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How Long?


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gerard Seghers: The Patient Job

Gerard Seghers: The Patient Job

Daniel 12:6

How Long?

How long shall it be to the end of these appalling things?

Exodus 10:3: Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me’.”

Exodus 10:7: Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not realize that Egypt is destroyed?”

Exodus 16:28: Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my instructions?”

Numbers 14:11: The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn me? And how long will they not believe in me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?”

Joshua asks the men of Israel how long they will delay in moving into the Promised Land. (Joshua 18:3)

The priest Eli asks the barren Hannah how long she continue with her drunken babbling (1 Samuel 1:14) and the Lord asks Samuel how long he will grieve over the loss of Saul as king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1).

In 1 Kings 18:21 Elijah asks the people how long their will vacillate between the Living God Yahweh and the false gods of the Baals.

Job’s companion, Bildad, asks Job how long he will refuse to acknowledge his sin – which he, in fact, did not commit (Job 8:2). He asks how long Job will put off speaking truth (Job 18:2). To this, Job replies: How long will you torment me and crush me with lies? (Job 19:1)

In these Old Testament verses we read the words we ourselves use when we are overwhelmed. We hear the human and divine plea for understanding; and we feel the urgent desire for resolution in all that seems precarious and unjust. Let us gather our moments of plight and petition, and bring them to the one who holds the answer to our prayers of supplication.

Tomorrow . . . a response.

For an insightful reflection on the Book of Job, click on the image above or visit: http://soulation.org/breakfastreading/2011/03/a-different-look-at-the-man-from-uz.html

For more reflections on the words of this prophet, enter the words Daniel or Apocalypse into the blog search bar and explore.

The Appointed Time


four horsemen

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Friday, January 30, 2015

Daniel 12

The Appointed Time

Apocalyptic literature is defined as a “literary genre that foretells supernaturally inspired cataclysmic events that will transpire at the end of the world”. (Britannica Online) Although the genre disappeared after Europe’s Middle Ages it persists in the 20th Century in works like Katherine Anne Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider [1939] and Nathanael West’s Day of the Locust [1939]). It is reflected in films such as Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal [1957] or Federico Fellini’s La dolce vita [1959]). The U.S. best-selling writer Hal Lindsey brings us The Late Great Planet Earth (1970); and the popular Left Behind series of novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, describe apocalyptic events in a violent way. (Britannica Online)

The modern world, it seems, has a fascination for cataclysm and dire circumstances and as local and global news unfolds before us we hear of violence even as we struggle to gain peace in our individual and collective lives. Perhaps the popularity of apocalyptic tales reflects our personal and public fears. Perhaps Daniel’s stories, cautions and predictions resonate with what and how we live.

If we long for our own appointed time when we might unseal the secrets of the world to find solutions to all that betrays and hounds us, we may have found a familiar echo in Daniel 12.  This week we have spent time exploring prophecies of the future and our own trials by fire. Today we take time to examine different versions of Daniel’s words . . . and to listen for the whisper of hope, the promise of peace, and the fulfillment of our own appointed time.

Use the scripture link above to compare different versions of this scripture passage . . . and listen.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/29733/apocalyptic-literature

For more reflections on the words of this prophet, enter the words Daniel or Apocalypse into the blog search bar and explore.

Looking for something new to read? Consider the titles above, and consider how these writers may have been influenced by the Book of Daniel.

The Great Apocalypse


Thursday, January 29, 2015

JRC Martin: Resurrection Morning

JRC Martin: Resurrection Morning

Daniel 12

The Great Apocalypse

What images come to mind when we hear the word Apocalypse? What are our hopes? What are our fears? And what image of God do we offer to the world with all we say and do?

“Resurrection is explicitly affirmed only here in the OT, though belief subsequently spread until it finally became orthodox Jewish doctrine. But who is to be revived? ‘Many’ appears to mean only ‘some’, but it includes righteous and wicked. The scenario makes best sense if we see the problem being addressed as one of justice. There are those who have suffered undeservedly and those who have sinned without punishment. Both groups must be revived so that justice can be administered”. (Barton, and Muddiman 570)

And so we pray . . .

Good and faithful God, teach us to remain in you as you remain in us.

Good and patient Christ, help us to love our enemies as you love yours.

Good and encouraging Spirit, heal us of all our wounds and worries, our hates and fears . . . so that we might remain ever in and with you. Amen.

Louisa Anne, Marchioness of Waterford: Christ Raising the Dead

Louisa Anne, Marchioness of Waterford: Christ Raising the Dead

Barton, John, and John Muddiman. THE OXFORD BIBLE COMMENTARY. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001. 570. Print.

