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Posts Tagged ‘hope’


faith the size of mustard seedTuesday, July 22, 2014

Mark 4:30-34

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.

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be strongThursday, June 12, 2014

1 Chronicles 28:9-10

Setting to Work

We have determined to praise God’s gifts to the ends of the earth. Let us consider how David sets an example for us to proclaim God’s goodness to future generations.

As for you, my children, know the God of your father and serve God with a perfect heart and a willing soul, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the mind’s thoughts.

We know that David sets aside his plans to build a holy place for the Ark of the Covenant; but he sets these plans aside when he understands that God has greater plans than those that he has created. Let us also make certain that the plans of our hearts are mindful of the plans of God’s heart.

If you seek God, God will let himself be found by you. But if you abandon him, he will cast you off forever.

Jesus comes to tell us the story of the Forgiving Father (Luke 15:11-31) and the Lost Son. Let us consider this parable as a roadmap of God’s plan for each of us.

See then! The Lord has chosen you to build a house as his sanctuary.

Jesus comes to tell us that we need not build temples to extol God; rather, we need create a dwelling place for the in-dwelling of the Spirit. Let us consider how and what and why we prepare ourselves for God’s Spirit. (John 2:19)

Take courage and set to work.

David reminds us that we need not worry about the plans that we have made for ourselves but rather we must tend to the plans God has in mind.

David sets aside his own desires and wishes to do as God asks; and he encourages his progeny to also follow God.

Christ reminds us that the temples we construct to ourselves do not last, but rather we are to prepare our hearts as God’s own dwelling place.

Christ shows us how to abandon ourselves in order to prepare our hearts as God’s own temple, he reminds us that we are constantly and forever loved by God; and he encourages us set to work at once. (Matthew 15:13)

And so as we set to work each day in our perfect persistence as kingdom builders, let us also remind our children of God’s fidelity. As we offer our hopes each day as willing participants in God’s plan, let us also remind our children of God’s outrageous expectation for our serenity. And as we offer our love to others each day, let us also remind our children of the power of God the creator, the compassion of God the Rescuer, and the peace of God the In-dweller . . . this awesome God who searches all hearts and understands all the mind’s thoughts.

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wherever you are todayMonday, June 9, 2014

1 Chronicles 28:20

Fear and Discouragement

When we consider the factors that move us to risk something of ourselves to act as God asks of us, fear and discouragement might well be reasons that we do not act when called by God. And yet for millennia God has assured us that trust in God’s plan and hope in God’s presence are the hallmarks of the faithful. Over the last few weeks we have contemplated John’s first letter to the faithful. This week we look for the many times that we have been supported and guided as God’s precious children.

Be firm and steadfast; go to work without fear or discouragement, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. God will not fail you or abandon you before you have completed all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. (Verse 28:20)

David reminds the Israelites of God’s fidelity and power; but we can turn to the Torah and the first sacred verses recorded centuries ago.

In Genesis 26:1-3 we hear God speak to Isaac at the time of a famine: Do not go down to Egypt, but continue to camp wherever in this land I tell you. Stay in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. We might remember this and act bravely and hopefully when we believe that making a geographical change will somehow bring us serenity.

In Deuteronomy 31:6 the Hebrew people are about to enter the land they have been promised when Moses reminds his flock: Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the Lord, your God, who marches with you; God will never fail you or forsake you. We might remember this and act compassionately and justly when we believe that remaining with what is familiar is better than moving into what is new.

Click on the scripture links above and read other versions of these verses; and let us consider how God speaks to us about our fear and discouragement.

Tomorrow, the prophets combat fear and discouragement.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

1 John 3:1-3

1 johnSee What Love

See what love the father has bestowed on us that we might be called the children of God.

We need say nothing more about our relationship with God. We are God’s children.

The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know God.

We need write nothing but that God loves each of us dearly. We are God’s children.

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.

We need not expend energy worrying or tears crying about what the creator may or may not think of us. We are God’s children.

Everyone who has this hope based on God makes himself pure, as God is pure.

