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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.




January 24, 2020

Year A, Second Sunday after Epiphany

From the moment of creation we are called—called by God—both to be, and to do!

The “being” part is called “life.” The “to do” part, a vocation. It can be the tricky part for most, if not all of us; Yes? Who am I really? What is God ca...

January 17, 2020

First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of Our Lord, Year A

Matthew 3:13-17

Last week Aldon invited us to reflect on journeys—myriad journeys within the biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth: the journey that Luke mentions of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem...

January 10, 2020

Year A, 2nd Sunday after Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Epiphany. It is great to be back at Grace and St. Peter’s after my semester up at Grace Church in Hartford. Thank you, Bob, for giving me the opportunity to preach this morning. It does feels like I’m just pas...

December 17, 2019

Year A, Third Sunday in Advent

THE SONG OF MARY (Luke 1:46-55)

The Song of Mary—also commonly known as the Magnificat for the first word of its Latin translation—that we sing today in place of a psalm, is one of three hymn-like passages that Luke includes at the beginnin...

December 10, 2019

On December 8, the second Sunday of Advent, we had the pleasure and honor of welcoming Anne Rowthorn and her husband, Bishop Jeffery Rowthorn, to Grace & St Peter’s.  Anne preached at the 10:00 am service and helped to lead our “Caring for Creation” Advent discussion g...

December 10, 2019

Year A, Second Sunday in Advent

Psalm 72

Psalm 72 concludes the second of what many consider to be five shorter collections of psalms contained in the larger corpus of 150 psalms. To emphasize that conclusion, the psalm ends with a doxology: “... Blessed be his glorious...

December 3, 2019

Year A, First Sunday of Advent

Psalm 122

Psalm 122 is one of a series of fifteen psalms that include the title Shir Hama’alot—song of ascents. It is generally presumed that these are songs of pilgrimage, evoking the ascent of pilgrims to the hilltop city of Jerusalem. Th...

November 27, 2019

Year C, Proper 29

Psalm 46: Be still and know that I am God

This morning’s psalm follows well on our discussions over the past few weeks about finding security amidst the apparently interminable tumult of the world.  The psalmist assures us that, though it may not always...

November 17, 2019

Year C, Proper 28

CANTICLE 9 (Isaiah 12:2-6)

As we have for the past few weeks, this morning we sing a song of praise to God. Instead of a psalm, however, we sing a portion of the book of Isaiah. This passage is taken from early in his compiled prophecy and concludes, i...

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