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.




July 6, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s,

Somehow this week seems quieter than the last few.  Or maybe I’m just getting used to new rhythms of life.  Perhaps I am comforted by the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on LGBTQ rights, DACA policies and gun regulation.  Though something tel...

July 6, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s,

It has been another week of strong impressions even if events have been somewhat less dramatic than those of last week.  

Impression 1

On Sunday, a rally for justice took place at Hamden’s Memorial Town Hall.  The peaceful protest was welcomed a...

June 10, 2020

Trinity Sunday, Year A

Come, Holy Breath, fill our hearts, set us all on fire for you. Amen.

It is good to be “back,” even if right now it is still just over zoom. I’ve completed my spring semester at seminary and am around for the summer. I am in my summer classes, an...

June 6, 2020

Dear Grace and St Peter’s,

It has been a challenging week for all of us.  Wildly disturbing, almost unimaginable scenes play across our computer screens and televisions.  Burning cities; broken windows; bystanders, protestors and police being injured and killed; police...

May 31, 2020

Happy Birthday Church, Happy Birthday Grace and St Peter’s!

Sunday is Pentecost, the day (two thousand years ago) when the Holy Spirit swept into the house where Jesus’ disciples were hunkered down, alighted on them like tongues of fire, and cast them out into the publi...

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...

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