Posts tagged ‘Isaiah’

Angel of the North by Blake Debassige

In this painting, The Angel of the North by Ojibwa artist Blake Debassige, we can see how some First Nations artists are integrating the spiritual traditions of their own people with those of the Christian tradition. The painting also reveals the connection between the natural world and the spiritual world.

  1. What familiar symbols can you find?
  2. What elements in the painting show the importance of the natural world to Aboriginal peoples?

Reflection:
Note the wings of the angel in the painting. They are shaped like the wings of an eagle, a spiritual symbol often seen in Aboriginal art. Placing the wings of an eagle on the shoulders of an angel symbolizes a merging of Aboriginal spirituality and Christianity. the angel is drawn as a two-dimensional, transparent figure, revealing the spiritual nature within – a style that is common among the Woodland school of artists made famous in Canada by Norval Morrisseau. The rays from above suggest the presence of the Great Spirit or God. The angel has released one of her sacred feathers as a gift to those who live on the Earth for use in their sacred rituals. The eagle is one of the most sacred spiritual symbols for Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Angel of the North and other similar paintings illustrate the way in which some peoples have integrated their spirituality with their Christian faith.

 

Isaiah 40:31

Survey:

Discuss

Explain these statements:

  • All other natures on earth are commands; only human nature is an invitation.
  • Guilt is one of the many qualities that separate humans from beasts.
  • Baby : cub = acorn : marble
  • Whatever makes us grow as knowers and lovers is good; whatever makes us shrivel as knowers and lovers is evil.
  • Unless you choose to know and love, you automatically choose to be less than human.

Ruby Petunia Fawn felt less than human, even though objectively she surely was human. What is the difference between “feel” and “be”?

Why is guilt often a very good thing?

What objective norm would tell you whether guilt is appropriate or inappropriate?

What makes humans specifically different from all other species?

 

Bible Readings:

Skim these Scripture passages. Pick one that appeals to you and

  1. summarize its main point,
  2. tell how it relates to the theme “Understanding Humanity”,
  3. list one or two thoughts that entered your mind when you read it.
  • “The Good Samaritan” Luke 10:30-37
  • “Come Higher!” Luke 14:15-24
  • “Different Gifts” Genesis 49:1-28
  • “The Giving Soul” Hebrews 5:11-14
  • “Degrading” Isaiah 1:2-6

 

Reflect:

No human is merely a higher-level animal. Each human has the potential – which no animal has – to be far far more.

  • What is the difference between being human and acting human?
  • What test is there that you can apply to an entity to see if it is human – and not something less?
  • When does a baby start being a human entity?
  • When does a person in a coma stop being human?
  • People in mental hospitals, children who murder without any remorse, mob hit men – are all less than fully human, but are they less than human?

 

Quotable Quotes:

“What is man that you think of him; mere man that you care for him?” – Psalm 8:1,3-9

“No man is free who is not master of himself.” – Epictetus

“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” – William Ernest Henley

“Vision … It reaches beyond the thing that is, into the conception of what can be.” Robert Collier

 

Faith reflection

The psalmist described the dignity of humans this way:

Psalm 8:1, 3-9 http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=385540891


You have set your glory above the heavens. 
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established; 
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?


Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honour. 
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet, 
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field, 
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.


Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Pope John Paul II echoed that human dignity when he addressed the united nations in 1979. He said:

It is a question of the highest importance that in internal social life, as well as in international life, all human beings in every nation and country should be able to enjoy effectively their full rights under any political regime or system.

If reason alone and Scripture and the church attest to the dignity of every human being, what effect does that have on arguments about abortion, war, capital punishment, and euthanasia?

 

Activity:

Choose:

  1. Read aloud – or even memorize – Shylock’s response to Salanio and Salarino an The Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Scene 1, that begins “To bait fish withal…” What is Shylock trying to justify? What arguments does he use to justify it? Debate the points for and against Shylock’s argument.
  2. Lord of the Flies embodies the thesis: Human beings are evil at the core, and the only things keeping humans from open savagery are control by civilized society and its law enforcement agencies. Catcher in the Rye embodies precisely the opposite thesis: We are all born innocent and are corrupted – or even driven mad – by the wickedness of the society we are thrust into. Which thesis is true? Why? Or are they both true? Why?
  3. Explain these statements:
    • All other natures on earth are commands; only human nature  is an invitation.
    • Guilt is one of the many qualities that separate humans from beasts.
    • Baby : cub = acorn : marble
    • Whatever makes us grow as knowers and lovers is good; whatever makes us shrivel as knowers and lovers is evil.
    • Unless you choose to know and love, you automatically choose to be less than human.

The name for the collected Hebrew Scriptures is Tanakh. This name comes from the Hebrew letters for the three parts of the scriptures: Torah, Nev’im, and Ketuwim.

Torah, which means “Teaching,” includes the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

Nev’im, which means “Prophets,” includes the books of Joshua, Judges, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Michah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Ketuvim, which means “Writings,” includes the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, I Chronicles, and II Chronicles.

Which part of the Tanakh are each of the following books found?

Isaiah
Leviticus
Daniel
Proverbs

Prophets are people who have a special ability for listening to and speaking for God. The prophet Isaiah, who lived around the eighth century B.C.E., was an adviser to the king of Judah. At that time, the kingdom was under attack from Assyria, Isaiah told the king that god would protect the people if they had faith, but if they rejected god, they would be destroyed.

My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside; he spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; . . . Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes . . . Now, I will let you know what I mean to do to my vineyard: Take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled! Yes, I will make it a ruin: it shall not be pruned or hoed, but overgrown with thorns and briers; I will command the clouds not to send rain upon it. The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his cherished plant. (Isaiah 5: 1-7))

In your own words, explain what Isaiah was saying here.

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