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Archive for March, 2016


Grace, Peace and Love, Alive Againpassion

Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016
Because I will be away from The Noontimes for a few days, I invite you to visit posts from Easter Week 2013 and 2014 using the links below. Or you may prefer to visit the Connecting at Noon page on this blog to explore other reflections on your own at: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/

If we listen to the song Alive Again by Matt Maher, we may find new peace and a new energy as we ponder the question Where have I gone . . . we may experience a new birth, and we may discover that we are alive again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h30qiH7MSHM

Wishing all a blessed Easter, and offering all of you this Easter Prayer.

May each of us be renewed in Christ.

May each of us be blessed by the Creator.

May each of us be graced by the Holy Spirit. 

May we keep in mind that we are Easter people.

May we announce and share the gift of Resurrection that God has bestowed on us.

And may we hold the story of God’s love for all creation in our hearts.

We ask for Christ’s peace.

We rest in the Creator’s hands.

And we come together with and in the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/03/31/and-he-saw-and-believed/

Easter Monday, April 1, 2013: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/01/where-the-body-had-been/

Easter Tuesday, April 2, 2013: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/02/why-are-you-weeping/

Easter Wednesday, April 3, 2013: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/03/i-send-you/

Easter Thursday, April 4, 2013: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/04/my-lord-and-my-god/

Easter Friday, April 5, 2013: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/05/slowness-of-heart/

Easter Saturday, April 6, 2013: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/06/you-are-witnesses/

Easter Monday, April 21, 2014: https://thenoontimes.com/2014/04/21/easter-monday-2014/

Easter Tuesday, April 22, 2014: https://thenoontimes.com/2014/04/22/easter-tuesday-2014/

Easter Wednesday, April 23, 2014: https://thenoontimes.com/2014/04/23/easter-wednesday-2014/

Easter Thursday, April 24, 2014: https://thenoontimes.com/2014/04/24/easter-thursday-2014/

Easter Friday, April 25, 2014: https://thenoontimes.com/2014/04/25/easter-friday-2014/

Easter Saturday, April 26, 2014: https://thenoontimes.com/2014/04/26/easter-saturday-2014/

 easter-sunday

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1 John 1: Eyewitness

Holy Saturday, March 26, 201612351-Jesus_Hands_Resurrected.1200w.tn

Can we fully understand . . .?

From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.

Can we fully comprehend . . .?

We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!

Can we fully believe . . .?

mary magdaleneThis, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him.

Can we fully take this in . . .?

We are more than bystanders to the truth and light that rises from death. We are eyewitnesses to the light that rises from pain. We are one in the body of Christ that rises from death itself to bring life eternal that knows nothing but joy.

Using the scripture links and drop-down menus, spend time with this letter from the Beloved Apostle John. Then watch or listen to Matt Maher’s video presentation on the promise and surprise of resurrection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUQm-F5LFu0

 

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The Gospels: WaitingGood-Friday

Good Friday, March 25, 2016

We live in a culture of immediacy; we have created a society that dispels mystery. We insist on knowing our unborn child’s gender; paparazzi tell us the daily intimate details of the lives of the famous. We insist on quick marts, fast food, instant dinners and bread-making machines. We look for comfort, create short cuts through pain, and seek antidotes to suffering.

We fail to teach our children how to suffer well. We shy away from abiding with family and friends who wait for Christ’s infinite, overpowering love to heal and transform. We have failed to learn the lesson of waiting.

This Good Friday, as we mourn what we first believe to be the loss of truth in the face of corruption, let us remain and abide with Mary the Mother of Jesus and John the Beloved Apostle at the foot of the cross. Let us await the promise of light that we know is arriving to pierce the darkness. Let us rest in the peace and joy of the resurrection story.

tomb linens (2)Matthew 28

Mark 16

Luke 24

John 20

Using the scripture links and drop-down menus, spend time with God’s word. Then watch or listen to Matt Maher’s video presentation on the gift of waiting at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnp60uQ3EAw

 

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The Gospels: Where is God?

