Prince of Peace

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; 

and the government shall be upon his shoulder, 

and his name shall be called 

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, 

Prince of Peace. (Isa 9:6)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Shalom, defined as “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace” (BDB 10002), is a divine attribute mostly out of reach in the Books of the Law, where brotherly conflict, not brotherly love, was the norm.

In the Books of the Law, conflict between Cain and Abel over proper worship was followed by conflict between Jacob and Esau over the birthright and inheritance (Gen 25:26–34). Later, conflict between Joseph and his brothers over their father’s favoritism became so intense that Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery (Gen 37:2-28).  In the ancient world, sibling conflict was considered an extreme form of treachery, much like spousal conflict would be perceived today (Hellerman 2001, 39–40). This brotherly conflict highlights the absence of shalom and the need for divine intervention.

This need for divine intervention appears even in the story of a young Moses, who attempted without success to reconcile two of his Hebrew brothers:

One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, Why do you strike your companion? He answered, Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian? Then Moses was afraid, and thought, Surely the thing is known. When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. (Exod 2:11-15)

Much like God attempted to reconcile Cain and Abel, Moses attempted to reconcile two of his Hebrew brothers, but his effort fails because his own sin—murder—got in the way.

In the Books of the Prophets, peace remains out of reach as two dominant types of conflict emerge.

The first type of conflict arose between the nation of Israel and God because they repeatedly disobeyed the Mosaic covenant, as anticipated in Deuteronomy:

And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. (Deut 30:1-3)

If the nation of Israel obeyed the covenant (practiced holiness), God promised to forgive and reunite them; however, if they ignored the covenant, God would destroy the nation and scatter the people. To remind the people of their covenantal obligations, God repeatedly sent prophets, such as Jeremiah, to warn them of their sins:

Their houses shall be turned over to others, their fields and wives together, for I will stretch out my hand against the inhabitants of the land, declares the LORD. For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace. (Jer 6:12–14)

Here, greedy prophets and priests, who turn their backs on sin, lead the nation to conflict with God and judgment.

In our own times, Bonhoeffer wrote about the problem of cheap grace—false forgiveness for false confession, saying: “Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian ‘conception’ of God.” By contrast, costly grace requires personal confession of sin and real discipleship (Bonhoeffer 1995, 43–45).

The second type of conflict was internal to the nation of Israel, where kings more often than not behaved badly and wandered from faith in God.

For example, when King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, was crowned king, he was asked to reduce the heavy tax burden imposed by his father. His father’s advisers counseled him to lower taxes, but his friends counseled even higher taxes. When he raised taxes, ten tribes rebelled, leaving Rehoboam only the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin. The other ten tribes formed a new kingdom (Israel), who crowned Jeroboam king of Israel. Jeroboam, who feared that people visiting Jerusalem for religious worship would eventually return to Rehoboam, set up alternative worship sites and recast new golden calf idols (1 Kgs 12), actions later referred to as the sins of Jeroboam (e.g.1 Kgs 14:16). Weakened by this split, both kingdoms were later destroyed and the people were exiled.

Not only did Rehoboam divide the nation of Israel through his greedy and foolish administration (1 Kgs 12:14), he later abandoned the Law of Moses and was forced, as a consequence, to become a vassal of Shishak, the king of Egypt (2 Chr 12:1-2). Animosity between the Northern and Southern kingdoms continued until New Testament times when Jews openly discriminated against Samaritans—part of the Northern Kingdom. Notice how conflict between the two nations quickly led to idolatry (Jer 1:15–16) and, by inference, tension with God. Increased tension with our neighbor naturally leads to tension with God and even with ourselves, as we strive to have our own way.

The hope of deliverance from conflict in the Old Testament came, in part, through texts, such as Isaiah 9:6-7, that link the Messiah and heaven to the idea of shalom: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Shalom is valuable because it is rare and because it offers a glimpse of heaven, as the Prophet Isaiah sees it:

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isa 11:6)

In Isaiah’s vision, an end to animal predation and the picture of a little child playing without fear among dangerous animals, suggests a return to Eden and the outbreak of shalom, a sign of God’s mighty work among us.

