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Posts Tagged ‘courage’


Isaiah 40: Beyond Self

Michaelangelo: The Creation of Adam

Michelangelo: The Creation of Adam – detail

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Isaiah again today, and it is the chapter which begins the second half of the prophecy – often referred to as the Book of Consolation. The words remind us also of chapters 38 through 42 of Job when God speaks to his loyal yet questioning servant.

Like Job, we also may have questions for the creator of the universe, questions about his plan for us, his plan for others, questions about how God expects so many diverse elements can possibly come together in peaceful union. Today’s citation tells us that we need not fret about how God’s plan will be accomplished. It tells us that if we place our hope in God, all that is inscrutable will be made plain to us.  Isaiah asks: Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  Was it not foretold you form the beginning?  Have you not understood? 

Our spirit is captured in human vessels, struggling to break free, to soar above the ugly parts of this life; and yet in all of our struggle for release we forget that we have already been ransomed, as we spent time reflecting yesterday. Do you not know or have you not heard?  The Lord is the eternal God, creator of the ends of the earth. Today’s words are a reminder that we are not meant to struggle alone.

When we present to God daily our list of petitions that beg for miracles . . . God does not faint or grow weary.

When we are confounded by the duplicity and complexity if darkness . . . God’s knowledge is beyond scrutiny.

In all of our turmoil, all of our tears, all of our anxiety . . . God gives strength to the fainting.

In the darkest hours, in the deepest mourning, in the depths of despair . . . God makes vigor abound.

Wherever we are wrung out, exhausted, at wit’s end, beyond recovery and when we stagger and fall, they that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. 

There is always joy beyond our imaginings. There is always strength beyond our human power. This is what makes us divine . . . in that we acknowledge this divinity and allow ourselves to be drawn to it. Once we step out of self, empty self, and allow God in, then we too have knowledge beyond scrutiny, strength beyond fainting, and joy beyond tears.


Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Creation_of_Adam

A Favorite from July 3, 2009.

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Matthew 10:1-15: Our Commission 

Tissot: Exhortation to the Disciples

James Tissot: Exhortation to the Disciples

Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 29, 2022

We are a week away from Pentecost Sunday and so we take time to review our Eastertide Noontimes to consider God’s wisdom in each of us as we look for the answer to these questions: What does Jesus have in mind for us this Eastertide? How does Jesus expect us to bring compassion to the world? And, where will we find the wisdom, courage and strength to do so?

A foundational theme in Jesus’ work and words is the importance of inclusion. We see him interact with women, tax collectors, Pharisees and lost souls. He walks among the clean and unclean alike; he ministers to the deaf and blind as well as the comfortable and well-off. Today and tomorrow we reflect on where and when we might step into the mission God extends to us. Do we move out and away from the community in which we are planted or do we remain and look for new windows of opportunity to enact our commission? As we prepare for our newest assignment in this important work, we do well to remember Jesus’ words.

Go to the lost sheep . . .

Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons . . .

Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give . . .

Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it and stay there . . .

As you enter a house, wish it peace . . .

If the house is worthy l let your peace come upon it . . .

If not, let your peace return to you . . .


Use the scripture link above to search other versions of these verses . . . and allow God to reveal to you the commission he has in mind for your work. Enter the word Pentecost into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: 

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Matthew 9:32-34: Healing our Muteness

Click on this image to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Click on this image to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Friday, May 27, 2022

“Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps, despite his ardent nationalism. Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out…” (Holocaust Encyclopedia www.ushmn.org) Read Niemöller’s sermon, and then consider . . .

God says: The Pharisees accused my son of using the power of the prince of demons to heal muteness in one of my sheep. Do not allow your ears to be closed to my word in you. Do not allow your fear to cripple my voice in you. Speak when I ask you to tell my good news. Be still when I ask you to wait for my word to flow through you. Take courage. When you live in me you will never die. When you offer your voice in my name you are one with me. 

Martin Niemöller

Martin Niemöller

Visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum site and reflect on the power of human silence and human speech. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007391 Remember that there are those in our world who deny the fact that this human carnage took place . . . and then consider how and where and when we want to lend our voices to God’s cause.

