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Matthew 8:23-27: Stilling the Storm

James Seward: Peace, be Still

James Seward: Peace! Be Still!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

We say: Lord, we are perishing!

Jesus says: Why are you afraid?

God says: You and I have spoken about the storms of life so frequently – nearly every day – yet still I am willing to hear you again cry out for my help. And I am willing to give my help to you. I know that the circumstances of the world frighten you; yet I ask for your patience and courage. I know that the troubles of the world alarm you; yet I ask for your perseverance and fidelity. I know that the anxieties of the world panic you; yet I ask for your mercy and kindness. I know that the injustices of the world anger you; yet I ask for your confidence and love. When I calm the storm I calm you. When I ask for stillness I ask for your open heart. When I ask for love I ask for your full and abiding presence in me. Practice this when you are not distressed and you will see how natural this becomes in the way you interact with others. And you will find that a new peace and tranquility abide within. You will find that the approaching storm will roll over you to leave you unscathed. And you will have stilled the storm within.


For a musical reflection on Peace! Be Stillby Seward, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DSYtYdjsbA

Find your former self in Seward’s painting . . . look for your new self in Christ.

For a reflection on fear, click on the image above or visit: http://www.shellyduffer.com/tag/jesus-calms-the-storm/

Enter the word storm into the blog search bar, think about how we react to crisis or strife, and decide to hand over the storm within to the one who calms all storms.


Matthew 8:14-17: Casting Outjesusheals-300x298

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Those who suffer from leprosy, those who are scorned and separate. Those controlled by circumstances beyond their reach. Jesus interacts with all, no matter their status or condition, and for this we are grateful for how are we to know when we will number among them? Today we watch as Jesus ministers to those possessed by the forces of other worlds, those driven by powers from other dimensions, those tortured by fears and anxieties that live within.

When we realize that we are in a relationship that takes us beyond our depth, let us ask God to guide us home.

When we feel we are pushed beyond limits that are already stretched too far, let us ask Jesus to cast out our fear.

When we believe we are beyond healing and peace, let us ask the Spirit to bring us restoration and serenity.

He took our infirmities, he bore our diseases . . .

As Christ heals so many among us with the hope of Easter resurrection, we give thanks for this great casting our of worry and pain

He cast out spirits with a word and cured all who were sick . . .

As Christ steps into shoes that we find too large and shoulders burdens we find too heavy, we give thanks for this great love that so eagerly casts out the pain and sorrow of the world.


Image from: http://wonder.oca.org/2014/09/23/except-through-prayer-and-fasting/


Matthew 8:5-13: The Centurion’s Servant003-centurion-servant

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Yesterday we reflected on Jesus’ openness and willingness to heal those forced to live apart from the tribe. Today we reflect on his relationships with those who were scorned as overlords. In the Message version of this familiar story, Jesus is describes as taken aback by the centurion’s words. Enter the word Under the Centurion’s Roof into the Noontime search bar and reflect.

Consider both the centurion and his servant as persons and reflect on who they might be to us today. Is the centurion a soldier, a law enforcement officer, an emergency responder? Is the servant one we would ignore when we visit a friend? Is he someone who works for us silently and unvalued? And finally, let us consider who we are: one of the privileged few elite, one of the many downtrodden, one of the scorned or one of blessed.


Image from: http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/centurion-servant/


Matthew 8:18-22: Followersfox-kit-at-den-entrance-in-saskatchewan

Friday, May 20, 2022

We say: Teacher, I will follow you wherever you will go . . .

Jesus says: Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head . . .

God says: These may seem like sad words to you but they express a reality. I knock on the doors of those who ask for my help yet so often no one answers because they see a beggar, a woman, one suffering from disease, an outcast outside their comfortable home. When you see the least of my people you see me. Remember that I am meek and humble of heart. I am a child coming to your with nowhere to lay my head. I look for refuge with you even as you look for me.

We say: Lord, let me go first and bury my father . . .

Jesus says: Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead . . .

Why-do-birds-build-nest1God says: These words may sound harsh but again, they tell of a reality that I see. My children concern themselves for that which is already gone, for that which they cannot control, for that which is mine to handle. When I make plans for you to learn the lessons that will soften your heart and unbend your stiff neck, I do this out of love. I have plans for your wholeness and unity in me. I do not have plans for your woe. I have plans for your happiness and love through me. I do not have plans for your pain. I have plans to heal your suffering and to transform our heart; I do not have plans for your ruin. I have plans for life eternal in me. Seize this opportunity to be a true follower rather than one who would be . . .

Enter the word disciple into the blog search bar and explore the words we have heard so often that reveal our life in Christ.


Click on the images in this post to learn more about why birds build nests and why Jesus may have used this imagery. 

