Date: Second Sunday after the Epiphany – January 17, 2021 Texts: 1 Samuel 3:1-20; Psalm 139:1-10; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51 Context: The liturgical season of Epiphany started Janury 6 – 12 days after Christmas. Last Sunday was the festival of the Baptism of Our Lord, so this is the second Sunday after the Epiphany. […]Reading Ramblings – January 17, 2021 — Living Apologetics
The Nativity – Greg Olsen By Charlie Johnston The first Advent occupied hundreds of years as a groaning world awaited the appearance of the Messiah. When He came in a manger, few noticed it at all. When He began His ministry, the ruling class rejected Him as a dangerous fraud. Even those who believed in […]Our New Advent — A Sign of Hope
Taken on a rather drab late November day, with lockdown restrictions still ongoing.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. [Heb 12:1. NRSV] As we approach the celebration of Samhain as well as All Saint’s Day, […]Samhain/All Saints: The Great Cloud of Witnesses — Sabbats and Sabbaths
*What saint’s day were you born on?
It could be argued that the Bible is the most important and influential book in Western history. I don’t think many would dispute that, even today.
Whilst I would not describe myself as conventionally religious, I certainly do have a long running, off and on, interest in all things biblical.
By non-conventional, I mean that during my life I have explored several religions other than Christianity, such as Buddhism for example.
Grateful for my Indoctrination?
I was brought up nominally in the Church of England. When I was a child we had a religious service every morning at school, from the age of 5 to 18. This leaves an indelible impression upon everyone, whether one is religious or not.
I have to say, although I felt like rebelling against such teachings as a youngster from time to time, I am now extremely grateful to have had that ‘indoctrination’. I do believe morality is important, it gives us a rudder in life, and whilst we can quibble as to the morality of the institutions, I do think that the Bible itself is crucial, especially in regard to canon and common law, the latter especially being a foundation of our civilisation.
Now, I have seen it and heard it said before about randomly opening the Bible and seeing which verse one’s finger points to. I am not entirely sure what this might ‘prove’ but as I also have a strong interest in divination and spirituality, I thought I would give it go, just to see what would happen.
I opened my oldest copy of the King James Version, and my finger fell upon Acts 12, verse 21: “And the hand of the Lord was with them; and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.”
What are my thoughts? Well, my interpretation of this apparently random act, is that like many of us, I have been questioning how long this world crisis will continue. I think I would certainly welcome some divine intervention, some sign to say that God is still with us; Heaven knows it’s been difficult to believe that at times, especially this year.
So do we look to the skies for signs, or perhaps detect them in the more subtle events in our lives, which may suggest that we will get through this and emerge stronger and more spiritually aware on the ‘other side’?
This verse from Acts is at the very beginning of Christianity. Christ’s followers too were looking for signs. Perhaps if we can simply look for the work of God in our lives, in the simple things, realising that there is a greater power beyond all of us who may indeed work in mysterious ways, we can look forward with more patience and tolerance, knowing that life can and will go on. We have to have faith that a new and better world will emerge. This was my instant, personal interpretation of the verse. You may disagree.
I guess that’s quite a lot to make from a few words in Acts of the Apostles, but I think we must look more deeply, or in scientific terms, begin to use more of our playful right brain rather than the more judgmental and exacting left brain which dominates our lives too much at times.
I may pursue this idea — to see which verse my finger will point to on forthcoming days.
Copyright Francis Barker 2020
We stared at the flame
Speaking when the spirit moved
We found solace there
Copyright Francis Barker 2020
Copyright Francis Barker 2020
I have previously written a piece about the 1851 Great Exhibition in London in an astrological context. It is probably coincidental but around the same time there was one other less well publicised and rather odd occurrence in Prussia, in what is now northern Germany.
This strange Caucasian spoke what sounded like an obscure German dialect, but he also stated that he spoke Abramian and Laxarian, the official written and spoken languages of his country. Jophar was also nominally Christian, the name of which he gave as Ispatian.
He called the country of his origin Laxaria, in a region of the world called Sakria. However, when asked to locate his home on a map provided he could not do so. He stated that his country was hundreds of miles away, that the reason for his ‘voyage’ was to locate his long lost brother, and that he had been shipwrecked en route. Intriguingly, he described his world as having several regions, perhaps continents, namely Sakria, Aflar, Astar, Auslar, and Euplar.
It appears that the authorities in Frankfurt an der Oder took his story seriously. He was taken to the then Prussian capital of Berlin for further examination. As far as I can tell, it is not known officially what happened to him.
The fact that Jophar could speak a kind of broken German is interesting. Whilst Laxaria does not suggest too much to me, the name of his country or region, Sakria, may give us a clue.
In our known histories the Scythians, a people who appeared in a broad region north of the Black and Caspian Seas sometime around 2,500 years ago, were also known as Saka, or Sacae. The word Saxon may originate from this. These people were fierce warriors and metalsmiths of great skill. It was these same people who were to later move en masse to central and northern Europe, speaking a form of the Indo European language related to modern day German and other Germanic languages, like English.
Not of this World
So whilst Jophar Vorin does not appear to have been a time traveller, how can we explain his ability to communicate in a form of broken German?
The other regions of his world, which he named as Aflar, Astar, Auslar, and Euplar, have prefixes at least tenuously related to some continents of our world, namely Africa, Asia, Australasia and Europe.
One of the languages of his people he described as Abramian, which is highly suggestive of Abram, or Abraham, perhaps hinting of a link to Hebrew origins. Abram means ‘high father’ in Hebrew, whilst Abraham means ‘father of many’ nations.
This unusual individual’s Christian name, Jophar, might have been interpreted as Joseph, which indeed some people called him at the time. However, it is even closer to Japheth, one of Noah’s sons, whose name means something like ‘wide expansion’ – highly appropriate considering much of humanity today is still believed (by some) to be descended from Japheth and his two brothers, Ham and Shem.
What is more, Noah’s ark is said to have come aground in the Mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4), exactly between the Black and Caspian Seas, where the Scythian (Saka, Sacae) people were to develop centuries later.
Jophar’s second name, Vorin, sounds almost Slavic, though this may be a genuine coincidence, unless you are a particular fan of Star Wars mythology.
So whilst some speculate that here may be proof of parallel universes, the existence of multiple timelines is also an interesting concept and is of course related. Is it possible that these timelines occasionally cross over or meet, allowing some to intentionally or accidentally pass through?
If you will allow me the indulgence of speculation, perhaps Jophar’s own timeline diverged from the one we are currently on around 2,500 years ago. Maybe his country of Laxaria developed from the Saka, or Sacae and followed a divergent course to our own, yet retained a few similarities in language and custom.
If the Sacae (Scythians) were speaking a form of proto German, that may explain how he could, at least to some degree, converse with the German speaking Prussians of the mid 19th century, who were in part descended from the Scythians in our own accepted timeline.
The world he described had clearly developed along very different lines to our own, however, even though his religion, Ispatian as he called it, was apparently Christian.
Finally, it strikes me as highly allegorical that the reason for his voyage was to find a long lost brother. Maybe Jophar was as surprised as those who questioned him to discover he could make himself understood. But what if he had actually found his long lost brother, not a single individual, but a ‘brother’ people?
Hoax or true story? We will probably never know for sure, yet it will remain endlessly fascinating.
Copyright Francis Barker 2020
“But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their word will eat as does a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” Sha’ul (2 Timothy 2: 16-18) A…