Today, click on the scripture link above and study the four pre-select versions of this citation while thinking of these statements. Choose another version and read these simple yet hope-filled verses again and reflect on the amazing truth John brings to us . . .

See what love the father has bestowed on us that we might be called the children of God.

 

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Second Sunday of Easter, May 11, 2014

March 13:14-23

joy-with-white-300x214A Prayer for Times of Tribulation

When you see the desolating abomination standing where he should not [let the reader understand], then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, [and] a person on a housetop must not go down or enter to get anything out of his house, and a person in a field must not return to get his cloak . . . Be watchful!

These are words that are often construed by fundamentalists to predict the idea of rapture, of the faithful being taken into God’s presence suddenly while the unfaithful are left behind. Here Jesus speaks words of warning . . . but what do they really mean?

God says: You worry and fuss, you compare yourselves with others, and you focus on the minutiae of your day while you neglect The Word. When fear begins to overtake you, remember that I want to bring each of you to me, even those of you who have much to account for.  Keep in mind that you are joy to me . . . and I want to be joy to you. Remember that I find joy in you . . . and I want you to find joy in me.

And so we pray with the words of the psalmist.

Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God!

Remind us, God – when we are stressed – that your hope heals many wounds.

How great your wonders and your plans for us!

Remind us, God – when we are tired – that you care us for each moment of the day and night.

There is none who can be compared with you.

Remind us, God – when we are sad – that you are our greatest champion.

O, that I could make them known and tell them!

Remind us, God – when we are worried – that you suffer with us through all misfortune.

But they are more than I can count!

Remind us, God – when we finally come to rest in you – that your love counters all tribulation.

Psalm 40:4-5

For interesting insight into the English expression, “head for the hills!” go to: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/80681/does-make-for-the-hills-still-hold-currency-as-an-idiom

For further information on the idea of the Rapture, read an article by Michael D. Guinan, O.F.M., Ph.D, a professor at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkely, California.  Go to: http://www.leftbehind.com/01_products/browse.asp?section=Books  

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The Shorter Ending


jesus-appears-to-the-disciples-after-resurrectionTuesday, May 6, 2014

Mark 16:9-20

The Shorter Ending

The short version ending to Mark’s Gospel might leave us looking for more . . . Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid . . . And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter’s companions. Afterwards, Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.

This quick end is simple and direct; yet it leaves us with a number of questions. What instructions were so quickly repeated? Why this hasty summation? Who exactly were Peter’s companions? What does it mean that others were sent forth by Jesus through them? We believe we know the substance of the sacred, imperishable statement of everlasting redemption, but might we not have a bit more detail?

Fortunately, we can turn to the longer story which describes more fully the resurrection, the commissioning of the eleven, and finally Jesus’ ascension; but what the shorter ending gives us a sense of immediacy, an understanding of the fear these disciples experienced, and the knowledge that something quite remarkable has been passed to us through centuries.

Spend some time today with the shorter ending of Mark’s Gospel and decide . . . do we need the details we long for . . . or might we trust God to fill in all the blanks?  Is this merely a story to entertain or amaze us . . . or are we asked to do something more with the details we hope for?  Is the fear the followers of Jesus experience an emotion we observe and document . . . or do we allow our own fear to affirm for us the importance of this singular, sacred Easter story of salvation?

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Easter Monday 2014


empty easter tombEaster is an eight day celebration beginning on Easter Sunday, running through the Easter Octave and ending on the Second Sunday of Easter. This tradition reflects the joy the early apostles felt as they experienced the new presence of the Risen Christ. Jesus offers us this same experience today. Wishing all those who follow the Noontimes a graced and peace-filled Easter Monday.

April 21, 2014 – John 20:11-13

We give thanks for the miracle of the Easter resurrection. We remember that we rise with Christ in newness. We feel the presence of the Spirit within us. We have made our Lenten journey as we traveled up to Jerusalem, and now we move into our lives in a different way . . .

God gives each of us a talent that brings hope to the world. We are to use it.

God gifts each of us with attributes and a pathway. We are to follow them.

