Ferro and Menno

Crazy to think that we’re already nearly a week into the New Year! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the possibilities presented by a new year… But “Resolutions” feel too strong for me. Like, “I do hereby firmly resolve to complete the following…” I do, however, have lots of ideas or hopes for 2019. Goals or quests can be motivating — and a fresh calendar year provides a good opportunity to take aim.

That being said, I’m learning that one’s hopes and goals are healthiest when they combine a balance of work and rest. It’s not just about trying harder or doing more. From the very beginning of time, going back to the first day humankind was established upon the earth, we can see that God made us to work from rest, not to rest from work. Jesus demonstrated the same truths when he walked and talked among us, and he also talked explicitly about a need to balance rest and work:

I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:1-5

One of my emerging hopes for 2019 is to deepen my study of the Bible by continuing to learn the source language of the New Testament. And in the passage quoted above, everything seems to hinge on two key words in the original Greek, each of which contain shades of meaning that might be missed in translation.

The first word is an infinitive verb, pronounced something like “Ferro:”

φέρω

To remain, to abide, to stay, to tarry, to remain in a place, to dwell, to live, to lodge, to continue

The second word has a symmetry with the first word that makes them both more memorable: also just two syllables, four letters, identical vowel sounds. It’s another infinitive verb, pronounced something like “Menno:”

μένω

To bring, to bear, to carry, to lead, to bear along, to carry forward, to endure, to produce, to be moved

The words underneath the Greek text, above, are some of the options for English translation of these two words, depending on their context. The aggregate gives a distinct feel for how the the two concepts compare and contrast to one another. Both have their place in the life of a Christian.

Ferro and Menno… Menno and Ferro. It sounds kind of catchy, doesn’t it? Ferro… Menno… Ferro… Menno… Ferro… Menno… Ferro… Menno… I’m hoping I can carry this refrain throughout the coming year.

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