Luke 21: The Mystery of Wisdom – Part IVwisdom1

Thursday, July 2, 2015

We have examined the concept of wisdom not as a body of knowledge but as a way of living. We have explored the idea that wisdom blossoms from strong relationships both with God and with others. And we have reflected on the knowledge that wisdom can be found in God’s promises and grace. Today we spend time with words from Jesus himself so that we might discover how God’s wisdom might be manifested in us.

For I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.

In this portion of Luke’s story, Jesus has been sharing parables with his followers, describing the kingdom of God and the confusion we experience when we begin to understand its inverted nature. The mighty will be weak while the weak will be strong. The poor in spirit will rejoice and the humble will inherit the earth. The small offering of the widow is worth more than the wealth of kings and emperors. Jesus’ followers ask for clarity and Jesus assures them that the wisdom they will need to enter into and to participate in this kingdom, this wisdom that is eternal and all-encompassing, comes only from God.

When we spend time with this chapter of Luke’s story today and compare varying versions of these verses, we ourselves will grow in this mysterious wisdom that eludes definition – but which saves, redeems and transforms.

If we want to explore more of Jesus’ wisdom, we might read the parables he tells, consider the questions he asks, watch the actions he takes as he moves through adoring crowds and confronts scheming enemies. We may need a good commentary to help us unravel these words and these actions. We may need quiet time to meditate on this amazing life. We may need to read a different version of these verses. Or we may need a mentor or guide to help us in our own wisdom journey. No matter the tools we use, we must take up the invitation to move forward in our understanding of this mystery . . . for this mystery is the essence of life itself, Jesus the Christ. 

Tomorrow, the wisdom of the cross.


Isaiah 42:16: The Mystery of Wisdom – Part IIIheart-path

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I will lead the blind by a way they do not know . . .

God says: Never doubt that I am with you.

In paths they do not know I will guide them . . .

God says: I know that anxiety and fear too often govern you.

I will make darkness into light before them . . .

God says: Believe it or not, I love you and will not let you go astray.

And rugged places into plains . . .

God says: What look like insurmountable obstacles are opportunities to draw close to me.

These are the things I will do . . .

God says: I always keep my promises. This trust I ask of you may at first seem foolish, but in the eternity of my wisdom it is prudent and wise.

 And I will not leave them undone . . .

God says: Of this you can be certain. This is the mystery of wisdom. Trust it, and you will flourish.

Use the scripture link to explore this verse in other versions of the Bible. Or enter the words God’s promises or trust into the blog search bar and reflect on the mystery of wisdom and promises.

Click on the image above for another reflection on Isaiah 42:16

Tomorrow, wisdom from Jesus.


Isaiah 42:6-7: The Mystery of Wisdom – Part IIcandle and scripture

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I am the Lord, I have called you . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we call on the Lord, we find the answer lying in our own response to God’s call to intimacy with goodness.

I will hold you by the hand and watch over you . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we take God’s hand, we discover that we are also called to extend our other hand to those who live in darkness.

I will make you as a covenant to my people . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we extend our hand to others, we have entered into God’s promise.

I will make you a light to the nations . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we enter into God’s promise, God’s light flows through and from us.

I will call you to open blind eyes . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when God’s light flows from us, we begin to heal others.

I will call you to bring out prisoners from the dungeons . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we begin to heal others, we bring them forth from their prisons of fear, anger, anxiety and prejudice.

I will call you to bring out those who sit and wait in darkness . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we bring others forth from their prisons of darkness . . . we find ourselves standing in the fullness of God’s eternal, all-encompassing and nourishing wisdom.

Tomorrow, wisdom as promise and grace.

Sirach 51:7-10: The Mystery of Wisdom – Part Iwisdom-001rumi

Monday, June 29, 2015

Danger comes in both overt and subtle forms. We may be betrayed by a loved one, a trust may be broken, a sudden grave illness may take over our lives. Yet through all these obstacles, God lovingly abides.

They surrounded me on every side and there was no one to help me . . .

Wisdom lies not in the acquisition of knowledge but in patient and prayerful waiting . . .

I looked for human assistance and there was none . . .

Wisdom comes to us through all of God’s creation, the earth and all she holds . . .

Then I remembered your kindness, O Lord, and your compassion from of old . . .

God always speaks to us, sometimes as a whisper on the wind and at other times as a voice in the maelstrom . . .

For you rescue those who wait for you, and save them from the hand of their enemies . . .

God promises to abide, rescue, heal and transform . . .

And begged for rescue from death . . .  

And God always keeps this promise for with God, all things are possible. This is the mystery of patiently waiting on wisdom. It brings us to eternal life, and saves us from the darkness of death.

