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

Thursday, June 30, 2022

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.

Image from: https://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/angels/a-sign-in-the-sky


Tobit 8:5-8: The Mystery of Prayer

Andrea Vaccaro: Tobias Meets the Archangel Raphael

Andrea Vaccaro: Tobias Meets the Archangel Raphael

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

If we ever doubt the power of prayer, we only need to turn to scripture for stories that spark the imagination and lead us to times in our own lives when prayer has linked us in a special way with God’s power to restore and save. If we look at prayer with the eye of superstition and make a prayer a thing that fills prescribed span of time in a designated place, then our goal is to obtain something or someone and bring them into our own plan. If, on the other hand, our prayer is an opening of our hearts and minds to the voice and love of God, then we will more fully understand the mystery of prayer.

In days of trial we lift our prayer to God . . . and wait for answers.

In days of doubt we hide from our fear . . . and ask God for solutions to life-altering problems.

In days of gratitude we bow down in thankfulness . . . and recognize God’s bold strength and tender care.

In days of celebration we leap with joy . . . and tell all the world how great and compassionate and wise is our God.

Today we spend time with a very special prayer. Let us see if can recognize its power in the story of Tobit, Tobias and Sarah. And let us see if we recognize this sane presence of a loving God in our own lives.

When we choose a character to follow as we read the full story of Tobit . . . we might be better able to find the healing grace of Raphael in our own lives.


Image from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Andrea_Vaccaro_-_Tobias_Meets_the_Archangel_Raphael_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg


Sirach 15:14-17: The Mystery of Free WillFree-Will-10

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

God in the beginning created human beings and made them subject to their own free choice. If you choose, you can keep the commandments; loyalty is doing the will of God. Set before you are fire and water; to whatever you choose, stretch out your hand. Before everyone are life and death, whichever they choose will be given them.

The concept of free well is one with which we struggle and frequently we hear ourselves asking God the familiar question. Dear God – if all things are possible for you, why don’t you fix all that is wrong with the world?

God says: I love you so much that I do not want to force you to love me in return. I have infinite patience and limitless persistence so I am willing to give you free rein as you decide how you want to live. Our goal is not to have you do precisely as I say; rather, our goal is to come into union in celebration of our mutual understanding and love. Our goal is not to have a perfect world; rather, our goal is to come together in the kingdom I have described for you in which we are motivated by love rather than anger, envy or self-interest. I want to love you into loving me. I want you to love me as much as I love you. I created you in the hope that you and I will have an eternal relationship. And this is entirely possible for us because yes, for me . . . all things are possible.

The mystery of free will is one we might easily misunderstand. When we spend time today with this wisdom from Sirach, we begin to trust in the potential God has planted in each of us.

Use the scripture link to compare these words from Jesus Ben Sirach and consider how we might show God that we understand this gift of free will.


Image from: https://www.dreamstime.com/photos-images/paths-intersecting.html


Mark 4:26-34: The Mystery of Kingdom – Part VI660x400_immun-men-in-boat

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Today we continue our exploration of the kingdom by going to the UNICEF web site. To examine the status of immunization in the world. Find other sources of information on this topic and consider the pros and cons. What does Jesus say to us about immunizations especially for children?  How does God’s Spirit move us to celebrate humanity and those who call us to care for the children?

Tomorrow, the promise of the kingdom. 


Click on the image above to explore how to save lives and why one in five children are denied vaccines. Discover what science has to tell us about eradicating polio and other devastating diseases.

If we want to find another parable that Jesus tells us while exploring this idea, we may want to use a parable index like the one at http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/pa.htm This is a tool to sort through the stories Jesus tells us and you may have another that you want to recommend in a comment.

Or you may want to use the Connecting at Noon page on this blog for ideas about how to explore scripture as we listen for words from God: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/


Mark 4:26-34: The Mystery of Kingdom – Part VUN hunger

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Today we continue our exploration of the kingdom by going to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations web site. Find other sources of information on world hunger and consider the pros and cons. What does Jesus say to us on this subject?  How does God’s Spirit move us to celebrate humanity and those who call us to sow and reap a harvest for the poor?

Click on the image above to discover what may endanger the Mediterranean diet, the diet long considered the world’s healthiest and most sustainable regimen. Discover what science has to tell us about the factors that affect hunger.

Tomorrow, another challenge from the kingdom. 


If we want to find another parable that Jesus tells us while exploring this idea, we may want to use a parable index like the one at http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/pa.htm This is a tool to sort through the stories Jesus tells us and you may have another that you want to recommend in a comment.

Or you may want to use the Connecting at Noon page on this blog for ideas about how to explore scripture as we listen for words from God: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/

 


Mark 4:26-34: The Mystery of Kingdom – Part IV174_seaice_1979

Friday, June 24, 2022

Today we continue our exploration of the kingdom by going to the United Nations web site on climate change to examine the topic. Find other sources of information on this and consider the pros and cons. What does Jesus say to us on this subject?  How does God’s Spirit move us to celebrate science and those who bring us their discoveries?

