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Posts Tagged ‘David’

Stop Judging


Monday, November 18, 2013

scales-of-justice-istock_000005017451medium[1]Matthew 7:1

Stop Judging

Stop judging, that you may not be judged.

We have explored the story of David, Bathsheba and Nathan (2 Samuel 11 and 12) to find that Nathan uses a simple story of a poor man and his ewe lamb to bring King David to the reality of his actions.

Stop judging, that you may not be judged.

We have examined the story to find that little is said of Bathsheba and Uriah; the focus of this tale is on David and Nathan.

Stop judging, that you may not be judged.

judging-others-blue_design[1]We have reflected on how Nathan calls forth David’s secret with a parable rather than an accusation.

Stop judging, that you may not be judged.

We have watched how God works quietly in the lives of these two men who live so closely in a common goal.

Stop judging, that you may not be judged.

We might also examine our own lives to see what dark secrets we harbor at great cost.

Stop judging, that you may not be judged.

We might also reflect on the words and stories brought to us by trusted friends and colleagues.

Stop judging, that you may not be judged.

We might also watch to see how God works wonderfully in our own lives.

Stop judging, that you may not be judged.

Wayne Dyer

Wayne Dyer

We might speak with friends and colleagues in parables that call forth truth.

Stop judging, that you may not be judged.

We might listen to friends and colleagues who speak in love with the words God gives to them . . . rather than judging.

“We often judge our insides which we know intimately, by other people’s outsides, because that is all we can see”.  Excerpt from The Mindful Way Through Anxiety by Susan M. Orsillo, Phd  and Lizabeth Roemer, PhD.  Click on the Wayne Dyer quote to read more, or . . .

Enter the word relationships into the blog search bar and reflect on the parables you might give and receive.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

noara_lambMarch3_12[1]2 Samuel 11 and 12

A Prayer for Sin and Parable

The rich man had herds and flocks in great numbers.  But the poor man had nothing at all except one little ewe lamb that he had bought. 

This is a story with a familiar ending.  Those who have much use their influence and power to take from the poor what little they have.   The poor man gathers money, plans how he will finally gather around him the small beginning of self-sufficiency and the momentous ending of oppression.

He nourished her, and she grew up with him and his children.  She shared the little food he had and drank from his cup and slept in his bosom.  She was like a daughter to him. 

The poor man empties all that he has and all that he is into this precious possession that promises not only a ladder out of misery but a new feeling of comfort, compassion and love.  The little ewe sheep comes to symbolize much more than the object she is.  She becomes a unique sign of peace and stability.

Now the rich man received a visitor, but he would not take from his own flocks and herds to prepare a meal for the wayfarer who had come to visit him.  Instead, he took the ewe lamb . . .

The two-headed monster of envy and greed raises itself from the shadows and David’s sin is revealed.

David grew very angry . . . then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned . . .”

When we feel anger rise at the honest observation offered by a friend we must turn as David does.  And so we pray . . .

Dear and gracious God, it is so difficult to hear our secrets revealed when we believe we have them well-hidden away.  Help us to return to you.

Honest and kind God, we are so weak and vulnerable in the harsh light of our own judgment.  Send us your persistence and power.

Good and noble God, we need your encouragement and wisdom to lead us to the light of truth.  Remind us that truth always reveals itself in your time.

Mighty and compassionate God, we ask for your strength and grace to willingly reveal all that we have concealed.  Recount for us all the times you have saved us.

Sweet and loving God, speak to us in parables that enlighten us when we cannot bear the burden of the truth.  Help us to understand that secrets only fester in the darkness of guilt.

Forgiving and understanding God, speak to us plainly in words that call us to you.  Bring us the simplicity of your peace and love.

We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

To read posts from a shepherd’s blog, click on the image above or go to: http://hillshepherd.blogspot.com/2012/03/nora-had-ewe-lamb-last-night.html

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

holding-lamb[1]2 Samuel 11 and 12 and Psalm 51

Sin and Parable

Conclusion

We humans often reject the opportunities life presents to us through which we might reflect on how sin affects us, for sin affects us all.  We are a bit more quick to take a second look at other people’s sin than we are our own.  This may be because we do not have a balanced perspective.  It may be that we are too easily overcome by guilt.  Or we may believe that redemption only comes to those who live a life without fault.  For all of these reasons we benefit from taking an honest, open look at ourselves.

