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Auguste Forbin: View of Jerusalem from the Valley of Jehoshaphat

Auguste Forbin: View of Jerusalem from the Valley of Jehoshaphat

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Joy and Joel

Scourge

The prophets chronicle a people’s yearning for union with their creator and un uncanny understanding of their own vulnerabilities. Their words warn, threaten, exhort, and promise us that God is always present, even though we may not recognize this presence. The Old Testament prophecies foreshadow the good news of the New Testament, and they remind us that no matter our circumstance God’s joy rescues us from sure destruction, Christ’s joy redeems us from our recklessness, and the Spirit’s joy heals us despite the gravity of our wounds.  Today Joel shows us an image of ourselves that we want to forget as we await indictment for our actions. Joel also shows us am image we will want to remember; God invites all of us to stand among the elect.

In about the year 400 B.C.E. “a terrible invasion of locusts ravaged Judah. So frightful was the scourge that the prophet visualized it as a symbol of the coming day of the Lord . . . The concluding poem pictures the nations gathered in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, where the Lord is about to pass judgment. Israel’s enemies are summoned to hear the indictment; their evil deeds are at last requited. The tumultuous throng assembled in the valley of decision is made up of the enemies of God and they face inevitable destruction. The oracle changes abruptly from the terrifying image of judgment to a vision of Israel restored and forever secure from her enemies. God is both the vindicator of his people and the source of their blessing”. (Senior 1121)

joyNot only has sustenance been cut off from the people, but joy in living as well. If we have never found ourselves in our own valley of impending destruction, it is likely that we know and love someone who has. Joel’s prophecy brings us to the understanding that even in our fear of looming indictment, God always provides a road to repentance, transformation and restoration.

Joel 1:16: Has not food been cut off before our eyes, gladness and joy from the house of our God?

As we consider the valley of Jehoshaphat with its tumultuous crowd of those awaiting indictment for having caused the great scourge, let us also consider how God also offers us the opportunity to heal ourselves and the broken world we have fashioned from God’s creation. Let us remember that Jesus includes even the outsider Gentiles in the elect. And let us open our own minds and hearts to the understanding that the Spirit converts the great scourge to healing joy as she calls all to unity in and through Christ.
To consider the concept of rewilding the world, read the transcript of an interview with George Monbiot or listen to the podcast at one of these links:

http://www.ted.com/talks/george_monbiot_for_more_wonder_rewild_the_world?language=en

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2015-01-02/environmental_outlook_george_monbiot_feral_rebroadcast


Delve into Monbiot’s thinking and science as described in his book: Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea and Human Life, and consider the joy of God’s creation.

FeralVisit Monbiot’s site at: http://www.monbiot.com/

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1121. Print.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com

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

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daniel-3-furnace

The Fiery Furnace

Friday, January 7, 2022

Joy and Daniel – Ordeal

We have discovered the many ways that joy visits us in celebration but we also find her during days without light and nights without end. From the stories of Genesis to the extravagant images of Revelation we find that no matter the circumstance God’s joy rescues us from sure destruction, Christ’s joy redeems us from our recklessness, and the Spirit’s joy heals us despite the gravity of our wounds.  For the next several days we re-visit the prophets for a final experience of joy in darkness. And we remind ourselves that we have the power to bring God’s infinite, sustaining, persistent joy to others.

Daniel’s prophecy includes familiar stories: the writing on the wall, the lion’s den, the fiery furnace and in the Apocrypha, Susana’s rescue and Bel and the Dragon. The prophecy also contains the first reference to one like the son of man, coming from the heavens (Daniel 7:13) with whom Jesus later identifies himself (Matthew 8:20, Mark 2:10, Luke 5:24, and John 1:51), with whom others identify Jesus (Stephen in Acts 7:54-8:1, and as our brother by the writer of Hebrews 2:5-8). This Son of Man reappears in Revelation as the living one who was dead in 1:13 and again at the harvest of the earth in 14:14. These stories and images have much to communicate to us, especially when we undergo a great ordeal.

