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Archive for the ‘Mini-Noontime’ Category


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

1 Peter 1:17-19

Lamb_of_God_smReverence

Now if you invoke as father him who judges partially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the tome of your sojourning, realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb.

The Jewish symbol of life is the blood of the spotless lamb.  This symbol becomes reality when Christ dies so that each of us might live.

God says: I can see why you do not understand the world of inversion in which I operate. You are often confused when Jesus tells you that you must die in order that you might live. But look at the world around you. As Jesus says: a grain of wheat must fall to the ground and split open. It must die from its present state in order that it produce many more grains. In this way the grain of wheat you see as perishing is, in fact, becoming immortal. It never dies because for generations its offspring live. Just so is it with each of you. Like the grain of wheat that gives over to the potential I have placed within, so too do you live forever when you follow your call and enter into the potential state for which I created you. When this becomes your reality . . . suddenly the world of inversion is the only world that makes sense. This is why Jesus tells you: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”.  John 12:24

It is not necessary for us to bear physical children in order to enter into this world that Jesus describes; rather, each small and tender act we offer up to God is a small child of love to which we give birth. Just so does Christ offer himself to us each day as the innocent lamb. Just so do we realize our true inheritance in Christ rather than in gold and silver that perishes. Just so do we revere our God by offering reverence to God and to one another in our small and big acts of inversion.

Tomorrow, mutual love . . .


Image from: http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/427/jesus___lamb_of_god_.html

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020obedience[1]1 Peter 1:13-16

Obedience

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ . . . [and] be holy as he who called you is holy . . . for it is written, “Be holy because I [am] holy”.

Peter understands the importance of living in Christ’s holiness perhaps more than any other apostle. Peter both denied Christ and witnessed that Jesus is the son of the Living God. Peter understands the real cost and gift of suffering. Peter believes in the inheritance he holds in his hands, mind and spirit.  Peter comprehends the importance of living in Christ, and the insignificance of the many small problems with which we crowd our days.

God says: Listen to our brother Peter for he has great wisdom for you. Peter understands that real freedom can only be won through obedience to the goodness I have planted in you. Peter understands that straying from my Word is normal and that suffering is unpleasant and painful. Peter also understands that cleaving to my Word can go against your desire for independence . . . but that total and true independence can only be gained through your following in The Way of Christ. There is much more that Peter understands and that he wants to convey to you but for today . . . rest with the idea of obedience. And reflect on when and how and why you have felt most free. Like Peter you will find that the obedience he preaches releases you from the small, petty worries of your days. Like Peter, you will come to more fully understand how obedience releases you from all that constrains and frightens you.

Once we decide to trust God in both large and small matters we free ourselves from energy-sapping anxiety. This is what Peter means by girding our minds and living soberly in the moment. This is the holiness to which Peter calls each of us . . . in the name of Christ.

Tomorrow, Peter tells us about reverence . . .  


Image from: http://metropraise.blogspot.com/2012/09/obedience-is-better-than-sacrifice.html

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Monday, September 28, 2020

4418670434_2d1d736229[1]1 Peter 1:6-7

Indescribable

In this [inheritance from God] you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you may not have seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of [your] faith, the salvation of your souls.

We might imagine the emotions that passed through Jesus’ close companions when he returned to them resurrected. He moved through locked doors, spoke with them, cooked for them, ate with them.  The sensations they experienced must have been indeed . . . indescribable.

God says: Do you not realize that I come to you each day just as I came to my first followers? Do you not know that I value your friendship and love so greatly that I am with you always? Do you not understand that you who did not travel with me in my Galilee years yet still believe in me are my own dear friends? Do not be too critical of your failings and flaws. I created you . . . and I understand who and what I created. Just come to me as you are with your own sweet imperfections. Your perfection lies in that you strive to be with me . . . not in living an unblemished life. When I am with you I feel such indescribable joy. I give this joy to you. Come follow me.

For more thoughts on the opening chapter of 1 Peter, enter the words Gift and Call into the blog search bar and reflect.

Tomorrow, an obedience that brings freedom . . .


Image from: http://flickriver.com/places/United+States/Arkansas/Siloam+Springs/Mount+Olive/

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

head_29[1]Amos 9:14-15

Raising Up

I will bring about the restoration of my people Israel; they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities, plant vineyards and drink the wine, set out gardens and eat the fruits. I will plant them upon their own ground; never again shall they be plucked from the land I have given them, say I, the Lord, your God.

Evidence and judgment, words and woes, threats and promises, visions of locusts, fire, the plummet, and the fruit basket, condemnation of priests and leaders, prophecy against greed and corruption, the final vision before the altar and then the winnowing sieve. This prophecy is too much to bear yet just as we are about to put aside forever its dark images and frightening premonition of doom . . . Amos leads us to the place he was always leading us. Amos brings us to the Christ, the Messiah.

