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2 Corinthians 10: Strength through Weakness

Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 12, 2019

We frequently hear about  Paul’s boasting in the Lord. Today, if we look more closely, we will see that there is a finer, deeper meaning with these words.  Our physical bodies act according to the flesh.  These bodies house our spirits which are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses

When we read this chapter we understand that we are sent to be God’s Word.  We are sent to be God’s Healing.  We are sent to be God’s Presence.  We are sent to be God to one another.  We are sent to teach, to proclaim, to witness . . . and when necessary, as St. Francis says, we use words.

Our lives, our actions speak more loudly than words.

Our words are formed by our thoughts.

Our thoughts are formed by our souls.

Our souls are formed by God.

When we become confused, all we need do is return to The Word.

Do not be afraid.  (Mt 10:31)

You are precious in my eyes.  (Is 43:4)

Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly. (1 Pt 4:13) 

I, the Lord, am with you always, until the end of the world.  (Mt 28:20)

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him, do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Ps 37:7)  Be still and know that I am God. (Ps 46:10)

Return to your scabbard; cease and be still.  (Jer 47:6)

Quiet!  Be still!  Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?  (Ma 4:39; 40)

Sometimes the noise of the world drowns out The Word.  Paul urges us with the gentleness and clemency of Christ, to be humble, to be patient, to care for one another, take every thought captive in obedience to Christ . . . be confident in belonging to Christ . . . For it is not the one who recommends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord recommends.

With Christ as our shield and our armor, we need do nothing more than live our lives as the Lord recommends.


A re-post from April 27, 2012.

Image from: http://www.art.com/products/p12350813-sa-i1731395/medieval-sword-and-shield-montage.htm

Written on May 6, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

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Luke 8:22-24Calm

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Ludolf Backhuysen: Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee

Moments before opening scripture I came from the classroom of a teacher who is new to us this year and we spoke about creating calm in the midst of rush.  Today’s Noontime brings us the same message: when we have difficulty finding peace in the hectic pace of our lives, we can always turn to Christ . . . for Christ knows best how to still the storm.  Christ reminds us to . . . Be still! 

Steven Curtis Chapman performs Be Still and Know, a song based on Psalm 46.  The lyrics are well worth reading, and the song worth hearing. They remind us that we cannot survive the wind-tossed waves alone; they tell us that we must seek refuge from powerful winds and mighty seas in Christ only.

In Exodus 14:14 Moses tells his disquieted people, The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.

As Nehemiah and Ezra rebuild the temple and city of Jerusalem and call the people back to God, the Levite priests say to the people: Be still, for this is a sacred day.  Do not grieve. (Nehemiah 8:11)

The Psalms remind us: Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways,when they carry out their wicked schemes(Psalm 37:7)

Be still, and know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.  (Psalm 46:10)

The prophet Zechariah tells us: Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.  (Zechariah 2:13)

And in Mark’s version of today’s story Jesus rebukes the wind with the words: Quiet!  Be still!  (Mark 4:39)  The wind dies down and all is completely calm . . .

Christ’s followers are amazed when Jesus commands even the waters and winds . . . and so may we be once we fully hand our lives over to the one who has created us.

Christ’s detractors complain that Jesus breaks all the observed laws . . . and so may we if we allow the laws to become our gods.

Christ’s enemies stalk him with envy and greed . . . and so may we if we allow the details of life to overcome us.

Christ’s true disciples read this story and believe . . . and so may we believe once we live each moment in Christ rather than fret the minutes of each day away in ourselves.

And so we pray . . .

On this day when we consider all that is turbulent in our lives, let us allow Christ to silence the tumult of our lives and let us be still.  In this rush of activity, let us invite Christ into our lives and let us give over to him all that troubles us.  In this season of waiting in joyful hope, let us make room for Christ – even if we can only manage a small pocket of quiet.  In this time of anticipation, let us surrender to him all our dreams and desires.  Let us give willingly to him all that we are, and all that we have.  Let us go to Christ openly, honestly and lovingly.  And let us hunker down in the ship of life and trust that God will calm both the wind and the sea.  Amen. 


Link to Chpaman’s Be Still: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHlbnNUHQGI 

Adapted from a reflection posted on December 1, 2011. 

Image from: http://freechristimages.org/biblestories/jesus_calms_the_storm.htm

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Nostalgia


Monday, February 4, 2013 – Psalm 120 – Nostalgia

Gotovac" Looking Back

Gotovac: Looking Back

“Human beings are born to be pilgrims in search of the Absolute, on a journey to God. We advance by way of stages, from the difficulties of life to the certainties of hope, from the dispersion of cares to the joyous encounter with God, from daily diversions to inner recollection.” (Psalter: New Catholic Version, St Joseph Edition)

This is a Psalm of Ascent, one of the psalms the pilgrims sang on pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  These hymns made up a kind of handbook as they progressed; they were also sung by the Levite priests in the Temple as they ascended the steps from the Court of the Women to the Court of the Israelites.

The theme of nostalgia to return to God is what this prayer brings us. A theme of desire to return to sanctuary.  A theme of longing for love and acceptance.  As we journey in exile in a hostile place we often flail against life rather than heeding the advice we hear so often in scripture . . . Be still. 