References

BibleWorks. 2011. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, LLC. <BibleWorks v.9>.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. 1995. The Cost of Discipleship (Orig Pub 1937).  Translated by R. H. Fuller and Irmgard Booth.  New York: Simon & Schuster—A Touchstone Book.

Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius (BDB). 1905. Hebrew-English Lexicon, unabridged.

Prince of Peace

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Obituary_HFH

 

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Principe de Paz

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Porque un Niño nos ha nacido, un Hijo nos ha sido dado, 

y la soberanía reposará sobre Sus hombros. 

Y se llamará Su nombre Admirable Consejero, Dios Poderoso, Padre Eterno, 

Príncipe de Paz. (Isa 9:6)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Shalom, definido como “integridad, solidez, bienestar, paz” (BDB 10002). es un atributo divino mayormente fuera del alcance de los Libros de la Ley, donde el conflicto fraternal, no el amor fraternal, era la norma. En los Libros de la Ley, el conflicto entre Caín y Abel sobre el culto apropiado se seguió por conflict entre Jacob y Esaú sobre el derecho de nacimiento y la herencia (Gen 25:26–34). Más tarde, el conflicto entre José y sus hermanos sobre el favoritismo de su padre se hizo tan intenso que los hermanos de José lo vendieron en esclavitud (Gen 37:2-28). En el mundo antiguo, el conflicto entre hermanos se consideraba una forma extrema de traición, al igual que el conflicto conyugal se percibe hoy (Hellerman 2001, 39–40). Este conflicto fraternal resalta la ausencia de shalom y la necesidad de intervención divina.

Esta necesidad de intervención divina aparece incluso en la historia de un joven Moisés, quien intentó sin éxito reconciliar dos de su hermano hebreo. 

En aquellos días, crecido ya Moisés, salió a donde sus hermanos y vio sus duros trabajos (sus cargas). Vio a un Egipcio golpeando a un Hebreo, a uno de sus hermanos. Entonces miró alrededor y cuando vio que no había nadie, mató al Egipcio y lo escondió en la arena. Al día siguiente salió y vio a dos Hebreos que reñían, y dijo al culpable: ¿Por qué golpeas a tu compañero? ¿Quién te ha puesto de príncipe o de juez sobre nosotros? le respondió el culpable. ¿Estás pensando matarme como mataste al Egipcio? Entonces Moisés tuvo miedo, y dijo:“Ciertamente se ha divulgado lo sucedido. Al enterarse Faraón de lo que había pasado, trató de matar a Moisés. Pero Moisés huyó de la presencia de Faraón y se fue a vivir a la tierra de Madián, y allí se sentó junto a un pozo. (Exod 2:11-15)

Al igual que Dios intentó a reconciliar Cain y Abel, Moises intentó a reconciliar dos de su hermanos hebreo, pero su esfuerzo falla porque su propio pecado, el asesinato, se interpuso en el camino.

En los Libros de los Profetas, la paz permanece fuera del alcance a medida que surgen dos tipos dominantes de conflicto.

El primer tipo de conflicto surgió entre la nación de Israel y Dios porque repetidamente desobedecieron el pacto de Moises, como se anticipó en Deuteronomio:

Y sucederá que cuando todas estas cosas hayan venido sobre ti, la bendición y la maldición que he puesto delante de ti, y tú las recuerdes en todas las naciones adonde el SEÑOR tu Dios te haya desterrado, y vuelvas al SEÑOR tu Dios, tú y tus hijos, y le obedezcas con todo tu corazón y con toda tu alma conforme a todo lo que yo te ordeno hoy, entonces el SEÑOR tu Dios te hará volver de tu cautividad, y tendrá compasión de ti y te recogerá de nuevo de entre todos los pueblos adonde el SEÑOR tu Dios te haya dispersado. (Deut 30:1-3)

Si la nación de Israel obedeció el pacto (practicó santidad), Dios prometió a perdonarlos y reunirlos; entonces, si ignoraban el pacto, Dios destruiría la nación y dispersaría la gente. Para recordarle a la gente sus obligaciones de pacto, Dios envió repetidamente profetas, como Jeremías, para advertirles de sus pecados:

Sus casas serán entregadas a otros, junto con sus campos y sus mujeres; porque extenderé mi mano contra los habitantes de esta tierra, declara el SEÑOR. Porque desde el menor hasta el mayor, Todos ellos codician ganancias, y desde el profeta hasta el sacerdote, todos practican el engaño. Curan a la ligera el quebranto de mi pueblo, diciendo: paz, paz, pero no hay paz. (Jer 6:12-14)

Aquí, los codiciosos profetas y sacerdotes, que dan la espalda al pecado, llevan a la nación a entrar en conflicto con Dios y el juicio.

