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Posts Tagged ‘Beatitudes’


Matthew 5:17-20

Teaching about the Law – A Repriselaw-of-love

Easter Saturday, April 23, 2022

We humans rarely understand how the new law of the Beatitudes brings the Mosaic Ten Commandments to fulfillment. We who hope to testify to the Easter miracle struggle to comprehend the depth of God’s love for creation. We who want to enact the Gospel in our daily actions look for a present-day structure to lend us strength.


To better understand the Law of Love as Jesus sees it, read different versions of these verses using the scripture link above, enter the words Teaching on the Law in the blog search bar. Click on the image above to reflect on the importance of forgiveness in our lives. And consider how we might bring the Law of Love to our daily prayers, thoughts and actions.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ teaching about anger.

Image from: http://www.riseearth.com/2011/07/forgiveness-and-law-of-love.html

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Matthew 5:13-16: Salt and Lightbigstock-sea-salt-34380128

Easter Friday, April 22, 2022

As we celebrate Holy Week and Easter, we have spent a number of days with the Beatitudes, exploring the inverted ways of the kingdom where the poor are central, the mourning find comfort, the meek receive abundant gifts, the merciful are treated with mercy, the clean of heart see God and the persecuted inherit God’s kingdom. This way of living is not celebrated and is even alien to the first century and modern societies in which power, influence and comfort are the most coveted goals. As much as Jesus enacts Gospel thinking, we humans seem determined to strive for the opposite; and perhaps this is why Jesus describes his followers as salt and light.

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot.

Salt without taste is like life with a misdirected purpose.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand where it gives light to all in the house.

Light of its own nature moves outward in warmth and does not retract in coldness.

You are the salt and the light of the world . . .

Let your salt bring out the goodness in life. Let your light shine before others and glorify God.

Matthew records the words of Jesus’ lessons in his Sermon on the Mount. During this Eastertide, let us savor these words like fresh salt. Let us hear these verses in new light. And let us determine to put away our tastelessness and darkness to live the Gospel as salt and light to the world.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ teaching about the Law.


For an interesting read on salt, check out Mark Kurlansky’s novel about salt at: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/salt-mark-kurlansky/1102487050?ean=9780142001615 

Image from: http://www.saltsistersonline.com/resources/info-guide

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Matthew 5:12 and Luke 6:23: Heavendressmakerkhair-hc-c_custom-04a264c841961e0a604539154daf878633162c96-s200-c85

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

God says: You have heard it said that your reward is great in heaven, and today I have more good news for you . . . Heaven is now. First, you must open your heart and mind to me alone. Then consider these questions. Can you see each sorrowful experience as an invitation to allow my faith to abide in you? Can you allow each betrayal to become an opportunity for alliance with my son? Can you open your heart and mind to my healing, serene Spirit? If so, your reward is now. Heaven is now. Ultimately, my plan encompasses all sorrow and converts it to joy. All suffering becomes celebration when you live in my love. Do not be afraid; I am with you. Do not shrink; I am your guide. Take heart; I am your strength. Take heart; I am your fire of love.

Today we remember and re-live the last meal Jesus shared with his followers. In his discourse after this meal, he reminded the apostles that although they might not understand his need to be away from them a little while, they need not fear. As we celebrate this Last Supper moment in our own lives, let us heed these words. Let us allow the fire of God’s love to transform all that troubles us. And let us remind ourselves and others that Heaven is with us even now.

Tomorrow, Luke’s woes.


kamila sidiqi npr

Kamila Sidiqi in the foreground

Read about Kamila Sidiqi, the dressmaker of Kabul, or listen to the NPR podcast by clicking the images in this post. What heaven on earth has she encountered and share with others?

Sidiqi image from: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/15/134533995/in-kabul-a-dressmaker-sows-entrepreneurial-seeds

Book NPR image from: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/15/134533995/in-kabul-a-dressmaker-sows-entrepreneurial-seeds 

 

 

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Matthew 5:6 and Luke 6:21: Hunger and Thirstfood for the poor

Friday, April 1, 2022

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

ACCESS TO WATER AND SANITATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIESGod says: Food and water are essential to sustain human life. It is for this reason that I sent manna to the desert and poured forth water from a rock in the dry and difficult journey my children made to the Promised Land. It is for this reason that I open human minds to possibility through scientific discoveries. It is for this reason that I call those of you who have plenty to be good stewards of my gifts and to share them. When have you seen me naked and alone, hungry and thirsty? When you have seen the least of my children you have seen me. When you satisfy these need, you discover my righteousness. When you share what you have . . . you receive far more that you give.

protectcleanwater_concernedcitizenforslideshowAs we continue our Beatitudes thanksgiving, we might consider giving alms to an organization whose mission is to secure clean water for God’s miraculous creation. We might sponsor a child or her family in a third-world culture to assure she has enough to eat. We might also join our voices in solidarity with others to raise public awareness of food and water shortages on our planet. We might sign a petition, write to a legislative representative, or begin a blog. We might pray for both those who live on the margins of human society and those who marginalize the powerless. In any case, we will want to do as the Gospel encourages us to do, stand as one with those who hunger and thirst.