God says: You most often find me in the dark valleys of your life for it is the failures, the betrayals, and corruption that bring you swiftly to my side.  Just so does my prophet Amos warn you that my little ones must be shepherded.  My lambs must be tended, my sheep must be led.  Through the suffering, pain and sorrow I am with you.  I have created you and you are mine.  I have loved you and I will never leave you.  I have already rescued you and placed you within the protective walls of my vineyard. You have been planted upon your own ground and you will never again be plucked from the place I have given you. Yours is the place of honor in my own sacred heart.  This I have promised.  This is the raising up you have been seeking.  This is your raising up that is my gift to you this day.

How does the prophet Amos speak to us today? What foreshadowing does he share? What hope does he bring? What is his promise of raising up for you? When we consider our world today, many will say that we need the words of Amos more than ever. When we contemplate our surroundings, many will say that it is time to heed the prophecy that  reminds us God is always raising us up.

Amos sheep


Use your own commentary or one of the links below to learn a bit more about his prophecy.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/21356/Amos

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112277/jewish/The-Prophet-Amos.htm

http://thisischurch.com/christian_teaching/sermon/amos.pdf


Images from: http://www.faithvillage.com/article/0531061aff6d4f0c81db56f7d5fc3f35/the_boldness_of_amos and http://www.liquidthinking.org/archive/2005_09_01_archive.htm

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

sunset-on-the-beach-desktop-wallpaper-sand-boats[1]Amos 9:8-9

The Sieve

But I will not destroy the house of Jacob completely, says the Lord.  For see, I have given the command to sift the house of Israel among all the nations, as one sifts with a sieve, letting no pebble fall to the ground.

The imagery in these verses recalls the Gospel metaphor of the fisherman’s net that draws up many from which the faithful will be chosen. The rest will be tossed back in to the sea to a fate that is not described for us. It also reminds us of the many farming images in which the chaff is separated from the wheat, the sheep from the goats. In this Messianic epilogue to the Amos prophecy we finally see the hope we have awaited. At last we know for certain that all is not lost. Redemption is at hand. God’s goodness and light and grace are offered to those who mourn and despair while they witness and wait.

Pebbles-on-Sand-40x30-4250[1]God says: Close your eyes and imagine the wide, vast expanse of a sandy beach that runs into rolling waves. Picture my hands holding an enormous sieve. Envision this sieve burrowing deep into the sand. See how carefully I tilt the strainer to look for the precious pebbles I know are buried in the pit of this filter. Each tiny stone is known to me. Every nugget is a gem for my crown. It is these small jewels I will seek endlessly, never losing hope that you are there, never giving up from the strain of the work, never forsaking or abandoning you, never letting even one of you drop to the ground. 

Today’s Noontime reminds us that God seeks us more ardently than we seek God. These verses recall for us the depth and breadth and length of God’s love. This final perspective that Amos opens to us brings us up from the valleys of our despair and into the heights of rejoicing. Amidst the billions of grains of sand God has an eye and an ear poised to catch each one of us in the great winnowing sieve of God’s love.


Images from: http://www.kaffefassett.com/Painting.html and http://www.iwallscreen.com/browse/beach/

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

will-religion-become-a-thing-of-the-past.jpg.crop_display[1]Amos 8:11

A Famine of Hearing

Yes, days are coming, says the Lord God, when I will send famine upon the land; not a famine of bread, or thirst for water, but for hearing the word of the Lord.

The Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 begins: Hear, O Israel!  And yet, do we listen? In 1 Samuel 3:11 we are told: The Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle”.  The prophet Isaiah tells us Isaiah 30:21: Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. From Jeremiah 19:3: Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold I am about to bring a calamity upon this place, at which the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle.  And Ezekiel 12:2: Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house.  Zechariah 7:11: But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears from hearing.  And Jesus in Mark 4:23: He who has ears to hear, let him hear.  And yet . . . do we listen? What is the origin of our famine of hearing?

God says: When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to him, he spoke by way of a parable: “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled underfoot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out.  Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As he said these things, he would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  (Luke 8:4-8)

For millennia God has spoken to us. We humans have the spiritual ears to hear. Let us be bearers of the word, witnesses of the kingdom, and carriers of the Good News. And let us do all that we can to end this famine of hearing.


For more information about The Shema, visit: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/shema.html or enter the word Shema in the blog search bar and explore.

For a commentary on the famine of the word (“Will Religion Become a Thing of the Past”), click on the image above or go to: http://www.ucg.org/commentary/will-religion-become-thing-past/

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Monday, September 21, 2013

panier-fruits[1]Amos 8:1-2

Ripe Fruit

This is what the Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked. I answered, “A basket of ripe fruit”. Then the Lord said to me: The time is ripe to have done with my people Israel; I will forgive them no longer”.

