Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘darkness versus light’


John 6:36-51: Some Left Over – Part IX

Tabgha Church Mosaic: The Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves

Tabgha Church Mosaic: The Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

It is inevitable, we know, that when light begins to call the faithful together darkness arrives, and so once Jesus announces his offering of eternal bread, the complaining begins.

Murmur not among yourselves: Jesus says to the grumblers and to those who saw him grow up in the carpenter’s family. They ask: Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? And Jesus replies: Whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I give is my flesh for the life of the world.

As this story unrolls to reveal God’s enormous love, where do we stand? Do we number among the grumblers to look past the risen Christ who stands before us, offering us the Eucharist as God’s eternal sustenance for an eternal life? Or do we follow this healer. Do we scatter the bread he breaks open? Do we tend to Christ’s sheep? Do we gather up all that is left over to share with those who have yet to arrive?

We look for answers to these questions as we compare varying versions of these verses. And we look for bread that will live forever, the bread that Christ gives for the life of the world.

To read about the restored mosaic in the ancient church at Tabgha commemorating the miracle of multiplication, click on the image above, or visit: http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=10&Issue=3&ArticleID=1 

Tomorrow, words of eternal life.


Image from: http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=10&Issue=3&ArticleID=1

Read Full Post »


Isaiah 42:6-7: The Mystery of Wisdom – Part IIcandle and scripture

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

I am the Lord, I have called you . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we call on the Lord, we find the answer lying in our own response to God’s call to intimacy with goodness.

I will hold you by the hand and watch over you . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we take God’s hand, we discover that we are also called to extend our other hand to those who live in darkness.

I will make you as a covenant to my people . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we extend our hand to others, we have entered into God’s promise.

I will make you a light to the nations . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we enter into God’s promise, God’s light flows through and from us.

I will call you to open blind eyes . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when God’s light flows from us, we begin to heal others.

I will call you to bring out prisoners from the dungeons . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we begin to heal others, we bring them forth from their prisons of fear, anger, anxiety and prejudice.

I will call you to bring out those who sit and wait in darkness . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we bring others forth from their prisons of darkness . . . we find ourselves standing in the fullness of God’s eternal, all-encompassing and nourishing wisdom.

Tomorrow, wisdom as promise and grace.


Image from: http://wallpapersinhq.com/55874-the_light_of_wisdom/

Read Full Post »


Isaiah 45:3-8: Hidden TreasuresHidden-treasures

Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 15, 2022

I will give you treasures out of the darkness, and treasures that have been hidden away . . .

Jesus comes into the darkness of the world to bring the light of truth and peace. Despite any gloom that threatens to engulf us, there is always hope when we remain in Christ.

God says: The hidden treasures that you seek are already in your grasp. You rise in Easter resurrection and already have the gift of eternal life. What more do you seek that you do not already experience? What more can you wish for when eternal happiness is already yours? Your struggles are not a darkness that will overtake you, rather they are gateways to new reunion, new life, and new love in me. Return to me always with all your troubles and do not be afraid when hardship falls upon you. I am your hidden treasure. I am the gift of life that already lies within.

 


Enter the word treasure in to the blog search bar and discover other treasures we already hold without asking.

Image from: http://vine-institute.org/discover-summit/

 

Read Full Post »


Ecclesiastes 2:12-17: Madness and Follyapril fools

March 12, 2022

Wisdom has the advantage over folly as much as light has the advantage over darkness.

When we listen to a podcast interview with Suki Kim, author of WITHOUT YOU, THERE IS NO US, we have the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be wise and what it means to be foolish. No matter our social or political views, this interview gives us a glimpse into a world of extremes.

http://www.npr.org/2014/10/22/357632699/among-the-young-and-privileged-in-north-korea

Screen-Shot-2014-10-03-at-2.37.03-PM1Ecclesiastes opens a discussion of the value purpose and worth of human life. When we listen to this podcast we might also reflect on how and when we hope to control others. And, perhaps most importantly, we have the opportunity to reflect on when and why we choose darkness and a lack of information over the light and her gift of knowledge.

The wise have eyes in their head, but the fool walks in darkness.


Read the NEW YORK TIMES review of Kim’s work at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/books/review/suki-kims-without-you-there-is-no-us.html?_r=0

Image of fool from: http://www.wfuv.org/blog/question-day-april-fools

Read Full Post »


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Numbers 9:15-23

The Bidding of the Lord

In Numbers 9 we see the Hebrews put all of their trust in God. May we learn to be faithful to the Lord in our daily wandering rather than be lured by little gods.

In the Exodus story we know that the Hebrews stumbled in their journey of fidelity. May we turn back to God in all of our drifting and forgive others as God forgives us.