En los nuestros tiempos, Bonhoeffer escribió sobre el problema de gracia barata—falso perdón para falsa confesión, diciendo: “Barata gracia significa gracia como una doctrina, un principio un sistema. Significa perdona de pecados proclamaba como una verdad general, el amor de Dios enseña como el Cristiano concepción de Dios.”⁠1 Por el contrario, la gracia costosa requiere la confesión personal del pecado y el verdadero discipulado. (Bonhoeffer 1995, 43–45).

El segundo tipo de conflicto era interna de la nación de Israel, donde los reyes se comportaron malo con mayor frecuencia que no y se desviaron de la fe en Dios.

Por ejemplo, cuando Rey Roboam, hijo de Salomón, fue coronado rey, se le pidió que redujera la pesada carga fiscal impuesta por su padre. Los asesores de su padre le aconsejaron que redujera los impuestos, pero sus amigos aconsejaron impuestos aún más altos. Cuando aumentó los impuestos, diez tribus se rebelaron, dejando a Roboam solo a las dos tribus del sur, Judá y Benjamín. Las otras diez tribus formaron un nuevo reino (Israel), que coronó a Jeroboam, rey de Israel. Jeroboam, que temía que las personas que visitaban Jerusalén para la adoración religiosa eventualmente regresaran a Roboam, estableció sitios de adoración alternativos y rehizó nuevos ídolos de becerros de oro (1 Kgs 12), acciones que luego se denominaron los pecados de Jeroboam  (e.g. 1 Kgs 14:16). Debilitados por esta división, ambos reinos fueron destruidos más tarde y las personas fueron exiliadas.

No solo dividió a Roboam a la nación de Israel a través de su administración codiciosa y tonta (1 Kgs 12:14), más tarde abandonaba el Ley de Moises y se vio obligado, como consecuencia, a convertirse en vasallo de Shishak, el rey de Egipto (2 Chr 12:1–2). La animosidad entre el norte y el sur reinos continuaron hasta los tiempos del Nuevo Testamento cuando los judíos discriminaban abiertamente contra los Samaritanos—parte del reino del norte. Observe cómo el conflicto entre las dos naciones rápidamente condujo a la idolatría (Jer 1:15–16) y, por inferencia, a la tensión con Dios. El aumento de la tensión con nuestro prójimo conduce a tensión con Dios y incluso con nosotros mismo, a medida que nos esforzamos por tener nuestro propio camino.

La esperanza de liberación del conflicto en el Antiguo Testamento surgió, en parte, a través de textos, como Isaías 9: 6–7, que vinculan al Mesías y al cielo con la idea de shalom: “Admirable Consejero, Dios Poderoso, Padre Eterno, Príncipe de Paz.” Shalom es valioso porque es raro y porque ofrece una visión del cielo, como lo ve el profeta Isaías:

 El lobo morará con el cordero, y el leopardo se echará con el cabrito. El becerro, el leoncillo y el animal doméstico andarán juntos, y un niño los conducirá. (Isa 11:6)

En la visión de Isaías, el fin de la depredación animale y la imagen de un niño pequeño jugando sin miedo entre peligrosos animales, sugiere un regreso a Edén y el estallido de shalom, una señal del poderoso trabajo de Dios entre nosotros.

Notas

1 Bonhoeffer wrote: “Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian ‘conception’ of God.” (Bonhoeffer 1995, 43–45).

Referencias

BibleWorks. 2011. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, LLC. <BibleWorks v.9>.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. 1995. The Cost of Discipleship (Orig Pub 1937).  Translated by R. H. Fuller and Irmgard Booth.  New York: Simon & Schuster—A Touchstone Book.

Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius (BDB). 1905. Hebrew-English Lexicon, unabridged.

