Toys of desperation…

"What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord, Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff That beetles o'er his base into the sea, And there assume some other horrible form, Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason And draw you into madness? think of it: The very place puts toys of desperation, Without more motive, into every brain That looks so many fathoms to the sea And hears it roar beneath."
– Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4, WIlliam Shakespeare

In this scene of Hamlet, the ghost of Hamlet's murdered father, The Dane, has returned and beckons Hamlet to follow him…the ghost has an important word. Hamlet, unsure whether the ghost is divine or demonic, though clearly in his father's form, wishes to follow in spite of the worried warning by his friend Horatio. Horatio wonders aloud if the ghost will bid Hamlet jump from the cliff and into the sea below. Horatio remarks that "…without more motive…" that the cliff, the very place, puts "…toys of desperation, into every brain…" What is it that is touched on here that Shakespeare says happens universally in the mind of man? What is that toy of desperation? Its the notion that a man, not just the one openly and obviously desperate, but everyman everywhere…acutely aware of the tininess of three score and ten in comparison with the vastness of the hereafter wonders why he shouldn't just go. This is the toying with the notion that all of eternity could begin now. Step off the cliff and the preamble is over and that drama of substance – all of eternity – begins. Who am I? Really? Maybe I should just get on with it. Man…everyman, knows he is eternal and that he is only an alien in this realm.

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Unless a seed fall to the ground…

In late August of the year 430, St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, father to many, lay praying and dying as the Vandals laid siege to his North African home and country, and more particularly to that remnant of the failing and falling Roman Empire. Augustine had consolidated the searching opinions of the 2nd and 3rd century church fathers and prepared the church for what was soon to come. The burden of holding Western culture together had defaulted from a crumbling Rome to a church ascendant – and in that passing of authority would be revealed both dross and fine gold. The latter the clay that would come together in the Enlightenment…the pure metal, that which would shine eternal.

– Native Son, July 17, 2017

The Scrolls of the Anointed One: Reading Luke 4:14-19 in Conversation with Revelation 5

Lucas Vieira

Luke’s inclusion of the Isaiah scroll in 4:14-19 points to the son of Mary- Jesus- as the anointed one who has come to bring justice for the downtrodden and marginalized. The question then arises, how is the community of believers (aka the church) supposed to understand and act upon this prophetic announcement? Does Jesus’ proclamation of his spirit-empowered identity in any way inform those who follow him about their own identity? John’s vision of the throne room of God in Revelation 5, I will suggest, illuminates our understanding of the identity of Jesus as the Χριστός (the Christ/Messiah/Anointed One), and thus elucidates our understanding of the identity of Jesus’s followers, namely the community of believers.

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came…

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My heart breaks for America, but rejoices in hope.

Lucas Vieira

I look around and see a nation divided. How did we get here? How did we get to the point where one neighbor hates another and where people on both sides of the aisle are called liars? How did we get to the point where Christians argue viciously that our only hope to “save” America is to vote for one of two candidates who, in my opinion, are both flagrantly wicked?  How did we arrive at the place in which we have begun to idolize our candidates, placing our allegiance to them over our conscience, our Scriptures, and our love for our neighbor? I have no desire to further discuss the failures of our political system, our political candidates, and the failures of our nation during this time which is filled with both anger and fear, but there is something I must say.

Though my heart breaks for America, my heart rejoices…

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Peace in the Questions

Lucas Vieira

I spend a lot of time in the little prayer chapel at my school asking God for answers.
In those moments of inquiry, confusion, and yearning, sometimes I expect Him to give me an answer right away. Yet most of the time, God doesn’t work that way. And that’s totally okay. Sometimes what we really need isn’t immediate answers- what we really need is peace in the midst of the questions. Thankfully, the lover of my soul is the Prince of Peace. He’s got me. He’s got you. Just give Him your questions, and He’ll give you his peace.

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The summit of philosophy…

“But Moses, who had early reached the very summits of philosophy, and who had learnt from the oracles of God the most numerous and important of the principles of nature, was well aware that it is indispensable that in all existing things there must be an active cause, and a passive subject; and that the active cause is the intellect of the universe, thoroughly unadulterated and thoroughly unmixed, superior to virtue and superior to science, superior even to abstract good or abstract beauty…”

Yonge, C. D. with Philo of Alexandria. (1995). The works of Philo: complete and unabridged. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.