Click on the image above to explore the NASA Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet and discover what science has to tell us.

Tomorrow, another story from the kingdom.


If you want to find another parable that Jesus tells us while exploring this idea, you may want to use a parable index like the one at http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/pa.htm This is a tool to sort through the stories Jesus tells us and you may have another that you want to recommend in a comment.

Or you may want to use the Connecting at Noon page on this blog for ideas about how to explore scripture as we listen for words from God: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/


Mark 4:26-34: The Mystery of Kingdom – Part IIIbbc image

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Today we continue our exploration of the kingdom by going to the United States FDA web site and examining the topic of genetically engineered animals. Find other sources of information on this topic and consider the pros and cons. What does Jesus say to us on this topic?  How does God’s Spirit move us to celebrate science and those who bring us their discoveries?

Click on the image of the mosquito above to read an article from the BBC asking if the world is ready for work in this arena.

If you want to find another parable that Jesus tells us while exploring this idea, you may want to use a parable index like the one at http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/pa.htm This is a tool to sort through the stories Jesus tells us and you may have another that you want to recommend in a comment.

Or you may want to use the Connecting at Noon page on this blog for ideas about how to explore scripture as we listen for words from God: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/

Tomorrow, another aspect of the kingdom.


Image from: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31604233


Mark 4:26-34: The Mystery of Kingdom – Part IIgmo

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Today we continue our exploration of the kingdom by going to the World Health Organization web site and examining the topic of genetically modified crops. What are the pros and cons? What does Jesus say to us on this topic?  How does God’s Spirit move us to celebrate science and those who bring us their discoveries?

Tomorrow, another facet of the kingdom.


If we want to find another parable that Jesus tells us while exploring this idea, we may want to use a parable index like the one at http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/pa.htm This is a tool to sort through the stories Jesus tells us and you may have another that you want to recommend in a comment.

Or you may want to use the Connecting at Noon page on this blog for ideas about how to explore scripture as we listen for words from God: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/

Image from: https://epthinktank.eu/2015/02/12/new-gmo-legislation/


Mark 4:26-34: The Mystery of Kingdom – Part I

James Tissot: The Parable of the Sower

James Tissot: The Parable of the Sower

Tuesday June 21, 2022

Jesus says: This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.

With our high-tech science in which we manipulate the very substance of plant and human DNA; and we establish pros and cons explaining how we are helping or harming the planet. These are discussions that did not occur with Jesus’ contemporaries yet Jesus is with us still today, guiding us. If only we might make ourselves full citizens of the kingdom. If only we might awaken to the word of God and the movement of the Spirit. If only we might follow Christ.

Jesus says: Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come”.

Jesus uses this and other parables to bring home his thoughts to his audience. Two thousand years ago Jesus used the mystery of the grain in the harvest to call workers to the kingdom. Today, what parable does he use? Perhaps it is the story of genetically modified crops. We may not be aware that Jesus is present as we make decisions that affect the world for generations; yet Jesus’ word is as important to us today as it was to ancient peoples.

Harvest Reapers

Harvest Reapers

Jesus says: To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, is springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth branches, so that the birds of the ski can dwell in its blades.

Jesus uses parables with us today, but do we apply the lessons he is teaching? Do we explain away the kingdom with our scientific prowess which, when we pause to think of it, is a gift from God in itself? Are we open to the mystery of the kingdom and our world? Do we call others to partake of this mystery? And do we celebrate the gift of Jesus’ presence in every moment and every space of our lives?

The disciple Mark says: With many such parables he spoke to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Women_reaping

Women Reaping

As followers of Christ and readers of God’s word we have become his disciples. Jesus speaks to us in our hearts, explaining the mysteries that puzzle us and healing the wounds that cripple us. When we spend time with scripture we spend time with Christ. Read varying versions of today’s citation . . . and listen for the word of God. For Jesus speaks to each of us so that we might better understand the mysteries of our world, so that we might better comprehend the miracle and gift of this elusive gift of kingdom that we seek . . . but that we already possess and enjoy.

We have looked at the mystery of God, Jesus, he Spirit, power, rendering, resurrection and incarnation. This week we pause to spend time with scripture, looking for the kingdom that is already ours as explained by Jesus to his followers, and as found in the words of the Old and New Testaments. Today we begin our journey as we use the scripture link of this citation from Mark to compare texts . . . and to listen for the Word of God.


To learn more about agriculture and other topics in biblical times, visit: http://www.bible-archaeology.info/agriculture.htm 

Images from: http://womeninthebible.net/bible-archaeology/farming-agriculture/ and http://lambservant.hubpages.com/hub/Bible-Trivia-Quiz-Kings-of-the-Old-Testament and http://www.allposters.com/-sp/The-Parable-of-the-Sower-Posters_i3489188_.htm

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