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Choir-Medieval-Ladies

Jan Van Eyck: Heavenly Choirs (detail)

Philippians 4:4-7: Celebrate!

Third Sunday of Advent, December 11, 2022

Gaudete Sunday

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

If only we might celebrate that the Light of the World is among us in this way. If only we might live our lives as a demonstration of our belief that the Healer of all walks with us. If only we might call others to rejoice that the Rescuer from fear, anxiety and desperation lives in us.

waitsDon’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.


Visit the links below and explore other renditions of this ancient celebration of the coming of Christ. Send the link of your favorite performance to family and friends and encourage them to celebrate with you!

Aúna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbKWk6RzaiM

Choir of Clare College Cambridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1NgHonWNE0

Prima Luce: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFtppysEl-k

The King’s Singers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KSxg9Ij5r8 

Libera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=447ZTXdDODQ 

To learn about Medieval Music, click on the musicians image or visit: http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-music/waits.htm 

vaneyck_lamgods_engelen

Jan Van Eyck: Heavenly Choirs

Images from: http://www.thecultureconcept.com/circle/sound-of-music-poets-celebrate-creation-psalms-to-polyphony and http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-music/waits.htm and http://novembrance.blogspot.com/2008/12/heavenly-choirs.html

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James 4:4-6: God’s Jealous Love

Monday, October 17, 2022jealous love

You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way.

When James speaks of God’s jealousy, he is not describing God as an envious lover; rather, James describes the limitless, deep, abiding love that God has for each of us.

And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find.

There is a striking difference between envy and jealousy and in Old Testament references to God we often find images of God as a jealous lover. For a deeper explanation about what this means and how it has impact on our lives, we can go to: https://bible.org/seriespage/21-jealous-god. Today, James asks us to consider just what God’s love for us looks like, and how we allow that love to temper our lives.

In his song THROUGH ALL OF IT, Colton Dixon describes how God has accompanied him through all the turmoil life presents. The lyrics begin: There are days I’ve taken more than I can give, and there are choices that I made that I wouldn’t make again. I’ve had my share of laughter, of tears and troubled times. This has been the story of my life . . . and you have been my God through all of it.

Today, let us give ourselves the gift of time to consider the nature of God’s “jealous love” and how this love might change us. We might listen to Dixon’s lyrics and music at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnuGXvO_l8w

Tomorrow, a solution to turmoil.


 Image from: https://godshotspot.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/jealous-god/

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Matthew 9:1-8: Taking Up Our Bedtake up your bed

Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 22, 2021

They brought to him a paralytic lying on a bed . . .

Jesus says: Take courage . . . Get up . . . pick up your bed and go home . . .

God says: Each little incident that paralyzes you with fear is not from me. I only bring you love. Each enormous obstacle that looms before you is not from me. I only bring you hope. When you are paralyzed with fear, reach for me. When you are knocked off your feet, take up the bed of sorrow onto which you have fallen, and come home.

When we give ourselves over to fear we let go of God’s hand. When we languish in our sorrow and remain on our paralytic bed we reject the offer of newness God brings. If depression or anxiety overwhelm us we must seek professional guidance and help. God wants to convert the paralysis in our lives to loving acts of kindness, mercy and justice.

 


Image from: https://www.wordonfire.org/articles/fellows/pick-up-your-mat/

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Matthew 8:23-27: Stilling the Storm

James Seward: Peace, be Still

James Seward: Peace! Be Still!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

We say: Lord, we are perishing!

Jesus says: Why are you afraid?

God says: You and I have spoken about the storms of life so frequently – nearly every day – yet still I am willing to hear you again cry out for my help. And I am willing to give my help to you. I know that the circumstances of the world frighten you; yet I ask for your patience and courage. I know that the troubles of the world alarm you; yet I ask for your perseverance and fidelity. I know that the anxieties of the world panic you; yet I ask for your mercy and kindness. I know that the injustices of the world anger you; yet I ask for your confidence and love. When I calm the storm I calm you. When I ask for stillness I ask for your open heart. When I ask for love I ask for your full and abiding presence in me. Practice this when you are not distressed and you will see how natural this becomes in the way you interact with others. And you will find that a new peace and tranquility abide within. You will find that the approaching storm will roll over you to leave you unscathed. And you will have stilled the storm within.


For a musical reflection on Peace! Be Stillby Seward, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DSYtYdjsbA

Find your former self in Seward’s painting . . . look for your new self in Christ.

For a reflection on fear, click on the image above or visit: http://www.shellyduffer.com/tag/jesus-calms-the-storm/

Enter the word storm into the blog search bar, think about how we react to crisis or strife, and decide to hand over the storm within to the one who calms all storms.

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Psalm 51: Miserere

Fra Angelico: Deposition from the Cross (detail)

Fra Angelico: Deposition from the Cross (detail)

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The most famous of the lament psalms, often said during the Lenten season, is also called The Miserere and is frequently set to music.