As the faithful journey from slavery to freedom they are asked to trust in God more than their own resources.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.  (Exodus 14:14)  Let us put our trust in God’s plans more than our own.

When the faithful return to a ruined city and temple they are asked to give thanks for their safe passage through hostile lands.  The Levites calmed all the people saying, “Be still, for this is a sacred day; do not grieve.  (Nehemiah 8:11)  Let us place our hope in God’s power more than our own.

The psalmist reminds us that humility and patience bring about transformation.  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before him.  (Psalm 37:7)  Let us live in God’s way rather than our own.

God himself tells us that true providence lies only in God.  Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)  Let us remind one another that only God can restore and renew.

The prophets warn us against using God as a means to an end.  “Ah, sword of the Lord,” you cry, “how long until you rest?  Return to the scabbard; cease and be still”.  (Jeremiah 47:6)  Let us put aside all violence in our individual and communal lives.

The prophets remind us that God is ever-present, even when we feel that all is lost.  Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.  (Zechariah 2:13)  Let us strive to see the world as sees it rather than with our human eyes.

This week as we journey with the Psalms, may you know the blessing of God’s true presence.  May you find the peace to put aside all cares.  And may you find the strength to be still . . . for in this way we will bring to new life what we yearned for with nostalgia.  

THE PSALMS, NEW CATHOLIC VERSION. Saint Joseph Edition. New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 2004. Print.

First written on September 25, 2006.  Re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

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Friday, October 5, 2012 – Job 3 – Job’s Plaint

If you have time over the week-end, spend some of it with this most important book of wisdom and a commentary.  These are words we may all write from time to time in our pilgrim journey home.

Job, innocent of wrong-doing, has all taken from him – family – friends – wealth – health.  There is nothing left and he is in turmoil because his friends advise him that all he need do to regain his former security and status is to repent of his wrong-doing.  They chide him, assuring him that once he confesses his suffering will cease.  In the OT, suffering is often sent as a form of punishment for straying from God, so even though Job might look for sins to confess in order to gain peace, he is helpless in his situation because . . .  Job has done nothing wrong.  He suffers because Satan plays a game with God.  There is no reparation he can make.  There is no problem to solve.  No forgiveness to ask or receive.  However, there is one thing which Job has – and perhaps his wife and friends do not – he has an enduring and persevering faith in his Maker.  And so this is where he turns.  And as he turns to this wondrous, awesome God, Job speaks from a broken heart.

Once when I was working through something deeply personal, I was lovingly haunted by a song by a Christian artist named Steven Curtis Chapman.  The words are below, as is a link for the music.  May they bring you peace when you find yourself writing your own plaint to God.  And may you rest in the certain knowledge that we are never alone, we are never abandoned.  We are constantly held, constantly loved.

Be Still and Know

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy
Be still, O restless soul of mine
Bow before the Prince of peace
Let the noise and clamor cease
Be still

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that he has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change
Be still

Be Still, and know that He is God
Be Still, and know that He is God
Be Still, and know that He is God

Be Still; Be speechless

Be still and know that he is God
Be still and know he is our Father
Come rest your head upon his breast
Listen to the rhythm of his unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come
Be still, Be still . . .

You may also want to read Psalms 37 and 46 and . . . Be still . . .

Hoping you enjoy a long and peaceful week-end.

For the music that accompanies these words, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHlbnNUHQGI&noredirect=1

First written on October 10, 2008. Edited and posted today as a Favorite. 

For more on Being Still, visit the July 4, 2o12 post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/07/04/be-still/

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jeremiah 42:3: Let the Lord God show us what way we should take and what we should do.

Several options lie before us; we cannot decide what to do.

Our opponents attack us: we cannot decide what to say.

We become blinded by our quickly paced life; we are deafened by too many voices that clamor for our attention.

God says: Let me show you which way to go; let me give you the words you are to speak.  Even if you are afraid to go where I call or to give voice to my love . . . you need not fear.  I will never abandon you.  All you need do is listen.  All you need do is be still.  And a voice from behind shall sound in your ears telling you when to turn to the right or to the left as my prophet Isaiah has said (30:21).

When we are too confused and too paralyzed to react let us be still . . . to listen.  Let us put our trust in God . . . to speak.  Let us believe that God lives in us . . . and act.  For in this way the paralysis we see as curse . . . becomes a transforming gift.

To Change The Way You See Fear, click on the image above or go to: http://www.jasonkonopinski.com/2012/06/14/change-the-way-you-see-fear/

Enter the words Be Still or Isaiah 30:21 in the blog search box and reflect on how God speaks to us today.

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Be still . . .


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Psalm 46:11Be still, then, and know that I am God.

God is everything.  God is all.  God is one.  God is whole.

God says: In the clamor of your days it is difficult for you to hear my voice; yet still I speak.  In the blur of daily activity it is difficult for you to feel my presence, yet still I am.  In the haze of uncertain relationships and unsteady events it is difficult for you to know my love, yet still I wait for you. I will never leave you.  I will never betray you.  I will never change.  If you seek something immovable, constant and true, seek me.  I wait for you still.

To listen to the Steven Curtis Chapman song Be Still and Know click on the verse cited above or go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHlbnNUHQGI

Wishing you a peaceful evening on this day which may have been filled with much activity.

For more on this verse go to: http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1245-be-still-and-know-that-i-am-god

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