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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

the Hebrew letter hePsalm 119:33-40

He

Lord, teach me . . . Give me insight . . . Turn away from me the taunts I dread . . .

We know that we have finally fallen in love with God when we admit that God is great and good.

God says: Despite what you may sometimes believe, I want to bring you to your fullest potential.  In the moment that I created you I also created a special hope for the world. And that special hope lies in you. All of my “laws” and “statutes” are nothing more than my desire to bring you to the one central law which is to love one another . . . even your enemies. This is the insight I have for you. It is this: that you are the promise and the hope of the world just as Jesus is. Follow him and you will see the impossible become possible before your very eyes.

We can never know what is possible until we ask. We can never know what is merciful until we forgive. We can never know what is fullness until we love.

Today we reflect on the fifth lesson in Psalm 119. It is a reminder that God created us with the potential to transform others in Christ. Tomorrow, Waw.

Jesus said to them: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the house to send out laborers for the harvest.  Go on your way . . . Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals” . . . They returned rejoicing, and said: “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name”.  (Luke 10:2, 3-4, 17)


To learn more about how the Hebrew letter He represents creation, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://www.bje.org.au/learning/hebrew/alphabet/05heh.html and http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/3_hey.html

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Monday, January 18, 2021

Psalm 119:25-32

daleth[1]Daleth

I lie prostrate in the dust; give me life . . . I disclosed my ways and you answered me . . . you open my docile heart . . .

We find ourselves at our lowest ebb; we see the abyss yawning before us . . . and yet we know that God is with us; we know that God has the power to do the impossible with, and for, and in each of us.

God says: You may see your world as hostile and lacking nourishment yet what I see is a universe of hearts and souls. When you bring me your dreams I dream them with you. When you bring me your pain I suffer with you. When you bring me your joy I celebrate with you. 

We must strive to be open and vulnerable to God.  We must put aside our reliance on self rather than God. And we must be willing to dream what at first seems impossible.

Today we reflect on the fourth lesson in Psalm 119.  It is a reminder that with God all things are possible. Tomorrow, He.

Jesus said to them: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.  (Matthew 17:20)


To learn more about the importance of the Hebrew letter Daleth, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://gnosticteachings.org/courses/alphabet-of-kabbalah/716-daleth.html and http://www.flickr.com/photos/the-meir/381626970/

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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Psalm 119: 9-16

Robin Anderson: Mary Holding Baby Jesus Looking Up Towards the Light

Robin Anderson: Mary Holding Baby Jesus Looking Up Towards the Light

Treasuring God’s Promise

Mary kept the Word of God in her body as the pre-natal Jesus grew in strength. She also kept the Word in her heart with reflection and prayer. We are told that she pondered the verbal and physical message she was brought. She knew that she was to bear light to the nations. She also knew that she need only allow God’s Word to transform her life in order for her to bear fruit. She knew that trust in God alone was enough . . . and in this way she treasured God’s promise.

As we explore God’s word, let us also treasure the promise we know it holds. Today, let us reflect on the first three letters of the Hebrew alphabet as the psalmist shares them with us. And let us consider what lessons and promises they unfold.

Aleph: The Paradox of God and Humans – God calls humans into creation.  How do we respond?

Beth: God’s Dwelling Place Below – Mary agrees to serve as the ark for God’s New Covenant.  How does she find the courage to say yes?

Gimel: Reward and Punishment – The duality we find in this letter reminds us that we are created with a free will.  We are free to choose a world of either/or, a choice that divides.  We are also free to choose a world of “and,” a choice that includes.  Which world do we choose?

Tomorrow, a prayer to fulfill God’s promise in us.


Adapted from a reflection written on the Feast of the Immaculate heart of Mary on June 16, 2007.

For more information on the painting above, click on the image or go to: http://robinandersonfineart.blogspot.com/2011/02/mary-holding-baby-jesus-looking-up.html 

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Friday, January 15, 2021

Psalm 119:17-24

images[4]Gimel

I am a sojourner in the land; do not hide your commands from me.

Traveling, wandering, seeking, searching, always on the move.

We look for signs and indicators. We ask for affirmation and assurance.

God says: You are always asking for clarity and this is fine but I also want you to trust me. I know that my prophet Jeremiah gives you words with which to rebuke me: “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped”. (Jeremiah 20:7) But I never trick you; rather, I call. I do not deceive you; I ask that you trust me. I do not steer you wrongly; although at times you fear that I do. I hide nothing from you and I love you more than you imagine. You want a map of all that is to come and all that is to take place but this information is not as useful as you might believe. Rather than ask me for details, dates, times and places . . . ask me to accompany you. This I do out of sheer love for you. There is nothing we cannot do together. Of this you may be assured. In this you may be affirmed. This you may trust. Rely on me always.

We too often allow our fear of life’s enormity to overshadow our reliance on God’s love. We take ourselves too seriously and believe ourselves omnipotent and all-knowing. As we journey through life we need none of the artificial safety nets we scramble to assemble. All we need is an ear well-tuned to God.

Today we reflect on the third lesson in Psalm 119. It is God’s simple invitation to cease our search for life’s roadmap and to instead trust God’s providence and care. Tomorrow, Daleth.

How long, Lord?  Will you utterly forget me? (Psalm 13:1)

And God replies: I am here beside you where I have always been. 


To learn more about the importance of the third Hebrew letter Gimel, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://houseofjoseph.net/alef-bet_download_page.htm and http://www.hebrewtoday.com/content/hebrew-alphabet-letter-gimel-%D7%92

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Psalm 119:9-16

02bet[1]Beth

I will meditate on your precepts and regard your ways.

Seeking God. Treasuring God’s word. Rejoicing in God’s testimonies. Meditating on God’s precepts. Delighting in God’s statutes.

We are made to search, to listen, to think, to act, to celebrate.

God says: When you concentrate on my “laws” you founder and this is because you bring your focus and energy to a black and white world that is not mine. When you listen to me you bloom. When you drink in my Word you bear fruit. When you rejoice in me you find your eternal self.   

We too often live life as a predictable checklist rather than a loving adventure with God.

Today we reflect on the second lesson in Psalm 119.  It is God’s simple request that we rely on God alone.  Tomorrow, Gimel.

I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds . . . (Psalm 77:12)


To learn more about the Hebrew letter Beth, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Unit_One/Aleph-Bet/Bet/bet.html

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Over the next few weeks we will look closely at Psalm 119, the longest chapter in Scripture. In this time of pandemic, transition, and social and political unrest, we turn to this acrostic poem that brings us God’s beautiful message of love in groups of eight verses named for the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. 

Psalm 119:1-8

aleph[1]Aleph

Walk in the law . . .

Laws, precepts, testimonies, statutes, precepts, commandments, decrees, ordinances, the Way. So many words to express a concept so simple.

We are made in God’s image and so we are called to nourish God’s Law of Love within ourselves and in others. We are made as creatures of mercy and so we are called to nurture God’s Testimony of Mercy wherever and whenever we find it. We are made to love boldly and well and so let us move among both our friends and our enemies to serve as catalysts of God’s Way of Love for the world.

God says: Do not be overwhelmed when I call you to love as I do. I have placed seeds of love in each of you and I nourish them daily so that they might bloom in you. You are too often downcast at the obstacles you find before you, but I tell you that when you lift your eyes above these barriers you find me. When you love for my sake you bring a new eternal life into the world for me. When you endure as I do . . . you last forever as I do. 

We too often see our limitations rather than our promise.

Today we reflect on the first lesson in Psalm 119.  It is God’s simple request that we walk in the way the Lord shows to us.  Tomorrow, Beth.

Give thanks to the Lord who is good, God’s love endures forever . . . (Psalm 118:1)


To learn more about the Hebrew letter Aleph, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://biblehub.com/topical/a/aleph.htm and http://alephjournal.wordpress.com/about/

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

eyes[1]Song of Songs 3:6-7, 11

Come Forth

What is this coming up from the desert, like a column of smoke laden with myrrh, with frankincense, and with the perfume of every exotic dust? Daughters of Jerusalem, come forth . . .

We have waited for so long. We crane our necks and stand on tiptoe. We exhaust ourselves with preparation and waiting. And like a pillar of smoke bearing the scent of incense that delights and comforts us, our God comes into our view. With this first sighting, we quite suddenly realize that God has always been with us; we quite suddenly understand what it means to be Christmas people.

Daughters of Jerusalem, come forth . . . and see that the desert blooms in God’s presence.

Daughters of Jerusalem, come forth . . . and see that your God rises like a pillar of frankincense and myrrh.

Daughters of Jerusalem, come forth . . . and see that your God is among you.

Daughters of Jerusalem, come forth . . . the king is here . . .


To learn more about the frankincense and myrrh resins and how they were used in Biblical times, go to: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/botany/question283.htm

Image from: http://www.song-of-songs.net/illustrated/92.eyes/eyes.html 

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Epiphany: Feast of the Three Kings

Jan de Bray: The Adoration of the Magi

Jan de Bray: The Adoration of the Magi

Matthew 2:1-12

Radiant

Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Gold for the king of kings. Frankincense for the priest of priests. Myrrh for the death that is life, for the child who brings life eternal. This is our proof of God’s love. Knowing this truth, we live confidently now and forever. Living this truth, we become radiant in Christ.

This is the gift of being Christmas people.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.  Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.  (Isaiah 60:5-6)


the-magi[1]Click on Midian, Ephah and Sheba to learn more about these places. 

Images from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jan_de_Bray_-_Adoration_of_the_Magi_-_WGA3114.jpg and http://bishoysblog.com/2011/01/08/the-magi/

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Monday, January 4, 2021

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

1 John 3:11

Pierre Louis Cretey: The Nativity

Pierre Louis Cretey: The Nativity

Loving One Another

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another . . .

The ancient Shema tells us how we are to live as children of God. The Apostle John reminds us that we already have the answers we seek. The Gospels describe how God has come to live among us, entering the world as a vulnerable child. The message is always the same . . . we are to love one another, even those whom we do not wish to love.

On this eleventh day of Christmas, enter the words Love One Another into the blog search bar and consider what this message means for us as Christmas people.


For more information on the Shema enter the word into the blog search bar or go to: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/shema.html

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jean-Baptiste_Marie_Pierre_-Nativity-_WGA17676.jpg

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