the fourth word

22 Nov

I ran out of time.

I had a story and four words.
But I only got to the first three.

So here it is.
Word number four.

A three-letter picture for a thirteen-letter mouthful of a word. First, the word:


Yes, it is a mouthful.
We spend page after page defining and quantifying this word. “The state of being righteous.” That helps. The state of moral perfection required to enter heaven. That really helps. Often our definitions revolve around a legal standing in court before a judicial bar where there is guilt and debt – much of that scenario dating back to the story framing of St. Anselm in the 12th Century in his context of lords and serfs.

Okay. I get that.

But then I look at the picture of these three letters.



Tsade = a trail or path
Dalet = a door
Qoph = sunrise on the horizon (or a sunset)

Put them together and we have a path leading to a door through which lies an endless horizon under a swift sunrise.

Okay, just a little poetic license there in “endless” and “swift.”
But I can do that.
I have a license.

But chew on that as a basic construct of what “righteousness” is. Not an abstract static state of perfection or a legal standing in some heavenly courtroom as God gavels us “innocent.” But a journey with limitless, dynamic possibilities along a path leading through a door that only opens up to a vast horizon of many explorations. I suppose I would consider this “Righteousness” with a Big “R” as opposed to “righteousness” with a little “r” that amounts to little more than moralistic, pious performance.

“Righteousness” is finally entering the Path, finally tracking, and hence, sorted.

In the context of my talk, this where friends go. It’s where they take each other.
Friendship is a journey.
A mutually shared journey God knows where.

And that’s so much more than just behaving ourselves…

street sunrise


Posted by on November 22, 2014 in haverings, word studies


Tags: ,

2 responses to “the fourth word

  1. thegreatfish

    November 22, 2014 at 7:17 pm


  2. Phil Bush

    November 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Again WOW. Hit the nail on the head. So often we get dead ended in the Glory of things God has done for us. We get stopped and overwhelmed with the ‘event’ itself. We loose sight of the fact that it is a doorway, the mere rapping of a fabulous gift meant for us to unwrap and us, not to just hold the package and admire the gift, but make it an intimate part of who we are. That Righteousness was ‘bought’ on the cross. Oh how we admire the wrapping of it! But the present is adoption as children leading to Communion, an open door of communion with God, our Father. The cross is astounding, but doesn’t hold a candle to the ‘Son rise’ that comes from waking through the cross to the relationship, the adoption, the Communion that lies on the other side.



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