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Posts Tagged ‘creation’


Proverbs 8: Armloads of Life

Friday, July 28, 2017

Wisdom and Creation, A Reprise

Do you hear Lady Wisdom calling?
    Can you hear Madame Insight raising her voice?
She’s taken her stand at First and Main,
    at the busiest intersection.
Right in the city square
    where the traffic is thickest, she shouts,
“You—I’m talking to all of you,
    everyone out here on the streets!
Listen, you idiots—learn good sense!
    You blockheads—shape up!
Don’t miss a word of this—I’m telling you how to live well,
    I’m telling you how to live at your best.

We have visited this chapter of Proverbs before, and today we look at it again with fresh eyes as we consider . . . the gift of creation in each of us, and in the micro and macro-universe we inhabit. Today we reprise our reflection on the wisdom of God’s creation (https://thenoontimes.com/2013/09/07/wisdom-and-creation/) as we consider again the mystery of God’s love for us.

 I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out.

These words are an invitation we will want to accept.

My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary;
    the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus.
You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
    at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
    filling their arms with life—armloads of life!

The verses cited in this post are from the MESSAGE translation of Proverbs. To compare other translations, use the scripture link and the drop-down menus.

To watch life on a reef off the Maldives, click on the sealife image or visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1oGyZL0qjM

For an interesting take on the multiverse, click on the image of planets above, or visit: http://www.chattanoogapulse.com/columns/just-a-theory/living-your-life-in-a-multiverse/ 

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Genesis 1: Re-Creation – The Earth

Easter Monday, April 17, 2017

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.

Each time we plant flowers, weed vegetables, pick apples from a tree, we realize the bounty and goodness of God’s creation. Too often we are able to pretend that we do not offend Mother earth with our carelessness. In his encyclical, Laudato Sí or On Care of Our Common Home, Pope Francis makes a clear call to each of us to look to our interactions with our environment. In Chapter Two, The Gospel of Creation, Francis lays out a foundation of his premise, and then describes the mystery, the message, and the universal communion that is Mother Earth. We will be rewarded by new insights when we spend time with his words today.

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.

Our modern world too often lives separately from Mother Earth. We do not see where our sewage goes; we do not see the landfills that pollute the earth that struggles to breath and thrive. We do not understand the demands our way of life make on the natural world. We are too easily lead into a life of separateness and alienation by the allure of technology and industry. Manufacture takes on more importance than the people who produce. Consumption becomes our focus. Relationships and connections languish.

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.

On this Easter Monday, let us reflect on how we interact with Mother Earth, let us celebrate all she brings to us, and let us determine to care for her so that she may continue to love and nourish us all.

For a summary of Laudato Sí, visit: https://focusoncampus.org/content/summary-of-laudato-si-pope-francis-encyclical-on-the-environment-4b1db7f5-fca5-478c-bc8c-464174d9a07e 

To learn about Bolivia’s “Mother Earth Law,” the first on the planet, click on the images above, or visit: https://newearth.media/bolivia-passes-law-of-mother-earth/ 

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Matthew 6:30: Here Today

Wednesday, March 8, 2017creation-2

How broad is our view of creation? How wide is the horizon we assign to humanity?

It is God who clothes the wild grass – grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t God be all the more sure to clothe you? What little faith you have! (GNT)

Do we see our lives as more important than those of our ancestors? Do we see our descendants as equals?

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will God not much more clothe you – you of little faith? (NRSV)

Are we concerned about protecting and preserving the millions of species that run the risk of dying out? Are we willing to act on behalf of the flora and fauna God has gifted into our care?

If this is how God clothes grass in the field – which is here today and gone tomorrow, thrown in an oven – won’t God much more clothe you? What little trust you have! (CJB)

When we consider that we are here today and gone tomorrow, we will want to try – as difficult as this is – to see the broad arc of history as God sees it. We will want to explore the panoply of plants and animals as an expression of God’s delight in diversity.

solar-systemIf God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never even seen—don’t you think God will attend to you, take pride in you, do the best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way God works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how God works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. (MSG)

As we reflect on being here today, we hope to change the economic, civil and social conditions that pollute our planet and choke our lives. And we will abide in faith with God our creator, who sees even the smallest among us as well as the grandest.

As we compare different translations of this verse, we consider that we are here today, and that this is enough because God loves each of us, no matter our size, no matter our importance.

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Romans 1:20: God’s Basic Reality

Wednesday, December 7, 2016gods-law-of-creation-the-origin-of-deviation

This week we explore how to put our love on the line just as the Creator does by abiding with us, just as Jesus does as he shows us The Way, and just as the Spirit does as she comforts and remains in us.