God calls each of us to union in the Spirit. We are to respond immediately and with passion.

Today we visit the empty tomb Where the Body Had Been. Follow this link to a Noontime reflection on the Easter miracle: http://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/01/where-the-body-had-been/

 

 

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flame RwandaPalm Sunday, April 13, 2014

Romans 8:11

Genocide

Last week the country of Rwanda commemorated the 20th anniversary of horrific genocide not with more invective speech but with forgiveness and reconciliation . . . and with a flame of remembrance.  As St. Paul reminds us, with God all impossibilities become possible. In Christ all hope becomes reality. In the Spirit all that was once dead comes to new life . . . in Christ.

The one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.

And so we pray.

As we begin Holy Week, let us determine to change ourselves, to bring the light of change to the world, and to live always in the peace of the Living God who raises all death to new life.

As we enter Holy Week, let us consider how one million dead in Rwanda now rise in the reconciliation of enemies, now live in the acts of forgiveness offered by victims, and in the repentance felt by murderers.

As we move forward into Holy Week, let us pray that we always hear the voice of God. Let us pray that we always see Christ’s light in the darkness. And let us pray that we allow the Spirit to move us as we put the woes and words of the prophet Amos to work for the Gospel of the Christ. Amen.

Rwanda hopes to rise from the ashes of their brutal history to be the light of remembrance, the light of life for Africa and for the world. Now the cleanest and least corrupt country in Africa, Rwanda is hoping to become the Silicone Valley of their continent. Listen here at NPR: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/06/299708652/20-years-later-rwanda-hopes-to-be-a-light-for-the-world

rwanda victimFor more on finding grace and relying on faith after genocide, listen to an interview with the Reverend Celestin Musekura from National Public Radio. Let at: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/04/299054435/finding-peace-after-genocide

For a video story from Euronews describing Rwanda’s reconciliation village, go to: http://www.euronews.com/2014/04/05/rwanda-s-reconciliation-village-a-symbol-of-hope-20-years-after-the-genocide/

Or click on the image above to read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Daniel Flitton, and The Malay Mail Online.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Matthew 13:1-9

So Many Paths – Part I

Amos has called us to consider what path we take as we live and work and play and pray throughout our life journey.  As we draw nearer to our celebration of Easter resurrection and joy, let us consider the parable Jesus tells those who follow him. But let us begin with an examination of the journey we ourselves are making.

paths 1Some journeys offer too many choices.  We become confused and anxious. We make excuses for never stepping into the world. We shrink from taking responsibility for ourselves. We refuse to see that we have a purpose, or we decide that we do not want to use the gift planted in us.  When this happens, let us consider the number of times we have been saved by an unknown force in an extraordinary way. Let us take into account the fact that God knows every detail about us – even details we have not discovered ourselves. And let us determine to trust the force that loves us more than any other that has ever – or will ever – exist.

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. 

paths 2Some journeys terrify us and we shrink from leaving our comfortable place in which have insured that we will never run any risk that endangers anything we stand for. When this happens, let us consider that Amos calls us to step away from a life in which we cling to power and wealth. Jesus shows us that we are not always shunned when we live a life that is out of the ordinary.

Such crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore.

paths 3Some paths are familiar and famous.  They look pleasant and easy.  They lure us into a false sense of safety and sometimes pride. When this happens we are tempted to forget who made us and why we are here in this time and space. Jesus tells us that he comes from the Father who created us to unite us with him as precious Children of Light.

And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow”.

paths 4Some journeys are undulating and seem as though they never end.  They look penned-in and boring. We think of them as predictable and un-exciting. When this happens, we must consider that we have no way of understanding the plan God has in mind for us. We forget that God has placed a potential and a hope in each of us that will heal the woes of the world. We do not remember that we carry God’s word and that no matter the path, God is with us to guide and protect us. What looks like a long and uneventful road . . . may become instead an unforgettable journey.

“As he sowed, some seed fell on the path and birds came and ate it up”.

Tomorrow, So Many Paths – Part II

 

 

 

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