Principe de Paz

Ver también:

Gospel as Divine Template

Otras formas de participar en línea:

Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Boletín informativo: https://bit.ly/Obituary_HFH

 

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Dad Letter

 

Professor

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

When I was younger and exasperated my father, he was often at a loss for words. Now mind you, my Dad was an extremely well-published economist who frequently received invitations to speak, and even appeared regularly on a Saturday morning television show sponsored by USDA: Across the Fence (see Hiemstra 2016). He was seldom at a loss for words in most of life, but in his role as father of four he sometimes came up wanting. On such occasions, we would receive a Dad letter.

A Dad letter would outline our problem; express the disappointment of both Mom and Dad; and propose how we were to change our behavior. There were also consequences. These letters were not common and I think that I have all of mine squirreled away somewhere. None of us wanted to disappoint Dad.

A theme in a Dad letter might seem typical—grades were too low, expenses were too high, XYZ was inconsistent with expectations—but we took this advice seriously. Dad’s voice conveyed authority and the message was crystal clear. I never wanted to receive one, but I also never forgot or discarded the ones that I received.

Dad’s letter’s might be compared to the orders famously penned by Ulysses S. Grant to his generals during the Civil War. Barnes’ writes of Grant’s dispatches: “there is one striking feature of Grant’s orders; no matter how hurriedly he may write them on the field, no one ever had the slightest doubt as to their meaning, or even [had] to read them over a second time to understand them.” (2001, 190) A Dad letter was essentially like a dispatch from the general.

In some sense, the Bible is a Dad letter. This observation is most obvious in reading the various covenants that God makes with people like Moses. The first reading of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 reads: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exod 20:2-3) In other words the logic reads, you owe me therefore do these things. Later in Deuteronomy (the second reading) there is a long list of blessings and curses associated with obeying and disobeying the covenant.

I wonder what sort of Dad letter God might write us today?

Some have postulated that the corona virus pandemic is a judgment from God on postmodern society because so many of the libertarian ideas floating around today are directly contrary to scripture. Does anyone honestly  believe that God endorses a party spirit, sexual immorality, discrimination, power-mongering, and drug use?

Others argue that a God of love would never allow so many innocent people to die, yet God’s attributes are not limited to love. After giving the Ten Commandments to Moses a second time, we read: “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Exod 34:6) Being slow to anger does not mean that God does not get angry at people who test his patience. God’s anger was expressed early after the Exodus from Egypt at the first generation who tried his patience and ended up dying in the desert.

The Bible offers consolation to suffering people, but it focuses on transformation, not on enabling addictions or abetting sin. This is a lot like my father’s Dad letters,

References

Barnes, John A. 2001. Ulysses S. Grant on Leadership: Executive Lessons from the Front Lines.Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing.

Hiemstra, Stephen J. 2016. My Travel Through Life: Memoir of Family Life and Federal Service. Centreville, VA: T2Pneuma Publishers LLC. (link)

Dad Letter

Also see:

Water Cooler Observations, June 24, 2020

Interview about the Corona Life in English and Spanish with Stephen W. Hiemstra, April 24, 2020

Managing Change 

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

 

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Reynolds: Man up; Get Healthy

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Steve Reynolds and MG Ellis.  2012.  Get Off the Couch:  6 Motivators to Help You Lose Weight and Start Living.  Ventura:  Regal.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Death is personal. At one point as a chaplain intern I ministered to a 400-pound man in the emergency room.  His arms were covered with Band-Aids. The best nurses in the department took turns trying to insert a catheter, but could not find a vein—he was just too fat.  Obesity kills, but before it does, it robs one of all dignity.  There are old people and there are fat people, but there are no old, fat people (71).

Pastor Steve Reynolds is an interesting guy [1].  At one point in his 40s he weighed 340 pounds and was diagnosed with diabetes (15).  It scared him into action.  As a pastor, he turned to his bible for answers and looked up passages dealing with the body.  For example, the Apostle Paul writes:

do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6:19-20; 40)

Likewise, the Apostle John writes:

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3 John 1:2; 39)

Pastor Steve also noted that the very first sin in the bible had to do with Satan tempting Eve with food (Gen 3:1-6).  If our forbearers were first tempted with food and over-eating pollutes the body—trashing the temple of God—raising the prospects for an early death, then is it any wonder that Saint Thomas Aquinas referred to gluttony as a mortal sin? [2]

Pastor Steve ended up losing more than 100 pounds.