Ever since God created the world, his invisible qualities, both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made. So those people have no excuse at all! (GNT)

Some of us may believe that putting love on the line is not fully possible; but Paul tells the Romans – and he tells us – that with God all things are possible. We have only to look around us at the mystery and beauty of God’s creation.

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! (MSG)

Some of us may believe that putting love on the line is foolish; but Paul tells the Romans – and he tells us – that with God we experience nothing but love.

By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. (MSG)

Some of us may believe that putting love on the line brings to fullness the eternal promise of peace and joy. Paul tells the Romans – and he tells us – that this is a promise worth trusting.

When we explore various translations of these verses, we discover God’s basic reality, and the fullness of his promise.

 

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Deuteronomy 10:14-18: Look Around

Monday, November 28, 2016in-the-beginning

Look around you: Everything you see is God’s – the heavens above and beyond, the Earth, and everything on it. But it was your ancestors who God fell in love with; he picked their children – that’s you! – out of all the other peoples. That’s where we are right now. So cut away the thick calluses from your heart and stop being so willfully hardheaded. God, your God, is the God of all gods, he’s the Master of all masters, a God immense and powerful and awesome. He doesn’t play favorites, takes no bribes, makes sure orphans and widows are treated fairly, takes loving care of foreigners by seeing that they get food and clothing. (MSG)

The Book of Deuteronomy served the Hebrew people in knowing the love of the Living God. As Book of the Torah, it contained the Law that Jesus lived by as Jewish man; and it also was the springboard for the initiation of Jesus’ Law of Love. Today these verses still serve as guideposts to those who listen with open ears, minds and hearts. The expansive view taken by many in the mid-20th Century disquiets some and brings joy to others. Today we have the opportunity to look around, and to see how willing we are to love others as God does.

rom12-18-2We cannot truly call on God, the Father of all, if we refuse to treat in a brotherly way any man, created as he is in the image of God. Man’s relation to God the Father and his relation to men his brothers are so linked together that Scripture says: “He who does not love does not know God” (1 John 4:8). No foundation therefore remains for any theory or practice that leads to discrimination between man and man or people and people, so far as their human dignity and the rights flowing from it are concerned. The Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, color, condition of life, or religion. On the contrary, following in the footsteps of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, this sacred synod ardently implores the Christian faithful to “maintain good fellowship among the nations” (1 Peter 2:12), and, if possible, to live for their part in peace with all men, (Romans 12:18) so that they may truly be sons of the Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:45)

Paragraph 5 of the encyclical Nostra Aetate: Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, proclaimed by Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965) For the full document, visit: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html

When we compare varying versions of these ancient verses, we begin to understand creation in a new way.

 

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Sirach 33:7-15: Differences

Sunday, August 21, 2016Birds

If we ever wonder about the diversity of God’s creation, we might look at this chapter of Sirach.

Why is one day more important than another, when all the daylight in the year is from the sun?

When we believe that some of us are better than others of us, we might remember these words.

By the Lord’s wisdom they were distinguished, and he appointed the different seasons and festivals. Some days God exalted and hallowed, and some God made ordinary days.

meadow2When we use our ears and eyes, we understand God’s desire for variety.

All human beings come from the ground, and humankind was created out of the dust. In the fullness of his knowledge the Lord distinguished them and appointed their different ways.

When we open our hearts and minds, we see God’s great gift of diversity.

Like clay in the hand of the potter, to be molded as God pleases, so all are in the hand of their Maker, to be given whatever God decides.

When we observe humankind and nature honestly, we discover God’s marvelous inclusivity of many formed into one.

crowdLook at all the works of the Most High; they come in pairs, one the opposite of the other.

When we enter into the mystery of God’s creation, we witness to the marvelous differences found in God’s love.

When we compare differing translations of these verses, we open ourselves to the wisdom of God’s marvelous differences.

Click on the image of the birds above to learn more about the importance of diversity in nature

Click on the crowd image to learn about the broad diversity found in the Mexican genome

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Jeremiah 7:23-28: Easter People

Second Sunday of Easter, April 3, 2016

Maestro Juan Flores runs the healing center at the Mayantuyacu Boiling River

Maestro Juan Flores runs the healing center at the Mayantuyacu Boiling River

We are created for love, structured in hope, and formed in renewal. We are Easter People.

The prophet Jeremiah reminds the faithful that God does not delight in burnt offerings but looks for softened hearts and open minds. Through Jeremiah, God asks for our obedience in listening to God’s word. Through Jeremiah, God speaks of putting away our mule-stubbornness and renewing the truth of God’s word. In this Eastertide, we have the opportunity to take a new look at how we have loved all of God’s creation, including the world around us. And we have the opportunity to examine whether or not we listen to or take in the word of God. We have the opportunity again to be who we are . . . Easter people.