To learn more about Martin Niemöller, click on his image to the left or visit:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/414633/Martin-Niemoller

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Matthew 9:1-8: Taking Up Our Bedtake up your bed

Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 22, 2021

They brought to him a paralytic lying on a bed . . .

Jesus says: Take courage . . . Get up . . . pick up your bed and go home . . .

God says: Each little incident that paralyzes you with fear is not from me. I only bring you love. Each enormous obstacle that looms before you is not from me. I only bring you hope. When you are paralyzed with fear, reach for me. When you are knocked off your feet, take up the bed of sorrow onto which you have fallen, and come home.

When we give ourselves over to fear we let go of God’s hand. When we languish in our sorrow and remain on our paralytic bed we reject the offer of newness God brings. If depression or anxiety overwhelm us we must seek professional guidance and help. God wants to convert the paralysis in our lives to loving acts of kindness, mercy and justice.

 


Image from: https://www.wordonfire.org/articles/fellows/pick-up-your-mat/

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Matthew 8:23-27: Stilling the Storm

James Seward: Peace, be Still

James Seward: Peace! Be Still!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

We say: Lord, we are perishing!

Jesus says: Why are you afraid?

God says: You and I have spoken about the storms of life so frequently – nearly every day – yet still I am willing to hear you again cry out for my help. And I am willing to give my help to you. I know that the circumstances of the world frighten you; yet I ask for your patience and courage. I know that the troubles of the world alarm you; yet I ask for your perseverance and fidelity. I know that the anxieties of the world panic you; yet I ask for your mercy and kindness. I know that the injustices of the world anger you; yet I ask for your confidence and love. When I calm the storm I calm you. When I ask for stillness I ask for your open heart. When I ask for love I ask for your full and abiding presence in me. Practice this when you are not distressed and you will see how natural this becomes in the way you interact with others. And you will find that a new peace and tranquility abide within. You will find that the approaching storm will roll over you to leave you unscathed. And you will have stilled the storm within.


For a musical reflection on Peace! Be Stillby Seward, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DSYtYdjsbA

Find your former self in Seward’s painting . . . look for your new self in Christ.

For a reflection on fear, click on the image above or visit: http://www.shellyduffer.com/tag/jesus-calms-the-storm/

Enter the word storm into the blog search bar, think about how we react to crisis or strife, and decide to hand over the storm within to the one who calms all storms.

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Matthew 5:5: The MeekPsalm-37-11

Easter Monday, April 18, 2022

On this Easter Monday we continue our reflection on the Beatitudes as we re-focus our attention on God’s priorities rather than our own.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Perhaps patience is the quality we most need if we are to be humble servants. Patience in our understanding that we are not in charge. Patience in our knowing that it is God’s wisdom and grace that answers our deepest questions. Patience in allowing God’s fidelity and mercy to invade all that we do. Patience in both giving and accepting God’s healing love. Psalm 27 reminds us what we gain when we are able to wait. These verses bring into focus what it is we inherit, and why the land in which the Spirit dwells is worth our offering of meekness.

Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear . . .

On this Easter Monday we celebrate God’s strength . . .

Though war arise against me, I shall be confident . . .

We celebrate God’s hope . . .

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living . . .

We celebrate God’s gift of eternal life and love . . .  

Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage . . .

We celebrate God’s gift of promise . . .

Yes, wait for the Lord . . .

We celebrate God’s gift of persistence.

2012042151empty_tombWhen our quiet strength rises from God we have no need to boast or strut. When our simple humility follows the example of Christ we have no need to exclude or divide. When our genuine meekness grows in the Spirit of God we have no need to hate or avenge. Let us wait on the Lord, let us give thanks for God’s presence, and let us celebrate the patience we inherit that offers us the gift of God’s meekness.

Using the scripture links, explore different versions of these verses and give thanks for our inheritance of meekness.

Tomorrow, the merciful. 


Images from: http://eagleviews.org/2011/10/14/they-say-he-said/ and http://flowers-kid.com/easter-empty-tomb-images.htm

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Saturday, February 12, 2022stumblingbnr

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Loving our Stumbling Blocks

As we study our stumbling blocks we hear the call to be prophets in the Messianic Age. We are asked to call others to kingdom work just as we have been called.

