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Posts Tagged ‘betrayal’


Monday, July 19, 2021

Jeremiah fire_bonesJeremiah 11

Of No Avail

What right has my beloved in my house, while she prepares her plots? A spreading olive tree, goodly to behold, the Lord has named you; now he sets fire to it, its branches burn.

Over the next few weeks we will explore the prophecy of Jeremiah, one in which we find “hopes and visions, doubts and hesitations, anger and resentment, arguments and pleading, persecution and rejection, perseverance and bonding”. (Senior 305) Today we look at the simple plea which each of us has uttered in our lives: Why do our sacrifices seem to be of no avail?

God says: I know that you are sometimes discouraged when you “do everything correctly” and still you feel unrewarded. You see many prosper who do not praise me and who, indeed, never even think of me. I see how this causes you pain. I also see that betrayal weighs so heavily on you that there are days when you cannot shift its heaviness. I understand that all of this may bring you sorrow but be patient with me. All is well even though you cannot see that it is. Bring your plaints to me and I will give you rest. Listen to my prophet Jeremiah and hear how he rails against me, and yet I love him still. As I also love you. I see the many sacrifices that you make for me and I assure you that although you believe them to be of no avail, each salvific action you make is in reality a precious moment to me. Your sacrifice is seen, heard, well-noted . . . and serves a greater purpose than you can imagine.

Enter the word sacrifice into the blog search bar and consider who, and how, and what, and why we sacrifice . . . and what we expect form God in return.


For more on this prophet and his prophecy, go to the Jeremiah – Person and Message page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-old-testament/the-prophets/jeremiah-person-and-message/

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 304-305. Print.

Image from: http://iamthewordthecomforter.blogspot.com/2010/02/jeremiah-prophet-of-bible-warning-of.html

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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

god heals2 Chronicles 11

A Prayer for Returning Home – A Reprise

This week we have looked closely at the process and power in asking for and giving forgiveness, in seeking and receiving healing, in pursuing and relying on God. We cry out against injustice and ask God’s intervention. We lament terror, horror, falsehood and betrayal; and we ask God to bring goodness out of all harm. Today we consider the power of returning home. And so we consider how we might move from loss to gain, from hate to love, from death to life.

The Healing

Anger, betrayal, loss death.

Silence, stillness, a numbing, penetrating chill.

Eyes slowly opening to see old light in a new way. The ringing din eases into two harmonious tones. We are not alone.

Joy, celebration, gift, life.


Image from: http://girlsofgodsheart.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-god-who-heals.html

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Monday, July 5, 2021

John 13:20-21

intimacy with God

Intimacy

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me”. When Jesus had said this, he became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray me”.

God says: Betrayal does not lurk within the bounds of intimacy with me as it too often does in human relationships. Intimacy with me is constant, honest, predictable, and safe. It is a refuge from the duplicity too frequently found in the world. Betrayal cuts deepest when it comes from those we love best. Of this I am well aware, and so this is why I tell you that my love for you is far greater than any pain the world brings you. My love for you is greater than any hate, betrayal, loss or death. My love for you knows no bounds, and when you are one in me you too, are boundless.

Enter the word intimacy into the blog search bar and consider the role it plays in our lives.


Image from: http://www.bennyhinn.org/intimacy-with-god/

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Friday, July 2, 2021

Jeremiah 20:10

Pierre Antoine de Machy: Place de la Révolution Exécution Capitale

Pierre Antoine de Machy: Place de la Révolution Exécution Capitale

Terror

I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! Let us denounce her!” All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. “Perhaps she will be trapped, then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on her”.

So much that we do – or fail to do – stems from fear. Fear that we will err, that we will be left alone, that we will be too foolish, too prickly, too slow, too something, too anything or too nothing.

God says: You do not need to afflict yourself with these terrors. Does not my prophet also say to you, “But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame’ to lasting, unforgettable confusion.” This utter and endless confusion comes upon your enemies through the very plots they lay out to entrap you. Always remember that you are not alone. Always remember that you are always guided and protected. Always remember that you are well loved. In that way, these terrors that grip you will fall away. These terrors that your enemies plot against you will vanish into nothing-ness.