People noticed.  His congregation asked him to preach on his biblical approach to weight-loss.  A woman in his congregation wrote an article for the Washington Post [3]  and he became an instant media celebrity as the anti-fat pastor (@AntiFatPastor).  Books followed.

Pastor Steve’s most recent book, Get Off the Couch:  6 Motivators to Help You Lose Weight and Start Living, focuses on men.  Because men generally do not read (especially not self-help books), this is curiously what you call a pass-through book—a book purchased by one person for another.  In other words, wives seriously concerned about their couch-potato husbands are an important target audience because, like football, healthy living is a team effort.

Unlike most book focused on weight-loss, Get Off the Couch provides a strategy for achieving the goal that goes beyond changes in diet.  Pastor Steve focuses on an acronym:  ACTION.  “A” is for Aware; “C” is for Commit; “T” is for Transform; “I” is for Incorporate; “O” is for Organize; and “N” is for Navigate.  ACTION is not only a strategy; the 12-chapters of the book are organized around ACTION as well:

Aware (1. Get in the Game; 2.Your Body Matters to God;)

Commit (3. You Gotta Play by the Playbook; 4.  Winning Over Temptation; )

Transform (5. Get Your Head in the Game; 6. Progress, Not Perfection;)

Incorporate (7. Get Buff, not Buffeted; 8. No Pain, No Gain!)

Organize (9. Stronger Together; 10. Drafting Your Team;) and

Navigate (11. Make Your Dash Count; 12. Your Game Plan for Health).

These 12 chapters are preceded by multiple forwards and followed by multiple appendices.  Pastor Steve is as serious about your succeeding in improving your health in a Godly manner as he is about football.

Get Off the Couch is full of testimonials of men who have succeeded in turning their lives around and living healthy.  The book has numerous before and after photographs of these men.  Two-thirds of us, Americans, need to lose weight (26).  We are addicted to inactivity and food.  We need to exercise more and eat less (49). Pastor Steve provides a great playbook for getting started.

Footnotes

[1] www.capitalbaptist.org/pastorsteve.html.

[2] Thomas Aquina’s 7 deadly sin are often described using their Latin names. Those are superbia (pride), invidia (envy), ira (anger), gula (gluttony), luxuria (lust), avarita (greed), and accidia (sloth).  Henry Henry. 2006. The Seven Deadly Sins Today (Orig Pub 1978). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. page iv.

[3] Jacqueline L. Salmon. “Calling the Flock to God, Away From the Fridge” Washington Post, January 22, 2007 (http://wapo.st/SkJ4V9).

Reynolds: Man up; Get Healthy

Also see:

Books, Films, and Ministry

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Obituary_HFH

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Shalom: Monday Monologues (podcast) August 3, 2020

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Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020 (Ken Burtram Photography)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on shalom. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Shalom: Monday Monologues (podcast) August 3, 2020

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Obituary_HFH

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Autumn Prayer

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Compassionate Father,

I give thanks for the walks that we have shared through summer days of my youth: the forest trails that we journeyed together; the mountain peaks that you showed me; the sandy beaches that went on and on. You held my hand, but let me lead and comforted me throughout—I worried only about the getting too much sun or avoiding the rain or just how best to have fun—thank you. As the years went by, you never left me—thank you. Teach me now how to take walks again in the autumn of my days: to travel paths yet untraveled with young hands eager for the journey; to offer peace and security and comfort and hospitality at odds with my nature but not with yours.

Be ever near through the power of your Holy Spirit and in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Autumn Prayer

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Oración de Otoño

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Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Padre compasivo,

Doy gracias por los paseos que hemos compartido durante los días de verano de mi juventud: los senderos del bosque que recorrimos juntos; los picos de las montañas que me mostraste; las playas de arena que seguían y seguían. Me cogiste de la mano, pero me dejaste guiar y me consoló todo el tiempo. Me preocupaba el sol excesivo o la lluvia, o la mejor manera de divertirme—gracias. A medida que pasaron los años, nunca me dejaste—gracias. Enséñame ahora a caminar de nuevo en el otoño de mis días: recorrer caminos aún sin recorrer con manos jóvenes ansiosas por el viaje; para ofrecer paz y seguridad, comodidad y hospitalidad en desacuerdo con mi naturaleza pero no con la tuya. 