 “Strictly speaking, the book does not belong to the prophetic writings but rather to a distinctive type of literature known as ‘apocalyptic,’ of which it is an early specimen . . . This work was composed during bitter persecution carried on by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and was written to strengthen and comfort the Jewish people in their ordeal”. (Senior 1086)

Through the story of Daniel in the lion’s den, we learn that the faithful need not fight, they need only remain faithful in and with God.

Daniel 6:23: The king was beside himself with joy and ordered Daniel lifted from the den. And not a scratch was found on him because he believed in his God.

Through the words of Daniel’s prayer, we learn how to rise in hopeful joy in the darkest of hours.

Daniel 9:17: O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead! Let your face shine again with peace and joy upon your desolate sanctuary—for your own glory, Lord.

joyThrough Daniel’s actions, we learn how to remain faithful in a world that worships power, breeds oppression and disdains a life of joy in God. Let us consider the lessons of Daniel today.


Make time today to look through Daniel’s stories. Choose one that might apply to the circumstances playing out around you. Compare different versions of this story . . . and commit to living it out as might be possible in this new year.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1086. Print.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the Old or New Testaments, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right-hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.

Image from: https://fccya.wordpress.com/tag/fiery-furnace/

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Ignatius Loyola

Ignatius Loyola

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve

Joy and Exile

Baruch 5

“The office of prophet was due to a direct call from God. It was not the result of heredity, just as it was not a permanent gift but a transient one, subject entirely to the divine will”. (Senior 877) Today joy comes upon us from the depths of fear experienced by a people lost and roaming . . . as we rejoice in the coming of the Messiah.

Baruch, the well-known secretary of the prophet Jeremiah, records beautiful verses in both poetry and prose that present a prayer for displaced people. Viewed in this way, the words help those who are lost or misplaced, those who suffer during this time of year when so many others celebrate. When contemplated in the silence of personal exile, these ancient words might set lost feet down on ground once thought unstable; they might give a new horizon and a clear path to those living abandoned or in pain. On this day awaiting the arrival of God in our midst, we take time with these words and rhymes . . . as we listen for God’s message of hope, healing and joy.

Take off your robe of mourning and misery . . .

God says: Your days of loss and suffering have come to an end.

Bear on your head the mitre that displays the glory of the eternal name . . .

God says: Decide to stand in the joy I shower on you . . .

God will show all the earth your splendor . . .

God says: I know that you believe I have abandoned you . . .

You will be named for God forever . . .

God says: Yet I have never left your side, I have never left your heart . . .

Look to the east and the west and see your children gathered at the word of the Holy One . . .

God says: Do not despair that all of your energy and work have been lost for in this you are incorrect . . .

Led away on foot by their enemies they left you . . .

God says: You have been apart and separate for a time but you have not been alone . . .

God will bring them back to you . . .

God says: All of your lost hopes are not, in fact, lost. They live on in all those whom you have touched as you have traveled your road of exile and sadness. Do you not see how many ripples you have sent out upon the waters?

For God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age old depths and gorges be filled to level ground . . .

God says: Have I not just done the impossible . . . arrived as God yet as a human babe?

joyFor God is leading you in joy, by the light of holy glory, with mercy and justice for company.

God says: Remember that I have done all of this and more. I continue to hold you in my own heart and plans. You continue to be more important to me than you imagine. Each time you show mercy despite your painful circumstances you tell the world about my love for you. Each time you stand for justice despite your littleness you show the world the great love I have placed in you. Each time you live in me, my heart bursts with happiness in you. Remember all of this and know that I love you . . . and know that I always will.

Today we give thanks for God’s constant attendance on us . . . even in those times when we have felt alone. If the holiday season is a time of trial, spend time with Baruch today.


