Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Matthew 13:33: Critical Yeast

Monday, June 18, 2018

Jesus told them still another parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with a bushel of flour until the whole batch of dough rises.” (GNT)

We know that when we bake bread, the baker must thoroughly mix the yeast with all the ingredients. To leave one portion untouched means that the loaves will bake unevenly; one slice of the loaf will be light and airy while another will be heavy and flat. Jesus asks that we go out to all those he invites to join him in the Kingdom.

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” (NRSV)

We know that when we bake bread, the baker must knead and re-knead the dough, punching down the growing form to eliminate bubbles. To leave these pockets of air distorts the baking loaf and gives it unusual proportions. Jesus asks that we rise again when circumstances keep us from our work in building the Kingdom.

And he told them yet another parable. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with a bushel of flour, then waited until the whole batch of dough rose.” (CJB)

We know that Jesus gave his twelve Apostles authority over evil when he sent them into the world to build the Kingdom. (Mark 6:7) Jesus sends us into the world each morning as yeast for the kingdom; he welcomes us home each evening to heal our wounds and restore our flagging spirit.

Another story. “God’s kingdom is like yeast that a woman works into the dough for dozens of loaves of barley bread—and waits while the dough rises.” (MSG)

We know that Jesus sends seventy-two disciples in the world. He sent them out two by two, to go ahead of him to every town and place where he himself was about to go. (Luke 10:1) Jesus sends us into the world not as large cohorts but in small groups to be yeast that will leaven all places of his kingdom.

God creates us as critical yeast for the world. God’s very Word empowers us as he sends us into all parts of the kingdom. The Spirit raises us repeatedly after each buffeting so that we might bring God’s critical leavening to a world that longs for the Kingdom.

Today we pray Psalm 31 and we repeat the anitphon: A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough (Galatians 5:9).

When we compare varying translations of these verses, we discover new ways to become yeast that will build God’s Kingdom. 

Tomorrow, we are the Temple.


To learn more about cricial yeast in the world, listen to the June 7, 2018 podcast of Krista Tippett’s On Being show with AMERICA FERRERA AND JOHN PAUL LEDERACH: “How Change Happens, In Generational Time”. https://onbeing.org/programs/america-ferrera-john-paul-lederach-how-change-happens-in-generational-time-jun2018/

Image from: https://www.circleofhope.net/jonnyrashid/bake-bread-follow-jesus/


Isaiah 9:1-6: People of Light

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Jesus tells us, I am the light. (John 8:12)

John tells us, In [Christ] was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)

Jesus tells us, You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.  (Matthew 5:14-15)

How do we bring light to a world that seems determined to live in darkness? We remember this Favorite written on October 19, 2007.

Isaiah tells us, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light!

We sing these words in the advent season when Christmas nears.  Handel set them to music and surrounded them with soaring strands of notes to lift us up.

You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing . . .

We believe that Christ’s presence among us is a joy.  We believe that he has come to release us from bondage, to set us free from our exile of anxieties, addictions, and damaging behavior.

For a child is born to us, a son is given us . . .

We know these words in the marrow of our bones.  Jesus resides in each of us.  We are his adopted brothers and sisters.  He has come to redeem, to restore, to heal, to transform.

They call him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.

We hear these words and somehow know them to be true, know them to be meant as a consolation, yet we fear that the reality we live in is more true than the one these words describe.

His dominion is vast and forever peaceful . . . both now and forever . . . 

Good and gracious God, you know that we walk in darkness and so you reach out your hands to us.  You know that we see the light but are often afraid of its fierce honesty.  Help us to meet the intensity of this light with our own courageous response to your Call.  Abide with us now and forever.  May your zeal and passion for us bring us fully into your light and bring us fully to life.  Bring us to your celebration. Amen.

Today as we pray Psalm 18, we repeat verse 29 as an antiphon: For you, Lord, give light to my lamp; my God brightens my darkness. 

Tomorrow, we are leaven for the world. 


Image from: https://www.democraciaejustica.org/galery/a-candle-loses-nothing-by-lighting-another-candle.html


Matthew 5:13: Becoming Salt for the World

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Too much salt makes our meals bitter, dries out all that it touches, and adds pain to an open wound.

Too little salt gives us bland food, allows stored meats to deteriorate, and allows infection to invade a damaged area.

Just the right amount of salt gives seasoning to our lives, preserves what we need to sustain us, and heals our hurts.

From the Torah and Narratives, through the Prophets and Wisdom, scripture asks us to consider the qualities of salt. Jesus gives us concepts to sort and decipher.

In Matthew 5:13, Jesus says: You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot.

In Mark 9:50, he tells us: Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.