Estar siempre cerca a través del poder de tu Espíritu Santo y en el nombre de Jesús, Amén.

Oración de Otoño

Ver también:

Oración del Creyente

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Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Make Peace—Embody Shalom

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Honored are the peacemakers, 

for they shall be called sons of God. 

(Matt 5:9)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

The Garden of Eden begins as a picture of God’s shalom whose harmony was shattered when Satan tempted Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When Adam and Eve responded by eating from the tree, they displayed more trust in Satan than in God. This broken trust shattered their intimate relationship with God and God cursed Satan saying:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. (Gen 3:15)

God then expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:24). Adam and Eve’s sin in Eden thus originated our tension with God—“enmity” sounds like a 50-cent word for tension.

The need for peacemaking followed in the first post-Eden generation, when we read:

So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. (Gen 4:5-7)

God saw Cain angry at his brother, Abel, and counseled Cain to avoid sin by controlling his anger (Gen 4:6–7). Unable to control his anger, Cain ignored God’s counsel and murdered Abel, displaying tension within himself, with God and with his brother. Jesus recounts this story in the Sermon on the Mount where he links anger with murder (Matt 5:21–26).

In the story of Cain and Abel, God models peacemaking, a divine attribute and messianic title (Isa 9:6–7) by advising self-control, avoiding sin, and helping others. In doing so, God embodies shalom (Guelich 1982, 92). The Hebrew word, shalom,  means “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace” (BDB 10002). The Greek word for shalom has a similar scope, but more often it focuses on “concord, peace, harmony” (BDAG 2285). The English word, “peace”, is almost exclusively focused on the absence of war and requires extension to encompass shalom, which mitigates all three dimensions of tension. For example, we might talk about inner peace or peace and well-being, but peace itself is too narrow to compare with shalom.

Peacemaking is a major motif in the Sermon on the Mount. Peacemaking anticipates the next two Beatitudes and provides a context for later teaching on love, where Jesus commands:

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5:44-48)

Note the parallel here between loving your enemy and peacemaking and that God models both activities. Other applications of shalom appear in Jesus’ teaching, as found in Matthew 10:

1. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. (Matt 10:13)

2. Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matt 10:34)

In Hebrew, “shalom” is used to say both hello and goodbye, but the idea of taking it with you suggests something more like hospitality. Divine hospitality, the idea of peace on earth, suggests a more political interpretation—peace as a the absence of conflict among nations—where peacemaking can be positive or negative depending on its object. In first century Israel, for example, Pax Romana (translated as Roman peace) promised tranquility but delivered via a brutal occupation, not what we normally associate with peace. The key is to ask what is the object of the peace: justice, wholeness, or maintenance of privilege? (Neyrey 1998, 184)

The context of peacemaking is important in understanding the transformational potential of tension. Listen for the tension in Jesus’ words to the disciples:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

Jesus comforted to his disciples following his crucifixion in the midst of fear and uncertainty by offering them shalom. But, he went even further. In Christ’s atoning death on the cross, he defeated sin and offered us peace with God.

References

BibleWorks. 2011. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, LLC. <BibleWorks v.9>.

Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius (BDB). 1905. Hebrew-English Lexicon, unabridged. (BibleWorks)

Guelich, Robert. 1982. The Sermon on the Mount: A Foundation for Understanding. Dallas: Word Publishing.

Neyrey, Jerome H. 1998. Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Obituary_HFH

 

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Haz la Paz—Encarna a Shalom

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102

Honrados los que procuran la paz, 

pues ellos serán llamados hijos de Dios. 

(Matt 5:9)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

La Jardín de Eden empieza como una pintura del shalom de Dios cuya armonía se hizo añicos cuando Satanás  tentó a Adán y Eva a comer del árbol del conocimiento del bien y del mal. Cuando Adán y Eva a respondieron por comer del árbol, mostraron más confianza en Satanás que en Dios. Esta confianza rota destrozó su relación íntima con Dios y Dios maldijo a Satanás diciendo:

Pondré enemistad Entre tú y la mujer, Y entre tu simiente y su simiente; él te herirá en la cabeza, y tú lo herirás en el talón. (Gen. 3:15)

Dios luego expulsó a Adán y Eva de la Jardín de Eden (Gen 3:24). El pecado de Adán y Eva en Eden originó nuestra tensión con Dios— enemistad parece como una palabra de tensión de 50 centavos.