Jesus tells us endlessly: Do not be afraid. Let us consider how fear operates in our lives and let us determine to remind one another that when we live in and through, and with God, there is nothing and no one we need fear.

Enter the word fear or terror into the blog search bar and reflect on who or what motivates us.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pierre-Antoine_Demachy_Une_ex%C3%A9cution_capitale,_place_de_R%C3%A9volution_ca_1793.jpg

To read more on how the Committee of Public Safety brought about a Reign of Terror in France, click on the image above or go to: http://sheg.stanford.edu/reign-of-terror

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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Guercino: The Woman Taken in Adultery

Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri ): The Woman Taken in Adultery

2 Samuel 11 and 12 and Psalm 51

Sin and Parable – Part III

You do not delight in sacrifice or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

The damage that happens when lust takes someone over is uncountable. So many people suffer. There are more than just we two . . . just we three . . . just we four, five, six . . . Yet so many people today laugh this kind of betrayal away.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.

The anger that is manifested by all parties in an adulterous relationship is often ignored. Society tends to sympathize with the “loyal” spouse left at home when the “wayward” spouse beds another. Yet psychologists tell us that both parties are culpable, that an intimate relationship outside of marriage is a statement about that marriage. There is no truth there.  There is no honesty there. There is no one there.

Enter the word adultery into the blog search bar and explore the effects this level of betrayal have on our body, mind and soul.


Image from: https://www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk/explore-the-collection/251-300/the-woman-taken-in-adultery/

Adapted from a reflection written on February 13, 2008.

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Tissot: The False Witness

James Tissot: False Witness before Caiaphas

Luke 22 – The Plot to Kill Jesus

Over and over again we read frightening lines like this one: The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.   The leaders see that they will lose influence and power because to Jesus offers compassion and healing to those who suffer.  The leaders also worry that Jesus’ actions might attract the attention of the overlord Romans, and they do not want to encourage another Jewish rebellion.  They search for a way to do away with this troublesome rabbi who asks piercing questions.  Jesus – who presents a way of finding timeless peace and healing restoration – is eliminated by those who offer far less.  The paradox is that this cornerstone that is rejected becomes a salvific force which redeems not only friends but enemies – if only these adversaries might put down their weapons and return to the goodness to which they are called.

Today we continue with our theme of dark schemes and wicked conspirators, and we look at how events around Jesus’ last hours unwind . . .

While Jesus and his followers prepare for Passover, the shadowy plot of murder unwinds; these two activities coil around one another in a twisting dance of darkness and light.  This serves to remind us that in this world goodness and evil often walk side by side unremarked . . . almost accepted.  We fool ourselves into believing that all around us must be perfect.  Who is the reaper who knows to sort the grain from the chaff?

A foreshadowing of Peter’s denial sends a frisson of consciousness through us . . . we too have denied Christ when we are under pressure.  Jesus reminds us that we need nothing for our journey save his protection and guidance.  We fool ourselves into believing that we make our own way and earn our own bread. Who is the source of our talents?

Jesus prays.  Judas betrays.  The faithful scatter.  The powerful take over.  The odd dance of inversion continues as those with arms believe themselves to be the strongest.  We fool ourselves into believing that we can exert pressure to win arguments by overwhelming knowledge when overwhelming goodness is the true strength.  Who allows himself to be made weak so that he might be strong in the creator?

Arrest, denial, rejection.  Jesus stands innocent before Pilate and Herod.  He is beaten and sentenced to death.  He carries his cross, he is crucified and dies . . . and he awaits the resurrection he has been promised by the Father.  We fool ourselves into believing that this story was lived once by a man two thousand years ago.  Who suffers each day with each of his billions of sisters and brother?

