Here’s a little quiz:
Name the origins of the common phrases and expressions below. Which ones are taken from the Bible?
1) God helps those who help themselves.
2) Eat, drink and be merry.
3) When God closes a door, He opens a window.
4) As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
5) Before God we are equally wise and equally foolish.
6) God moves in mysterious ways.
7) The writing is on the wall.
Answers: (1) Benjamin Franklin, 1736 (2) Luke 12:19 (3) Variation on a line from the 1965 Julie Andrews film “The Sound of Music” (4) Proverbs 27:17 (5) Albert Einstein (6)Likely from William Cowper’s hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”
And then there’s number 7.
We might say of someone who has awakened to something going on in his life that could lead to disaster, “Well he has seen the handwriting on the wall.” A news anchor might say of a politician receiving bad poll numbers, “Well, the writing is on the wall.” A 2006 article on the signs of the coming demise of cursive writing was entitled “The Handwriting is on the Wall.” I saw an article last Thursday entitled, “Is the Writing on the Wall for the 2013 Dallas Cowboys?”
This image of the handwriting on the wall is from the Bible. It is part of the story in our scripture for this Sunday—the fifth chapter of the book of Daniel. It is a strange story—creepy, really. We don’t read it very often. In fact, it isn’t even part of the three-year lectionary of readings. As far as I can remember, I have never delivered a sermon on this text. I look forward to Sunday as we think together what message there might be in this odd passage of scripture for us.
Grace and Peace,