Comments and Meditations from the Rev. Robert Bergner, Priest-in-Charge

Welcome to Thoughts from the Center Aisle.

What follows are mainly my reflections on lectionary scripture, but also other theological and spiritual musings.  Sometimes there will be a full sermon, sometimes just notes and sketches.

Please feel free to comment in a constructive, civil way.  I will be happy to learn what you have to say.


        Here are three things to keep in mind when reading, thinking about and discussing scripture:

  1. The Bible is a multivocal compilation of documents written over the course of more than a thousand years.  Its authors (with several authors sometimes team writing—willingly or not—the same document) say different things in different places—even within their own writings.  And that's okay!

  2. As with any text (or anything), each reader reads and interprets biblical text from the perspective of her or his own personal experience, education and preferences (which inevitably change over time).  Like snowflakes, no two readers are alike and no two interpretations are the same.

  3. The Bible was written in three ancient languages—Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.  None of these languages have been used in their ancient form for hundreds, even thousands, of years.  Those ancient languages are then translated in myriad variations into hundreds of languages that are spoken today.  Given the impressive linguistic complexities of translating defunct languages and the transformation of life and culture that has taken place over several thousand years, it is nearly impossible that the sense we take from, say, a modern English translation of a biblical text is precisely what its original author or authors intended.  Translation is interpretation.




September 13, 2020

Hello Grace and St Peter’s,

I hope you all had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend.  Perhaps you were able to get to the beach or the mountains or at least a backyard barbecue—socially distanced, of course.

Just before the weekend, we received some good G&SP news about a coup...

September 7, 2020

Proper 18, Year A

It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The bloo...

August 31, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s,

After a delightful, restful two weeks on Cape Cod, it is great to be back amongst you worshipping, serving, praying and raising a loud shout to God with psalms—well, maybe not the loud shouting due to ongoing public health restrictions. But, e...

August 18, 2020

Proper 15, Year A

Given this morning’s somewhat surprising story about Jesus’ interaction with a Canaanite woman—or a Syrophoenician woman as the Gospel of Mark’s version would have it—I thought it might be fun and enlightening to listen in on an imaginary conversation...

August 17, 2020

Year A, Proper 13

Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the d...

July 30, 2020

We wish Rev. Bob a restful vacation and look forward to spending the next three Sundays worshiping with our lay leaders along with Father Joseph on August 2 and 9. We want to take a moment to acknowledge Bob for going way above and beyond the call of duty during the Pa...

July 27, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s and St John’s,

This is likely going to be my last mid-week message for a few weeks so I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for coming on our great ecclesial adventure of the past few months. There have been many challenges and, also, m...

July 21, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s, Hamden, and St John’s, North Haven,

Two weeks in, I think I can safely say that our summer experiment in combined outdoor worship is going well. We’ve had over fifty people attend our service on the side lawn at St John’s with more following o...

July 6, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s, Hamden, and St John’s, North Haven,

I am delighted that so many of you were able and willing to join us on the side lawn at St John’s for Morning Prayer this past Sunday. I understand that, due to health and safety concerns, the service was no...

July 6, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s,

Last Sunday, we completed the first part of our Covid-19 communal worship journey—a journey that has taken us to some of the most beautiful and most important sites in Hamden. Thanks to Allison Batson and Aldon Hynes’ technological handiwork,...

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