There is no plot Jesus does not comprehend.  There is no darkness he has not experienced.  There is no pain he has not suffered.  There is no mockery, no betrayal, no rebuffing, no murder he has not survived.  Jesus experiences all, and Jesus wants to save and restore all . . . if we only rely on him.

When the situation is bleakest, when the plot is thickest, when the hour is darkest . . . this is where Christ stands.  This is where he waits . . . for he knows that we will need him because we take nothing else with us on this journey – no purse, no bag, no sword.  We take only Christ, for he is all we need against any evil, against any plot . . . against even murder.


Adapted from a Noontime written on November 18, 2009. 

Image from: http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/tis-trial-caiaphas/

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Thursday, June 11, 2020

Haman, Ahasuerus and Esther

Edward Armitage: Haman, Ahasuerus and Esther

The Story of Esther

What do we teach ourselves and others with our lives?

The triangle of Esther, Ahasuerus and Haman is a delicate one.  The young Queen has hidden her ethnic origin and fears discovery and death.  The King has followed the advice of his trusted vizier Haman and now finds that he has been betrayed.  Haman has allowed jealousy to consume him to the point of his own destruction.  Where do we see these characters in our lives today . . . and who are we in the scenarios that play out around us?

In the workplace, a plot slowly brews until an awful truth comes forward to appall or disgust us.   Betrayal, slander, back-stabbing, false accusations fly and we find that we have sudden choices to make.  How do we determine where we stand?  Where are we in this scenario?  How do we react?  What do we do? What do we learn?  What message do we teach with our lives?

A family member or close friend has become depressive and negative and looks not for companions in grief but for compatriots in gossip.  What do we do in this circumstance?  Do we gently rebuke?  Do we comply with this gentle slide into evil? What do we say?  What do we learn?  What do we represent with our lives?

We have recently been invited to join a group we have wanted to be a part of for some time yet now we discover the price of admittance is our unquestioning, fanatic loyalty.  What role do we play in this picture?  Do we quietly escape and think only of ourselves?  Do we warn potential victims and look for an authentic, loving response?  How do we decide? What do we learn? What do we embody with our lives?

As we allow this story to trickle through our thinking to reflect back to us little mirror images of who we are and what we do, is there some new idea that comes to us?  Some thought we want to share with others?  If so, enter your comment below.


To read this story in an edition of the Bible other than the one you already know, click on the scripture link above or go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Esther+1-10&version=GNT;NRSV;CJB;MSG 

Image from: https://www.jewishboston.com/long-live-the-queen

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Easter Monday, April 13, 2020

John 18:12-27

The Difference

Fyodor Bronnikov: The Head of the Apostle Peter

Fyodor Bronnikov: The Head of the Apostle Peter

What makes Peter different from Judas? Why is Peter “The Rock” and Judas “The Betrayer?”  When we begin to reflect on this question we see how the Easter story holds so much importance for us.  Looking closely we find that Peter repents and allows himself to remain open to Christ. Judas slinks away, suffers remorse, returns the money he received to the chief priests and elders and then hangs himself. (Matthew 27:3-5) He does not seek God. He is so paralyzed by the sudden truth which he sees that he takes his own life. For whatever reason unknown to us, he is unable to allow his pain to bring him to God through purification. He cannot suffer.

Peter moves through his pain back to Christ. He believes Jesus who says that when we repent we are forgiven and restored. Always. Without fail. Judas does not. Judas suspects that Jesus is false. Why?  We have no way of knowing but modern psychology tells us it is likely because Judas himself is false. Judas cannot believe the words of Christ because he himself lies, so he expects that Jesus lies as well.

The restorative part of this story is found in the last chapter of this same book which we have examined all week.  We may want to return once more today to read this portion of John’s Gospel as one full story for when we do it becomes more than a story.  It begins to come into focus as our own story and as an expectation of all that is in store for each of us.