Still the dreadful visions assault us – presenting a God who exacts punishment for acts of commission against the weak and vulnerable, for acts of omission for the times we have not answered God’s call. These images conjure up our worst fears. We do not like the ugliness of these scenes. We shrink from the exacting accountability that challenges us. We reject this God of terror and fear.

God says:  My servant Amos was not an eager prophet – he preferred to tend his flocks of sheep and prune his orchards of sycamore trees – yet he answered my call. These visions are not meant to frighten you but they are a reality we must confront with honesty.  My heart yearns to soften those hearts of stone that subjugate the vulnerable, those stiff necks that turn away from my lambs who suffer.  My arms take up all those who run or fly to me.  I mean to inspire love, awe and joy.  These cruel visions are not my hope for you; rather, they are a genuine reflection of the viciousness that is always an option before you.  They are the cruelness each of you may choose if you choose the evil road. Look into your own hearts.  Turn away from this violence and come to me. 

What is the ripe fruit we offer to God?  How do we answer God’s call?


What do we do about famine in our world?  To read about Hunger in the world today, go to: http://www.actionagainsthunger.org/impact/nutrition?gclid=CJuMoqL70LkCFYWd4AodbgwAYQ

What do we know about Refugees in our world? Examine facts about refugees today at: http://www.unhcr.org.uk/about-us/key-facts-and-figures.html

For a reflection on Amos 8, click on the image above or go to: http://cove-bibletalk.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-lectionary-passages-for-sunday-july_17.html

Image from: http://cove-bibletalk.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-lectionary-passages-for-sunday-july_17.html

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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Locusts arrive in Israel in spring 2013

Locusts arriving in Israel in spring 2013

Amos 7:1-3

Locusts

This is what the Lord God showed me: He was forming a locust swarm when the late growth began to come up [the late growth after the king’s mowing]. While they were eating all the grass in the land, I said: Forgive me, O Lord God! How will Jacob stand? He is so small!  And the Lord repented of this. “It shall not be,” said the lord God.

We have read through the words and woes that Amos offers us so that we might examine our lives to see how we deal with those who suffer oppression.  We have asked ourselves if we are victim or bully, one with a great deal or one with little. Today Amos presents us with the first of several visions. What can these locusts mean?

God says: The king has taken his first cutting of the harvest and has left the second growth for his people but locusts arrive and devour all that gives sustenance. Calamity strikes. Fear grips everyone and yet remember . . . I will tend to the faithful. They shall not perish.  It shall not be. Even amidst the swarm of locusts that devours all in its path.

In some parts of the world the threat of swarming locusts is a very real hazard but although for us the threat of total devastation is a distant threat we know the unease that comes with impending doom. Natural disasters, acts of criminal violence, medical aberrations are all present dangers to our comfortable living. In Old Testament thinking we would assume that these calamities tell us that we have somehow angered God. New Testament thinking tells us that although catastrophes occur we are likely not to blame . . . and it reminds us that we can rely on God to say: It shall not be. 

In this time of pandemic and social unrest, we lean on the prophets of old for guidance.


To read news about a locust invasion in the Middle East in the spring of 2013, click on the image above or visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/israel-braces-for-locust-invasion-ahead-of-passover_n_2816136.html

To read more about the locust, go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Desert_locust

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

fat_cow[1]Amos 4:1-2

Cows of Bashan

Hear this word, women of the mountain of Samaria, you cows of Bashan, you who oppress the weak and abuse the needy; who say to your lords, “Bring drink for us!” The Lord God has sworn by his holiness: truly the days are coming upon you when they shall drag you away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks; you shall go through the breached walls each by a most direct way, and you shall be cast into the mire, says the Lord.

Bashan: the region east of the Sea of Galilee, famous for its rich pasture and fattened herds, to which Amos likens the indolent women of Samaria.” (Senior cf. 1129)

“The phrase ‘cows of Bashan’ was therefore a harsh but fitting symbol for Israel’s wealthy, pampered, self-indulgent women, who maintained their lifestyles by exploiting the poor and speaking demandingly – even to their husbands”. (Zondervan cf. 1451)

God says: You only deceive yourselves when you insist on having your own way. You win petty arguments yet lose your soul.  You bully and browbeat yet you throw away your heart. You adorn yourselves with fake jewels yet you toss out my love like the scraps of a meal. 

Amos speaks to people who believe they are immune to any negative consequence. They store up wealth against difficult days; they cultivate political alliances to protect themselves from civil turmoil; they love little but themselves and think nothing of their neighbors.  Amos warns. Yet the warning goes unheeded.


 Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1129. Print.   

Image from: http://www.liberalrev.com/?p=1145

ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 1451. Print.

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