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Archive for the ‘Mini-Noontime’ Category


John 18:37: Testifying to the Truth

Ivan Glazunov: Jesus Before Pilate

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Jesus said to Pilate: For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

We might also ask the same question.

God says: You argue and struggle with one another, scuttling back and forth to determine the truth about circumstances that surround and affect you. You lie and deceive, plotting with and against one another to create falsehoods that bring division. You speak up and witness to untruth. You support and rejoice in the light and life of Christ, celebrating his essence as the foundation on which to stand.

These are the scenarios we see before us, bringing us choice and – perhaps – confusion. After cautious consideration, we ask ourselves: Do we believe that we are born to testify to the truth? When we listen, do we tune our ears to discern reality? When we speak, do we rely on God for the words we will use? When we act, do we personify authenticity? Do we operate in the dark or the light? Do we exclude or include? Do we allow God to convert all harm to good? Do we work in joyful hope for the goodness of God’s kingdom?

God says: You know how to discern Christ’s truth. You know how to act in the truth. You are to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) If Pilate were to ask you today what truth is, would you tell him? If Jesus stands before you today, will you walk with him? If I speak to you when you are lost in the darkness, will you pause to hear my Word so that you might live in the truth? And might you share this wonderful truth with others? 


Image from: https://stjohnscathedral.ca/2013/03/28/worship-for-holy-week/jesus-before-pilate-glazunov/ 

 

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1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13: The Way of Love

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

This week we continue our exploration of the manner in which Jesus defines himself, helping us to better understand the importance of his example, to better respond to the Creator’s call, and to better practice the Spirit’s New Law of Love. Today we share this reflection adapted from a Favorite written on April 24, 2007.

These words are so well known. They are so beautiful and complete. They embody the paradox that is our life. All fades away except for the one vibrating and constantly resonating truth. Love. There is nothing else. It is a gift freely given to us by the Creator, Incarnate in the Son of Man, and ever present in the In-Dwelling of the Spirit. All we need do is return the love. Because God alone is enough.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

We constantly look for presence and miracles; yet we too often ignore The Way that lies before us. Yesterday we remembered the guidance we receive from Jesus, The Good Shepherd. Today we step boldly onto Christ’s Way.

God says: I understand that The Way I lay before you is full of pitfalls and stumbling blocks. Today I ask you to remember that every obstacle that obstructs your path is a stepping-stone for you to use as you grow and live in me. I ask you to remember that every gaping hole that suddenly appears to gobble up The Way, is an opportunity for you to rely on me. I will guide and protect. I will lead and heal. I will restore and transform. I am The Way, and I send my son to you to live in that Way with you.

When we consider Paul’s description of Jesus’ Law of Love, we open our hearts to possibility.


Tomorrow, Jesus says, “I am The Way”.

Image from: https://joshfred90.deviantart.com/art/Love-Never-Ends-251907145

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Isaiah 55:8-9: A Duality of Ways

Parallel paths create a generous, merciful way.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

As God’s creation, we reflect God’s image in a kaleidoscope of diversity. In an enormous mosaic, we compose a wonderfully diverse creator.

“My thoughts,” says the Lord, “are not like yours,
    and my ways are different from yours.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so high are my ways and thoughts above yours. (GNT)

As sisters and brothers of Christ, the Spirit calls us to unity in our wonderful variety. Despite the difficulty of the task, we must find a way to reconcile, to pardon, to accept forgiveness, and to remain open to transformation.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. (NRSV)

God says: Just as it is difficult for you to understand my deep generosity with all of creation, it is difficult for you to comprehend my plan and my way.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not my ways,” says Adonai.
“As high as the sky is above the earth
are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (CJB)

God says: Just as it is wonderful for you to revel in my presence, it is wonderful to live in your way even as you live in mine.

“I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think. (MSG)

God says: Rather than suffer as you work to follow in my way, allow the rain in your life to water the place where you are planted. Let my sustain presence work at growing the blossoms that wait within you. Ask the good seed I have planted in you to be harvest for the poor, the broken-hearted, and the hungry.  

Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
    and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
    producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
    not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
    they’ll complete the assignment I gave them. (Verses 10-11 MSG)

God says: Yes, my ways are not your ways but my essence is also yours. My feet, my hands, my lips and my ears are yours as well. My mind is yours. My heart is yours. My very being resides in you, waning in times of drought, flourishing in times of bounty. There is nothing you can do to fully deny me. There is nowhere you can go to hide from me. Each day when you rise, ask me to join me in the harvest of the day. I am already there. Each noontime when you pause in your busy day, invite me to sit with you. I am already there. Each evening when you retire, rest in me as I rest in you. Yes, I am already there. Although there is a duality in our ways, we walk together always. You are not empty-handed, for I am in your hands. Remember this always.

Tomorrow, the duality of justice.


When we compare varying versions of these verses, we open ourselves to the duality of our ways and God’s.

