Harrowing Of Hell
September 18, 2022

Women’s Retreat Group: September Notes

Dear WRG attendees,

I felt blessed to have each of you with us on the first day of the 2022-2023 Women’s Retreat Group season; thank you for attending. We’ve successfully kicked off the season and hope to address the technical snafus. Ann Beck will lead the next session with Lead Feed partner Ellie Kniffin on Saturday, October 1st, at the Christie House.  In November, we’re delighted to have Diana Bender joining us to lead our ½-day retreat on Discernment. There will be more detail on this session as that date draws near. However, I spoke about a book by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Dignity of Difference, which may be an excellent primer for our time together in November.

This morning we covered weighty material in Psalms, Job, Acts, and John. I asked you to think about these Bible verses in the context of Queen Elizabeth II and her role as “Supreme Governor of the Church of England” and her many challenges of being a Monarch for 70 years. I had this epiphany and desire to tie in this topical news after reading Doyt’s message to the congregation, calling our attention to the fact that Queen Elizabeth II carried out The Protestant Reformation goal of setting the Bible at the center of the Christian experience  (attached as a word document). Additional details on our Forward Day by Day verses are here: Saturday, September 10th., and for a sneak peek at our upcoming Forward Day by Day verses, click here: Saturday, October 1st.

Several words, books, or items merit more study.  Please excuse me, as I am sure that I’ve missed a few, but here is what I recall:

In Psalm, we encountered the word Selah.  Our quick Google study on the spot noted it as musical reference.  Researching from my PC at home, here’s some additional information: Selah (/ˈsiːlə(h)/; Biblical Hebrew: סֶלָה, romanized: selā) is a word used 74 times in the Hebrew Bible. Its etymology and precise meaning are unknown, though various interpretations are given.  It is probably either a liturgical-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, with the meaning of “stop and listen.” Another proposal is that selah can be used to indicate that there is to be a musical interlude at that point in the Psalm.[1] It can also be interpreted as a form of underlining in preparation for the next paragraph.

The reading from Job: Julia Putnam mentioned a word I never hear: Midrash.  Here is what i found online: 1) This is a Judaic biblical interpretation; 2) the method used in interpreting; 3) a collection of such interpretations.  More on this way of thinking and a mode of self-expression noted here: LINK.  Julia also encouraged us to learn more about the three friends who console Job, as they represent archetypes, as we all struggle with the radical tension of an all knowing and loving God with our own actual human experience.  Later, Julia mentioned an insightful book she read by Stephen Mitchell called The book of Job.  Here’s the Good Reads review: The theme of The Book of Job is nothing less than human suffering and the transcendence of it: it pulses with moral energy, outrage, and spiritual insight. Now, The Book of Job has been rendered into English by the eminent translator and scholar Stephen Mitchell, whose versions of Rilke, Israeli poetry, and the Tao Te Ching have been widely praised. This is the first time ever that the Hebrew verse of Job has been translated into verse in any language, ancient or modern, and the result is a triumph.

Next, the reading from Acts: Margie Einstein shared with us a book that she’s reading, Paul: A biography, by NT Wright.  Here’s the brief Amazon one-sentence overview: In this definitive biography, renowned Bible scholar, Anglican bishop, and best-selling author N. T. Wright offers a radical look at the apostle Paul, illuminating the humanity and remarkable achievements of this intellectual who invented Christian theology – transforming a faith and changing the world. 

Special Guests:  Our wonderful guest speaker, Sally Clarke, did not disappoint and had us mesmerized and did indeed provide incomparable insights – thank you Sally!  We all now have a little better understanding of what the Alter Guild does.  We delighted in learning about vested Chalice, or The STACK, as well as the tie-in of the Liturgical calendar and colors (pictures below).  We held up parishioners Sandra Darling and Alice Foreman for their amazing contribution to our parish alongside Sally, and closed by being tickled pink with the understanding of the Rose Advent candle.  If you’d like to learn more about Alter Guild, please feel free to contact Sally directly at alsal88@comcast.net.  Please note extra helping hands are always needed around Advent/Christmas and Easter, that said, the Alter Guild is actively recruiting!

Finally, feel free to catch up with our wonderful Karen Forbes through her blog posts, Juniper Adventures: LINK.  Maybe she’ll bring us all along next time!

Blessings over all of you.  I hope to see you at church and tomorrow’s picnic.