I am not certain if this statement is an insightful take on the accepted text, or alot of projecting on to the text.
It is a damn good idea though. Unfortunate we don't have more evidence.
Considering the weight Papias put on writings does this group consider any other evidence? I have yet to see any posts integrate the traditions related by the church fathers, or archeological evidence.
Michael John Gamache
From: Gordon Raynal <scudi1@...
To: crosstalk2 <email@example.com
Cc: Mike Ensley <mensley@...
Sent: Thursday, 21 May, 2009 8:46:30
Subject: [XTalk] singing (and versing up) Jesus' words on God, "the fruits of/ the way of," and a kerygmatic message (note one)
Hi Bob and all,
As you start with the message of Peter in Acts, I want to write an
addendum note about an important facet about how the kerygmatic
message came to be. My claim is not that this was all that was
involved in producing what surely came to be later core messaging,
but that it is an important part of what folded together to produce
and share this messaging. This facet is singing (and poetic verse
recitation.) In my paradigm I am focusing on this being one of the
activities done "at table." My textual warrants for this come from
the post War, deutero-Pauline letter of Colossians and that snippet
that Jesus and friends are said to have sung after "the Last
Supper." These are late, but I think very suggestive of what did go
back to Jesus' time. As I want to address singing in response to
Jesus' words, singing up the Kingdom Way early after he was gone, and
then finally "singing and versing up" the kerygma, I'll send this in
three separate notes for the sake of focus and brevity. The relevant
texts that push me to write about this are these (with highlights):
"And let the word ***of Christ*** dwell in you richly; teach and
admonish one another ***in all wisdom***; and with gratitude in your
hearts ***sing*** psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God." (Col.
"When they had ***sung*** the hymn, they went out to the Mount of
Olives." (Mark 14:26)
My view is that singing is something that was a regular part of table
fellowship. I think one thing that Jesus' own words evoked was
singing about what his language was pointing to... the highlighted
teaching and admonishment "in all wisdom." (so, note #1). I think
that "the fruits of the Spirit"/ "way of wisdom from above"/ "way of
Life" was shared by singing and poetic verse recitation. So to
speak, singing arouses spirits. In other words, a sharing of the
presence of being amidst God's rule as exemplified by the table
fellowship was found in singing/ recitation. (so, note #2) And it is
from the above practice and from the great song book of the Jewish
tradition, the Psalms, that we can find the core language about
celebrating God the Father, the Parabolic Christ (the messenger
embodied as the message) and the Spirit. (so note, #3).
So here goes and what I am going to provide are a few exemplars of
what may have well have been sung and/or shared by poetic recitation:
1. singing in response to Jesus' wisdom words about God and the
nature of God's rule:
Jesus asked this rhetorical question as a lead into a parable: "With
what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use
for it?" (Mark 4:30)
Psalm 78:1-4 begins with a stanza about parabling and the nature of
what is entailed in parabling. I will note the close of verse 4:
"...we will tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the
Lord, and his might, and the wonders he has done."
Jesus' favored paradigm for speaking about God was in terms of God as
king. Psalm 97 is but one short song that begins with the
exclamation that: "The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice...."
Jesus spoke this aphorism about the way of God's rule: "God makes
his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the
righteous and on the unrighteous. "
Psalm 29 is a lovely song of declaration about the universal power of
God's ruling voice and one that closes with these words: "May the
Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless us with peace!"
Jesus spoke of God's care by posing this question and observation:
"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is
forgotten in God's sight." (Luke 12:6)
In Psalm 84 which celebrates the joy of worship in the temple, verse
3-4 notes the following: "Even the sparrow finds a home and the
swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your
altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Happy are those who
live in your house, ever singing your praise."
Jesus spoke: "If two make peace in a single house, they will say to
the mountain, 'Move from here!' and it will move." Again, see the
close of Psalm 29. Note verses 11-14 in Psalm 34: "Come, O
children, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Which
of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good? Keep your
tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from
evil, and do good: seek peace and pursue it." And then note
especially the closing verses of Psalm 85:8 ff. "Let me hear what
God will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his
faithful, to those who turn their hearts to him... Steadfast love and
faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each
An interesting coincidence: Martin Abegg and his co-authors note in
their intro to their DSS Scrolls translation that the top 3 books
cited/ referred to in the Canonical NT are Psalms (86 references),
Isaiah (63 references) and Deuteronomy (39 references) and that this
order parallels the numbers of copies of mss. found in the Dead Sea
finds. We have those above mentioned citations about singing,
inclusive that Jesus is said to have done it on at least one
occasion. We do not have a list of songs sung and so we must guess.
But considering that song singing and poetic verse saying is a
primary oral art, (My young grand children can sing lots of songs
they hear on the radio (and this includes my 3 1/2 year old
granddaughter who does know at least some lines.) and that we have
this whole great work of Psalms, I think such hymns/ verse that I
cite above are both what stands behind these selected sayings and
that most probably such Psalms were sung in response to the wisdom
sharing Jesus did at table. The particular questions and aphorisms I
chose for this note particularly "point" to God's Kingdom rule and
the nature of that rule (most especially "the peace way" part). I
think Jesus and friends were a singing bunch and that the direction
we later find is that it is important to continue this. The shared
event of singing "stirring songs" and listening to "stirring poetic
verse" is profoundly "spiritual." Such stirs up spirits. So I offer
these Psalms as suggestions for what may have indeed been sung by
Jesus and friends at the table.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]