Image from: https://thenoontimes.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/parallel-paths.jpg

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Numbers 14:8: From Grumbling to Peace

Monday, April 16, 2018

Route Map of the Israelite Exodus

If the Lord is pleased with us, he will take us there and give us that rich and fertile land. 

In Numbers 14, we hear murmurs among the people as they tire of wandering in the desert in expectation of a promised land where the faithful will flourish to pass down their fidelity to God through many generations. Although scholars find little evidence of this difficult, 40-year desert pilgrimage, we appreciate the desert wanderings of the twelve tribes of Hebrew peoples. Not only do they suffer physical hardship, they suffer mental distress as well. They wonder why they have left the comfort of a home where although they lived in slavery, they knew what to expect each day. Now in the desert, searching for water and food, and evading bands of marauders, they question the wisdom of following leaders shown to them by The Living God.

Our Old Testament thinking is binary; when we behave as God asks, God rewards us. When we do not, we expect punishment. Our New Testament thinking removes the fear of ancient ancestors as we remember Jesus’ words as recorded by John: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John 14:7)

God says: I know that you worry each morning as you rise about the thousands of details you tend to as you support a life of work, play and prayer. I know that you move through the day and into the evening juggling people and circumstances, numbers and facts, opposites and equals, clarity and confusion. I know that you think of me each night as you set up your evening tent and tuck into your bed. I know that you keep your eye on me as you traverse the deserts in your life; and for this I love you more than you can imagine. When you grumble, I hold you close. When you cry out, I am at your side. When you weep, I dry your tears. I am with you always. As Jesus tells you, do not let your hearts be troubled. Do I not go before you each day as a pillar of smoke? Do I not follow you each night as a pillar of fire?

In the Moroccan Desert

Although we fear, we move forward in confidence. Although we complain, we step into each day with conviction. Although we doubt, we follow Christ with steadfastness. In this way, we allow God to convert our grumbling and fear into Christ’s calm and loving peace.

During the day the Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and during the night he went in front of them in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel night and day. (Exodus 13:21)


For a reflection on the Book of Numbers, visit: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-old-testament/the-torah/numbers-arrangement-of-the-tribes/

For a reflection on Numbers 14:1-4, enter the words Back to Egypt into the blog search bar.

To read about scholarly opinions on the Sinai wanderings, visit: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/03/world/africa/03iht-moses.4.5130043.html

Images from: http://wildmorocco.com/cosmic-fireworks-from-the-sahara-desert/ and http://www.bible-history.com/maps/route_exodus.html

 

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John 13:21: Prediction of Betrayal

Easter Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Thirty pieces of silver are paid to Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus.

We continue the celebration of Easter throughout this holiest of liturgical seasons, focusing on one verse a day, comparing varying translations, anticipating the joy of resurrection that always follows the pain of betrayal.

After saying this, Yeshua, in deep anguish of spirit, declared, “Yes, indeed! I tell you that one of you will betray me.” (CJB)

God says: You see that as I walk among you – as one of you – I suffer as you suffer. I come to live among you – as one of you – to show my endless love for you. I have created you out of love. I have created you by and for love. I have created you as an outward sign of my inner union with you. Because I am betrayed by the closest of friends, I fully understand the pain of deceit. I fully recognize that when those we love betray us, the infidelity cuts more deeply than any other pain. Yet despite this duplicity, I love you deeply and always. There is no act or thought that can turn me away. I continue to call, to heal, to transform, and to love. Just as you can predict that your life cannot be fully free of betrayal, so too can you predict that I will be with you always and everywhere. Calling you, healing you, Transforming you. Loving you. Be certain that when you foretell treachery, you may also predict my love.  

 When we compare other translations of this verse, we open ourselves to the love of Christ.


Image from: http://www.restoreculture.com/30-pieces-what-are-we-worth/

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1 Timothy 6:17-19: Going After God

Wednesday, March 14, 2016

Treasure found under water off the Florida coast aboard Nuestra Señora de Atocha

Moving forward in this fourth week of Lent, we explore the demands the Gospel places on us. Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges is the call to share all that we have hoarded with those who have little.

Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.

Jesus says: My children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. This is impossible for human beings but not for God; everything is possible for God. (Mark 10:24-27, Luke 18:24-27, Matthew 19:23-26)

God says: If you fear your wealth separates your heart from mine, then bring that fear to me. If you worry that your good fortune is a sign that you are distant from me, bring that worry as well. Share what you have with prudence. Give what you can without looking for a reward. Answer the call you hear deep within. When you listen with care, you know that I am the one who has graced you with talents to gather the harvest that fills you. Be generous with this gift of my bounty. Remember that nothing destroys the treasure of a generous heart while the treasures of your world quickly fade into nothing.

