Thursday, July 24, 2014
Jesus Taught Us
Jesus taught us, saying, “Do not store up treasures for yourself on earth, where moth and woodwork destroy them and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworm destroys them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For wherever your treasure is, there will be your heart, too”.
We go about our days acquiring goods, storing up friends, fashion, accoutrements, money. How will these treasures serve us in the world that is everlasting? How might we change these tangible goods in a way that will matter?
We go about our days serving others, taking action that will improve our world for the better. How might we share these less noticeable goods in a way that will matter?
God says, This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Do as he does and set the world afire. Do as he does and heal those who are broken-hearted. Do as he does and stand with those on the margin. Do as he does and turn the other cheek. This is difficult for you when you measure as the world measures; but when you measure for eternity you will put away your weights and yardsticks; and you will follow my son.
Enter the word treasure into the blog search bar and as we consider what Jesus taught us . . . let us consider how we will describe our treasures.
Examine the reading Matthew 3:17 in the scripture link and compare the texts. Choose other Bible versions and consider what God means when he tells us that he is well pleased with Jesus.
Posted in Comparing Scripture, Mini-Noontime | Tagged Matthew 3:17, the kingdom, treasure | Leave a Comment »
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
We so often find ourselves thinking that God’s plan is not suitable, not adequate, not timely or – worse – non-existent. If we wonder what God thinks, we do not have to look far.
God says: I know that you can never hear these words too much: Do not be afraid; I am with you always. I know that when you are weary and your resources are low that you become frightened and even panicky. I know that your patience wears thin; I know that you doubt that my plan has intelligence or design. Read the words from my Book of Wisdom in Chapter 13 verses 13, 16-19 and know that your perfection arrives not in your lack of error . . . but in your perseverance with me, your clemency toward others and your generosity in the Spirit. Consider all of this . . . and know that I love you.
Look at the other Biblical versions of today’s readings and think about how we recognize God in the patience, clemency and generosity of others. Choose four different versions from the drop down menus and consider why and how we wait for God’s justice. Consider where and when we see God’s goodness.
Posted in Comparing Scripture, Mini-Noontime | Tagged clemency, God's goodness, God's presence, patience, perfection, perseverance | Leave a Comment »
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The Shade of the Kingdom
Jesus says: How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.
God says: I understand how difficult it is for you to step beyond the limits of your world but this is where I live . . . both within you to comfort you and beyond you to call you to greatness. My kingdom is greater than any dispute, wider than any war, deeper than any betrayal, and more infinite than any love. It begins as a tiny germ within you and grows to offer shelter for others. This is what I plant in you . . . an opportunity to experience the hope I have created in your heart. Come to rest in the shelter I offer against the buffets of the world . . . and in turn, offer my peace to others.
When we abide in the shadow of God’s love and respond to the seed sowed within, God gives us the power to root ourselves in God’s grace and to raise ourselves as branches so that others might nest in the shade of the kingdom.
Enter the word kingdom into the blog search bar and consider how we see the kingdom in our everyday lives.
Posted in Mini-Noontime | Tagged faith, God's peace, hope, the mustard seed | Leave a Comment »
Monday, July 21, 2014
The Mulberry Tree
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you”.
God says: When you read about the apostles who followed Christ you hear and see their question . . . and perhaps you have the same petition for me. Can you not imagine a mulberry tree responding to your voice? Is it difficult for you to imagine this tree planted in the moving water? Are you thinking in the concrete terms of the world you see around you? Are you able to open your mind to a world that you cannot imagine, your heart to a love you have yet to feel?
We are reminded in scripture constantly that with God all is possible. We re-read this Parable of the Mustard Seed and wonder if Jesus’ words in the telling of this story are hyperbolic. What might happen if we read these words and decided that Jesus’ words are true?
Enter the word faith in to the blog search bar and consider our belief in the power of faith as small – and yet as powerful – as the Mustard Seed.
Posted in Mini-Noontime | Tagged faith, God does the impossible | Leave a Comment »
Sunday, July 20, 2014
The Mustard Seed
The mustard seed was the smallest seed known to farmers in Galilee in Jesus’ day, yet once planted in fertile soil, the tiny seed grew into a bush as high as ten feet. An amazing change for something so small – and an apt metaphor for the change that can occur in any one of us – once we believe in the Word of God . . . and the abundant possibilities which God opens to each of us.
In today’s Noontime we read about a boy whose demon proves stronger than the faith of Jesus’ disciples, and so the child’s father takes him to the Master in order that the demon be driven out. This same story can be read in Mark 9:14-29 where we find a slightly longer, slightly different version; however, in both cases we see the themes of faith and prayer brought into focus by our trust in God.
Like the father in today’s story, we are to bring our petitions to Jesus. Like the boy himself, we are to give ourselves over to the possibility of being healed . . . even when we suffer from birth . . . even when our plight seems permanent. Like the apostles who cannot affect a cure, we are to stay close to Christ as we tend to the mission we have been given.