For more reflections on the words of this prophet, enter the words Daniel or Apocalypse into the blog search bar and explore.

 

Prophecy of the Future


Blog-The-FutureWednesday, January 28, 2015

Daniel 12:1-4

Prophecy of the Future

[The Jewish and Christian communities] preserved the most important innovation contained in the book of Daniel, the notion of resurrection in 12:1-3: “and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt”. Isaiah 26:19 may allude to the possibility of the resurrection of the dead, but if so, it is the only instance in the OT. “Those who are wise” (12:3) may well refer to the chasidim of which the writer Daniel is a part. Whether they pass over into the realm of the holy ones of God, the hosts of angels, is not entirely clear, though the notion that they will shine “like the stars forever and ever” might support the idea. In any case, the writer of Daniel has dared here to go further than any theological predecessor in Israel, since he suggests that beyond the culmination of human history and the wise shall shineGod’s victory on behalf of righteousness is a world populated by the saints themselves”.  (Mays 633)

Prior to this point in Daniel’s prophecy, everything had taken place as predicted. Now the faithful are called to believe beyond their experience of today.

What do we – as the faithful remnant at the turn of the 21st Century – see as our own prophetic future? How do we anticipate moving into the days we have yet to live? Who will be our companions on The Way? And what do we do each day and each night that indicates to ourselves and the world that we are followers of Christ?

Mays, James L., ed. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 633. Print.

For more on the chasidim, visit: http://www.rebbe.org/chasidism.html

For more reflections on the words of this prophet, enter the word Daniel into the blog search bar and explore.

 

Tested By Fire


Tuesday, January 27, 2015tested-in-fire

Daniel 12:10

Tested By Fire

In Daniel 3 we find the story of The Image of Gold and the Fiery Furnace in which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego endure their trial by fire and are accompanied by an angel of God. Later in Daniel 12:10 we are reminded that . . .  Many shall be refined, purified, and tested, but the wicked shall be proven wicked, none of them shall have understanding, but the wise shall have it.

In 1 Peter 1:6-7 the Apostle tells us that . . . Now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The prophet Malachi reminds us that God will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, to purify and refine us like gold and silver. (Malachi 3:3)

In the story of Exodus (3:2), the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.

With God as the refiner who watches over us, we need not fear. With Christ as our brother who defends us, we understand that we will not perish. With the Spirit who heals and comforts us, we are reborn to rise from the ash of our sorrow, refined by the fire that does not consume.  This is a prophecy we might take as our own.

For more reflections on the words of this prophet, enter the word Daniel into the blog search bar and explore.

Dimensions


Monday, January 26, 2015

Daniel 12

Dimensions

Daniel 12: 3: The wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmamement, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.

Daniel 12: 3: The wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever and ever.

“Daniel’s apocalyptic view of history is most fully laid out in Chapters 10-12, which make up one long vision. There an angel explains to Daniel that there is an ongoing battle in heaven between the archangels Michael and Gabriel on the one hand and the angelic “princes” of Persia and Greece on the other. This battle is reflected on earth in the wars of the Hellenistic age, which are described at length in Chapter 11 . . . At the end Michael will arise in victory and the resurrection will follow”. (Senior RG 349)

Apocalyptic writing was popular in the centuries before and after Jesus’ birth and although it is characterized by symbolism and descriptions of cataclysmic events, it is rooted in the teachings of the prophets. Dire circumstances and extreme conditions experienced by the Jewish people provided fertile ground for early writers as they warned, predicted and called the remnant people to fidelity. Living in times of hopelessness and desperation, the faithful took heart as they heard the stories of rescue, redemption and salvation. These images laid the groundwork for the genesis of Christianity, and Jesus’ introduction of the work of discipleship.

Many shall be refined, purified, and tested, but the wicked shall be proven wicked, none of them shall have understanding, but the wise shall have it. (Daniel 12:10)

Jesus describes the life of a disciple clearly in his Sermon on the Mount:  Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

Daniel 12:12: Blessed is the one who has patience and perseveres . . .

Jesus tells a parable of the persistent widow who patiently returns to a corrupt judge, asking endlessly for justice. Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart . . . (Luke 18:1-8)

Daniel 12:13: Go, take your rest, you shall rise for your reward . . .

Jesus asks us that to give him our worries and anxieties that are too great for us to bear. Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

sleep in the dustThis portion of Daniel’s prophecy brings a new perspective of an old vision. Battle between good and evil are not new. But what Daniel brings us is the foreshadowing of a new and wonderful reason for hope and joy. Daniel opens up for us a new dimension. The world of joy born out of pain, of celebration rising from sorrow, and of new hope burgeoning from old wounds.

