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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Psalm 119

A Prayer to Rejoice in Our Portion

Our life is a gift from God. What we do with that life is our return gift to God.

Our life is a gift from God. What we do with that life is our return gift to God. This is Our Portion.

God brings us connection to others and to nature.  Let us extend our own invitation to those who long for this same union. We rejoice in God’s desire to be connected with each of us. Amen.

We expect to find valor in obvious places. Let us prepare to discover bravery where we least expect it. We celebrate the courage God bestows on us. Amen.

God breaths in us a life force of inversion. Let us ask for deliverance from all that oppresses us knowing that with God all things are possible. We delight in the beauty God has in mind for all. Amen.

In countless stories from Old Testament and New, we learn to look for the good concealed in astonishing places. Let us seek the wonder of God’s goodness in ourselves and in others. We celebrate the splendor God shows us in impossible circumstances. Amen.

God is nothing but infinite goodness. Let us rejoice with God in our portion, God’s gift of life. Let us rejoice in our portion of God’s infinite love. Amen.


For more on the connection, valor, inversion, concealed and infinite goodness that is our portion in God’s plan, explore the second five stanzas of Psalm 119 in last week’s Noontimes.

Psalm 119: Our Portion


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Psalm 119

Our Portion

Our life is a gift from God. What we do with that life is our return gift to God.

Our life is a gift from God. What we do with that life is our return gift to God. This is Our Portion.

Remember your word to your servant by which you give me hope . . . My portion is the Lord; I promise to keep your words.

Last week we reflected on how Mary treasured the Word of God in her heart and body. We know that we are created in God’s image; we understand that we are dearly loved by God; and we believe that God constantly accompanies us through life even though we do not always sense God’s presence. This is our portion in life.

As we explore God’s word in Psalm 119 strophes four through eight, let us also examine what our portion is. And let us consider the lessons and promises that unfold.

Daleth: Selflessness – God invites us to take part in creation by living out the Law of Love. Do we accept this door that invites us to love?

He: Thought, Speech and Action – We see how me might answer God’s call: first in our thoughts, then in our words and finally in our deeds. Do we accept this challenge to believe in God’s promise?

Waw: Connection – Even if we try to deny our connection with God it exists; even if we turn our back on God, God continues to dwell within. Do we recognize the portion God gives to us?

Zayin: Woman of Valor – God enters the human race in the person of Jesus, relying on a woman of valor, Mary. Are we equally willing to accept God’s presence in our lives?

Heth: The Life Value of Run and Return – We sometimes fail to recognize God in the marginalized who live at the edges of society. Are we willing to run toward the poor, the sick and the outcast in our return to God?

Tomorrow, A Prayer to Rejoice in Our Portion.  

Psalm 119:57-64: Heth


Friday, January 22, 2021

images[1]Psalm 119:57-64

Heth

At midnight I rise to praise you . . . The earth, Lord, is filled with your love . . .  

We modern humans tend to believe that wakefulness during the night is a habit we do not want to foster, but our ancestors did not look for a marathon of sleep from bedtime to early morning rising. They would sleep twice in a twelve hour range, rising for a time in the middle of the night before returning to bed for a second period of sleep before morning.

When we find ourselves awake at night for any reason, we might remember our ancestors and turn to scripture and prayer rather than curse our restlessness.

God says: You may call to me at any hour on any day for I am always with you. I rest but I do not sleep. You may sing with me at any hour on any day. I love to hear your voice resonate with mine. You may pray with me at any hour on any day. I am always holding you in my hands and heart.

Rather than curse the darkness of the midnight hour, let us turn to God in prayer. We may find our restlessness melts away and the blessed sleep returns.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them (Acts 16:25).

I waited, waited for the Lord; who bent down and heard my cry, drew me out of the pit of destruction . . . and put a new song in my mouth . . . (Psalm 40:1-4)

Tomorrow, the letter Teth.


For interesting insight into sleep customs old and modern, go to: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/08/26/rising-at-midnight-sleep-patterns-and-daily-prayer/

For more information about Midnight Prayer, see the Liturgy of the Hours page on this blog.