This week in an exploration of James, our study group is focusing on Chapter 2 in which James brings home the message that words without action are dead, empty, and barren.  Words with action are life, fullness and fruit bearing. This is the sacrifice our God requires of us. God does not look for our burnt offerings of first and best fruits. Nor does God delight in our willfulness; rather, God rejoices at our acknowledgment of our broken-heartedness and waywardness. And God certainly rejoices in our homecoming, wishing nothing more than to be with us fully and totally. In this relationship therefore, we can set aside no room saved for our own littleness of for tiny pettiness. We are created for bigness, for greatness. This is perhaps why we are always seeking something more than what we have and more than what we are.

In today’s Gospel (John 3:14-21), Jesus describes to Nicodemus just how much God loves the world. Today we might make the best of this opportunity to turn to God to offer our lament or miserere. Psalm 51 is more than an internal and personal act of contrition; this prayer is a statement of our commitment to change and our willingness to witness to what this change has done for us.

Francesco Scarlatti: Miserere mei Deus

Francesco Scarlatti: Miserere mei Deus

And so we pray . . .  Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.  I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners might return to you . . . Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise. 

 Lord, sustain us . . . Lord, open our lips . . . that we may show you our contrition . . . that we may sing our intentional and sincere miserere . . . that we may proclaim your praise.  Accept our offering of brokenness . . . and bring us home to you. 


Adapted from a reflection written on February 11, 2010.

For a music link, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IA88AS6Wy_4 

Fra Angelica image from: http://radiomelasudas-beaumarchais.blogspot.com/2010/09/michel-richard-delalande-miserere-mei.html

Scarlatti image from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Francesco_Scarlatti_-_Miserere_mei_Deus._(BL_Add_MS_31608_f._8v).jpg

Our next Lenten days we will take us on a journey through Psalms.

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nativity-of-christThird Sunday of Advent

December 12, 2021

Joy and 

Ecclesiastes 5:17-19

Vanity

We continue our reflection on joy in the Books of Wisdom and for the next few days we spend time with Ecclesiastes, verses that focus on the purpose and value of human life. Joy in merit, material wealth, pleasure of every kind evades the human race when chased. The mystery is that truly fulfilling and lasting joy comes upon us when we least expect it – and when we find ourselves in the most trying of circumstances. If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Today joy surprises us when we find ourselves overwhelmed by the world’s vanities.

The Book of Ecclesiastes is often remembered for its opening words: Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity! Through centuries we humans have sought the mystery of joy and continue to find that try joy arrives with most impact in times of sorrow or loss. We are constantly learning that we cannot earn joy; rather, joy finds us when we most need and appreciate it.

Ecclesiastes 5:17-19: Here is what I see as good: It is appropriate to eat and drink and prosper from all the toil one toils at under the sun during the limited days of life God gives us; for this is our lot. Those to whom God gives riches and property, and grants power to partake of them, so that they receive their lot and find joy in the fruits of their toil: This is a gift from God. For they will hardly dwell on the shortness of life, because God lets them busy themselves with the joy of their heart.

joyCompare the MESSAGE version of this passage at the scripture link above that begins with verse 13: Here’s a piece of bad luck I’ve seen happen: A man hoards far more wealth than is good for him and then loses it all in a bad business deal. He fathered a child but hasn’t a cent left to give him. He arrived naked from the womb of his mother; he’ll leave in the same condition—with nothing. This is bad luck, for sure—naked he came, naked he went. So what was the point of working for a salary of smoke? Continue reading and allow the Word to resonate within until the mystery of finding joy in misery rather than in our stockpiled treasures begins to speak in our hearts. Consider that all joy is a gift from God, shows us God’s presence, and lifts, sustains and renews us . . . without our even asking.


In some Christian traditions, the Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday. Enter the word Gaudete into the blog search bar and reflect on the nourishing joy that comes from God to renew and sustain us in the darkest of days. Find out more about Gaudete Sunday at this link: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06394b.htm

While reflecting, listen to the Medieval Latin Carol Gaudete arranged by Michael McGlynn and sung by ANÚNA posted on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbKWk6RzaiM  As the ancient words resonate, allow them to awaken joy within . . . Rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary! The light, the truth, the healer, the Word is among us. 

This week, let us look for joy in a controversial issue that consumes our local or global world. It may be a topic that reverberates through the global community or it may be a problem that you share with a few friends, family members or neighbors. No matter the range or depth of this concern, turn it over in light of the week’s Noontime readings and allow the joy that is hidden in great darkness to spring upon you.

Visit the ANÚNA site at: http://www.anuna.ie/

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

For the lyrics to the carol Gaudete and another music video, click on the Nativity image above or visit: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2012/12/gaudetechristus-est-natus/ 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.781. Print.   

Image from: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2012/12/gaudetechristus-est-natus/ 

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give_thanks_with_a_grateful_heartWednesday, September 22, 2021

Psalm 138

Hymn of a Grateful Heart

I thank you, Lord, with all my heart. I bow low toward your holy temple; I praise you name for your fidelity and love.

God says: I know that you are grateful but it is good of you to tell me. Keep in mind that you are my temple so remember to care for yourself even as you care for others in my name.

You have exalted over all your name and your promise. When I cried out, you answered; you strengthen my spirit.