Holy Thursday, March 24, 2016where is god

We constantly ask: Where is God when the defenseless are maimed, abused, tortured or killed? Why does God allow natural disasters to wipe out the innocent? Why doesn’t Jesus protect the vulnerable and acquit the blameless? Where is the consolation and healing of the Spirit?

When we spend time with one or more of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last hours, we begin to comprehend. As we prepare for Good Friday, a day when we remember Jesus act of salvific love, we begin to find the answers to our questions.

 

Caravaggio: Taking of Christ

Caravaggio: Taking of Christ

Matthew 27

Mark 15

Luke 23

John 19

Using the scripture links and drop-down menus, spend time with God’s word. Then watch or listen to Matt Maher’s video presentation on Good Friday at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbEhvn0rw8M  

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Matthew 16:13-20: The Son of the Living God

Holy Wednesday, March 23, 2016who-do-you-say-i-am

A scandalous revelation. Blasphemy. A confession that asks us to lay down our ambitions.

Who do people say that I am?

What do we reply when we stand before the world?

Who do you say that I am?

What do we reply when we stand before the Lord?

You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the savior of the world.

Are we willing to stand before those who doubt or jeer? Are we willing to carry hope, peace and joy into the world?

We reflect on our willingness to act on what we say we believe. Musician Matt Maher presents a video reflection on what our ambitions might promise or condemn. Watch at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5PHGRMHm8o

 

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John 13:21-38: Betrayal in Jerusalem

Holy Tuesday, March 22, 2016judas

One of you is going to betray me . . . [And] as soon as the bread was in Judas’ hand, Satan entered him.

We have become too familiar with the story of Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus the Christ. Today we focus on small details as we read various translations, watching Jesus as he firmly, boldly, patiently and even gently steps into the betrayal he knows awaits him.

What you must do, says Jesus, do. Do it and get it over with.

A crust of bread dipped in wine.

Judas, with the piece of bread, left. It was night.

Thirty pieces of silver. The Potter’s Field. Murder Meadow.

Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I’m telling you: ‘Where I go, you are not able to come.’

The prophet Jeremiah’s words fulfilled to the letter.

“Master,” says Peter, “why can’t I follow now? I’ll lay down my life for you!”

Gerard van Honthorst: The Denial of St. Peter

Gerard van Honthorst: The Denial of St. Peter

Denial in the courtyard.

“Really?” Jesus replies.  “You’ll lay down your life for me? The truth is that before the rooster crows, you’ll deny me three times”.

The faithful disciples scattering in terror, gathering in hope.

Today we reflect on heroes, heroines, fidelity and betrayal and how Jesus, Judas and Peter bring us the message of the Gospel. For a video message from musician Matt Maher that reflects on the role of Judas in God’s plan, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnibI0Vac0w

Matthew 26 & Matthew 27 tell the story of Peter’s denial and Judas’ end. If there is time today, we reflect on these verses using the scripture links.

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

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John 12:1-11: Anointing in Bethany

Holy Monday, March 21, 2016Mary_Anointing_Jesus__feet

Perhaps it was in deep gratitude that Mary, Lazarus’ sister, uses a jar of expensive aromatic oil to anoint and massage Jesus’ feet when he visits his friends’ home in Bethany. These are the same feet that will be pierced in a short time giving us a sign of Jesus’ deep sacrificial love for each of us. Other omens of the drama to come unfold in these verses: Judas’ betrayal and the plot to do away with Lazarus. As we read and reflect on these verses today, let us consider how Jesus’ great love is met with great betrayal. On this Holy Monday, let us resolve to bring healing and peace to the world – even in the face of great deceit or duplicity – so that in our small way we might perform our own anointing of Jesus’ feet.