Listen to an interview with Fr. James Martin, S.J., conducted by Krista Tippett and posted at www.onbeing.org Allow all feeling of separation and abandonment to become joy in “Finding God in All Things”. Listen at: http://onbeing.org/program/james-martin-finding-god-in-all-things/7121/audio?embed=1

For more about the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, click on the image above, or visit: http://sacred-texts.com/chr/seil/

Also visit: https://thejesuitpost.org/2012/03/the-exercises-the-ignatian-adventure/?gclid=CjwKEAiA_NmkBRCe3ubC1aWAtEcSJACxkkbq2_vDdXCBma8StGvC_eeJP2AQRzAgPHbsU0oHgiQDExoCPrXw_wcB

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar. 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. RG 323. Print.

Image from: http://sacred-texts.com/chr/seil/

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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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joyFriday, November 12, 2021

1 Maccabees

Joy and Misery

The Books of Maccabees are fraught with violence, rebellion, abhorrence and fear. We may be surprised to find that joy threads its way through these stories. As we examine the tales of the Maccabees family, let us consider how our own families are caught up in global and local affairs . . . and how miserable circumstances may well be hiding glimmers of joy . . . if we might only look. If today’s story calls you to search for more surprises, 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. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we find joy in times of misery.

The opening verses of this story are simple and straightforward; yet they tell a complex story of warring tribes that fill a civil void to wreak havoc on the people.

Verses 1:1-9: This history begins when Alexander the Great, son of Philip of Macedonia, marched from Macedonia and attacked Darius, king of Persia and Media. Alexander enlarged the Greek Empire by defeating Darius and seizing his throne. He fought many battles, captured fortified cities, and put the kings of the region to death. As he advanced to the ends of the earth, he plundered many nations; and when he had conquered the world, he became proud and arrogant by building up a strong army, he dominated whole nations and their rulers, and forced everyone to pay him taxes. When Alexander had been emperor for twelve years, he fell ill and realized that he was about to die. He called together his generals, noblemen who had been brought up with him since his early childhood, and he divided his empire, giving a part to each of them. After his death, the generals took control, and each had himself crowned king of his own territory. The descendants of these kings ruled for many generations and brought a great deal of misery on the world.

This is a story that is as old as time; yet it is also fresh as it announces events we witness daily.

Reubens: The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus

Peter Paul Reubens: The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus

Verses 1:34-40: They brought in a group of traitorous Jews and installed them there. They also brought in arms and supplies and stored in the fort all the loot that they had taken in Jerusalem. This fort became a great threat to the city. The fort was a threat to the Temple, a constant, evil menace for Israel. Innocent people were murdered around the altar; the Holy Place was defiled by murderers. The people of Jerusalem fled in fear, and the city became a colony of foreigners. Jerusalem was foreign to its own people, who had been forced to abandon the city. Her Temple was as empty as a wilderness; her festivals were turned into days of mourning, her Sabbath joy into shame. Her honor became an object of ridicule. Her shame was as great as her former glory, and her pride was turned into deepest mourning.

This is a story that is as old as humanity; yet it is one that offers an opportunity to find joy even in the midst of violence and abuse.  This is a story that repeats itself too often; yet it is a tale that begs for change in stony hearts.

Let us pause to consider how we might break the cycle of violence and misery that seizes the world all too easily. And let us call one another to a new dedication of ourselves to God.


For more Noontime reflections about this tumultuous time, enter the word Maccabees into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: http://www.english.rfi.fr/france/20111110-belgium-demands-return-rubens-seized-during-french-revolution

Read more of this story and look for the times that joy finds a way to break through the chains of misery that enslave the people. Look especially at 3:7, 3:45, 4:56-59, 9:41, 13:52 and 14:11-21.

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

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joyWednesday, November 10, 2021

Esther 8

Joy and Intrigue

Much like the Book of Judith, the story of Esther is another that is full of danger and violence but this time counterpointed by trust in God . . . and great rejoicing. Today and tomorrow we discover that despite palace intrigue, envy and anger, joy is present. If today’s story calls you to search for more surprises, 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. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we find joy in times of deceitful intrigue.