La necesidad de hacer la paz siguió en la primera generación posterior al Edén, cuando leemos:

Caín se enojó mucho y su semblante se demudó. Entonces el SEÑOR dijo a Caín: ¿Por qué estás enojado, y por qué se ha demudado tu semblante? Si haces bien, ¿no serás aceptado? Pero si no haces bien, el pecado yace a la puerta y te codicia, pero tú debes dominarlo. (Gen 4:5-7)

Dios vio a Caín enojado con su hermano, Abel, y le aconsejó que evitara el pecado controlando su ira (Gen 4:6–7). Incapaz de controlar su ira, Cain ignoró el consejo de Dios y asesinó a Abel, mostrando tensión dentro de sí mismo, con Dios, y con su hermano. Jesús cita esta historia en el Sermón de la Monte donde vincula ira con asesinato (Matt 5:21–26).

En la historia de Caín y Abel, Dios modela el hacer de paz, un atributo divino y titulo mesiánico (Isa 9:6–7) aconsejar el autocontrol, evitar pecado, y ayudar los demás. Al hacerlo, Dios encarna shalom (Guelich 1982, 92). La palabra hebrea, shalom, significa “integridad, solidez, bienestar, paz” (BDB 10002).  La palabra griego para shalom tiene un alcance similar, pero más a menudo se centra en “concordia, paz, armonía” (BDAG 2285). La palabra paz en ingles es casi exclusivamente centrado en la ausencia de guerra y require extensión a abarcar  shalom, lo que mitigata todas tres dimensiones de tensión. Por ejemplo, podemos hablar sobre paz interior y bienestar, pero la paz en sí misma es demasiado estrecha para compararla con shalom.

Hacer paz es un motivo importante en el Sermón de la Monte. Hacer paz anticipa las dos Bienaventuranzas siguientes y proporciona un contexto para la enseñanza posterior sobre el amor, donde Jesús ordena:

Pero Yo les digo: amen a sus enemigos y oren por los que los persiguen, para que ustedes sean hijos de su Padre que está en los cielos; porque El hace salir Su sol sobre malos y buenos, y llover sobre justos e injustos. Porque si ustedes aman a los que los aman, ¿qué recompensa tienen? ¿No hacen también lo mismo los recaudadores de impuestos? Y si saludan solamente a sus hermanos, ¿qué hacen más que otros? ¿No hacen también lo mismo los Gentiles (los paganos)? Por tanto, sean ustedes perfectos como su Padre celestial es perfecto. (Matt 5:44-48)

Nota el paralelo aqui entre amen a sus enemigos y hacer paz y que Dios modela ambas actividades. Otras aplicaciones de shalom aparecen en la enseñanza de Jesús, como se encuentró en Mateo 10:

1. Y si la casa es digna, que su saludo de paz venga sobre ella; pero si no es digna, que su saludo de paz se vuelva a ustedes. (Matt. 10:13)

2. No piensen que vine a traer paz a la tierra; no vine a traer paz, sino espada. (Matt 10:34)

En hebreo, shalom se usa a decir tanto hola como adiós, pero la idea de llevarlo junto contigo sugiere algo más como hospitalidad. La hospitalidad divina, la idea de paz en la tierra, sugiere una interpretación más política—paz como una ausencia de conflicto entre naciones—donde hacer paz puede ser positivo o negativo dependiente sobre el objetivo de ello. En el primer siglo de Israel, por ejemplo, Pax Romana (traducido como paz romana) prometió tranquilidad pero se entregó a través de una ocupación brutal, no lo que normalmente asociamos con la paz. La clave es preguntar cuál es el objeto de la paz: ¿justicia, integridad o mantenimiento de privilegios? (Neyrey 1998, 184)

El contexto de hacer paz es importante para comprender la potenticia transformational de tensión. Escuche para la tensión en las palabras de Jesús a los discípulos:

La paz les dejo, Mi paz les doy; no se la doy a ustedes como el mundo la da. No se turbe su corazón ni tenga miedo. (John 14:27)

Jesús consueló a sus discípulos después de su crucifixión en medio del miedo y la incertidumbre ofreciéndoles shalom. Pero, él fue aún más lejos. En la muerte expiatoria de Cristo en la cruz, derrotó al pecado y nos ofreció paz con Dios.