As we ponder these thoughts, we recall the words recorded by Matthew and Mark, and we go after the challenge offered by our God. For where your treasure, your heart will be there also. (Matthew 6:21, Luke 12:34)

Images from http://www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-other-artifacts/ten-spectacular-golden-treasures-ancient-world-003826 and http://www.pinsdaddy.com/god-searches-the-heart_JKV0rcfoODqhYfcgpH1Tl8hM0VMhDiKaQmlEhOakqNM/

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Esther 2: A Plot Discovered

Johannes Spilberg the Younger: The Feast of Esther

Monday, February 12, 2018

What do we do when we have possession of information about a harmful plot? This is the question posed by today’s reading. Esther comes to the attention of King Xerxes, and the king gave a great banquet to all his officials and ministers—“Esther’s banquet.” He also granted a holiday to the provinces, and gave gifts with royal liberality.

Amidst this celebration, Mordecai reports a plot to assassinate the king not to the king directly, but through his cousin Esther. We might pause to ask ourselves what we do with information that comes to us that indicates danger to others or ourselves.

On this day, with Mordecai sitting at the King’s Gate, Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who guarded the entrance, had it in for the king and were making plans to kill King Xerxes. But Mordecai learned of the plot and told Queen Esther, who then told King Xerxes, giving credit to Mordecai. When the thing was investigated and confirmed as true, the two men were hanged on a gallows. 

God says: When you stumble across a plot that threatens harm, bring your tension and worry to me, and listen for my counsel. Always remain faithful to a life of compassion, hope and mercy. Always forgive those who harm you while asking me to transform hardened hearts and stiff shoulders. Always be wary of associates who draw you into grumbling, hoping to bring you into the schemes they weave. Remember that Jesus instructed you to “render to the emperor what belongs to the emperor and to God what belongs to God”. (Matthew 22:21) Remember to align yourself with me for I have great plans in mind for you.

It is tempting to complain about the corruption around us without acknowledging our part in a corrupt structure. It is comfortable to be silent while others wage war around us.

What do we do when we have possession of information about a plot that does harm? Today Esther and Mordecai give us insight. Today we reflect on the plots we discover. And we reflect on what we are to do.

Through the last several hundred years, numerous thinkers, writers, spiritual and political leaders have reminded us that evil grows quickly when good people remain silent. We may want to explore some of these quotes at: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/12/04/good-men-do/

To learn more about the dangers in reporting an assassination plot in ancient days, visit: http://thetorah.com/why-does-mordechai-not-report-the-assassination-plot-directly-to-ahasuerus/

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Matthew 9:32-34: Seek Consolation – Speechless

Thursday, December 21, 2017

4th Century Roman image of Jesus

“We have never seen anything like this in Israel!” they exclaimed.

God says: I complete miracles among you each day. I cause the sun to rise, the tides to roll and the moon to bring light to the darkness. I cause your heart to beat, your lungs to rise and fall. You are so fully enveloped in your world that you often miss the many ways I call out to you, asking nothing more than your love and praise of me. When doubt creeps into your mind, as it always does, re-read the many stories of miracles I worked among you as Jesus the Christ. When anxiety takes over your heart, as it often does, remember the many miracles my Spirit continues to work among you. When you find yourself speechless in your daily walk in the world, only rest in and rely on me to bring you the words that you will need. I sent my prophet Isaiah to remind that . . . If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, “Here is the road. Follow it.” (Isaiah 30:21) Remember that my love is greater than any doubt or anxiety, my love for you is greater than any obstacle you perceive.

When we find ourselves speechless in the face of trauma or calamity, we seek consolation in the presence of God.

Comparing translations of these verses brings us new confidence to listen for the voice that tells us which way to walk and which way to go.

To learn more about the early Christians and the Roman Catacombs, click on the image above or visit: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2017/05/30/the-catacombs-remind-us-of-the-courage-and-steadfastness-of-the-early-christians/ 

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Psalms: Seek Wholeness – The Heart

Friday, December 8, 2017

When we open ourselves to God in our search for wholeness, there is no better door than the heart. The psalmist reminds us that sincerity in our relationship with God is a secure and holy path to fullness and transformation.

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 9:1)

God says: I do not need your admiration to know that my love can heal and convert harm to goodness; but your praise warms my heart so that it overflows into the core of all creation.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever. (Psalm 86:12)

God says:  I do not need your burnt offerings to satisfy my desire to live in and with you; but your sacrifices in my name affirm my constant love in you.  

The arrogant smear me with lies,
    but with my whole heart I keep your precepts. (Psalm 119:69)

God says: I do not need your presence in the Temple to tell me that you have confidence in me; but your gathering with the faithful strengthens your hope in my presence.

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
    for you have exalted your name and your word
    above everything. (Psalm 138:1-2)

God says: I have created you out of my love. I have created you in love. I have created you for love. When you open your heart to me, you open yourself to fullness and wholeness in me.

 When we explore other versions of these verses, we encounter a fullness and openness of heart. 

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