When do we elbow past crowds or shove past social and moral parameters to gain someone or some thing we want?  When do we kill the spirit or soul, the body or mind of another without even caring?

We humans are so much better at learning from the stories we hear about others; we do not seem capable of looking at ourselves squarely, openly, willingly or honestly.  It is for this reason that Nathan wisely tells his king a story about a shepherd who nourishes a ewe lamb and holds her to his heart.  We may be too afraid to look at our own lives.  We may be too comfortable in our easy ways.  Or we may believe that we have all the answers to all the world’s problems.  For all of these reasons we benefit from reading the parables we see in the faces of others who interact with us each day.

When do we turn away from the truth we see in the face of another when we want someone or some thing more than we are willing to admit?  When do we open our eyes and ears, our minds and ourselves to our actions and the hurting or healing they commit?

This sin of wanting what is not ours is all too common.  We know and respect David too well to ignore him.  The surging after a desired object is too present in our lives to say we do not recognize it.  There are too many ewe lambs of others that we hold close to our own hearts.

The parable of Nathan is a story that each of us can see in our own lives.  We know and believe that we too, have erred.  Let us take the time today to reflect on Psalm 51 to re-experience what we have learned.  Let us store in our memories today the emotions we feel when we read 2 Samuel 11 and 12.  Let us reflect carefully on David’s sin and allow Nathan’s words to pierce the false armor with which we have protected ourselves.

And when the day is done . . . let us consider the sins we commit, the parables our lives tell, and the courage we will need to allow our wanderings to become lessons of reflection for ourselves and others.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

hyssop48-l[1]2 Samuel 11 and 12 and Psalm 51

Sin and Parable – Part VI

Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

I always wonder about Bathsheba.  We might see her as one dimensional, a figure standing for beauty and grace, a woman-object, a child-bearer.  Yet she endures in David’s court.  And while she shares in David’s act, no mention is made of her grief or guilt, most likely because she is a female, chattel in these ancient times.  We can imagine how much she may have suffered. She continues to appear in Kings and in Chronicles and is revered as Solomon’s mother, yet she is a quiet back-figure in this long-running story of sin and parable.

Let me hear joy and gladness, let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

It is appropriate that this story come to us as we near the end of the Liturgical year and prepare for Advent.  The beautiful psalm of repentance, Psalm 51, was written when Nathan came to David after having committed adultery.

Oh Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. 

When we sing this song of repentance we are repeating the words of one who has lusted, one who has slept with another’s beloved, one who has arranged murder.  This is fitting, for in some way we all transgress on those around us when we covet, take or tear down something or someone.  And there are many small ways in which we end a life beyond the physical act of murder.  We might destroy someone emotionally, professionally, psychologically or spiritually.  Yet, there is always mercy to be sought . . . and granted.

giant_hyssop_large[1]Then I will teach transgressors your ways and sinners will turn back to you.

There is much to be heard in this story.  There is much to be lived, much to be sung.  David takes something he wants.  David destroys.  Nathan speaks.  Nathan restores.   Relationships cannot be put back as they had been, time cannot be reversed, and although Uriah cannot return, some quality, some relationship reappears.  Bridges can be built.  Pride can be put aside.  Transgressions can be brought to light.  Forgiveness can be sought and given.  Restoration can happen.

Miracles can take place . . . souls can be saved.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 

What do we do when Nathan stands before us?  How do we react?  When confronted by big sin, we need a big spirit.  We need constant relationships which help us to develop rather than comfortable friends who discourage us from growth or who encourage us to wallow.  We need a steadfast spirit, a renewed heart, an eager soul.  We need God.  And these things we have all been given.  We need only take them up and commit ourselves to them.

Create in me a pure heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Amen.

To discover the medicinal uses of hyssop and how it was used in ancient times, click on the  botanical image above or go to: http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hyssop48.html

Adapted from a reflection written on February 13, 2008.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

david repent[1]2 Samuel 11 and 12 and Psalm 51

Sin and Parable – Part IV

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 

The separation from society when murder is arranged and enacted is evident.  Yet what we often fail to see is the damage which occurs to the murderer, the arranger.  This man or woman who either commits the act, causes or arranges the act is in such a place of darkness and of self-importance that the light does not penetrate.  And the fact that lust, adultery and murder are here so closely entwined is an important one.  Lust which is acted upon is a kind of murder, both of self and of the other.

