Season after Pentecost, 2023
They often start with "E," these weird words in hymns do.
For instance, Ebenezer as in "here I raise my Ebenezer" from "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."
Ebenezer is the name of Samuel's pet rock in 1 Samuel 7:12.
Okay, not really a pet rock, but a rock that he names. How many rocks have biblical names?
Now turn to Hymn 426 in Lutheran Book of Worship. You'll find Ephphatha.
Yeah, I thought it was misspelled when I saw the syllabification: Eph-pha-tha. Crazy. I'm not really sure how to pronounce that, let alone sing it.
But someone who could pronouce it? Jesus.
He sighed and said it to a deaf man in Mark 7:34. It means "be opened."
And so, the great hymns of the faith, old and new, continue to improve our biblical literacy.
Stone Tangents: Ebenezer is not the only memorial pillar of stone in the bible. May I also direct your attention to:
Jacob naming Bethel (Genesis 28:18-19),
Laban naming Jegar-sahadutha and being overruled by Jacob (that rascally stone-namer) who called it Galeed (Genesis 31:47-48)
Joshua plays around with a dozen stones in the fourth chapter of the book bearing his name (Joshua 4). He doesn't name the stones, but they do have meaning. It's interesting that Joshua's stones are set up in the middle of the Jordan "to this day" (v. 9) and were also set up by Joshua in nearby Gilgal (v. 20). Does this make 24 stones? Bad biblical editor! No cookie!
Before he dies an old man, Joshua props up a single meaning-full stone (Joshua 24:26-27), but he doesn't name this one either. Bad Joshua! See me after class.
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