In Luke 14:34-35 we hear: Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? “It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

The Dead Sea, between Israel and Jordan

Today, Christ calls us to measure the way we live. The Dead Sea was and is a living example of what happens when water enters a body and has no outlet; yet, despite its astonishingly high level of salt and other minerals, scientists find that it is full of microbial life. It seems that Mother Nature, and indeed all of creation, reminds us that we must look to maintain balance in a world full of polarities. We must discern the order that exists despite apparent chaos. We must work toward unity in a universe that brings us a message of dichotomy. We must be salt for a world that yearns for peace.

Today we pray the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), and as we do, we repeat Matthew 5:13 as an antiphon: You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?

Tomorrow, we are light.


For more Noontime reflections on salt for the world, enter the word salt into the search bar and explore. 

Read about what is going on in the Dead Sea at: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/fountains-of-life-found-at-the-bottom-of-the-dead-sea/

To discern what it means to be salt for the earth, visit: https://ccsouthbay.org/blog/salt-of-the-earth

Find 40 verses about salt in scripture at: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Salt

Images from: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ask-a-health-expert/table-sea-or-kosher-which-salt-is-healthiest/article10812924/ and https://www.deadsea.com/articles-tips/interesting-facts/why-is-the-dead-sea-called-the-dead-sea/


John 15:15: Fools and Friends

Friday, June 15, 2018

Jesus reminds us that he calls us his friends. To think we are otherwise is foolish.

I do not call you servants any longer, because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father.

As we consider what it means to be a friend of Christ, we remember this Favorite written on November 1, 2009. Sirach 22

There are many verses in this chapter that to make us smile and at times laugh aloud. Jesus ben Sirach knows human nature well; and he understands the importance of true friendship in which even the action of drawing a sword against a friend can be undone.  Yet, in these verses there are gentle warnings: the rest of us stand aloof from those who harm friends, treachery can drive away any friend, prosperity can get in the way of friendship, insults cause great harm in close relationships.

Equally significant are the verses pertaining to fools and those addicted to laziness.  Who among us has not been a fool at one time or another, and who among us has not been damaged by a fool?  Sirach advises well when he writes: teaching a fool is like gluing a broken pot, or disturbing a man in his sleep . . . speak seldom with the stupid man, be not the companion of a brute . . . neither can a timid resolve based on foolish plans withstand fear of any kind.

We find many examples of foolishness, laziness, brutishness; and we see the value of tending to friendships.  In his letters to the Corinthians, Paul plays with the ideas of foolishness and weakness in humans and in God.  We become weak and foolish as humans in order to become strong and wise with and in Christ.   We give over our worldly wisdom and strength in order that we might submit ourselves freely to God’s will and power.  This is the secret of inversion in Christianity; and it is a truth we sometimes find difficult.  In 1 Corinthians 3:18-23 we read:  Do not deceive yourselves.  If anyone of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a fool so that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.  As it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness” and again, “the Lord knows that their thoughts are futile”.  So then, no more boasting about men . . . all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God. 

Today we have something to ponder as we wind down into the evening, into prayer and into sleep.  What or who do we see as foolish?  What or who do we see as wise?  What or who do we see as strong?  What or who do we see as weak?  Do sincere friends abound?  Who and what do we suffer and why?

Sirach presents a stark contrast in this chapter as do our own lives.  Everywhere we look we see the lights and darks that present an ever-shifting world; but the one true place we will always find a steady foundation is the masonry bonded with wooden beams . . . not loosened by an earthquake . . .This foundation is Christ.

A resolve that is backed with prudent understanding is like the polished surface of a smooth wall.  This resolve is funded by Christ.

Small stones lying on an open height will not remain when the wind blows . . . so this is why we must stand on the rock of Christ.  All else is weak.

Neither can a resolve based on foolish plans withstand fear of any kind . . . and this is why we must place our friendship in Christ.  All else is foolish.

We consider our friendship with Christ as we pray Psalm 122, and repeat the antiphon, For the sake of my family and friends, I say it again: live in peace.

Tomorrow, becoming salt. 


For more reflections on friendship, enter the word friend into the blog search bar and explore.

For more on the friendship pyramid and the stages of friendship, click on the image from: https://humans.media/stages-of-friendship


John 15:1-5: Branches

Thursday, June 14, 2018

We have examined scripture to reflect on the ways in which the beauty, wisdom, truth, and love in our identity in Christ exemplify our relationship with God in the Spirit. Jesus tells us who he is, reflecting Yahweh’s promise of “I Am Who I Am”. Today we continue to reflect on who we are, and on how we respond to God’s call for merciful justice in all of creation.

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples”. (THE MESSAGE)

Rather than giving in to our fear that we might fall away from the Vine of Christ, we consider the beauty of union with all of creation.

Rather than seeking revenge for the injustices we suffer, we reflect on the wisdom of grafting ourselves to the healing truth of the abiding Spirit.