The opening chapters of Esther’s story describe how this young woman, despite her Jewish identity and fidelity to Yahweh, finds herself at the center of a major, political power struggle. Esther’s uncle Mordecai counsels her; and the courtier Haman – full of hatred, envy and pride – plots to kill all Jews in the kingdom. Resenting the power and influence Mordecai and Esther hold with the king, Haman hatches a devilish plot; and Esther finds that the only way for her to survive is to rely on God’s providence and care. In the end, the tables turn on Haman and he suffers the very punishment he had hoped to exact on the Jewish people, death on the gallows built at his own command.

Arent de Gelder: Esther and Mordecai Writing the Second Letter of Purim

Arent de Gelder: Esther and Mordecai Writing the Second Letter of Purim

Verses 8:15-17:  Mordecai left the palace, wearing royal robes of blue and white, a cloak of fine purple linen, and a magnificent gold crown. Then the streets of Susa rang with cheers and joyful shouts. For the Jews there was joy and relief, happiness and a sense of victory. In every city and province, wherever the king’s proclamation was read, the Jews held a joyful holiday with feasting and happiness. In fact, many other people became Jews, because they were afraid of them now.

The story of Esther is one we will want to remember when we find ourselves looking for power and revenge. The story of Esther is one we will want to remember when we find ourselves plotting to preserve power or damage another another’s reputation. The story of Esther is one we will want to recall when we find ourselves thrilling to schemes of undoing . . . rather than planning to work in the kingdom of God.


For more about the painting by Arent de Gelder, click on the image above or go to: http://www.artbible.info/art/large/174.html

For more Noontime reflections about this woman’s story, enter the word Esther into the blog search bar and explore.

Read this story from the beginning at, Esther 1-8. 

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

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joySunday, November 7, 2021

Judith 9-10

Joy and Peril

The story of Judith is full of danger and violence counterpointed by fidelity and great rejoicing. Today and tomorrow we discover that despite grave danger, joy is present. If today’s story calls you to search for more surprises, 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. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we find joy in great peril.

The opening chapters of Judith’s story set a scene of violence, intrigue and power. War begins. An ultimate is delivered. An enemy is defeated and a council takes place to assess plans and possibilities. Nineveh and Ecbatana are now at the center of this drama, but Nebuchadnezzar rages against more than Persia. He lays out a secret plan to take revenge on the entire world, and once these plans are complete he sends for his general Holofernes. These events bring forth images from our daily newscasts that we might recognize in our modern world. Who would suspect that the town of Bethulia and the little-known widow, Judith, would turn the Assyrian power structure on its head? How might each of us, in our own infinitesimal way, have an effect upon the wider world? How might each of us find joy amid the peril that surrounds us?

Artemisia Gentileschi: Judith and her Maidservant

Artemisia Gentileschi: Judith and her Maidservant

Verse 10:3: She took off the sackcloth and her widow’s clothes . . . Judith turns away from her inner grief and turns outward to the world. So might we.

She took a bath, and put on rich perfumes . . . Judith enters into an intentional plan brought forward through prayer. So might we.

She brushed her hair, tied a ribbon around it . . . Judith prepares herself as herself and not as another entity with grandiose ideas. So might we.

She dressed herself in the fine clothes she used to wear on joyful occasions when her husband Manasseh was still alive . .  . Judith moves forward in the only way she knows how. In fidelity. In trust. In faith. In hope. So might we.

In Chapter 9 we find The Prayer of Judith, beautiful, honest verses of petition from one who is so small against gargantuan obstacles. If we spend some time with these words today, we might better understand how Judith calls forth the joy she had once known to find joy in great peril.

For more Noontime reflections about this woman’s story, enter the word Judith into the blog search bar and explore.


For information about the woman who painted this rendition of Judith and her servant, click on the image above or visit: http://zadokromanus.blogspot.com/2005/06/artemisia-gentileschi.html 

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

 

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joyFriday, November 5, 2021

Tobit 8

Joy and Tears

We move further into the Old Testament looking for stories of joy that might surprise us. If today’s story calls you to search further, 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. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. For the next few says, our story is taken from the Book of Tobit.