Piers Sellers aboard the International Space Station

Piers Sellers aboard the Space Station

See Fareed Zakaria’s CNN GPS 360 interview with Piers Sellers, scientist and astronaut who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and who pledges to spend the rest of his days renewing the earth. http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/03/18/exp-gps-sellers-sot.cnn

Is there a boiling river in the Amazon jungle in an area that has no volcanic activity? Watch or listen to this Ted Talk given by Andrés Ruzo to discover how God calls us to consider the power of creation.  https://www.ted.com/talks/andres_ruzo_how_i_found_a_mythical_boiling_river_in_the_amazon?language=en  

 

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Matthew 5:17-19: Teaching on the Law, A Reprise

Wednesday, March 2, 2016Kingdom-of-God-570x379

Do we fully understand the depth of Jesus’ words? Do we fully open ourselves to Jesus’ transformation?

Jesus says: Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.

Do we fully understand that when we mock creation we mock ourselves? Do we fully open ourselves to the wonders of God’s universe?

Jesus says: Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.

God says: You work inordinate hours. You fret over the past and worry about the future. You wriggle through plans that you lay for yourselves. You create rules and parameters that you hope will keep you safe. The Law I speak about is simple indeed – it is the only law the actually keeps you safe. It is the Law of Love. The Law of forgiveness. The Law of generosity and kindness. The Law of healing and comfort. The Law of mercy. Rest in me. Bring your worries to me. Allow my Law of Love to reconcile, restore and rebuild. Allow yourself to step into my kingdom of love.

We continue our Lenten practice as we consider how we might bring others to God’s kingdom of love. Rather than thinking: “The dream of peace is an unreal and distant illusion,” let us think instead, “The dream of peace we hold is present in God’s kingdom. And God’s kingdom is now”.

For another post on these verses, go to:  https://thenoontimes.com/2012/04/06/teaching-on-the-law/

Tomorrow, Beelzebub.

 

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John 13:1-20: Glory, Part I – Washing Our Feet

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dirck Van Baburen: Christ Washing the Apostles' Feet

Dirck Van Baburen: Christ Washing the Apostles’ Feet

Over the next few days we will explore the mystery of Christ’s power found in humility, his love encountered in emptiness, and his leadership seen in his service. John, The Beloved Apostle, faithfully recorded Jesus’ last words and actions for his loyal and frightened followers. John leaves this recording for us that we might discover Christ’s presence among us today, Christ’s glory that lives with us still . . . even after two millennia.

Today’s lesson on Glory: We best find Jesus in the simple rather than the complex, in the overt, loving gesture, and in generous, self-serving love. 

Why do we always forget that Jesus is constantly at our side and that he is constantly washing our feet? Perhaps because he is no longer with us in a physical, three-dimensional form which we perceive with human eyes. Perhaps we must trust our senses more.

What do we do to find our spiritual eyes? Perhaps we better sense Christ in the touch, the word, the gesture of our fellow travelers, and in the presence of the miracles he is constantly performing among us. Perhaps we must listen for the whispered messages he delivers when we are confused and anxious.

What do we do when we long to touch Jesus in a very real way? Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that all of creation cries out as the sustaining presence of Christ and that no matter when we are, God’s loving presence surrounds us.

In today’s Noontime we hear Jesus say to us, his disciples: What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later. These words are so true . . . and we hear them so frequently when we take our problems to that quiet spot within where the voice speaks.

When we find the place where Christ speaks and we consider what we see and hear and touch. We consider that we need not understand the complexities of God’s plan. And so we pray,

Compassionate God, hear our petitions, abide with us, wash our feet, our hearts, our minds. You promised us your peace. Send it to us today and all days as we take in the beauty of your creation, and as we learn to serve others without complaining. We ask this in your name. Amen.

Find time today to write out Jesus’ words on a slip of paper: What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later. Put this paper in your pocket and take a walk outdoors to drink in God’s message. If the weather is unpleasant, find a window with a wide view that captures at least a small portion of God’s creation for you.  Later today, spend time with the image above – or another image of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet that you prefer – and make plans to take care of yourself in some special way within the next few days, if only for a half hour. And let us remember to let Christ wash our tired and dusty feet every night before we go to bed as he so longs to do, for it is in this way that we begin to experience Christ’s glory.

Adapted from a reflection written on June 1, 2007.

Tomorrow, finding God’s glory in disappointment. 

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