What have we come to understand in this week of Easter?  Not only does Jesus return to sustain the weary disciples as they struggle to more fully understand the real meaning of his Easter resurrection, he returns to sustain them in this life and in the eternal next.  Yet not only does Jesus restore us, he gives us each an assignment: “Feed my lambs; tend my sheep; feed my sheep.”  Jesus returns to renew the promise of liberation, the assurance of salvation, and the gift of eternal love.

We may balk, as Peter did, at the requirements of our covenant with God, but God will patiently await our turning with openness.

We may be anxious about how or if we will fulfill God’s hope in us but God is waiting to restore; God wants to fulfill our heart’s desire; God asks us to live in intimacy with him.

We may worry, we may doubt, and we may fail; yet God does not reject us for God is determined to love us into goodness.

We may rest in the Lord, believe in the Christ, and remain in the Spirit.

Betrayal or return; this choice is ours to make.  And this choice makes all the difference in the world.

Tomorrow, coming up with nothing . . . 


Adapted from a reflection posted on April 13, 2013. 

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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Psalm 55: An Intimate Companion

Fyodor Bronnikov: The Head of Judas

It was you, my other self, my comrade and friend, you whose company I enjoyed, at whose side I walked in procession in the house of God. 

Betrayal at the hands of an intimate friend.  Terror and violence within the city walls.

For they will not mend their ways; they have no fear of God.  They strike out at friends and go back on their promises.  Softer than butter is their speech, but war is in their hearts.  Smoother than oil are their words, but they are sheathed swords. 

Treachery, deceit, mischief and evil.  Oppression and fraud.  Death.

If only I had wings like a dove that I might fly away and rest. 

Rocked with grief, his heart pounding, the psalmist retreats, full of fear, shuddering and trembling into himself.

Far away I would flee; I would stay in the desert.

No one goes to the wasteland. Surely there will be no one to betray him there.

I would soon find shelter from the raging winds and storm.

The horrible events that encircle the psalmist will not follow him to the wilderness.  Perhaps there he will be able to collect himself into prayer.

At dusk, dawn and noon I will grieve and complain, and my prayer will be heard.

On this Holy Thursday we commemorate the Last Supper of the Lord, a meal in which he shares himself most closely with his most intimate friends.  And yet one of these has already made the decision to betray Jesus.

If my foe had viewed me with contempt, from that I could hide.  But it was you, my intimate friend, you, whose company I enjoyed, at whose side I walked in procession in the house of God. 

Jesus faces his foe head on, sharing a meal with him on the evening before his death, handing a morsel of bread, of himself, to this close companion (Matthew 26:20-25, Mark 14:17-21, Luke 22:21-23, John 13:21-30).  The evangelist John closes his accounting of the exchange with these four word: And it was night.  Betrayal at the hands of an intimate friend.  Terror and violence within the city walls.

Jesus withdraws to the gardens on Gethsemane in prayer.  Jesus hands himself over to the plans of his creator.

At dusk, dawn and noon I will grieve and complain, and my prayer will be heard.

It is likely that each of us will suffer an act of betrayal at the hands of an intimate friend.  Perhaps we have been the betrayer in a trusted relationship.  God does not promise that he will keep us from such deep deception but he comes to each of us in the person of Jesus to instruct us how we might act and how we might behave.  He remains with us in the person of the Holy Spirit to comfort us and to teach us wisdom.

If only I had wings like a dove that I might fly away and rest.  Far away I would flee; I would stay in the desert. I would soon find shelter from the raging winds and storm.  At dusk, dawn and noon I will grieve and complain, and my prayer will be heard.

And so we pray.

When trouble stalks us, let us retreat into the Lord.

When we suffer at the hands of an intimate friend, let us pray at dusk, at dawn and at noon.

When we believe that all is lost, let us remember that our prayer will be heard.

Amen.


This week we have been looking at the story of Jerusalem to see what the events of the city’s life might tell us about our own. Today we spend time reflecting on the effects of betrayal and how we might recover from both internal and external division.

Image from: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/fyodor-bronnikov/the-head-of-judas-1874

For other reflections on Betrayal, enter the word in the blog search box and choose a Noontime. 

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