Exodus 19 – The Scene at Sinai

You may well know where the Sinai Peninsula is even if you don’t know that you know it. It’s the triangle of land between Israel and northern Egypt. It’s part of the Arabian Peninsula, which connects the African continent to the rest of the Middle East. Oddly enough, the Sinai Peninsula is roughly the same shape as the Arabian Peninsula, only smaller, like a tiny peninsular fractal. Mount Sinai is toward the southern end of the peninsula that bears its name, and here the Israelites arrive and encounter God in today’s yesterday’s Friday’s chapter (oof).

Luke 9 – Narrative Fission

Some stories have a single event that divides them clearly into what happens before the event and what happens after. And of course all the examples I think of are from SNES RPGs: Kefka destroying the planet in Final Fantasy VI, Cecil laying down his dark sword and becoming a paladin in Final Fantasy IV, the party in 2300 AD discovering the video footage from the Day of Lavos in Chrono Trigger. Can I think of a single example from actual history or literature? Probably, if I think long enough. But I feel like in the story of Jesus’ earthly life, the Transfiguration is just such an event.

Psalm 106 – Wearing Our Garbage

We’re in Big Psalm Territory now, and today’s forty-eight-verse song concerns God’s goodness to his rebellious children. I’m reminded of one day from my Modernist Literature class in college when we had been discussing religious themes in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. At the end of the class, the professor tangentially noted that the Old Testament often is uncomplimentary toward its “heroes,” reporting their faults and shortcomings rather than building them up as larger-than-life figures of greatness. You’ll find this phenomenon in the narratives of the Torah, but you’ll also find it in this psalm.