The story continues and we wonder what will become of the young couple – Tobias and Sarah – who live in fear. How will their parents, Tobit, Anna, Raguel and Edna, resolve the problems that plague their families? And how does the disguised Rafael bring about God’s renewal and transformation to convert tears of sorrow into tears of joy?

Steen: Wedding of Tobias and Sarah

Jan Steen: Wedding of Tobias and Sarah

Spend time with Chapters 6-10 of Tobit today and discover the surprise of God’s healing presence. As we watch Tobit and Anna, Raguel and Edna, Tobias and Sarah, let us look for connections with our own worries and problems. Observe Azarias, the Archangel Raphael in disguise, as he quietly, patiently calms and heals these worried people. Let us mark the times in our own journey when the healing of relationships has taken place when we least expect it. Let us watch for the surprising ways in which joy is always with us, even in the presence of demons. And finally, spend time with the prayers of Tobias, Sarah and Raguel in Chapter 8. With a bit of pondering, we might write our own petition for protection and  song of thanksgiving.  And as we journey with these characters who might be our neighbors or family members, we arrive at a better understanding of how tears of sorrow might become tears of joy.

For Noontimes based on this story, enter the word Tobit in the blog search bar and explore.


Image from: https://www.wikiart.org/en/jan-steen/wedding-of-tobias-and-sarah-1668

For more information about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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joySunday, October 31, 2021

Ezra 3

Joy and Worship

We move further into scripture looking for stories of joy that continue to surprise us. To explore other stories, 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. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today our story is taken from the Book of Ezra.

After the Babylonian captivity and exile, after the scattering of the twelve tribes to the corners of the known earth, after the loss of hope that those who go out weeping will return rejoicing . . . the faithful receive word that they are to return to Jerusalem.  Two leaders, Ezra and Nehemiah, the priest and the administrator, lead the faithful in a journey of reunion and transformation. As with all people who remain open to the power of the Spirit and the healing of God’s presence, these returning exiles gather to worship Yahweh once again. And they know great joy in abundance.

Ezra 3:12: Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.

scroll_610x300

James Tissot: Jesus Teaches in the Synagogue (Detail)

Can we imagine the sound of joy that might rise to the skies if we were to thank God for all that we have and all that we are? Can we fathom the power we already hold in our minds and hands if we give all our great and petty worries over to Christ? Can we picture the compassion and healing that we might experience and then share with the world if we open our hearts to the Spirit that already dwells within?

God says: You are rightly focused on the daily task of survival but imagine if you were to trust me more and your own resources less? Do you see how much you have already gained? Can you imagine how much you are yet to receive? My servant Paul reminds my followers in Corinth that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”. (1 Corinthians 2:9) And this is so. Today you read about how the faithful returned to me and celebrated with liturgy. Do you know how much it means to me when you join my Son, our Spirit and me in beautiful liturgies of Word and Eucharist? Do you know that I have wonderful plans for you? Plans for joy and not for woe? When you doubt, open scripture to see how many times I have already rescued my people. Open your lives and remember how often I have already saved you. Will I not love you even more as our relationship deepens? Will I not bring you even more joy? Have I not already told you that all of this is so?

scroll-mAs we consider today’s Noontime, let us also consider how we might approach liturgies with a new energy. If we do not belong to a worship community, let us explore the possibility of finding or creating one. And if we long to find union that lasts, let us commit to entering fully into our worship community with a new expectation of finding great joy.


To learn more about Ezra and Nehemiah, spend time with the stories in these two books. Enter their names in the blog search bar and explore. Click on the images for other reflections. Or use the scripture link to compare different Bible versions of these verses. 

For a better understanding of these Books, go to: http://biblehub.com/dictionary/e/ezra-nehemiah.htm 

For more about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

Tissot image from: https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/4471

Scroll image from: http://dadozier.wordpress.com/category/ezra/ 

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