Click on the image above to learn more about the mystical poet Rumi who was born in 1207 in what is today Afghanistan.  He wrote over 60,00 poems that are collected in MASNAWI. 

Enter the word Wisdom in the blog search bar and reflect on how and where and when we most often encounter her loving hand. 

Tomorrow, wisdom as relationship.

Philippians 3:7-12: The Mystery of Altruism

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Matthieu Ricard

Matthieu Ricard

Whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ.

On June 15 this year, talk show host Diane Rehm’s spoke on the topic of altruism with her guest Matthieu Ricard. Ricard, a Frenchman who left a career in molecular biology for life as a Buddhist monk, has published an international bestseller, THE MONK AND THE PHILOSOPHER. Listen to some of the podcast today to discover why “Ricard argues that altruism is the key to solving major world problems like inequality and climate change”. Like Ricard, we ask ourselves about the mystery of altruism: How is it that consideration of others solves challenges more efficiently than power, money or fame. http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2015-06-15/matthieu-ricard-altruism

monkphilosopherWe might consider reading some of Ricard’s words as we contemplate the mystery of how we become strong in our weakness and confident in our vulnerability.  We may also want to explore the relationship Ricard has with his atheist father and discover how East meets West in this intimate relationship. For a quick review and a link to an audio version of THE MONK AND THE PHILOSOPHER, visit: http://www.enotes.com/topics/monk-philosopher

Or listen to Ricard’s Ted Talk and learn about how the evolution of cultures can bring about change in the world through enhancing cooperation rather than competition, sustainable harmony rather than sustainable growth, caring economics, local commitment, global responsibility, and an extension of altruism to the other 1.6 million species on the planet. Consider how these ideas mix or clash with values that Jesus brings to us. Listen, watch, and learn about qualitative simplicity at: https://www.ted.com/talks/matthieu_ricard_how_to_let_altruism_be_your_guide


2 Corinthians 3: The Mystery of Ministryserving-people

Saturday, June 27, 2015

We so often find that in ministering to the fears and needs of others, we ourselves find confidence and sustenance. Paul reminds us that when we minister in Jesus’ name, we enter into an eternal and unbreakable covenant with Christ. This is the present truth and the future promise of entering into ministry to others.

If the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious that the Israelites could not look intently at the face of Moses because of its glory that was going to fade, how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?

When we bring hope to others we learn to live in hope.

For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious, the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory.

When we determine to carry joy to others we also live in joy.

Indeed, what was endowed with glory has come to have no glory . . .

When we bring hope to others we become hope itself.

Therefore, if we have such hope, we act boldly and not like Moses who put a veil over his face . . .

When we humbly minister in Christ’s name, we find our fear and despair dissolve into hope and joy. We find that death becomes life and sorrow becomes joy.

All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Tissot: The Woes of the Pharisees

James Tissot: The Woes of the Pharisees

We need not hide or fear the light of our ministry for it is freely given by God to those who humble themselves in Christ’s service. When we minister to others in Christ’s name, God’s Spirit rests in us and shines forth from us. This is the fruit and gift of ministry God offers us today.

Jesus speaks to the scribes and Pharisees to call them to ministry. Are we blind guides or God’s prophets? Are we white-washed tombs or Jesus’ ministers? Are we or broods of vipers or humble servants in the Spirit? To further examine this theme, visit Matthew 23 and reflect on verse 12 in particular.

For a study of this chapter of Matthew, visit: http://www.warrencampdesign.com/heartyBoys/matthew/indexMatthew18-28.php 

2 Corinthians 2:14-3: The Mystery of Covenant Contract_with-_Seal_XL

Friday, June 26, 2015

Christ comes into the world not to abolish the old covenant but to fulfill it. Christ comes into the world not to erase the old agreement but to bring it to fruition. Christ comes into the world not to punish us for wrongdoing but to heal and comfort, pardon and redeem.

Paul tells the people of Corinth and he tells us that there is a contrast between the old and new covenants. And he tells us that we must caution ourselves against a smug pride in our credentials that may – or may not – match our life in the Gospel. Do we claim to be followers of Christ through our words or through our actions? Paul questions us today.

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you?

Paul also tells us that it will be our work in the world that defines us as disciples of Christ – or that shows us to be followers of false gods and idols. We find Christ’s true presence, and our “letter of recommendation,” in the fruit of our labor. What fruits do our labors bear? Paul asks us today.

You are our letter, written on our hearts . . .

Christ’s peace is eternal and universal.

You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all . . .

Christ’s letter of recommendation is our covenant of love.

You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us . . .

Christ’s covenant with God’s people lives in and through us.