Referencias

BibleWorks. 2011. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, LLC. <BibleWorks v.9>.

Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius (BDB). 1905. Hebrew-English Lexicon, unabridged. (BibleWorks)

Guelich, Robert. 1982. The Sermon on the Mount: A Foundation for Understanding. Dallas: Word Publishing.

Neyrey, Jerome H. 1998. Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Haz la Paz—Encarna a Shalo

Ver también:

Gospel as Divine Template

Otras formas de participar en línea:

Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Boletín informativo: https://bit.ly/Obituary_HFH

 

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Remembering Billie Hiemstra

OurFamily

Obituary

Internment program

Mom’s favorite Bible passage was: (Deut. 6:4-5)

Mom’s Bible highlights this psalm of David: (Ps. 27:1-14)

Another of Mom’s favorite psalms is: (Ps. 121:1-8)

The final reading today is taken from the Gospel of John, which records the resurrection:

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, Woman, why are you weeping? She said to them, They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him. Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned and said to him in Aramaic, Rabboni! (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, I have seen the Lord—and that he had said these things to her. (John 20:11-18 ESV)

The Gospel Story

The Gospel story is the story of Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. This story is the focus of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—in the New Testament, and of faith statements, like the Apostle’s Creed.

Christianity began in a graveyard with the resurrection. The resurrection could not have occurred without Jesus’ crucifixion and death which was, in turn, associated with his life and ministry. Because Jesus’ life and ministry was chronicled looking back from the resurrection, each sentence in the New Testament should be prefaced with these words: Jesus rose from the dead, therefore . . . Jesus’ life, ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection are the Gospel story.

Christians, like Mary Magdalene, are the ones running from the cemetery to tell the rest of the world that Jesus lives (Matt 28:8). Why? Because the future is in Christ; death is only a transition, not the final word. This is why the Gospel message is described as the Good News.

Hazel Fern Hiemstra

My mother, Hazel Fern Hiemstra, was known to her friends as Billie. Billie liked to have fun, which we know because Billie was her stage name when she sang popular music in the early 1950s. We also know that she met the love of her life, my father, out roller skating with her friends. Mom and Dad were married roughly a year later on September 13, 1952.

Mom also had a serious side. Her entire life she wanted to become a missionary. Caring for this family was her primary mission field (2X).

If you do not believe me, consider how she cared for Dad these past few years. Dad’s Alzheimer’s rendered him unable to manage his finances in October 2013. Mom cared for Dad without assistance until she had hip surgery in January 2018—a total of five years. After that point, she required the assistance of professional caregivers. Even then, Mom never complained.

Mom’s interest in missions was not something new. Her mother, Marietta Salter Deacon, set an example for her at a young age working in missions in Guelph, Ontario already in the 1930s. Marietta died of cancer in 1941 when Mom was only about eleven years old. From that point forward, Mom cared for her younger siblings—a job normally reserved for adults.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Mom and Dad both volunteered for work with the Billy Graham Evangelistic campaigns in California while Dad was finishing his doctoral degree at the University of California at Berkley. When the family moved to Northern Virginia in 1960, Mom soon began volunteer work at the Central Union Mission in Washington DC helping provide for the homeless and alcoholics.

In this year of racial sensitivity, let me end with one more Mom story. Back in the early 1960s when racial segregation was still the norm, permanent press was unknown and women normally spent an entire day each week doing laundry and ironing to keep their families presentable.  Working at Central Union Mission downtown in Washington DC, Mom met an unemployed black woman named Rose and decided to help her find work. Together with other women in the neighborhood she set up a coop to employ Rose doing ironing for different families each one day every other week. Rose continued to work ironing for us for years and she was the first black person that I ever met. At the time, Mom was still in her thirties—not much older that the Hiemstra grandchildren here today.

Mom believed that she could make a difference in people’s lives. She always wanted to be a missionary and she was.

Remembering Billie Hiemstra

Also see:

Water Cooler Observations, June 24, 2020

Interview about the Corona Life in English and Spanish with Stephen W. Hiemstra, April 24, 2020

Managing Change 

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/HangHome_2020

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