Sunday, March 29, 2009

Favorite Bible Verse

Today at church I got a favorite Bible verse.

Luke 6:36 (spoken by Jesus): Be compassionate as God is compassionate.

I looked it up in Ryan's "Revised standard version" and it uses the word "merciful" in place of "compassionate;" and I looked it up in Ryan's"The New English Bible" and it said "Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate;" and I looked it up in my old "Good News for Modern Man" Bible and it said, "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." "The Way" says, "Try to show as much compassion as your Father does." The NIV version says "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" with a footnote that says "God's perfection should be our example and goal."

(Yes, we identify as UUs. But UUs have many sources of wisdom, including "Jewish and Christian teachings." Ryan and I each have the Bibles of our a few more. They sit on a shelf in "Grandpa's bookcase" in the middle of our home, next to writings by the Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, Thoreau, Emerson, and a handful of poets including Mary Oliver, Blake, Wordsworth, and Kahlil Gibran, as well as other spiritual writings. )

For a woman who loves language, the differences in the different Bibles are fascinating, for mercy and compassion mean slightly different things with important distinctions.

Still, the version that strikes me is the simple, "Be compassionate as God is compassionate." To me, it's an excellent summary of all that is best about Christianity, and it resonated deeply with me.

I attended the Dalai Lama Seeds of Compassion event about a year ago, and I am truly trying to bring compassion into my life. I'm grateful to have another verse to meditate with.

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