Rather than lamenting the evil that stalks societies, we contemplate the truth of pruning away all that separates us from the courage and patience of God.

Today we have the opportunity to produce fruit on the great vine of life. Today we rejoice in the gift of Christ’s vineyard. Today we come together in the Spirit of beauty, wisdom, truth, and love.

We pray Psalm 80and we consider God’s gifts of healing, restoration, and transformation while we repeat verses 8-10 as the antiphon, 

You brought a grapevine out of Egypt;
    you drove out other nations and planted it in their land.
You cleared a place for it to grow;
    its roots went deep, and it spread out over the whole land.
It covered the hills with its shade;
    its branches overshadowed the giant cedars.

 


To find more Vine and Branches posts on this blog, use these links.

The Vine and Branches: https://thenoontimes.com/2018/05/19/john-15-the-vine-and-branches/

Sawing Off Branches: https://thenoontimes.com/2017/01/30/mark-322-30-sawing-off-branches/

Roots and Branches: https://thenoontimes.com/2015/02/07/roots-and-branches/

Grafting to the Vine: https://thenoontimes.com/2017/05/26/psalm-106-grafting-to-the-vine/

Enter the words, Vine or Branch into the blog search bar to explore other reflections.

When we compare other versions of these verses, we discover the beauty, wisdom, truth, and love of our relationship of Vine and Branches.

Image from: https://www.stpeterschurchchicago.org/cm/articles/vine-and-branches


John 1:12-13: A Child of God

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

God tells the faithful, “I am who I am”. Jesus says to us: “I am the Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Door, the Resurrection, the Life, the Way, and Truth. I am the great Vine to your Branches”. Today we begin a series of posts on who we are to God. We open with an adapted reprise of a Favorite posted on August 3, 2012.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. 

For a long time I have reflected on the idea of how God determines who receives the gift of faith and who does not.  I have had conversations with God in which I ask why it is that some of us are so stiff-necked and others of us have the gift of patience.  I trust God’s plan, I believe that we are created to be God’s children, and here in the Gospel of John, in one simple sentence, we are enlightened.  I will have to refer to this citation when the questions rise again to pull me from the core of my belief.

Believing in Jesus as the Word, as Resurrected, as brother – this is what makes us children of God.  Through him, with him, in him, in unity with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is infinite pre-existence.  Jesus is all of creations’ eternal future. Jesus is the Incarnation – the word and thought and touch of God amidst us.  Jesus is an offering, a gift freely given by a loving and passionate God . . . a God who loves us so deeply and so endlessly . . . that God brings God’s self to us without our even asking.

When we act in child-like trust rather than childish petulance, we experience the faith of one who is sister and brother to Christ. When we act in outrageous hope that the Father loves each of us more than we can imagine, we experience the bond we have with Jesus. When we act in compassion and mercy toward those we love and those who do us harm, we experience the Holy Spirit’s healing, truth, and transformation.

We are all the Children of God.

What a wondrous God is this.

The Life-Light was the real thing:
    Every person entering Life
    he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
    the world was there through him,
    and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
    but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
    who believed he was who he claimed
    and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
    their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
    not blood-begotten,
    not flesh-begotten,
    not sex-begotten. (THE MESSAGE)

Relying on God as a trusting child does, we pray Psalm 25 as we close our day. When we repeat the antiphon, Teach me your ways, O Lordwe place ourselves in God’s enormous, loving, life-giving hands. 

Tomorrow, we are branches.


When we compare other translations of these verses, we find that we have gathered at the Father’s knee, we are cradled in the Mother’s arms, we are EACH and ALL blessed by the Holy Spirit as precious and valued children of God.

Enter the words Children of God in to the blog search bar and explore more posts. 

Images from: http://wouldyouliketosingasong.blogspot.com/2013/01/practicing-i-am-child-of-god.html and https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/500000-afghan-children-affected-by-drought-unicef/articleshow/63893237.cms 


Exodus 3: Sacred Ground, Sacred Name

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Over the last few weeks, we have reflected on the seven times Jesus tells us, “I am . . .” We have looked to his words for wisdom; we have looked at his actions for guidance. Jesus’ statements also reflect the “I am who I am” statement and the sacred Tetragrammaton of four Hebrew consonants YHWH. Judeo-Christian tradition teaches us the importance of this name and today we consider just what this great I AM might mean to us.