In Numbers 9 we see the Hebrews do the Lord’s bidding when the Fiery Cloud settles into the desert sand to rest; we see them rise to follow the pillar of smoke and flame when it is time to journey. May we place all trust in the Lord rather than resort to our own schemes and small plans.

In the Exodus story we know that the Hebrews grumbled about God’s care of them in their journey of transformation. May we always seek counsel in the Lord and share the Word we hear with fellow pilgrims.

In Numbers 9 the Cloud tarries for days or rises after only one evening’s rest so the Hebrews are unable to predict God’s movement in their lives; yet they know that the Lord is with them in the Fiery Cloud. May we learn patience in the Lord and give thanks for the many surprises that await us.

In the Exodus story we know that the Hebrews grew impatient with God’s timeline and grumbled about God’s provisions. May we keep in mind how great is God’s generosity and share God’s love with others.

As a child, I loved to hear my Mother read out the chronicle of the people who wandered in darkness for generations, doing God’s bidding despite their frustration. Somehow I knew that there were great lessons to be learned in this long story of turnings. Mother’s calm and steady voice would rise up to give emphasis to the peril the Hebrews endured; it would fall to a low and gentle register to underscore God’s constant presence and encouragement to the people. Closing my eyes, I stored those reassuring sounds and images for unknown times in my future. As I grew I began to encounter my first overwhelming obstacles and remembering the comfort and safety of those drowsy evenings with Mother reading about the Fiery Cloud that served as guide and guard, I drew on those stored images.  When fear threatened to paralyze me or lead me in the wrong direction, I allowed that pillar of fire and smoke to draw me toward God. Even today when I meet with an obstacle that threatens my physical, mental or spiritual life, I move toward the Fiery Cloud to step inside. And there I find a sanctuary that none can penetrate.  I find a peace that none can rattle.  I find a floating solidness that both sustains and carries me toward God.  And in God all problems both great and petty melt away.

In a few short weeks we celebrate the season of Lent, a time of God’s sacrifice for us as Jesus walks among us. It is a celebration of Sacrificial Love, of Hope against Desperation, of surety in a world that offers only turmoil. Let us turn to the story of the people who once walked in darkness (Isaiah 9), let us follow the Fiery Cloud as we wander through the dangers of the desert, and let us step into the pillar of smoke and light when the chaos of life menaces.  For there is no better sanctuary than God.  There is no better hope than Christ.  And there is no better peace than the serenity we find in the Spirit.

And so, we pray . . .

Let us rise as the Hebrews rise to do the bidding of the Lord.  Let us rest as the Hebrews rest to await the wisdom of the Lord.  Let us follow as the Hebrews follow . . . to do the bidding of the Lord.  Amen. 


Adapted from a reflection first written in December of 2011.

mage from: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/41559827

Read Full Post »


joySaturday, November 6, 2021

Tobit 13

Joy and Praise

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. Today we come to the end of the Book of Tobit.

Tobit dies at the age of 112 and he was given a burial with honor. After regaining his sight he lived in prosperity, giving alms and continually blessing God and praising the divine Majesty.  In Chapter 13 we find his Song of Praise, a hymn of thanksgiving from one who was once in the abyss but who now understands that God was with him throughout his long travail. Understanding the valuable gift of God’s presence . . . Then Tobit composed this joyful prayer . . .

Lippi: Tobias and the Archangel Raphael

Filippino Lippi: Tobias and the Archangel Raphael

Let us join Tobit in our own song of thanks.

Blessed be God who lives forever . . .

Where once we saw sorrow we now find joy.

Praise with full voice . . .

When once we were timid now we are bold.

In the land of my exile I praise him . . .

When once we were apart we are now united in Christ.

Praise the Lord for his goodness . . .

Where once we saw pain we now find thanksgiving.

A bright light will shine to all parts of the earth . . .

Where once we saw darkness we now perceive Christ’s light.

My spirit blesses the Lord . . .

When once we felt sadness we now experience joy

Blessed be God who has raised us up . . .

And blessed be God who sustains us. Amen.

Spend time with Chapters 11-14 of Tobit today and discover why and how the people in this story celebrate.


For more information about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

Read Full Post »


Ary Scheffer: Saint Augustin and Saint MOnica

Ary Scheffer: Saint Augustin and Saint Monica

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

John 14

A Prayer for Our Days and Nights

Perhaps because our circadian clock plays a quiet but powerful role in our lives we are subtly convinced that the universe is a mystery of black and white principles and forces. Perhaps because we see so much duality in others we are convinced that God punishes or saves depending on our behavior. Perhaps because we divide our lives between forces of good and evil, our perceptions between dark and light and our hours between day and night . . . we see God as something or someone we must seek. Perhaps because of all of this . . . we believe that seeking God means leaving what we know to journey toward what we do not.

