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Posts Tagged ‘bridge building’


Revelation 4: Heavenly Worship

Monday, September 2, 2019

Written on August 2, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Footnotes tell us that much of this imagery can also be found in Ezekiel, where God is seen as surrounded by worshiping figures.  All of these creatures and people are symbolic; and good footnotes or a good commentary are helpful when sorting and understanding all of these ideas.  What makes so much sense to me is the idea that it is right and good to live a life in constant praise of God.  I like this thought.  It brings me comfort to know that the angels, saints and all creatures celebrate God in heaven just as we do here on earth.  I think that being in God’s presence necessitates a willingness to worship, to praise, to thank and to petition.  What will we do in heaven if we have not practiced coming together to be near to God?  How can we expect to understand any heavenly rite if we do not accustom ourselves to ritual here on earth?  Why would we think that we might get along with lambs who frolic among lions . . . if we cannot live in harmony here on earth?

We have many earthly opportunities to demonstrate our willingness to be humble, to build bridges between ourselves and our enemies, to be peacemakers.  Where do expect to stand when we arrive at the heavenly throne room?  How do we expect to know how to behave?  Why do we expect that in another place we will suddenly be able to love . . . when we have not learned to do so here?

We have this idea so often that God is in his heaven while we are in the world.  We have forgotten the lesson of this story . . . that the kingdom is now, the kingdom is here.  We are every waking and sleeping moment in God’s presence . . . and how do we behave?

Today we might begin anew with our lessons for Heavenly Worship.  We might begin anew in our lessons of Love and Unity.


Image from: http://epitemnein-epitomic.blogspot.com/2012/06/gods-institutes-of-praise-prayer-and.html

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Wisdom 18:20-25: Intercession

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The faithful will always have a priest willing to intercede for them.  Today we read about Aaron who intercedes as a spiritual leader for the Israelites; every day we have Jesus who intercedes for us in all that we petition.

Bridge-building is important to a Christian community for without the lifelines that we toss out to connect ourselves to one another, we run the risk of sinking into oblivion.  Just as camel caravans link the living water and sheltering palms of desert oases, we reach out to one another so that we do not become stranded in the lonely desert parts of life.  We must celebrate life where we find it . . . and build bridges to call together the limbs of Christ’s Mystical Body.

Forgiveness – both the asking and the granting – is the essential construction material that we will need for these Jesus bridges.  There is no one among us who has not needed to ask and to give forgiveness and so we pray.

The world is rent asunder by our refusal to forgive, we pray:  Bring us, Lord, your perspective of hope. 

For the hardness of heart we have shown toward those we have hurt, we pray: Bring us, Lord, your openness of heart. 

For the breaches in relationships we have allowed to live and grow, we pray: Bring us, Lord, your depth of wisdom. 

For the resentments we have accumulated, we pray: Bring us, Lord, your counsel and courage. 

If the Lord rescues me from the snare of my faults, should I not extend the same hand of rescue to my neighbor?  Resentment, grudges, retaliation do not help the one who offends me.  They merely confirm the breach between us.  Bridge-building is costly, as the cross demonstrates, but the people stranded on both banks are all freed by the bridge.

These prayers and thoughts are adapted from yesterday’s MAGNIFICAT, and as always, when I think about bridge-building, I am aware that there is a difference – although small – between pardoning behavior and allowing abuse to continue.  There is a reality that exists in bridge-building that comes into being when we empower people – they are freed from a former unhealthy behavior that has stunted growth and dried up life.  When we enable people to continue in an unhealthy behavior, we become part of the problem.  When we gently confront people, we set into place the pillars of the bridge.

When we allow Christ to show us what tool to use next, what material to bring out of storage for use as the struts and cables of the bridge, we begin to make links, we will see that we are building a bride that will last for all time.  We will also see that it is a bridge of and to salvation.

This work does not happen without physical and spiritual exertion; but when we have the Master as our project planner, the work becomes less arduous and less frightening.

When we find ourselves stranded in a small, backwater oases, looking through the burning sun in the day and the cold darkness of night . . . waiting for something to appear on the horizon . . . we will know that it is time for bridge-building.  Let as ask the Master Planner to intercede for us . . . now . . . today . . . and all days.


Adapted from a Favorite written on March 18, 2009.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 3.17 (2009). Print.