Platitudes are ineffective when we experience or witness great suffering. Wise sayings affirm our beliefs. Acts of love, of kindness, of hope and of faith are our outward signs of our relationship with God. Our prayer, our fasting, our almsgiving, our constancy in attending to our interior temple are our inward maintenance of this relationship.
We are here on earth to complete our mission, to experience the true potential God has placed in us. We are here to bring soft and open hearts to a hard and suffering world. We are here to offer yielding necks to an excessive and difficult society. We are here to witness and to live lives of compassion and justice. We are here to be healers and to be healed.
We are here to be mustard seed . . . to yield plenty from the smallest grain . . . to give as we have been given . . . to transform as we have been transformed . . . to love as we are loved.
A Favorite Noontime from July 17, 2008.
Visit Mark 4:30-34 and Luke 13:18-21 and 17:1-10 to hear more of Jesus’ words about faith as the Mustard Seed.
Photo credit: beaconfallscongregational.org from Karina’s Thought at WordPress: http://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/faith-as-small-as-a-mustard-seed/
Posted in Favorite | Tagged faith, healing, Mark 9:14-29, trust God | Leave a Comment »
Saturday, July 19, 2014
2 Chronicles 11
A Prayer for Returning Home – A Reprise
This week we have looked closely at the process and power in asking for and giving forgiveness, in seeking and receiving healing, in pursuing and relying on God. We cry out against injustice and ask God’s intervention. We lament terror, horror, falsehood and betrayal; and we ask God to bring goodness out of all harm. Today we consider the power of returning home. And so we consider how we might move from loss to gain, from hate to love, from death to life.
Anger, betrayal, loss death.
Silence, stillness, a numbing, penetrating chill.
Eyes slowly opening to see old light in a new way. The ringing din eases into two harmonious tones. We are not alone.
Joy, celebration, gift, life.
Song of consolation, warmth.
A radiating energy moves upward from toe tips.
All encompassing. All-knowing. Never-ending. Life.
Why cling to what cannot be changed if we forfeit all that is changeless?
Posted in Poetry | Tagged betrayal, falsehood, fear, God brings good out of evil, return | Leave a Comment »
Friday, July 18, 2014
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me”. When Jesus had said this, he became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray me”.
God says: Betrayal does not lurk within the bounds of intimacy with me as it too often does in human relationships. Intimacy with me is constant, honest, predictable, and safe. It is a refuge from the duplicity too frequently found in the world. Betrayal cuts deepest when it comes from those we love best. Of this I am well aware, and so this is why I tell you that my love for you is far greater than any pain the world brings you. My love for you is greater than any hate, betrayal, loss or death. My love for you knows no bounds, and when you are one in me you too, are boundless.
Enter the word intimacy into the blog search bar and consider the role it plays in our lives.
Posted in Mini-Noontime | Tagged betrayal, God's love | Leave a Comment »
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Alfred Stevens: Truth and Falsehood
Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence.
God says: You need not worry about the false statements uttered against you. Continue to follow the path of integrity. Remain on the path of The Way that my son has shown to you. Stay the honest course you have chosen in the Spirit. If the falsehood created about you has the hint of truth to it, change your ways. Come fully into the light and leave all deceit behind. You cannot outrun a lie. Nor can you hide from the truth. Rest in me. Rely on the Christ. Live in the Spirit. And you will find that you have no need to struggle. The falsehood begun against you will go home to roost with its creator . . . and the world will recognize the truth in you.
Enter the words the faithful need not fight into the blog search bar and reflect on how we might best work with falsehood.
Posted in Mini-Noontime | Tagged light versus dark, the faithful need not fight, truth, violence | Leave a Comment »
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Da Vinci: The Last Supper
All my intimate friends hold me in horror; those whom I have loved have turned against me!
God says: This is perhaps the deepest fear that grips you: fear that your family or friends will turn against you. So many acts of terror have taken place at the hands of humans who fear the loss of intimate friends. Yet, honest and authentic friends do not abandon one another. Good and faithful friends do not threaten to cast off relationships like used clothing. Noble and dear friends do not use one another in useless games of self-preservation. The real horror in your lives is not that you are left alone . . . but that you take any action or profess any creed as you gather around standards that are your own and not mine. When you join a group or society, think about what it is that calls . . . and consider if the work you do with them builds or destroys the kingdom.
Jesus says: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27)
Enter the words: Last Supper Discourses in to the blog search bar and consider the quality of God’s peace. Read more of Jesus’ Discourse by following the scripture link to John above; or use a Bible Concordance and enter the words “Do not be afraid” and determine how much God cares about our well-being, how eager God is to dispel the horror in our lives.
For some thought-provoking ideas about Jesus’ last days, click on the image above or go to: http://www.sott.net/article/259610-Shape-Shifting-Jesus-described-in-ancient-Egyptian-text
Posted in Mini-Noontime | Tagged fear, friendship, God's peace, John 14:27, Last Supper Discourses, the kingdom | Leave a Comment »