Tomorrow, rejoice and be glad!


11-March-2015-FAOClick on the images for local and global information and opportunities. For news about the United Nations Zero Hunger Challengeclick the image to the left or visit: http://www.un.org/en/zerohunger/#&panel1-1

Other images form: http://www.foodforthepoor.org/, http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/water/, and http://www.cleanwateraction.org/

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Matthew 5:4 and Luke 6:21: Mourningmourning angel

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

God says: When you sink into deepest grief, remember me – for I am with you. When you believe you will never smile again, remain in me – for I live in you. When the darkness is so dense that the light of hope struggles to pierce it, call on me – for I am that light that no darkness can hold back. The prophets foretold and my son retells you that your mourning will become dancing. The psalmist reminds you that those who go out weeping as they carry seed to sow will also return with triumphant sheaves of joy.

As part of our Beatitudes thanksgiving, let us consider how we might bring the gift of presence to someone who mourns the loss of a person, employment, or a lifestyle.

nilmdts_logo1Find out more about the NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep) organization, a group of photographers whose mission is to introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture. Visit: https://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/

Tomorrow, hunger and thirst.


Image from: http://galleryhip.com/mourning.html

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joyTuesday, November 2, 2021

Matthew 5

A Prayer for Joy

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 we pause to pray in gratitude for Joy.

We most often associate joy with positive feelings of happiness; yet God dwells most fully with the broken-hearted. Today, whether we are content or sad, we open our hearts to God’s mercy and goodness.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

We frequently ask for joy in the darkest of moments; and Christ walks with us most passionately when we are lost or abandoned. Today, whether we are alone or with loved ones, we open our hearts to Christ’s power and transformation.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We regularly forget joy when we are suffering or in pain; yet the Spirit dwells within us most completely when we experience sorrow and loss. Today, whether we feel God’s presence or not, we open our hearts to the Spirit’s consolation and peace.

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Joy is present in our lives even when the horizon is dark and our circumstances grime. Although we sometimes feel as though our woe outweighs our joy, we find that God surprises us in the most unusual of times, places and ways.

beatitudes and heartsLoving God, we thank you for your gift of surprise today.

Healing Christ, we thank you for the gift of your presence today.

Healing Spirit, we thank you for your gift of hope today. Amen.


To reflect further on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, visit Matthew 5. Or visit Luke 6 for Jesus’s Sermon on the Plain. Spend time with these verses today. Consider the blessings and woes we find each day and how we find God in all of these experiences.

If there is time, enter the word joy into a Bible online concordance and allow God to surprise you. Explore www.biblegateway.com or use your web browser to find a concordance that appeals to you . . . and prepare for the gifts of joy and surprise.

https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=joy&qs_version=NRSVCE

Image from: http://www.blulogan.org/tag/matthew-chapter-5

For more 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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Exodus 17In Our Midst

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fear of abandonment is a horror that grips many and as a result lovers jilt one another so as not to be left by the other, parents abuse their children so as to not be disappointed, colleagues betray one another in order to keep a job, supervisors coerce workers in order to maintain complete control, friends disappear from relationships rather than work through conflict.  We can imagine how the kingdom might bloom if we were to fully comprehend one single fact . . . we are never alone . . . God is with us always and so there is no need to allow the terror of rejection to govern us.

Christ brings us a message of inversion, as we have said in many NoontimesHe tells us that what is up in our physical world is actually down in his.  The poor and the humble inherit, those who mourn rejoice, the hungry and thirsty are sated, and those who suffer persecution because of this belief reign.  When any of my siblings or I complained of an injustice – perceived or real – my mother would remind us easily and with a smile: The first will be last . . . the master is the servant. 

So if we are to live as if we believe in this first is last kingdom-building, we perceive abandonment as its inverted companion . . . union.  Christ is with us to remind us that the jilted are his special loves, the lost children his particular darlings, and the oppressed his best and closest friends.  In today’s Noontime, God shows the Hebrew people how much they are loved.  God tells them that they are not alone.  God reminds them that they are unique and chosen loved ones . . . yet they do not understand.  Across the millennia we hear their cry, see their pain, and we ask as the Hebrews did: Why do we suffer?  Why do things like this happen?  How are we to go on?  We are still God’s stiff-necked people.

Water springing from a rock, manna and quail in the desert: God knows that there are hidden gifts in hard, dry places;  God knows that manna gathers itself like dew in the desert morning;  God knows that great flocks of quail migrate over the wilderness and come to ground to rest; yet we persist in disbelief.  We continue to ask as the Hebrews ask: Is the Lord in our midst or not?   