Image from: http://www.cepolina.com/photos.asp?V=Rotorua_bridge_mist_water&S=Rotorua&A=all and http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g147290-d149576-r125773547-Mount_Isabel_de_Torres-Puerto_Plata_Dominican_Republic.html

For more thoughts on intercession for our enemies see The Jesus Bridge page on this blog: https://thenoontimes.com/the-jesus-bridge/

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Judges 21: The Breach

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Bridges are to be built over the abysses that separate us.  This is the lesson we learn if we read today’s story carefully.  At first glance it seems as though violence is condoned; God appears to be the castigating all-powerful one; but when we take time to read closely and carefully, and if we use footnotes and commentary, we see something different. Much like the message in Lamentations, we see and hear that in the life of the Kingdom we must learn patience, for the lesson will always arrive.  And so frequently the lesson is the reverse of what we initially thought it might be.  What appears to be forbidden is actually blessed.  What seems to be lost is wonderfully found.  And what we believe to be total chaos settles beautifully into God’s plan.

In today’s Morning Prayer, the psalmist exclaims: O Lord, I will trust in you! (Psalm 55:24 Isaiah pronounces:  It was I who stirred up one for the triumph of justice; all his ways I make level.  He shall rebuild my city and let my exiles go free without price or ransom, says the Lord of hosts.  (Isaiah 45:13)  And in Leviticus 26:13 God reminds us that . . . It is I, the Lord, who brought you out of the land of the Egyptians and freed you from their slavery, breaking the yoke they had laid upon you and letting you walk erect. 

Today’s first reading at Mass is one that I love. (Acts 5:17-26)  It is the beginning of the story of how the Apostles respond to God’s word as they have been called to do.  They are jailed – and they are freed by angels and miracles.  It is a story that reminds us we have nothing to fear.  It is a story that tells us that we survive best by depending on God alone.  And it is a story that shows us how easily the breaches in our lives might be mended if we lived in and for God rather than in and for ourselves.

The people had compassion because the Lord had made a breach . . .

When things look darkest, there is space to find the light.

When life seems horrifying, there is always healing.

When we feel twisted and tortured, there is life anew wrought by transformation.

When breaches appear, let us be patient, let us listen, and let us attend.  Good news always arrives.

The people had compassion because the Lord had made a breach . . .

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 4.5 (2011). Print.  

A Favorite from May 4, 2011.

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joySunday, November 23, 2014

Matthew 25:14-30

Joy in Small Matters

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 consider the joy we might find in the smallest of places in our lives . . . and the way in which small matters have great effect in our lives.

We know the answer to the question: What can one person do about the ills of the world? We easily reply that we can – in apparently unimportant ways – take small actions that have huge, rippling effects in a world looking for a reason to hope. Today we consider the parable of the talents.

From www.christianity.about.com : A talent was an ancient unit of weight and value in Greece, Rome, and the Middle East. In the Old Testament, a talent was a unit of measurement for weighing precious metals, usually gold and silver. In the New Testament, a talent was a value of money or coin . . . In the New Testament , the term “talent” meant something very different than it does today. The talents Jesus Christ spoke of in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35) and the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) referred to the largest unit of currency at the time. Thus, a talent represented a rather large sum of money. According to New Nave’s Topical Bible, one who possessed five talents of gold or silver was a multimillionaire by today’s standards. Some calculate the talent in the parables to be equivalent to 20 years of wages for the common worker. Other scholars estimate more conservatively, valuing the New Testament talent somewhere between $1,000 to $30,000 dollars today. (http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/a/Talent.htm )

JOYIn this parable Jesus alerts his disciples to the real meaning of a disciple’s call: The work is arduous but immensely rewarding.

With this parable Jesus reminds us that while much is asked of us, much will also be given.

Through this parable Jesus shows us that when we find joy in the smallest of matters . . . we harvest great joy in the most surprising of ways.

The end of the liturgical calendar is upon us when we look forward to the celebration of Advent, a season of anticipation, a time of hope in the darkness, a rejoicing in the coming of Christ’s healing light in a suffering world longing for transformation. As we prepare for this special time of year, let us close doors on all that has harmed us and open doors to building bridges where rifts have grown. Let us determine to put toxic places and people aside and to ask God’s intervention in rebuilding broken relationships. And let us agree to choose joy even in the darkest of times and in the grimmest of circumstances. We will be mightily surprised at what God has in store for those who respond to God’s call in the smallest of places and in the smallest of matters.

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

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

restorejusticeimage[1]Philippians 1:27-30

Steadfastness in Faith

If ever we doubt that we are to be community and that we are called to find ways to bridge differences, we only need look as far as the Book of Acts and the Letters of the New Testament.