Images from: http://emmock.com/2013/10/05/bible-blog-1162/ and 


Matthew 8:1-4: Leprosy

Jean-Marie Melchior Doze: Jesus Healing the Leper

Jean-Marie Melchior Doze: Jesus Healing the Leper

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Jesus does not keep himself away and apart from those who are considered to be unclean; rather, he wades in among the tumult and confusion of everyday life to bring healing where there is sorrow, order where there is chaos, and love where there is hate. We might consider such work ourselves and as we do, we might reflect on the answers to these questions: Who among us are the lepers in our society, who are the healers who transform lives with kind words and merciful gestures, and who among us will testify to the value and worth of those who live along the edge?

Today we encourage one another to steer away from identifying someone with their disease and so in our modern world we tell this story using the words the man or woman or child with leprosy so as not to condemn anyone a permanent identification with their condition. While we reflect on this thought, let us also consider the many names we have for others that pigeon-hole them an eternal status from which they cannot escape or redeem themselves.


Use the scripture link to compare various versions of these verses as we remember times when we were pigeon-holed . . . or times when we pigeon-holed others.

Enter the word leprosy in the blog search bar and reflect on who lives along the margins of our lives.

Image from: https://www.wikigallery.org/wiki/painting_215870/Jean-Marie-Melchior-Doze/Jesus-Healing-the-Leper


James 3:17-18: A Holy Life
burning-bush1

Monday, May 16, 2022

“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor”. THE MESSAGE

Jesus has told us about the nature of true discipleship. God has created us in the image of goodness and light and truth. The Spirit lives within, waking us each day to new possibilities of hope and peace and mercy. In celebration of the continuing gift of Easter life, let us spend time today in God’s intimate company, and let us thank God for the gift of a holy life by striving to live on true discipleship.

Using the scripture link above, compare other versions of these versions from James’ letter


Image from: http://providenceswfl.com/blog/brought-near-a-holy-god/


Isaiah 45:3-8: Hidden TreasuresHidden-treasures

Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 15, 2022

I will give you treasures out of the darkness, and treasures that have been hidden away . . .

Jesus comes into the darkness of the world to bring the light of truth and peace. Despite any gloom that threatens to engulf us, there is always hope when we remain in Christ.

God says: The hidden treasures that you seek are already in your grasp. You rise in Easter resurrection and already have the gift of eternal life. What more do you seek that you do not already experience? What more can you wish for when eternal happiness is already yours? Your struggles are not a darkness that will overtake you, rather they are gateways to new reunion, new life, and new love in me. Return to me always with all your troubles and do not be afraid when hardship falls upon you. I am your hidden treasure. I am the gift of life that already lies within.

 


Enter the word treasure in to the blog search bar and discover other treasures we already hold without asking.

Image from: http://vine-institute.org/discover-summit/

 


Matthew 7:21-23: True Discipleshipdisciple

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven . . .

We so often call of God when we are troubled and we too seldom include God in our celebrations of good news. We say that we know God and want to do God’s will and yet we too often believe that God has abandoned us.

God says: My true disciples sees me in all those who suffer or are alone or abandoned. My true disciples rejoice in their sorrow as often as they rejoice in their celebrations. In the downward spirals of your life you cling to me, and in this I rejoice for I am the vine that sustains the branches of your life. Remember me as well in the beautiful upswings and your days of celebration for I am also there – although you may forget me. My true disciple remains in me as much as possible just as I remain in them always. In your days of woe you remember me. Remember me as well in your days of joy.

To better understand Jesus’ concept of a true disciple, use the scripture link to examine varying versions of his Vine and Branches discourse (John 15:1-8).


For more Noontime reflections on true disciples, enter the word discipleship into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: http://www.choicesandavoice.org/sheris-blog/true-discipleship-what-are-the-characteristics-of-a-true-disciple-part-1 


Matthew 7:15-20: Receiving and Bearing Fruitapple-tree-300x224

Friday, May 13, 2022

Pagan gods demand to be carried while Yahweh carries his people. When we do the Lord’s work we are carried by God. We need not struggle for our daily shelter and bread. They will appear as a tent in the desert and as manna on trees’ branches and the ground. These are the fruits of God’s love for us. What fruits do we bear to God?

God says: I do not ask for holocausts or burnt offerings. I do not want to punish or frighten you. Rather, I want nothing more than your peaceful days and serene nights. My goodness and kindness will carry you if you make your heart open to me. My strength and persistence will sustain you if you allow me to wash your feet. My hope and love will heal you if you come to me with willing hands and mind. I give you the gift of life each day when you rise. All I ask is that you share that gift with others. The pruning you experience at my hand may dishearten you but when you trust the wisdom of my Way this discouragement will vanish. The pruning you undergo only brings forth more abundant and more beautiful fruit than you will have imagined. Trust me. Do not be afraid. Rise and receive the gifts I bring you. Then turn and share them as best you are able.


Enter the word pruning into the blog search bar and consider how and why life prunes us each day.

Image from: http://gccmadison.org/2013/bearing-fruit/

From a reflection written on June 27, 2007.

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