Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show you today. – Exodus 14:13
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When I first came among Friends, I knew more of the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Tao Te Ching, the vacanas of South India, Tibetan Buddhist texts, and Zen koans and sutras than I did of the Judeo-Christian literature. And although I had received a college minor in literature, including courses and some interest in poetry, it wasn’t until I began meditating, as a Yogi, that poetry came alive for me. I credit a combination of silence and life experience in that emerging awareness and appreciation.
What I did know and love was classical music. In that discipline, the notes on the page are supreme. Above all else, the performer must be faithful to the composer’s score. Minor deviations, such as interpolated notes or even improvisation, may be permissible, depending on the period of composition. Yet the performer must also bring something of himself or herself to that text, transforming it from mechanical notes inked upon paper into lines of sound that exist only in time and that unite human intellect and emotion. This fidelity to the written text in bringing forth the essence of living persons closely models my approach to the Bible.
Now, just where are we? Right now? Stand in the stillness, then, and look.
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For there is no Difference between the Jew and the Greek, but the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him; for the Lord is gracious and full of Compassion, slow to Anger, and of great Kindness. The Lord is good to all, and his tender Mercies are over all his Works, as you may read … (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)