This is God’s doing.  I keep repeating these words to myself as I wend my way through the obstacles that present themselves to me each day. I have been planted in this time and place to bloom according to the gifts God sent with me. And so in accord with the covenant I share with God, I will continue to be steadfast, always hoping for the best outcome for all.

I share with you a quote which was sent to me several years ago.

Hope is all about the vision of what we believe our world can and should be . . . Hope enables us to believe that we can achieve some meaningful expression of justice, reconciliation and healing here and now even though the ultimate goal must always remain beyond our grasp.


John W. de Gruchy, Reconciliation: Restoring Justice

Hope, reconciliation, willingness, bridge-building, restoration, transformation.  These are only a few of the gifts we receive when we become disciples of Christ.

To learn more about restorative justice, go to: http://www.restorativejustice.org/articlesdb/articles/4385 and explore.

Adapted from a Noontime written on May 7, 2007.

Tomorrow, steadfastness in love . .  .

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012 – Romans 16:17-20 – Troublemakers

Watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles, in opposition to the teaching that you learned; avoid them . . . such people serve their own appetites, and by fair and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the innocent . . . Be wise as to what is good, and simple as to what is evil; then the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 

We are not built to handle evil – we are built for receiving and giving God’s love.

We are not meant to isolate ourselves in cliques and posses – we are meant to build bridges and seek union.

We are not created to isolate ourselves behind thick defense mechanisms – we are created to be open to those who are vulnerable just as Jesus our brother is.

We are not troublemakers, nor are we expected to mend what makes others so contentious – we are to model a way of living that does not rely on division and revenge. 

We are kingdom builders, peace sharers . . . we are the dwelling place of God’s Spirit. 

Watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles, in opposition to the teaching that you learned; avoid them . . . such people serve their own appetites , and by fair and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the innocent . . . Be wise as to what is good, and simple as to what is evil; then the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.  Amen. 

Written on November 27, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012 – Sirach 36:18-27 – Choosing Associates

He calls from the heavens and the earth from above to witness the judgment of his people.  “Gather before me my loyal followers, those who have made a covenant with me and sealed it with sacrifice”.  Let the heavens declare the righteous cause; for God himself is judge.  Psalm 50:4-6

The mark of a solid associate is one who will sacrifice self in order to seal the covenant promise with God.  We are not called to submit to abuse, but rather . . . to witness to that which is indifferent, self-serving, deceitful.  We are asked to build bridges to one another, to be open to one another, to form community with one another in trust, fidelity and prudent stewardship of ourselves and our resources.  To do this well, it is best to choose associates who are open, worthy of trust, and who witness to the values brought to us by Jesus in his Gospel story.  At the same time as we gather those around us who think in like manner, we are also called to be open to the possibility that redemption and salvation nearly always comes through sacrifice, through suffering – particularly when this pain is offered for the conversion of those who have harmed us.

The Prayer Appointed for the Week from THE DIVINE HOURS: PRAYERS FOR SUMMERTIME by Phyllis Tickle is useful as night falls and we turn toward home.  Grant me, O Lord, to trust in you with all my heart; for, as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Trusting in God to speak to us in the hushed depths of our hearts empowers us to wait in quiet and in patience until God speaks the words we must hear.  We also know that Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart.  There is no fear before God in his eyes.  He so flatters himself in his mind that he knows not his guilt.  In his mouth are mischief and deceit.  All wisdom is gone.  He plots the defeat of goodness as he lies on his bed.  He has set his foot on evil ways, he clings to what is evil.  Your love, Lord, reached to heaven; your truth to the skies.  Your justice is like is like God’s mountain, your judgment like the deep.  (Psalm 36). 

When we find ourselves in deep water, it is best to become a diver . . .

Whether we are the sinner or the victim, God knows the path to our heart.  Whether we are betrayer or betrayed, God knows the words that will call us home.  When we find ourselves in deep water, it is best to become a diver . . . to explore our own depths, calling on God to reveal his truth to us in a way that we can take it in.

I believe that many of us shrink from our deepest consciousness and that this is evidenced in our addictions to too much television, too much internet, too much food, too much narcissism.  So often I hear the phrase, “I just don’t want to go there”.  But no matter how much we avoid our own path of conversion, God will seek us out.  Jesus ben Sirach instructs us that a deceitful character causes grief, but an experienced man may turn the tables on him.  For my part, when confronted with deceit, I find it best to rely on God’s judgment and wisdom . . . he has far more experience than I.  On God’s wisdom I wait.  For God’s patience I pray.  In God’s love I trust.  Amen.

Written on September 07, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

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