Psalm 119:49-56: Zayin


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Psalm 119:49-56Zayin-sd_small[1]

Zayin

This is my comfort in affliction, your promise that gives me life. Your laws become my songs wherever I make my home. Even at night I remember your name . . . This is my good fortune.

The meaning of this letter is complex but the meaning of this stanza is not.

God says: Do you hear my voice blending with yours when you raise your hands and voice to me? Do you trust that I will fulfill the promise I first planted in you? Do you know that I consider you my own? Do you know that you are my good fortune?

We so often see ourselves as separate from God when in truth we live in union with God. In this seventh lesson of Psalm 119 we learn that our trust in God overcomes the arrogant who utterly scorn me, or the rage that seizes me.  When we begin and end each day in God we find comfort in affliction, and God’s song of love in our hearts.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)

Tomorrow, the letter Heth.


To learn more about the Hebrew letter Zayin, click on the word, or go to: http://gnosticteachings.org/courses/alphabet-of-kabbalah/725-zayin.html

 

Psalm 119:41-48: Waw


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Psalm 119:41-48

3_letters_waw[1]Waw

I lift up my hands to your commands . . .

The early representation of this letter is a character evoking the image of a human raising arms to the heavens.

God says: This is a most basic message in this Psalm of Lessons; yet you forget it so easily. When trouble arises, lift up your pleas to me. When joy overcomes you, lift up your hands to me. In every day in every way, rise up to include me in all you think and say and do. When you persist . . . you will not be disappointed. 

Ancient pictographs show this letter as a tent peg with a branched top that prevents slippage of the rope securing a tent or shelter. When we raise up like these securing pegs to include God as part of all we think and say and do, we secure our own relationship with God.

I wait for you, O Lord; I lift up my soul to my God.  In you I trust; do not let me be disgraced; do not let me enemies gloat over me.  (Psalm 25:1-2)

Today we reflect on the sixth lesson in Psalm 119.  Tomorrow, Zayin.


To learn more about how the Hebrew letter Waw represents connection, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/vav.htm or http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/3_waw.html 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Psalm 119:41-48

3_letters_waw[1]Waw

I lift up my hands to your commands . . .

The early representation of this letter is a character evoking the image of a human raising arms to the heavens.

God says: This is a most basic message in this Psalm of Lessons; yet you forget it so easily. When trouble arises, lift up your pleas to me. When joy overcomes you, lift up your hands to me. In every day in every way, rise up to include me in all you think and say and do. When you persist . . . you will not be disappointed. 

Ancient pictographs show this letter as a tent peg with a branched top that prevents slippage of the rope securing a tent or shelter. When we raise up like these securing pegs to include God as part of all we think and say and do, we secure our own relationship with God.

I wait for you, O Lord; I lift up my soul to my God.  In you I trust; do not let me be disgraced; do not let me enemies gloat over me.  (Psalm 25:1-2)

Today we reflect on the sixth lesson in Psalm 119.  Tomorrow, Zayin.


To learn more about how the Hebrew letter Waw represents connection, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/vav.htm or http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/3_waw.html 

Psalm 119:33-40: He


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

the Hebrew letter hePsalm 119:33-40

He

Lord, teach me . . . Give me insight . . . Turn away from me the taunts I dread . . .

We know that we have finally fallen in love with God when we admit that God is great and good.

God says: Despite what you may sometimes believe, I want to bring you to your fullest potential.  In the moment that I created you I also created a special hope for the world. And that special hope lies in you. All of my “laws” and “statutes” are nothing more than my desire to bring you to the one central law which is to love one another . . . even your enemies. This is the insight I have for you. It is this: that you are the promise and the hope of the world just as Jesus is. Follow him and you will see the impossible become possible before your very eyes.

We can never know what is possible until we ask. We can never know what is merciful until we forgive. We can never know what is fullness until we love.

Today we reflect on the fifth lesson in Psalm 119. It is a reminder that God created us with the potential to transform others in Christ. Tomorrow, Waw.

