Soundings

Want to learn more from different perspectives about our lessons? Soundings is a an opportunity for our Clergy to provide different insights into our readings and scripture. You may not always agree with the Clergy's interpretations. But that is why Soundings was created. To invite thoughtful discussion. You are welcome to email the author of each article to provide your comments. Welcome to Soundings!

The Transparent Church

By Father David Fisher

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Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh have taken the concept of transparency literally into a church, They have constructed a transparent, see-through church in the Belgian region of Haspengouw. The ten meter structure is made of 100 stacked layers and 2000 columns of steel plates, positioned in such a way as to allow visitors to almost walk through the walls. According to the point of perspective, the church can be perceived either as a traditional church structure, yet with the change of perspective the seemingly solid walls seem to disband before one's eyes in the landscape. An equally perplexing image can be perceived when one looks out to the landscape from the surrounding countryside which is redefined by abstract lines of the church’s architecture. The play of light and shadow is another interesting aspect which is only perceived when the viewer is in the church. During different times of the day, the church interior changes, according to the position of the sun and the direction of the sun light.

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Abide with Me

By Father David Fisher

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The best commentary on the promise of comfort expressed in Psalm 23 is a hymn – “Abide With Me” by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte. Lyte was a curate in County Wexford from 1815 to 1818. The Spectator, 3 Oct. 1925, states that Lyte wrote the hymn in 1820 while visiting a dying friend, William Augustus Le Hunte. As Lyte sat with the dying man, William kept repeating the phrase "abide with me…". After leaving William's bedside, Lyte wrote the hymn and gave a copy of it to Le Hunte's family.

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The Plumb Line

By Father David Fisher

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From 1978 – 1980, I taught philosophy and religious studies at Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL. At Blackburn, all students worked – some in housekeeping, some in the kitchen, and some in construction. One day as I walked across campus I encountered a student I knew. He was standing ,beside a somewhat off key wall, cursing a blue streak. “What’s wrong”, I asked? “Oh, Prof. Fisher; sorry. I forgot the plumb line on this @$*&% wall and I’ll have to tear it down and start over.” I resisted the temptation to cite the prophet Amos: The Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘A plumb-line.’ Then the Lord said, ‘See, I am setting a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.

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Prophets Are Not Without Honor

By Father David Fisher

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Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. Mark 6:4-6 The prophets of ancient Israel are often seen as predictors of future events. While some prophets did prophecy in this sense, the core of their mission was to see through the half-truths and lies which the powerful used to conceal their wrong-doing. When the prophet Nathan tricked King David with a parable ending with the accusation “Thou art the man!”, David realized that his duplicity in arranging Uriah’s death in battle had been revealed.

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To Be Made Well

By Father David Fisher

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In a recent blog post, James R. Dennis, O.P. writes:

At the time of the events reported in today’s Gospel from Mark, Jairus’ daughter was twelve years old. The woman had suffered from her hemorrhaging for twelve years. These two are linked together, as the life flows out of them. One is a daughter of a man of honor and prestige, the other an “unclean” woman lost in her desperation. Both the woman with the blood disorder and the little girl who had died are impure; by touching them, Jesus will share in this impurity. And yet, through the touch of this unique Rabbi, both will find new life.

Both Jairus and the woman with the blood disorder ask “to be made well” (sozo in the Greek). This implies not just a curing them from their physical ailments, but also making them whole, restoring them, saving them. Both Jairus’ daughter and the hemorrhaging woman were made well. But Jesus offered them more than simply restoration of their health; He offered them life.

I don’t think these two stories are simply about Jesus’ remarkable power, or even about miracles. Jesus didn’t come to show us how powerful He was; He came to show us how much God loved us. He came to teach us about the extraordinary power of faith, and about the limitless compassion of the Living God. And if we will reach out to touch His Son, we also will be made well, and live.