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Archive for the ‘Prophecy’ Category


Malachi 3: Refiningmalachi_3-10

March 7, 2015

Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek.

In several weeks we will witness again Christ’s passion and death. Let us prepare the temple of our hearts with God’s written Word. Today we choose a chapter and book in the Bible that we have never explored before. As we read, we allow the Spirit to open our ears to God’s words.

My messenger is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. My messenger will sit refining and purifying.

In several weeks we will experience again the Easter miracle. Let us prepare our hearts and minds with the refining fire of Christ’s presence, the Living Word.  Today we compose a prayer of thanksgiving to the Living God for all that heals and sustains us each day. As we write, we allow the Spirit to open our hearts to God’s living presence.

Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek.

In several weeks we will experience again the phenomenon of Pentecost. Let us prepare ourselves to receive the Spirit in this special way. Today we spend time with someone who is suffering to allow the refining fire of God’s love to transform all mourning into joy.

For more on Malachi’s imagery of a smelter’s fire of a fuller’s lye, enter the word refiner into the blog search bar and explore.  

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Habakkuk 2:3-4: The Delayimpatienceordivineanticipationb1

March 6, 2015

In this Lenten season we witness to the presence of Christ in our daily routine. In this time of introspection we welcome the Spirit into the temple of our hearts. In this time of healing and re-making we thank God for the gifts of grace and mercy and patience. In this time of transformation we come to understand the essence of our Lenten delay.

If it delays, wait for it . . .

Like small children, we want all our woes and anxieties resolved within seconds of their borning; like small children we must learn that waiting in joyful anticipation brings the gift of wisdom.

It will surely come . . .

Like energetic teenagers, we easily slip into the thinking that the multiverse holds us at its center; like energetic teenagers we reluctantly admit that our way is not always God’s way.

It will not be late . . .

Like impatient adults, we ask the world to move at our singular command; like impatient adults we come to see that the common good is more valuable in God’s eyes than our individual desire.

The rash one has no integrity . . .

In our Lenten journey we come to understand – if we are open – that God is present in misery just as in joy.

But the just one, because of faith, will live . . .

In our Lenten passage we come to know – if we are open – that God’s delay is part of God’s plan.

As we move through this second full week of Lent, let us take all of our impatience and anxiety, all of our anger and frustration to the one who mends and heals all wounds. And let us – like Jesus – make a willing sacrifice of our waiting as we anticipate in joyful hope God’s fulfillment of our great delay.

Enter the word Habakkuk into the blog search bar to explore other reflections on the wisdom brought to us through the words of this prophet.

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Jonah 3:1-3: Setting Out for Nineveh

Ancient Nineveh

Ancient Nineveh

March 5, 2015

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you”. So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the Lord’s bidding.

Nineveh was the capital of the ancient empire of Assyria and it is thought that the word derives from the name Nin, a pagan god closely associated with the Greek god Hercules. Legend tells us that this settlement was begun on the banks of the Tigris River by the ancient leader and king Ninus, or Nimrod. Today the city’s ruins are located opposite Mosul, but at its apogee this enormous metropolis was the largest in the world. As early as the year 1800 B.C.E. the city was the center for the worship of Ishtar, goddess of love, war, sexuality and fertility. In 612 B.C.E. it was sacked by an alliance of Assyria’s former subject nations. We have a great deal to learn from Nineveh.

At the time of Jonah’s ministry (785-775 B.C.E.), Nineveh was a thriving cultural, social and political hub of enormous importance. We can well imagine the prophet’s hesitancy to preach God’s word in this environment; but at this time “Assyria had suffered military reverses, diplomatic setbacks, famine and domestic uprisings”. In addition, two eclipses had taken place in 784 and in 763 B.C. E. It is likely that all this prepared the Ninevites for a foreign prophet who suddenly appeared to bring them news of how they might make a positive change. (Zondervan 1469) Although reluctant, Jonah does as God asks of him and he sets out on the road to Nineveh. We have a great deal to learn from Jonah.

When challenged by corrupt Pharisees, Jesus says: This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. (Luke 11:29-30)

Spend time with this story of Jonah and with Jesus’ words as recorded by both Luke and Matthew (12:38-45), and consider the meaning of these verses in our own lives. When we reflect on where our own Nineveh might lie and on who brings us our greatest challenge, let us also consider if we, like the reluctant Jonah, might make ready. Let us consider if we might rely fully on God. Let us decide to put aside our fears and anxieties as we carry the word of God. And let us, like Jonah, set out for the city of Nineveh.

Assyrian Wall Carving of Horses and Grooms

Assyrian Wall Carving of Horses and Grooms

For news about the condition and status of ancient Nineveh today, click on the carving image above or visit: http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/tragedy-militants-bomb-2700-year-old-nineveh-wall-iraq-002632 

ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 1469. Print.