Jesus said to them: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the house to send out laborers for the harvest.  Go on your way . . . Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals” . . . They returned rejoicing, and said: “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name”.  (Luke 10:2, 3-4, 17)


To learn more about how the Hebrew letter He represents creation, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://www.bje.org.au/learning/hebrew/alphabet/05heh.html and http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/3_hey.html

Psalm 119:25-32: Daleth


Monday, January 18, 2021

Psalm 119:25-32

daleth[1]Daleth

I lie prostrate in the dust; give me life . . . I disclosed my ways and you answered me . . . you open my docile heart . . .

We find ourselves at our lowest ebb; we see the abyss yawning before us . . . and yet we know that God is with us; we know that God has the power to do the impossible with, and for, and in each of us.

God says: You may see your world as hostile and lacking nourishment yet what I see is a universe of hearts and souls. When you bring me your dreams I dream them with you. When you bring me your pain I suffer with you. When you bring me your joy I celebrate with you. 

We must strive to be open and vulnerable to God.  We must put aside our reliance on self rather than God. And we must be willing to dream what at first seems impossible.

Today we reflect on the fourth lesson in Psalm 119.  It is a reminder that with God all things are possible. Tomorrow, He.

Jesus said to them: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.  (Matthew 17:20)


To learn more about the importance of the Hebrew letter Daleth, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://gnosticteachings.org/courses/alphabet-of-kabbalah/716-daleth.html and http://www.flickr.com/photos/the-meir/381626970/


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Robin Anderson: Mary Holding Baby Jesus Looking Up Towards the Light

Robin Anderson: Mary Holding Baby Jesus Looking Up Towards the Light

A Prayer to Fulfill God’s Promise in Us

It is truly a paradox that God creates humans to fulfill the great promise of love. Let us consider our response to this call to promise.

It is a sign of God’s love that God chooses to come among us as a child.  Let us consider how we make room for others in our lives.

It is a further gift and promise from God that we are granted the free and open will to choose how we will respond to this loving call. Let us carefully consider our reply.

It is an honor to put aside our own ego in response to God’s open invitation to love. Let us prayerfully consider how we become selfless in service to others.

It is our return promise to God that we offer our thoughts, words, and deeds in the service of God’s good. Let us honestly consider how we best make this return promise of love.

Good and holy God, you are paradox, sign, gift, honor and promise. May we joyfully live in you. May we authentically live through you.  And may we lovingly live with you . . . in thought, word and deed.  Amen.


For more on the paradox, sign, gift, honor and promise of God’s love, explore the first three stanzas of Psalm 119 in last week’s Noontimes.

For more information on the painting above, click on the image or go to: http://robinandersonfineart.blogspot.com/2011/02/mary-holding-baby-jesus-looking-up.html 


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Psalm 119: 9-16

Robin Anderson: Mary Holding Baby Jesus Looking Up Towards the Light

Robin Anderson: Mary Holding Baby Jesus Looking Up Towards the Light

Treasuring God’s Promise

Mary kept the Word of God in her body as the pre-natal Jesus grew in strength. She also kept the Word in her heart with reflection and prayer. We are told that she pondered the verbal and physical message she was brought. She knew that she was to bear light to the nations. She also knew that she need only allow God’s Word to transform her life in order for her to bear fruit. She knew that trust in God alone was enough . . . and in this way she treasured God’s promise.

As we explore God’s word, let us also treasure the promise we know it holds. Today, let us reflect on the first three letters of the Hebrew alphabet as the psalmist shares them with us. And let us consider what lessons and promises they unfold.

Aleph: The Paradox of God and Humans – God calls humans into creation.  How do we respond?

Beth: God’s Dwelling Place Below – Mary agrees to serve as the ark for God’s New Covenant.  How does she find the courage to say yes?

Gimel: Reward and Punishment – The duality we find in this letter reminds us that we are created with a free will.  We are free to choose a world of either/or, a choice that divides.  We are also free to choose a world of “and,” a choice that includes.  Which world do we choose?

Tomorrow, a prayer to fulfill God’s promise in us.


Adapted from a reflection written on the Feast of the Immaculate heart of Mary on June 16, 2007.

For more information on the painting above, click on the image or go to: http://robinandersonfineart.blogspot.com/2011/02/mary-holding-baby-jesus-looking-up.html 

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