11 March 2012

Full moon...a monthly moment (Fullness Part I)

Moon over Motel by bobmendo
Moon over Motel, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.
Each month, if the clouds allow, I see the moon come to fulness. And this month was one of those months. It also was good to see, as Purim, the Jewish holiday, was marked on the full moon. In fact, we know when to celebrate many Jewish holidays on time because of the moon.

Of course, the moon is always the same shape and size, but when we say 'full moon', we have in mind the reflection of the sun in the surface of one side of the sphere of the moon. The three-dimensional moon becomes full in 2-D, and that 50 hours is the time of the month when the moon is full.

Fulness is a great concept to ponder. Yesterday I thought of the old term pity. And the more modern rendering of pitiful. We use the term in modern days to define someone who is an 'end of his rope' kind of guy. Someone on whom we should show pity. Someone who has messed up his life and brings nothing to the table.

But the Bible says God is pitiful. In the Newer Testament, the apostle James says, ( 5.11) "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." Of course that's King James Version, and the modern versions change that word to the more vernacular: "full of compassion",

The NIV dictionary records, "PITY A tender, considerate feeling for others, ranging from judicial clemency (Deut 7:16) through kindness (Job 6:14; Prov 19:17; 28:8) and mercy (Matt 18:33) to compassion (Lam 4:10). Pity may be mere concern for a thing (Jonah 4:10) or for a thing deeply desired (Ezek 24:21). It may also be the concern of God for his holy name (36:21). Pity for one’s children is of the essence of fatherhood, human or divine (Ps 103:13 KJV), inherent in the redemptive activity of God (72:13).

In the NT the Greek word esplangnizo is used to express pity (Luke 10:33). Three Greek words occur once each: eleeo, “have mercy” (Matt 18:33); eusplangchnos, “sympathetic” (1 Peter 3:8); polysplangchnos, “full of compassion” (James 5:11 KJV), referring to God.

In fact, the Peter reference cited here in toto:
1Pet. 3.8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: tells us we are to be pitiful.

Of course, this is to emulate God Himself. This is to be the old rendering of pity, and not the modern pitiful.

This is only one of the fulnesses about which I've been thinking lately. Maybe I'll write more about that in the days ahead.

For now, let the full moon not only tell you about calendar realities, but also about the kindness of the Almighty. Even to you and me, who don't deserve His kindness and pity. And let's take His mercy on board.

And let's be grateful.

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