratory route is gaining ground. There are also other possibilities such as transmission through insects which cannot be completely ruled out. (W.H.O.)

Liturgy: the order of public worship

Magi: the sages (wisemen)who visited Jesus and Mary and Joseph shortly after Jesus was born (Matthew 2:1-12); a class of Zoroastrian priests in ancient Media and Persia.

Mary of Magdalene: one of the most frequently mentioned of Christ’s followers. She was present at the crucifixion and among the first to reach the empty tomb after the Lord was raised from the dead.

Means of Grace: in Christian theology  are those things (the means) through which God gives us the grace (unmerited favor) to grow closer and deeper in our love and understanding of the Lord.  

Messiah: (the Messiah) the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. • Jesus regarded by Christians as the Messiah of the Hebrew prophecies and the savior of humankind. 2 a leader or savior of a particular group or cause

Messianic: relating to the Messiah; inspired by hope or belief in a messiah

Nicene Creed: a formal statement of Christian belief that is widely used in Christian liturgies, based on that adopted at the first Council of Nicaea in 325.

Nouwen, Henri: (January 24, 1932 – September 21, 1996) Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian. His interests were rooted primarily in psychology, pastoral ministry, spirituality, social justice and community. After nearly two decades of teaching at academic institutions Nouwen went on to work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at the L’Arche Daybreak community in Richmond Hill, Ontario. The citation for the 2/07/2021 posting is from Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life. Ave Marie Press, Inc. 2004.

Pentecost: the day celebrated within the Christian church as the 50th day after Christ’s resurrection. Pentecost celebrates the day the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples and other followers as they were gathered in Jerusalem to wait for the coming of Spirit as Jesus had commanded. Pentecost is often called the birthday of the church because from this time, through the power of the Spirit, the apostles would go into the world sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation of all the world.

Peter – or Petros – Greek for rock

A thumbnail view of Peter’s actions in need of forgiveness:

  • Jesus called Peter to walk on water in the middle of a storm – and Peter walked!  Until he took his eyes off the One Who called him, looked at his physical situation and started to sink.
  • Peter was the first to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah yet argued with Jesus about going to Jerusalem because Peter knew Jerusalem was the city that killed its prophets – and right then the authorities had a target on Jesus’ back.
  • Peter witnessed the Lord’s Transfiguration on the mountain top and was so excited that he immediately wanted to construct tents or shrines for Jesus and the two prophets and just stay up there.  Forget ministry, Jesus – just bask in the glow of glory!
  • Peter told Jesus he would protect the Lord at all cost – he even cut off a servant’s ear the night Christ was arrested – against Jesus’ teaching of non-violence.
  • Peter said he was willing to die for Jesus, but the night of the Lord’s arrest, he ran away into the darkness, and denied he even knew Jesus not once but three times – to save his own skin!

Pharisees: a social movement and a school of thought in the Holy Land during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Pharisaic beliefs became the foundational, liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism.(Wikipedia)

Philippi: The city of Philippi was located in ancient Greece on the eastern border of the Roman province of Macedonia, about 10 miles inland from the coast, directly northwest of its nearest port city, Neapolis. A strategic area in ancient times, Philippi sat on a fertile plain through which passed the Via Ignatia (Egnatian Way), a trade highway that linked the Aegean and Adriatic Seas. Many travelers passed through Philippi on their way to Rome.

Originally founded by immigrants from Thrace, the city of Philippi was famous for its abundant gold mines and plenteous springs of water. From these springs, the town received its name Crenides, meaning “fountains” or “springs.” Later, around 359 BC, the city was renamed Philippi after Philip of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great. Under Alexander, the city rose to become the capital of the Greek Empire. By New Testament times, the city had come under Roman rule with a diverse population of native Thracians, Greeks, and Romans. A famous school of medicine existed in Philippi, where the gospel writer Luke may have studied.

The church at Philippi was the first Christian church in Europe, planted by the Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey around AD 50 or 51. The initial converts of the church at Philippi were Gentiles, and the congregation developed into a predominately Gentile fellowship. Women also played an essential role in the life of the church at Philippi.

Paul visited the church at Philippi again on his third missionary journey, and the believers there gave generously to support Paul’s ministry as well as the church in Jerusalem. While Paul was imprisoned in Rome, the church at Philippi sent Epaphroditus  to minister to him. In return, Paul sent Timothy to the congregation at Philippi.

From the time it was established, the church at Philippi was healthy, strong, and generous, becoming a model church that only experienced minor problems of disunity. (

Psalms: the first book of the Ketuvim (“Writings”) the third section of the Hebrew Bible and one of the books of the Christian Old Testament.  The title, Psalms, is derived from the Greek translation, psalmoi, meaning “instrumental music” and, by extension, “the words accompanying the music.” The book is an anthology of individual psalms with 150 in the Jewish and Western Christian tradition and more in the Eastern Christian churches.

Resurrection: to come to live from death; not the same as resuscitation which is regaining life but subject to dying again. Christ was resurrected never to die again!

Righteousness: quality of being morally right, justifiable and virtuous

Rohr, Richard: Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The citation on 11/29/2020 blog entry is from A Spring Within Us, A book of daily meditation: The Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2016.), p 237.

Sadducees: a member of a Palestinian sect, consisting mainly of priests and aristocrats, that flourished from the 1st b.c. to the 1st century a.d. and differed from the Pharisees chiefly in its literal interpretation of the Bible, rejection of oral laws and traditions, and denial of an afterlife and the coming of the Messiah. (

Shabbat: the Jewish day of rest, the seventh day of the week, which begins each Friday evening at sunset and continues until Saturday evening at sunset. In Genesis, God created the world in 6 days and rested on the seventh and commanded this same day of observant rest for all humanity.

Sheep Gate: “A gate probably located in the north city wall of Jerusalem, on the north side of the Temple area. Because of its proximity to the Temple area and pool of Bethesda, it has been surmised that sheep to be sacrificed were brought into the city through this gate”

Sin: any action or thought which is outside the will of God.

Synagogue: the building where a Jewish assembly or congregation meets for religious worship and instruction. It was also the very heart of the Jewish community and spiritual life; to be excluded from the synagogue meant exclusion from the local community

The Way: The early disciples of Jesus were called followers of The Way before they were ever known as Christians. This tells us that Christianity is meant to be a journey, a daily walk, a way to walk rather than a religious institution or set of behaviours to try to be perfect. 

Trinity: the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead according to Christian faith and beliefs.

Transfiguration: the event during which a supernatural and glorified change of appearance occurred to Jesus on the mountain top. Peter, James and John (sons of Zebedee) were the disciples in attendance. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus during the event.

Zealot: a member of an ancient Jewish sect that aimed at a world-wide Jewish theocracy and resisted the Romans until ad 70.

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