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.




May 25, 2020

Today—Thursday, May 21—is the Feast of the Ascension.  Forty days after Easter morning, the Book of Acts relates that Jesus is taken up into heaven while his disciples look on. Jesus has just commanded them to remain in Jerusalem until they are baptized with the Holy S...

May 15, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s,

I hope you all continue to be well.  I know that a couple of you have spent time dealing with coronavirus symptoms and I am delighted and grateful that you are now feeling better.

Today, I am going to wax a bit more practical than I have in my...

May 8, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s,

It’s a perfect day in Connecticut!  Days like this one made Pam and me fall in love with Southern Connecticut when we first moved here ten years ago. The sky is blue, a gentle breeze blows, trees return to the rich green of spring and summer,...

May 1, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s,

I was hiking in East Rock Park this morning.  It was a lovely, if somewhat cool, spring morning with tiny leaves emerging from dormant tree limbs and rain drops dancing on the mirrored waters of the Mill River.  As you can imagine, between the...

April 23, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s,

Happy Earth Day to all!

I hope this note finds you in good health and good spirits.  And, on this 50th Earth Day, as I said on Easter Sunday, I hope that, amidst the challenges and stresses of these strange times, you have been able to apprecia...

April 23, 2020

Year A, Easter Sunday

Happy Easter!

Some might wonder, how can I say this in the midst of our terrible current public health difficulties and the deep disruption that has affected us all?

Many of us have lost employment and income; others continue to work, but at great ri...

April 10, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s,

I pray you and your family and friends all are keeping well.

Again, I’d like to thank Gretchen, Sue and Aldon for leading our Holy Week Evening Prayer services and for having the patience and determination to overcome any technological impedime...

April 4, 2020

Year A, Fifth Sunday in Lent

This morning, I want to touch on the same two topics we have been visiting for the past few weeks.

First, in our Seeing Beyond Difference: Jesus’ Kingship of Kinship Lenten series, we have come back to where we started.

Where we started, prett...

April 2, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s,

I hope this finds you well in spite of these hard times. Sadly, we have just learned of the first COVID-19 related death in Hamden and, in the past few days, I have learned of a number of people not far removed from myself who have been direct...

March 29, 2020

Year A, Fourth Sunday in Lent

As I did last week, I want to honor our Lenten topic: Seeing beyond difference:  Jesus’ Kingship of Kinship. As it has the past two weeks, the gospel reading dovetails nicely with our topic—this week, interfaith relations.

The gospel is the...

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