You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us, written not in ink, but by the spirit of the living God . . .

love_of_god1Christ’s covenant of love is permanent and impermeable.

You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us, written not in ink, but by the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but in tablets that are the hearts of flesh.

Christ’s covenant is a mystery written on our hearts, never to be extinguished, always to be cherished, always to be trusted, always is gift.

To better understand the concept of covenant as used in the Old Testament, click on the contract image above, or visit: http://www.setapartpeople.com/introduction-covenants-part-1

To understand the covenant written on the human heart that Paul describes, click on the heart in scripture image above or go to: http://heavenlychristianforums.com/threads/a-love-letter.294/ 

Tomorrow, moving from the old to the new covenant. 


The Ezekiel Temple

Ezekiel 8: The Mystery of the Temple

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Throughout this reading the Spirit continues to ask us as we encounter the world: Have you seen enough yet? How do we reply, and how do we react?

We might turn away in fear or disgust when our fellow human beings behave in abominable ways; yet how does this witness to the love of God that is somehow present everywhere at every time?

We might collapse in anxiety or denial when our friends and neighbors behave brutally toward us and others; yet how does this move us into solidarity with those who suffer so horribly?

We might despair in pain and sorrow when our loved ones betray or abandon us; yet how does this enact God’s love in a world looking for peace and serenity?

Ezekiel describes vividly how the Temple is desecrated with obscenity, greed, and idol-worship; yet who is this angry God we hear described in verse 18? Can this be the same God of hope and peace and love who comes to walk among us with mercy? What happens to this holy dwelling place and how are we to see God’s presence amid the rubble and ruin of what was once beauty and light?

Despite the deep corruption we see today, God abides in this place and with this people. Despite the brutality we read about today, God persists in converting harm into blessing. And despite the horror that we witness today, God pardons, heals and calls. This is the mystery of God’s sacred place and time: it is a temple of a healing, transforming, persisting, loving force that cannot be denied. This temple is a living essence that struggles to remain and grow within each of us. And life in this living temple is a mystery that we are invited to enter.

Do you see what the elders are doing here in the dark, each one before his favorite god-picture? 

Who are our little gods and how do we express God in our everyday actions and voice? Do we operate in the dark or in the open light? When and where and how do we see the Mystery of God’s love amid the abominations of the world? And do we plan to accept the invitation that this mystery of sacred space and time has laid before us?

For a study on the Ezekiel temple, click on the image above or visit: http://israelmybeloved.com/the-ezekiel-temple/

Revelation 8:3-4: The Mystery of Angelsangel-angelinvesting-shutterstock-ubj-304

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Some of us are wary of those who believe in the attendance and work of angels in our lives.

Some of us see angels as compassionate humans, family, friends or strangers who come to us at times of trouble.

Some of us believe in the very real essence and interaction of angels, God’s messengers and presence in our daily living.

And some of us do not believe in angels in any form or manner at all.

Whatever our belief, there is always time and room for exploration. Today we consider the existence of angels . . . and the mystery they present. Whether or not we believe that these special spirits are harbingers of God’s word and action, the question of their existence calls us to think about our own status in the great plan and mystery of God’s creation.

God says: Do not be afraid when you feel the shimmer of my messengers as they tend to your needs. These special beings bring my word to you when you are too distraught to hear it on your own. They intervene for you in unseen ways when you are exhausted or overwhelmed. They deliver hope and grace to you when you are too tired to listen for my words of freedom and deliverance. Yes, you have guardian angels who travel with you always and everywhere. Yes, there are archangels who do my bidding for all of humanity. Yes, my angels can defend, heal, and deliver my word. Some of my angels went their wayward way and insist that they are more important than all of my creation, including me. But I notice that these dark ones come to me amidst the gleaming ranks of the enlightened. I see that what really motivates them is envy and egotism. I also see that they frighten you, but I give you this promise: you need never fear the demons that hope to catch you unaware for I and my messengers are with you. We never leave you alone, never deceive you, never pledge you empty words. I am infinitely patient with you even when you decide that you do not or cannot believe that my angels exist. Despite this disbelief, my angels and I continue to serve and protect you. And this is the mystery of angels. They express my love for you that will never waver and never fade . . . despite the unbelief that enwraps the world. They express my care for you that will always transform and always heal . . . despite the evil that stalks the universe. And at the end of this world that is passing away, you will live in peace with me and my angels. Of this mystery and promise you can be certain.

Explore the way in which the Old and New Testaments tell us about angels at: https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=angels&version=NABRE&resultspp=25

Enter the word angel into the blog search bar; listen and watch for the angels that deliver God’s word; and celebrate the presence and gift of these very special beings.


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