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

David serves as a wonderful model of how those who are blessed with amazing gifts are not immune from suffering.  David ennobles himself through his pain by admitting guilt and repenting.  David turns back to Yahweh.  David and is forgiven and loved by Yahweh . . . eternally.

We might allow our pain to transform us into wounded healers.  We might return to ask forgiveness.  We might ennoble ourselves through the admission of guilt.  We might turn back and repent for we, like David, are always and forever loved by God.

Adapted from a reflection written on February 13, 2008.

For a blog posting on David’s faith, click on the image above or go to: http://dreamsalongtheway.blogspot.com/p/sermon-series-man-who-would-be-king.html

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pieter Lastman: David hands the Letter to Uriah

Pieter Lastman: David hands the Letter to Uriah

2 Samuel 11 and 12 and Psalm 51

Sin and Parable – Part II

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

The story is a famous one: David succumbs to human lust and he takes something which belongs to another.  When Bathsheba conceives, he tries to trick her husband Uriah into a scenario in which the king’s child can be passed off as Uriah’s.  When Uriah’s purity and faithfulness to Yahweh get in the way, David arranges the murder of this good and loyal man.  A terrible tale.  Nathan brings David the parable of a man who steals a beloved object from another.  David at first is angry, then admits his guilt and expresses regret and grief for the damage he has done.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Lust, Adultery, Murder.  These are all acts of selfishness, of obliqueness, of anger.  There is nothing direct here, nothing open or honest.  These acts take place in shadow and in deep places.  There is no light.  There is no truth.

Let us consider the sins we have committed either actively or by leaving undone an action we have been called to complete.  Let us consider how these commissions and omissions separate us from all that we are meant to be and do.   And let us consider what these sins have  to say about who we are.

Let us consider how many parables Jesus teaches us with his words.  Let us consider how many parables Jesus teaches us with his actions.  And let us consider how many parables our own lives teach.

Visit one of the Gospels and choose a parable that Jesus teaches us. Spend time with it today reflecting on how we might teach others through our actions rather than our words.

Adapted from a reflection written on February 13, 2008.

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Sin and Parable – Part I


Monday, November 11, 2013

david-and-nathan[1]2 Samuel 11 and 12 and Psalm 51

Sin and Parable – Part I

Have mercy on me, oh God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

One of the most famous stories in scripture is that of David’s complicated sin of lust, adultery and murder.  The most intriguing portion of this story is the way in which the prophet Nathan carefully, but firmly, points out to his king that a grave breech of the covenant with Yahweh has been made.  David is far too intelligent and too spiritual to walk away from the opportunity which Nathan offers . . . the opportunity to admit to transgression . . . to see the multiple sins he has committed . . . to ask forgiveness . . . and to repent with sincerity.  This is what makes David truly great.  He is so human that when he sins, he tries to cover up these willful acts, and we can identify with this.  But when confronted by the truth, he admits his guilt and seeks forgiveness.  This may be the difficult part for us, asking forgiveness for those things which hide so deeply in our depths that we may not even recognize that they are there.

Enter the name Nathan in the blog search bar to discover more about this prophet and to consider what he might have to say to us today.

Adapted from a reflection written on February 13, 2008.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

king solomon[1]

King Solomon

Last Instructions

This scene may be familiar to us since it is replicated on Palm Sunday when Jesus rides into Jerusalem as king and paschal sacrifice.  Jesus’ crowning by the marginalized people whom he cured and healed fulfills the hope which Solomon brings to the throne of Israel.  David’s last instructions serve his son and his people.  Solomon’s crowning bring his people hope for security and peace.  Jesus’ last instructions bring rescue and redemption that last an eternity.

1 Kings 2 begins with David’s death discourse and we find that it has a familiar ring. David hands on his kingdom to Solomon in 970 B.C.E. and several hundred years later, Jesus comes to fulfill David’s and Solomon’s hope.

