Dear blog, here’s the situation. I finished my day’s work early, and now I have to wait a full 45 minutes till my sweetheart comes home. I’m sitting here in this apartment all alone with nothing to do. It’s wintertime, so I can’t go for a walk without dying again; plus I’m not in the mood to read any of the books that are on the coffee table. So I decided to spend a little time writing to you. I hope you don’t mind.
But what should we talk about? Well my coworkers were arguing about politics today, because there is an election coming up soon—maybe we should talk about politics. Alright, here’s the score. All of the presidential candidates are fit for the job: I’m sure that whoever is elected will do very well. This country has been going strong for a number of decades, even a century or two, during which time it has treated every living creature fairly. That sums it up.
Still no sweetheart. OK, let’s change the subject… No, let’s continue discussing politics. This is fun.
I recently watched a campaign ad for one of the candidates. It showed the man with his wife and their two little girls praying before a meal at the table. I saw a couple different takes of this commercial: in the first one they started the prayer with the words “Dear Jesus,” and in the second they said “Dear God.” This triggered memories of other times that I have heard people praying. Once I heard someone say “Dear Father Jesus” at the beginning of her prayer, and this struck me as strange because I thought that Jesus was the Son, not the Father. But maybe Jesus really did have children.
My sweetheart just walked in the door! …But I’ll still say a couple more things here, because right now my mind is like a diesel truck speeding down the freeway—it’ll take a moment to bring this thing to a stop.
The King James Bible names the Prophet Samuel’s mother as Hannah. In verse eleven of the book titled after her son, Hannah prays a prayer. She starts her prayer with the words “O LORD of hosts,” which is to say, “O Yahweh of the Armed Forces of Heaven…”
(For the record, I start my own prayers with the phrase “Dear blog…”)
Just an annoying side-note: although it’s true that Samuel’s mom prays neither to Jesus nor to God but to “Yahweh of Armies,” the King James translators render the name “Yahweh” as the title “LORD,” in all caps. The only exception to this is when the original text says “Lord Yahweh,” they don’t write “Lord LORD”—in those cases, they change the name “Yahweh” to the title “GOD,” likewise in all caps, so it reads “Lord GOD.” …Now back to the story:
And it came to pass, as she continued praying before Yahweh, that Eli [the priest] marked her mouth.
Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
I’m fascinated by these verses (12-13) because they show how uncommon it was, back in biblical times, to pray quietly to oneself—since Hannah is not declaiming her prayer ostentatiously, the priest assumes she is blitzed on pure grain alcohol. For the ideal way to pray is aloud: preferably at the dinner table, with one’s Christian family, prior to enjoying the Feast of Holiday Ham.
While the sun rose today I read, for the first time, the initial chapters of Elijah Muhammad’s Message to the Blackman in America. The focus was to show that speaking of God as an unknown, mysterious trinity of abstractions—Father, Son, and Ghost—is altogether wrong. The truth is that God is a human being: a real man. (That’s my understanding of the message, so far.)
I just wanted quickly to note how the above statements match those of my own favorite prophet, William Blake—here’s a part that I quote all the time, from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, where Blake uses the word “Prolific” to mean something like “Creator”: “Some will say, Is not God alone the Prolific? I answer, God only Acts & Is, in existing beings or Men.”
I have a detachable hood that I wear for winter biking, and I laundered this hood last night, so, during my afternoon ride to our local library, the scent of freshness accompanied me like a nimbus. When I arrived, however, this boon was counterbalanced by the sight of a Jehovah’s Witness, who had set up a display of propaganda pamphlets directly in front of the bike racks. To park, I had to stand within arm’s reach of the guy…
He spoke to me while I adjusted my combo lock, but it wasn’t so bad—I was relieved that he limited his conversation to small talk. He asked me if my bike was “one of those lightweight ones,” and I said I don’t know. Then he told me that a few hours ago a young man arrived on “a bicycle that could fold completely in half,” and “he was drinking a cup of coffee while he rode.”