God says: I am always with you although you may not sense it. I smooth many obstacles for you each day and when you meet the obstacles that frighten you, know that I am with you. You cannot fail. There is nothing to fear.

The Lord is on high, but cares for the lowly and knows the proud from afar.

God says: My prophet Jeremiah tried to tell the leaders of my flock that they had erred. They did not listen. You are prophets in your own day and you warn of danger; yet you are also ignored. I see your exhaustion but I am telling you that you need not expend yourself totally. Do what is right. Listen to my word and share it. When darkness arrives I am with you. My light will pierce that darkness and all truth will be revealed.

Though I walk in the midst of dangers, you guard my life when my enemies rage. You stretch out your hand; your right hand saves me.

happy grateful peopleGod says: I know that you are grateful and it is good of you to tell me. My promise is genuine. My compassion is complete. My hope is eternal. My love is trustworthy. You are made in my image and so I look for the truth and integrity I planted in you in the moment I first thought of you.  

The Lord is with me to the end. Lord, your love endures forever. Never forsake the work of your hands!

God says: There really is no end for you are eternal. Rest in me today and allow these words to seep into your sinews. Relax with me today and let the words and hope of my prophet Jeremiah console you. Abide with me today and reflect on this prayer. I am with you always and everywhere. You are the work of my hands. I cannot forget you. I will not abandon you. I will always guide and protect you. Of this you may be sure.


Compare different versions of Psalm 138 through the scripture link above. Choose other versions with the drop down menus and spend some quiet time with God. Allow God’s word to seep into your bones. Give all of your fears, anxieties and worries to God. And offer up a hymn of thanksgiving from a grateful heart.

To see and hear the Westminster Abbey Choir sing Psalm 138, go to YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNqvpM2MFYM 

Image from: http://pastorfergus.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/this-sunday-were-giving-thanks-at-st-pauls-together-for-gifts-to-share/ 

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Holy Monday, March 29, 2021

promisesAmos 9:13-15

Keeping Promises

The prophet Amos was particularly insistent about the Covenant promises the Jewish people did not keep, especially regarding issues of social injustice. We have spent a number of days reflecting on this prophecy and we have seen the conciseness and force with which this fiercely independent prophet calls us to observing the importance of keeping our Covenant Promise with God. Amos reminds us of what is most important in life: the return to out true nature as loving children who trust in God alone when we find ourselves suffering acutely. We are accustomed to thinking of Social Injustice in the wide and sweeping scale of one people against another; but injustice also takes place on a personal level of an individual against another, or one small group against another. There are many times in our lives when we have been involved in unjust relationships – either as an aggressor or as the innocent – and this calls us re-evaluate the promises we keep, with whom, and why. So as we walk through Holy Week with Christ, let us pause to evaluate.

God always keeps promises. Do we keep our promises to God, to others, and to ourselves?  What do we do with the Gift of Promise God places in us?


Adapted from a reflection written on March 27, 2008.

To view a trailer with an interesting presentation of God’s promises produced by Worship House Media, go to: http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/18865/Promises

Image from: http://productivelifeconcepts.com/how-to-keep-your-promises-especially-the-ones-you-make-to-yourself/

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Archbishop Oscar Romero

Archbishop Oscar Romero

Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 21, 2021

Amos 7:10-17

Amos and Amaziah

In a wonderfully written essay posted on July 5, 2010, Dan Clendenin weaves the stories of Amos of Tekoa with Oscar Romero, the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop.  Clendenin points out that the story of the meeting between these two men, prophet and priest, would light up the blogosphere if it took place today.

Even when we are warned of impending doom, we manage to convince ourselves that all is well.

Even when we see violence happening to our relatives and neighbors, we convince ourselves that we are not part of the ugliness.

Even when the evidence is incontrovertible, we continue to believe the illusion that we ourselves have created.

As we continue our Lenten journey, let us consider who might be the Amaziahs in our lives. Who is it we believe without questioning? Who keeps us comfortable and creates a place for us in which we cease to question or even think? Who convinces us of the lies we plan together?

As we continue our Lenten journey, let us consider who might the Amoses in our lives. Who brings us truth that makes us uncomfortable? Who challenges the easy stories that rise out of falsehood? Who calls us to our better and brighter selves?

As we continue our Lenten journey, let us pledge to spend daily quality time with Christ who is our best and constant teacher. Let us promise to listen for the words of true prophets who bring us a reality we may not see. Let us promise to see the woes of the world as they really are and not as we wish them to be. And let us promise to keep always before us clear visions of the kingdom of God that Amos calls us to see.


To view a powerful music video about Bishop Oscar Romero, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21CN815v2G0&feature=youtu.be  and to learn more about The Martyr’s Project, go to: http://www.themartyrsproject.com/index2.html

To read Clendenin’s post, visit the Journey with Jesus blog at: http://www.journeywithjesus.net/Essays/20100705JJ.shtml

To learn more about Oscar Romero and more about the International Day of Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victimsvisit: https://www.un.org/en/events/righttotruthday/romero.shtml 

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