What does Solomon’s crowning mean for us today? We see the foreshadowing of Jesus, the true king who “keep[s] the mandate of the Lord . . . following his ways and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances and decrees as they are written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in whatever you do, wherever you turn.”

We so easily forget this when life offers us an easy road and we feel confident.  Our small egos take over and tell us that we do not need God. Then trouble strikes and we turn back to God whom we have forgotten and we find that God is there waiting to accompany us through any tragedy or pain.  David’s last instructions, a call to live in the Law of Moses, presage the Law of Love which Jesus brings.

Vicente Juan Macip: The Last Supper

Vicente Juan Macip: The Last Supper

The apostle John tells us of Jesus’ last words to his followers.  They are so simple and also so beautiful.  Do not let your hearts be troubled . . . I will not leave you orphans . . . I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.  Remain in me as I remain in you . . . It was not you who chose me but I who chose you . . . I have more to tell you but you cannot bear it now . . . In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.  These familiar words lay out the simple tenets of Jesus Law of Love which comes down to one lasting commandment: Love God, love one another.

This is such a simple instruction and yet so easily forgotten.

As David lies dying he gathers his last resources to leave final instructions to those he loves so well.  Solomon is crowned and David’s words are passed on for generations.

As Jesus enters Jerusalem he gathers his strength for the harrowing road that lies ahead.  He calls his apostles together, breaks bread and shares wine, and he leaves last instructions for those he loves so dearly. Do not let your hearts be troubled . . . Jesus’ words are passed down through an eternity.

As we confront any obstacle that falls to us in our journey, we might find wisdom and consolation in these last words which we so easily forget.  And so we ask God’s help and we pray . . .

Faithful and forgiving God, abide with us as we journey through life forgetting, or perhaps not believing, that you are with us.

Constant and faithful God, sustain us with the hope so often predicted and so lovingly brought to us by your son.

Healing and loving God, fill us with the consolation and peace of your Holy Spirit, remembering that we are your own dear creations who long to be with you.

For this we pray. Amen.

For Jesus’ Last Supper Discourses and Prayer, see John Chapters 14 through 17.

Adapted from a reflection written on June 6, 2007.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Psalms1[1]1 Chronicles 18

Our Campaigns

All of our works tell of our relationship with God.  All of our campaigns speak of our reverence for God.  All of our gestures tell of our constancy in discipleship to God.

Thus the Lord made David victorious in all his campaigns.

If only we might remember this.  It is the Lord who makes all our campaigns victorious; not our cleverness, or looks, wealth or power.  It is the Lord.

David took the golden shields that were carried by Hadadezer’s attendants and brought them to Jerusalem.

We need to return all the spoils of our campaigns to God.  They are the Lord’s.

He likewise took away . . . large quantities of bronze, which Solomon later used to make the bronze sea and the pillars and the vessels of bronze.

We must dedicate all that we have to the one who provided it for us.  All that we have belongs to God.

Hadadezar . . . sent David gold, silver and bronze utensils of every sort.  These also King David consecrated to the Lord along with all the silver and gold that he had taken from the nations.

We are wise to consecrate all that we are to the Lord for our origin and our existence are from God.  All that we are belongs to God.

As we wage our daily campaigns with family, friends and colleagues at home, in our communities and in the workplace, we must keep our focus on what God is asking that we do . . . rather than on what we want to do.

As we gather the booty and measure the value of our successes, we must remind ourselves that our victories are due both to God’s credit and our willingness to obey God’s call.  In this act of giving back to God what is God’s we can claim our divinity . . . in and with God.

Thus the Lord makes us victorious in all his campaigns.

When we meet failure rather than success we do well to look to ourselves and ask . . . Do we strive to hurdle some barrier because we will ourselves to do so?  Are we setting our own priorities rather than God’s?  Are we backing away from some request God makes of us rather than trusting God’s wisdom because we fear our inadequacy or vulnerability?

Are the campaigns into which we enter of God . . . or of us?  And how do we know?

We shall know by our lives that we dedicate to him. We shall know by the works that we consecrate to him.  We shall know by the abundance of fruit that we bear back to him for . . .

Thus the Lord makes us victorious in all his campaigns.

Tomorrow, another gift of discipleship . . . honesty . . .

Written on May 2, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

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