Welcome to World WReligion Wednesdays!

I teach “Christianity and World Religions” at a university. Today, I’m embarking on a new rhythm: I’m going to post about World Religions every Wednesday. My hope is for the posts to cheerfully prompt new ways of thinking, truth-discovery, and great dialogue. You are reading this, so you’re here in this flat-screened coffee shop of blog-mugs and internet-tea with us! How grand! Do feel free to pull up a mismatched chair and join the chat. I’m glad you are here.


dharma bike

Samsara

If I was on a bike in the sun, I’d want to keep riding as long as my happy legs could. If I was on a bike with a flat tire on a muddy path, being followed by a gaggle of cantankerous geese, I’d want to get off that bike.

I teach “Christianity and World Religions” at a university. I currently teach at night so, I often come home with my thoughts whirring rather than sleeping. Like tonight.

Tonight it’s about samsara – the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth or reincarnation, as linked up in Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as other religions. I’m pondering the ways my own belief system, as a Christian, are different from that. An overarching theme is peace.

I’m thinking about how wonderful it is to have good things be permanent and bad things not be. Namely, suffering will eventually come to an end. Moreover, ecstatic elation, oneness with God, and complete communion with Him will not. I am truly going from glory to glory, ever-increasing in my experience of union with God. That will be most flourishingly activated once I’m no longer earth-tied. Whether I float off like Enoch or live a life that rides on into Jesus’ return, there will come an end to suffering AND a permanent establishing of peace. It will be a true, sweet return to Eden. This is very beautiful; and a great example of God’s value for rest, intimacy, and bliss.

 

What do you think about all this?

 

I believe in Scripture – David Bowden

I love the Bible. I’ve studied it all my life. Moreover, I am a Bible Professor at a university. I get to lead hearts of gladness and curiosity into the embrace of the Bible. It’s an honor. And a joy.

I particularly like this man’s words about the Bible. Enjoy! And feel free to share videos, songs, etc which celebrate the Bible. Let’s stir each other up with more love, more perspective, and more strength.

The Lord My Banner: Adonai Nissi (יְהוָה נִסִּי)

I received the following via email from a friend. I don’t know who the original author is, but I love this information and, more than that, I love the ONE it reveals: our great and beautiful heavenly father. I’ve been thinking about the image of the Lord as my banner recently. It really stuns me with its proclamation and sense of belonging. I think I am newly aware of this because I am engaged and transitioning toward having a shared home with my husband-to-be – a castle of love, glory, and GOD. His banner over US truly is love. He is the flag flying over our castle now and always.

The Lord My Banner: Adonai Nissi (יְהוָה נִסִּי)

“Moses built an altar and called it The LORD [YHVH] is my Banner.”  (Exodus 17:15)

The Lord My Banner or Adonai Nissi (YHVH Nissi) is the name Moses called the altar that he built when he rejoiced over Israel’s victory over the Amalekites at Rephidim.

To understand this name, consider that today, military units and even marching bands often rally behind the standard bearer carrying the flag that identifies the group.

So too, Moses rallied behind the Lord, his Standard-Bearer, and He led the way to victory.

There are several interpretations of the name Nissi (My Banner or My Miracle), which could be derived from nes (miracle, banner, sign); nasa (lifted up), or nus(flee for refuge).

End-Time Messianic Prophecies in Isaiah 11 and Isaiah 49

The Hebrew prophet Isaiah called the Messiah (Root of Jesse) a banner (nes) in a Messianic prophecy.

“In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner [nes] for the peoples; the nations [Goyim] will rally to him, and His place of rest will be glorious.”  (Isaiah 11:10)

Also in Isaiah 49, Isaiah uses the word nissi in connection with the Messiah and the end-time restoration of Israel.

“See, I will beckon to the Gentiles [Goyim], I will lift up my banner [nissi] to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders.”  (Isaiah 49:22)

God’s “banner over us” symbolizes His presence, provision, redemptive power, and love.

We no longer need to be out there on our own, gaining the victory through our own might and devices.  He is our rallying point and our Banner, and we can confidently look to Him for direction and help.

“He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner [dagal] over me is love [ahava].”  (Song of Solomon 2:4)