From Richard Rohr, OFM: I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the Jewish revelation of the name of God. As we Christians spell and pronounce it, the word is Yahweh. In Hebrew, it is the sacred Tetragrammaton YHVH (yod, he, vay, and he). I am told that those are the only consonants in the Hebrew alphabet that are not articulated with lips and tongue. Rather, they are breathed, with the tongue relaxed and lips apart. YHVH was considered a literally unspeakable word for Jews, and any attempt to know what they were talking about was “in vain.” As the commandment said: “Do not utter the name of God in vain” (Exodus 20:7). All attempts to fully think God are in vain. From God’s side, the divine identity was kept mysterious and unavailable to the mind. When Moses asked for the divinity’s name, he received only the phrase that translates “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14) . . . When considered in this way, God is suddenly as available and accessible as the very thing we all do constantly—breathe. Exactly as some teachers of prayer say, “Stay with the breath, attend to your breath”—the same breath that was breathed into Adam’s nostrils by this Yahweh (Genesis 2:7); the very breath “spirit” that Jesus handed over with trust on the cross (John 19:30) and then breathed on us as shalom, forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit all at once (John 20:21-23). And isn’t it wonderful that breath, wind, spirit, and air are precisely nothing—and yet everything?

Adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, pp. 25-26

(Rohr, Breathing Yahweh)

God the creator comes to us each morning as we rise to remind us that we are created in God’s image out of love, to be used in and for love. Christ the redeemer leads us each day to guide us with his example of hope and compassion. The Holy Spirit abides with us faithfully each evening, resting upon our open hearts to heal us as evening closes in. As we consider what God means with this great promise of I AM Who I AM, we put ourselves in the hands of the one who created us, the one who heals us, the one who loves us beyond all that is comprehensible.

Tomorrow, “you are . . .”


Rohr, Richard. “The Gate of Heaven is Everywhere.” Center for Action and Contemplation, 6 Oct. 2014, cac.org/.

Images from: http://1049theriver.com/he-is-yahweh/ and https://www.quora.com/Is-Jehovah-Yahweh

For more on the seven times Jesus says, “I am,” visit: https://www.voiceofprophecy.com/articles/blog/7-times-jesus-said-i-am

 


John 6:25-59: “I Am the Bread of Life”

Monday, June 11, 2018

At the Last Supper, Jesus breaks the bread.

Perhaps the most well-known appellation Jesus uses to describe himself is, the Bread of Life. After feeding thousands with several fish and a few loaves of bread, the people find Jesus on the other side of the lake, and say to him, “Teacher, when did you get here?”

Jesus replies: “You are looking for me because you ate the bread and had all you wanted, not because you understood my miracles. Do not work for food that spoils; instead, work for the food that lasts for eternal life. This is the food which the Son of Man will give you, because God, the Father, has put his mark of approval on him.”

Like these followers who have lived the miracle of sustenance with Jesus, we also may be surprised to find him by our side when we look for him to save us. We also may ask a simple question that misses the mark Jesus hopes to make with us – that Jesus never abandons us or leaves us behind, that Jesus wants nothing more than to sustain us through difficulty, to heal us in love, and to transform us in hope. For this reason, millennia after the recording of this story we still rely on these verses for wisdom, confidence, and peace.

We find other reflections on Jesus as The Bread of Life on this blog.

The New Exodus: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/06/03/the-bread-of-life-for-the-new-exodus/

Bread and Stone: https://thenoontimes.com/2016/06/30/matthew-41-11-bread-and-stone/

Body of Christ: https://thenoontimes.com/2017/06/18/john-651-58-body-of-christ/

Recognizing Jesus: https://thenoontimes.com/2016/04/26/john-641-42-recognizing-jesus/

The Some Left Over Parts I-X posts beginning at: https://thenoontimes.com/2015/08/02/2-kings-442-44-some-left-over-part-i/


Image from http://www.redeemerway.org/sermons/2018/2/23/i-am-the-bread-of-life 


John 8:12: “I Am the Light”

Sunday, June 10, 2018

We have considered Jesus as the Good Shepherd, The Way, the Truth, the Vine to our branches, the resurrection, the Alpha and Omega. Today we understand him as Light.

Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (NABRE)

We read these words often so that we might remember that Jesus is the Light in a world filled with darkness.

Yeshua spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life.” (CJB)

We explore these words often so that we might believe that light can convert the deepest darkness.

Jesus spoke to the Pharisees again. “I am the light of the world,” he said. “Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.” (GNT)

We examine these words often so that we might share the good news that the darkness will never overcome us.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (NRSV)

We pray these words often so that we might rejoice in the light that banishes the darkness forever.

Again therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying: I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (DRA)

We reflect on these words often so that we might act in our belief that we are also the light that dissolves the darkness.

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” (MSG)

We live these words often so that we might join Christ as the Light that transforms all darkness to light.


When we compare varying translations of this verse, we believe and act with the Light that is Christ.

Image from: https://allevents.in/puyallup/pierce-college-fs-choir-presents-a-light-in-the-darkness/294039631089821 

%d bloggers like this: