A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, February 09, 2009

Upon the face

The first two verses of the Bible are familiar to many, even among the unreligious.

In the beginning
God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void;
and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

These verses begin today’s first reading (Genesis 1:1-19), but the familiar words are a little different, especially in the last part of the second verse where “a mighty wind” sweeps over the waters instead of “the Spirit of God.”

In the footnotes, the translators admit the “Spirit of God” is the more literal translation (another reminder why it is always important to check footnotes).

The prudence of using a legitimate but less literal translation can be debated. In this case, my guess would be that the translators felt that a more literal translation was nevertheless incomplete and perhaps misleading, especially for Christians mindful of the Holy Spirit’s manifestation at Christ’s baptism: in the form of a dove.

That is not the form depicted in the second verse of Genesis: the manifestation of God’s Spirit is as a mighty wind upon the face of the waters – a mighty and yet subtle and unseen power.

Our own lives may sometimes feel a little like the primordial chaos: formless, empty, and dark.

May we be graced to feel always the presence of God, like the wind upon our faces: sometimes subtle, but eternally powerful.