For more on Nineveh, the wicked city, visit: http://www.mpumc.org/uploads/file/nineveh.pdf or use the other web links above. 

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Ezekiel 33:14-16: We Shall Surely Live

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life".  (John 6:68)

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”. (John 6:68)

March 4, 2015

Though I say to the wicked man that he shall surely die, if he turns away from his sin and does what is right and just, giving back pledges, restoring stolen goods, living by the statutes that bring life, and doing no wrong, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the sins committed shall be held against him; he has done what is right and just, he shall surely live.

Just when we believe that there is no redemption we read these verses. The wicked may also survive to live eternally once they repent. If there are enemies among, let us pray as Jesus asks us to pray.

From Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M.: “A prophet is one who keeps God free for people and who keeps people free for God. It is a two-sided task. He or she is committed to the covenant love between humanity and the Divine–at all costs–and keeping God totally free for people. That is a very hard thing to do, because at least in the Bible the priestly class invariably makes God less accessible instead of more so: ‘Neither entering yourselves nor letting others enter in’ as Jesus boldly puts it (Matthew 23:13). For our own job-security, the priestly mentality tends to say, ‘You can only come to God through us, by doing the right rituals and obeying the rules.’ Formal ministers are too often good at teaching people ‘learned helplessness.’ That’s why the prophets spend so much time destroying and dismissing these barriers to create ‘a straight highway to God’ (Matthew 3:3) as John the Baptist tries to do, and Jesus does with such determination and partial success. But now you know why they were both killed”.

Spend time with these verses from Ezekiel and Matthew today and reflect on their meaning along with the words from Richard Rohr and consider . . . as we go through our days, do we liberate more than we bind, do we heal more than we hurt, do we love more than we judge, do we live more than we die?

Richard Rohr citation in this post is from “Prophets as Liberators,” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for Monday, February 20, 2015. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Richard-Rohr-s-Meditation–Prophets-as-Liberators.html?soid=1103098668616&aid=O17vFLcGtV4  

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Isaiah 61:1-2: Favor from the Lord2013-07-07-Psalm-34_18

March 3, 2015

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.

These are words that Jesus reads out from the Isaiah scroll when he begins his ministry. (Luke 4:14-30) Click on the scripture link and read varying versions of these verses.

Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., reminds us that prophets walk among us today. He suggests that we might be prophets ourselves . . . once we grow up. “It is in facing your conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that you grow up. You actually need to have some problems, enemies, and faults! You will remain largely unconscious as a human being until issues come into your life that you cannot fix or control and something challenges you at your present level of development, forcing you to expand and deepen. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding, that we break into higher levels of consciousness. I doubt whether there is any other way. People who refine this consciousness to a high spiritual state, who learn to name and live with paradoxes, are the people I would call prophetic speakers. We must refine and develop this gift”.

Spend time with these verses from Isaiah and Luke today and reflect on their meaning along with the words from Richard Rohr and consider . . . do the events in our present lives call us to prophetic work? Have we been gifted with favor from the Lord? Might we heal broken hearts and free captives from their worries? Is it time to develop our gift from the Lord?

Richard Rohr citation in this post is from “Self-Critical Thinking,” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for Monday, February 15, 2015. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Richard-Rohr-s-Meditation–Self-Critical-Thinking.html?soid=1103098668616&aid=rnft6vyUO0Q

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Jeremiah 1:19: God Will Prevailheart-on-fire-for-god

March 2, 2015

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., tells us that prophets are an essential element of a society that hopes to improve and progress. He writes: “The Hebrew prophets were free to love their tradition and to criticize it at the same time, which is a very rare art form . . . The presumption for anyone with a dualistic mind is that if you criticize something, you don’t love it. Wise people like the prophets would say the opposite”. Prophets are afire with the understanding that keeping silence is worse than suffering for speaking up. Prophets understand that . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

Rohr knows the human spirit well when he writes, “We don’t want people who point out our shadow side or our dark side. It is no accident that the prophets and the priests are usually in opposition to one another”. Power structures abhor critiques of any kind. They use the power of silence to control thinking; and yet . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

Rohr also suggests that “Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with [our] shadow”. In other words, we cannot really grow except when we tussle with life and those we encounter each day. We cannot grow without a passionate desire to experience God’s ways; and so . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

The prophet Jeremiah sees the corruption and hypocrisy in his society. He speaks up and speaks out, knowing that in so doing he endangers his life. Jeremiah, afire with a deep passion for God’s word and God’s way, confronts the power structure and ultimately prevails because he knows that . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

Richard Rohr citations in this post are from “Self-Critical Thinking,” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for Monday, February 15, 2015. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Richard-Rohr-s-Meditation–Self-Critical-Thinking.html?soid=1103098668616&aid=rnft6vyUO0Q

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Saturday, February 14, 2015stumblingbnr

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Loving our Stumbling Blocks

As we study our stumbling blocks we hear the call to be prophets in the Messianic Age. We are asked to call others to kingdom work just as we have been called.