When we spend time with Daniel 12 today, we see new light leading us into a world of new dimension.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 149. Print.   

For more reflections on this prophecy, enter the word Daniel into the blog search bar and explore. 

 

 

Joy and Happiness


Photo by Moyan Brenn

Photo by Moyan Brenn

Sunday

January 25, 2015

Psalm 37:4

Joy and Happiness

Today’s post is the last in a series in which we visited scripture looking for stories about joy. These tales may have surprised us in a number of ways. We may have found our personal invitation to a disciple’s intimacy with Christ. Perhaps we have been fed by the stories of God’s love and joy in our existence.  Or perhaps we have felt the Spirit’s joy that heals, calls and binds us together. In this concluding reflection, we gather our thoughts on joy from the last several months, and we contemplate how it is that despite travail and suffering, joy continues to sustain the human race.

Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord; and God will give you the desires of your heart.

In recent years the topic of sustainable happiness has piqued the interest of many and two authors, Joe Loizzo and Sarah Van Gelder, have both written books on the subject. YES! Magazine publishes articles on the subject every few years and their website hosts pages “Peace and Justice,” “Planet,” “New Economy,” “People Power,” and “Happiness”. There is always interest in how to find and maintain a happy, balanced life style. Given current world events, we might imagine that more of us will be looking for the source and nourishment of happiness, and some of us might be surprised to find amazingly simple answers to what we believe are complex questions.

We have just completed a journey through scripture looking for the many times and places that joy has surprised the human race; and we have seen that while we assume that joy accompanies celebration, she is always found in times of great pain and great loss. Indeed, happiness is most intense in the deepest darkness; and her sister joy is most healing when our wounds are deepest. Spend time today exploring sustainable happiness. Listen to On Being podcasts of conversations with the Dalai Lama and others as they discuss the concept and experience of happiness. When we allow joy to settle into our hearts and take up residence in our very bones . . . we too, will know the real meaning of lasting and sustaining joy.

For more on sustainable joy, visit: http://sustainablehappinessbook.com/ and http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice

For thoughts from Sarah van Gelder, click on the image above or visit: http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/7-ways-to-get-happy-without-costing-the-planet

Visit the On Being site at: http://www.onbeing.org/program/pursuing-happiness-dalai-lama/147

joyIf this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

Joy and Union


3.3-1_Goodall_The_BrideSaturday

January 24, 2015

Joy and Union

John

We are invited into a disciple’s intimacy with Christ. Jesus offers friendship that is personal, immediate and joyful. Today we remember that Christ is the groom and that we are his bride. And we consider how God’s incredible love calls and binds us together.

John the Baptizer recognizes that his joy increases when he finds union with others in and through Christ.

1-3-rebecca_at_wellThe Bride and Groom John 3:25-30: There arose a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.” John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.

Jesus tells us that the union we seek with him – the union we already have if we might recognize it – is the sole source of lasting and satisfying joy.

grapes71The Vine and the Branches – John 15:11: These things I have spoken to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Jesus reminds us that his joy is complete in us and that as we turn over the cares of the world to him our joy will increase. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches; he sustains and we celebrate and bear fruit. Our pruning strengthens us and brings us closer to God. Our fidelity and persistence bring us the reward of God’s genuine and enduring joy.

This is the Good News John brings us. Today we might consider how we will share this joy with others.

Click on the image of the bride above to learn more about women in ancient times, or visit: http://www.womeninthebible.net/3.2.Major_Events.htm

joyIf this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

Joy and Resurrection


mini-nativity-kate-cosgroveFriday

January 23, 2015

Joy and Resurrection

Luke

We are invited into a disciple’s intimacy with Christ. Jesus offers friendship that is personal, immediate and joyful. Today we consider how God’s amazing generosity continues to sustain us.

Luke’s Gospel has many calls to joy and the first arise from Jesus’ arrival among us.

The Christmas Invitation Luke 2:10: But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people”.

God’s messenger reminds us that we need not be afraid for we are always accompanied by joy . . . even when we might not perceive it.

Reward  Luke 6:22-23: Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.

joyIn his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that we will find joy in the darkest of places . . . even when we do not welcome the darkness.

Repentance  Luke 15:3-7: So Jesus told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

In his Parable of the Lost Sheep, Jesus reminds us that great joy can arrive after great error . . . even if we believe this is not so.

tomb-2Resurrection – Luke 24:41-42: While his disciples still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, Jesus said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of a broiled fish; and he took it and ate it before them.

When he returns after death, Jesus continues to feed his people . . . even when we do not recognize him.

Luke reminds us that Jesus comes not only to heal and sustain us in this world but forever. This is good news indeed, and today we consider how we might share and celebrate this news with great joy.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

 

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