In verses 8 through 13 we watch Joshua defeat the army of Amalek as long as Moses keeps his hands raised.  This story fascinated me as a child and I spent days lurking behind my brothers and sisters willing them to do things I wanted when I raised my hands to heaven.  God in great wisdom did not answer those requests . . . but God has answered many more as God accompanies me on my journey.

After the defeat of the Amalekites, the Lord says to Moses: Write this down in a document as something to be remembered, and recite it in the ears of Joshua.  In Old Testament language, the Lord tells the people that God will always be among them to defend them; God will not allow them to be wiped out.  God tells them that they are not alone, and that God will bring goodness out of evil . . . always.

We are never alone.  We are constantly loved.  We are rescued, comforted, healed and held . . . always and without fail.  There are no circumstances and no people we need ever fear.  The parched desert and the brutality of the Amalekites in our lives need not send us into panic because God is in our midst.

And so we too, can write this down . . . We have nothing to fear because the Lord will war against our enemies . . . throughout the centuries. 


We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on July 26, 2011. 

Image from: http://gambolinman.blogspot.com/2007/10/southwest-usa-precious-water-abounds-in.html 

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Matthew 5:13: Becoming Salt for the World

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Too much salt makes our meals bitter, dries out all that it touches, and adds pain to an open wound.

Too little salt gives us bland food, allows stored meats to deteriorate, and allows infection to invade a damaged area.

Just the right amount of salt gives seasoning to our lives, preserves what we need to sustain us, and heals our hurts.

From the Torah and Narratives, through the Prophets and Wisdom, scripture asks us to consider the qualities of salt. Jesus gives us concepts to sort and decipher.

In Matthew 5:13, Jesus says: You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot.

In Mark 9:50, he tells us: Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.

In Luke 14:34-35 we hear: Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? “It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

The Dead Sea, between Israel and Jordan

Today, Christ calls us to measure the way we live. The Dead Sea was and is a living example of what happens when water enters a body and has no outlet; yet, despite its astonishingly high level of salt and other minerals, scientists find that it is full of microbial life. It seems that Mother Nature, and indeed all of creation, reminds us that we must look to maintain balance in a world full of polarities. We must discern the order that exists despite apparent chaos. We must work toward unity in a universe that brings us a message of dichotomy. We must be salt for a world that yearns for peace.

Today we pray the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), and as we do, we repeat Matthew 5:13 as an antiphon: You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?

Tomorrow, we are light.


For more Noontime reflections on salt for the world, enter the word salt into the search bar and explore. 

Read about what is going on in the Dead Sea at: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/fountains-of-life-found-at-the-bottom-of-the-dead-sea/

To discern what it means to be salt for the earth, visit: https://ccsouthbay.org/blog/salt-of-the-earth

Find 40 verses about salt in scripture at: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Salt

Images from: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ask-a-health-expert/table-sea-or-kosher-which-salt-is-healthiest/article10812924/ and https://www.deadsea.com/articles-tips/interesting-facts/why-is-the-dead-sea-called-the-dead-sea/

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Proverbs 14: Lady Wisdom and Sir Fool 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Melanie Rogers: Portrait of Lady Wisdom

We have visited this chapter of Proverbs before during Lent to see if we might use these axioms to help us examine our lives. Today we reprise this thinking.

The title of this chapter in THE MESSAGE translation is, “The Road that leads to Hell,” and it begins with these verses.

Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home;
    Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.

Just when we believe we have found sure footing, Sir Fool comes along to tempt us out of our commitment to living in Christ. The writers reference frivolous talk, derisive smiles, false witnessing, cynicism, and ridicule.

There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
    look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
    but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.

As a counterweight to destructive behavior, an opposing way of living presents itself. Positive advice open-mindedness, true witness, honesty, a strong ox for the plow, and holy living. And amid all these axioms we find this nugget.

The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends
    will be an outsider at their celebrations.

The advice to abide with those who suffer is a harbinger to the words and actions Jesus offers as he preaches and lives out the Beatitudes.

John Watson Nicol: The Court Jester

In verses 14-35, we again hear the recommendation to sift and weigh every word. We do well to remember that meanness, keeping the company of fools, putting prudence aside, making decisions with hot heads and cold hearts, ignoring the needy, subscribing to conspiracy, and exploiting the powerless are all actions that bring our own demise. And again, this negative way of living is balanced against the positive. A final reminder calls us to think about what we are doing, and to act with understanding, integrity, honesty, and holiness.

Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart—
    fools never even get to say hello.

Today we have the opportunity to reflect again on what we do and why we do it. Do we wish to greet and abide with Lady Wisdom or Sir Fool?

Find the Beatitudes at Matthew 5:1-12, and enter the word into the blog search bar for reflections on this Law of Love. 

When we compare other translations of these verses, we explore the difference between Lady Wisdom and Sir Fool. To visit another Noontimes post on this chapter, visit: https://thenoontimes.com/2015/03/13/proverbs-14-axioms-for-living/

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