Once we spend time with our stumbling blocks we begin to understand the important role they play in our lives, the vital function they perform. We are asked to demonstrate our comprehension by willingly taking on our responsibility as Sentinel People. We are asked to call out to others the message of the Word Among Us.

Rather than walk around or away from our stumbling blocks we freely and even cheerfully go in search of a ladder that will allow us to climb atop our obstacle. We see the world and ourselves from a different angle . . . perhaps an angle that God the Creator might use. We are asked to bring this gift of insight to our Kingdom building.

Once we begin to act in and through Christ we receive abundant grace, courage, fortitude, and mercy. Love grows out of our suffering. Sudden and inexplicable joy takes hold and in a moment of irreversible transformation we move into the life God has planned for us since our inception.

And once we have run the arc from grief to joy, we give thanks for the great suffering we have endured.

As Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M. points out in his February 10, 2015 Meditation, it is not so much that we are so chosen or so suddenly more greatly loved by God in our moment of fear and turmoil; rather, it is that we have listened, waited, and pruned ourselves for the reception of this enormous and endless love. As we consider the grace and peace and blessing of the Stumbling Block, let us give thanks to the one who abides, and heals and loves.

Richard Rohr: Adapted fromThe Great Themes of Scripture: Old Testament, pp. 1-5 (published by Franciscan Media); and Scripture as Liberation (MP3 download

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Friday, February 13, 2015

A Watch Tower in Cadiz, Spain

A Watch Tower in Cadiz, Spain

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Gratitude for our Stumbling Blocks

I have appointed you as sentinel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, warn my people from me.

God says: Do not be surprised that I have appointed you as sentinel to my people for you have been faithful in great and in little things. When I speak, send on my word, live my word.

When I say to the wicked, “You will surely die,” and you do not warn them or speak out to warn them, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand.

God says: Do not be afraid to deliver news that others perceive as negative or ugly. Send on my word with mercy and justice. Be compassionate always, but deliver my message nonetheless for it is as important for you to speak as it is for others to hear.

If you have warned the wicked and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their wicked way, they shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.

God says: Do not worry if my word returns to you empty. I do not expect you to transform hard hearts and unbend stiff necks; but I expect that you will send my word on.

When I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you will say to them, “Thus says the Lord God”. The one who hears, hear; and the one who refuses, let that one refuse; for they are a rebellious house.

God says: Speak in my name and in that alone is your reward. When you do this although it is outside of your comfort zone, you set the same example as does my son Jesus. When you speak the words that lie in the quiet of other hearts, you demonstrate your fidelity. When you act as Jesus acts you show me the heart I have planted in you. Act in me as I act in you . . . and this will be enough. Give thanks that I am with you. Give thanks that you are not alone. Give thanks that my love dwells within you . . . and that I find it great enough to share. This has been the gift of your stumbling block. It is the gift of the watch tower. It is the gift of my eternal life in you.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015stumbling blocks

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Receiving Grace through our Stumbling Blocks

We receive the gift of understanding once we agree to study the stumbling blocks in our path. This understanding will transform our lives and the lives of others as we rejoice in the stoning we have received.  Others will see that we rise again, once the stoners retreat.  Others will see that we have survived the stoning and that we have lived to pick up those stones hurled as killing missiles.  They will see that we study those stones and that we have been blessed with the gift of reading the transforming message of each stone . . . because we respond to the call of the prophet, because we recognize that we are Sentinel People, and because we become prophets ourselves.

Ezekiel foresaw this Kingdom of prophets.  He foresaw that there would be a time when God would walk among us, would be one of us, would show us the way to turn and return to the God we had abandoned.  Ezekiel fore heard the trumpet blast of our response to God.

And so we pray . . .

Let us rejoice and be glad each time we stumble over something which strikes at our hearts.

Let us announce this gladness as the watchman Ezekiel announces the Coming of Christ.

Let us study the stumbling blocks in our path as we journey in the new Kingdom.

Let us examine the stones which the stoners throw, and read their unique messages for us.

Let us open our hearts and minds and souls to the God who created us.

Let us hope for the transformation of all of God’s people.

Let us trust that we are upheld as we work our way along the obstacle-strewn path toward home.

Let us be sentinel people, People of the Watch, calling out that the Kingdom is now.

Let us be prophets who announce that the Messiah is already among us.

Let us love ourselves and one another . . . for the Christ is in our midst . . . for the Kingdom is now.

 Let us be a Sentinel People, announcing the Kingdom of God.

Amen.

Tomorrow, giving thanks for our stumbling blocks.

Adapted from a reflection written on January 19, 2008.

 

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