Matthew tells the story of Jesus’ anointing in Bethany in the house of Simon, a man who suffers from leprosy. (Matthew 26:6-13)For another Noontime reflection, visit: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/03/11/the-anointing/ March 11, 2013

Today we might also consider the Passover anointing of the faithful before their exodus from Egypt and how it foreshadows Jesus’ anointing in Bethany. For a video message from musician Matt Maher that reflects on the Exodus Passover and the Last Supper,  visithttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN9hroFevrM

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Luke 2:41-51: Found

jesus in the temple as a child

Tintoretto: The Finding of the Savior in the Temple

Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016

Today’s familiar story foreshadows the conflict that will take place in Jesus’ adult years when his message of God’s mercy brings the wrath of leaders against him, and lays the fate of creation in his hands. As a child, Jesus remains in Jerusalem after Passover to converse with temple elders. Discovered by his parents, he goes home to live obediently with them. The child Jesus dazzles leaders and yet lives in humility. The child Jesus knows that God is in charge.

Coptic Icon of the Transfiguration of Christ

Coptic Icon: Transfiguration of Christ

The man Jesus goes up to the mountain to experience his own transfiguration, but he does not go alone. He takes two friends who later testify to this beautiful experience on the mountain top. The man Jesus confounds his friends and yet delivers the expectation that his kingdom is here and now. The man Jesus knows that God’s outrageous hope is essential to human existence.

The prophet Jesus brings healing and confidence to the marginalized and forgotten. He escapes the crowd by disappearing over the brow of the hill. He slips through the fingers of those who would obliterate him. He challenges our beliefs and our doubts. The prophet Jesus knows that God’s enduring faith is critical in the human journey.

The risen Jesus defies all laws of physics and logic to bring hope to the abandoned and faith to the desperate. He hands himself over to the authorities who despise him. He suffers meekly at the hands of his enemies whom he calls to goodness. He offers the gift of healing and solace to all of creation. Christ Jesus knows that God’s enormous love is crucial in our human lives.

messiah has comeOn this Palm Sunday we reflect on the Passion story in one or all of the Gospels. As we enter into this holiest of weeks, let us remember our Lenten practices while we journey up to Jerusalem. As we near our Easter home, let us pray, meditate and remember that once we were fearful, and now we rest in Christ. Once we doubted and now we believe. Once we were lost and now, like the child Jesus, we are found.

For a video message from musician Matt Maher about the significance of Palm Sunday and how palms were a sign of rebellion in the Roman Empire, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbHHqPAwcIM 

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John 12: 36-43: Belief and Unbelief

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Moses and Aaron Stand Before Pharoah

Moses and Aaron Stand Before Pharoah

This is a difficult idea for many of us but we see it as far back as the Pentateuch when we hear that Yahweh hardened Pharaoh’s heart when he changed his mind about letting Moses’ people go (Exodus 8:15). This is a theme with which we struggle to live: We are not in charge.

When suffering happens, we remind ourselves, God will turn it into something good if we allow the Spirit to reside in our hearts.

We are not in charge.

God heals all wounds, we say, and we pass the stories of these healings on to younger generations.

We are not in charge.

In today’s reading, we see Jesus hiding for a bit as he prepares himself for the tasks ahead. We hear again the words of the prophet Isaiah describing a God who “blinded their eyes and hardened their heart . . . so that they might be converted.”

We are not in charge.

The Israelites crossed the Red Sea through parted waters – after Yahweh hardened Pharaoh’s heart – and so we see Yahweh’s power and might and mercy. The Pharisees do not acknowledge the power of Jesus – which the people see clearly – and in fact the Sanhedrin do not arrest Jesus on several occasions for fear that the people will stone them. (Acts 5:17-26)

We are not in charge.

Gerrit Van Honthorst: Christ Before the High Priest, Annas

Gerrit Van Honthorst: Christ Before the High Priest, Annas

Many times when we are doing God’s work we will find ourselves in opposition to the culture in which we live. Jesus is counter-cultural and lives on the edges of society. So must we be if we are true disciples, if we go to the light and do not hide in the dark (John 3:16-21).

We are not in charge.

We reflect on our lives and pray that we – unlike the Pharisees who preferred human praise to the glory of God . . . may remember that we are not in charge.

We remember our Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “I will set all things right in God’s kingdom,” let us think instead, “I will strive each day to follow Jesus’ example of forgiveness, mercy and love”.

 Adapted from a reflection written on April 18, 2007.

Tomorrow, passion.

 

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