Once we spend time with our stumbling blocks we begin to understand the important role they play in our lives, the vital function they perform. We are asked to demonstrate our comprehension by willingly taking on our responsibility as Sentinel People. We are asked to call out to others the message of the Word Among Us.

Rather than walk around or away from our stumbling blocks we freely and even cheerfully go in search of a ladder that will allow us to climb atop our obstacle. We see the world and ourselves from a different angle, perhaps an angle that God the Creator might use. We are asked to bring this gift of insight to our Kingdom building.

Once we begin to act in and through Christ we receive abundant grace, courage, fortitude, and mercy. Love grows out of our suffering. Sudden and inexplicable joy takes hold and in a moment of irreversible transformation we move into the life God has planned for us since our inception.

And once we have run the arc from grief to joy, we give thanks for the great suffering we have endured.

As Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M. points out in his February 10, 2015 Meditation, it is not so much that we are so chosen or so suddenly more greatly loved by God in our moment of fear and turmoil; rather, it is that we have listened, waited, and pruned ourselves for the reception of this enormous and endless love. As we consider the grace and peace and blessing of the Stumbling Block, let us give thanks to the one who abides, and heals and loves.


Richard Rohr: Adapted fromThe Great Themes of Scripture: Old Testament, pp. 1-5 (published by Franciscan Media); and Scripture as Liberation (MP3 download

Image from: http://www.lebtahor.com/StumblingBlocks/stumblingblocks.htm

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joyThursday, November 4, 2021

Tobit 5

Joy and Desperation

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.

If you have not had time for the story of Tobit, begin to read it today. It brings us a world of frustration and renewal, desperation and hope, deep sorrow and overwhelming joy. It features the healing touch of the Archangel Raphael and the surprising good news that even the most dire circumstances give us a reason for courage and happiness.

Rembrandt: Sarah Waiting for Tobias

Rembrandt Van Rijn: Sarah Waiting for Tobias

Tobit 5:9-10: Then Tobias went out and called [the young man], and said, “Young man, my father is calling for you.” So he went in to him, and Tobit greeted him first. He replied, “Joyous greetings to you!” But Tobit retorted, “What joy is left for me anymore? I am a man without eyesight; I cannot see the light of heaven, but I lie in darkness like the dead who no longer see the light. Although still alive, I am among the dead. I hear people but I cannot see them.” But the young man said, “Take courage; the time is near for God to heal you; take courage.” Then Tobit said to him, “My son Tobias wishes to go to Media. Can you accompany him and guide him? I will pay your wages, brother.” He answered, “I can go with him and I know all the roads, for I have often gone to Media and have crossed all its plains, and I am familiar with its mountains and all of its roads.”

Rembrandt: Tobit and Anna

Rembrandt Van Rijn: Tobit and Anna

When we welcome the stranger into our lives we may unwittingly welcome a healing angel. When we open ourselves to the gift of courage we may unknowingly find the surprise of quiet joy. When we trust in God’s messengers to guide us along unknown roads we may suddenly find new paths to cross uncharted plains and looming mountains.

Spend time with the first five Chapters of Tobit today and discover the surprise of God’s healing presence. Look for Anna and Sarah, and anticipate what might happen with the desperation that has taken over their lives.


Images from: https://www.artbible.info/art/large/816.html and https://www.wga.hu/html_m/r/rembrand/15oldtes/01oldtes.html

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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Saturday, October 9, 2021

Jeremiah 15:10-21

The-Goodness-of-God-Blog-BannerPurposes for Good

Surely I will set you free for purposes of good . . .

Before we leave the prophecy of Jeremiah, let us remember his help when we feel separate or alone, exiled or forgotten.

Before we forget the words of Jeremiah, let us remember his hope when we are discouraged or overwhelmed, empty or lost.

Before we move into the tomorrow God promises, let us remember our potential for worth, the joy of our work, and the purpose of God’s goodness.

Before we step into the gift God plants in us, let us remember that God wants nothing more than our love, nothing more than our fidelity . . . and nothing less than eternal, intimate union with us.


Adapted from a reflection first written on April 17, 2007.

Image from: http://www.gregorydickowonline.com/the-promises-of-god/

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