St. Augustine of Hippo writes: Don’t go looking for any end beside God, in case by looking for an end beside God, you find yourself being consumed, not completed. (Cameron 277)

St. Augustine lived a life of dissipation in an era when the Greek and Judeo-Christian worlds were merging. He eventually changed his way of living and thinking to become an early leader in the Western Christian Church and to merge the worlds of day and night for himself and others.

In Chapter 14 of his Gospel, St. John records Christ’s words at the Last Supper in which we hear the dialog between Jesus and his followers. Spend some time with it today and consider the world of black and white that we have constructed for ourselves. Consider what it is we would do well to change. And as the day comes to a close and begins to merge into night, join those in the Noontime Circle to pray.

Loving God, protect us from consuming ourselves as we fight against a world that struggles to reconcile darkness and light. Teach us to complete ourselves in you so that we might learn to live in a world that has both nights and days.

For those who convince themselves and others that creation divides itself into worlds of evil and good we pray: allow us to understand that God is every thing and every person.

For those who believe that God’s grace and blessing are earned and not given, we pray: allow us to learn that God’s compassion and love are gifts freely given.

For those who tell themselves and others that our task on earth is to find God while we live safely and comfortably without risking ourselves for others, we pray: allow us to see that we are complete in God when we allow ourselves to be consumed for and in God,

For those who understand Jesus’ words: I am the way and the truth and the life: inspire them to help others to see The Way of days and nights.

For those who live Jesus’ words: No one comes to the Father except through me: encourage them to bring the wisdom of a world of days and nights to others.

For those who enact Jesus’ words: If you know me then you will also know the Father: strengthen them as they bring Christ’s love to all who live in a divided world of days and nights. Amen.


Visit the scripture John Chapter 14 link above and read the versions that have been pre-selected. Choose another version and consider how we might live on a world where dark and light co-exist without consuming us, where the coming together of nights and days become a force in our transformation.

St. Augustine’s citation from SERMONS and cited Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 18.5 (2014): 277. Print.  

For more information on circadian and biological clocks, visit the NIH (U.S. National Institutes of Health) at: http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx

For more about St. Augustine and the divergent worlds his life helped to merge, visit the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/augustine/

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scheffer_Saint_Augustine_and_Saint_Monica.jpg

Read Full Post »


Monday, May 24, 2021

Sunset-Sunrise-Clouds-Landscapes-Sun-1800x28801 John 2

Ideal and Real – Part IV: The New Commandment

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.

We look for new inspiration. We believe that if we had one more resource all would be well. We look to off-load our worries when all we need do is put them in God’s hands.

The old commandment is the word that you have heard. And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

All will be well if we can just get a raise. Everything will be fine if we can just someone to do what we want. We believe we will have no more worries if we can just arrange life as we want it while all the while abundant gifts are given us daily.

Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.

Our work environment would improve if cranky and controlling co-workers would go elsewhere. Family get-togethers would be so much better but for that person with whom we struggle.  Our worship community would be perfect if only the cranky believers would worship somewhere else . . . and all the while Christ walks among us. All the while the Spirit abides and calls us.  All the while we are children of the same creator who asks us to live in peaceful unity.

This is the new commandment the Apostle John relays to us. This is the new commandment Christ brings to us. This is the new commandment that unites the real and ideal.

Tomorrow, uniting day and night in prayer.


Image from: http://www.all-wallpapers.net/wallpaper/sunset-sunrise-clouds-landscapes-sun/

Read Full Post »


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

1 John 1

come and seeWhat Love Is

If ever we lie awake on a painful night, if ever we begin to think that the story of the Christ is amazing but untrue, if ever we find ourselves alone in a crowd of people, we might turn to this anthem of love. For this is how much we are loved.

If ever we lose strength, if ever we falter a bit or lose heart, we return to this song of certainty in a world full of doubt. This is how one who walked with the Christ attempts to set down the story for those of us who follow centuries later.

If ever we see too much darkness around us, too much to overcome, too much to survive, we look for God in these images of light and truth and hope and certainty. This is how much Jesus stirred those whom he touched. And this is how much he loves us still.

We can still share a meal with him as we break Eucharist and take from the Cup.

We can still feel his human presence in every face we meet every day.

We can still feel his reassuring hand when a fellow pilgrim touches us in an authentic gesture of love.

In this world full of downs and ups, sorrow and joy, darkness and light, the darkness touches us not because he is with us in every solitary day, at any lonely moment. We are not alone. We have only to turn to John’s words to read them carefully . . . to look into the face that saves the world.

Tomorrow, a prayer to love.


Adapted from a reflection written on August 3, 2008.

Image from: https://www.holytextures.com/2011/12/john-1-43-51-year-b-epiphany-2-january-14-january-20-sermon.html

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: