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Posts Tagged ‘eternal life’


Deuteronomy 11: Wonders

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Love the Lord your God and always heed God’s charge.

The wonder of God’s love is so easily overlooked, so quickly put aside.

The land into which you are crossing drinks in rain from heaven.

We often think of rain as an obstacle for some activity we have planned, or as a spoiler of an otherwise beautiful day.  In this reading, we pause to remember that it is the rain that nourishes and sustains.

Take these words of mine into your heart and soul.  Bind them at your wrist as a sign, and let them be a pendant on your forehead. 

These are the words we hear echoed with the Shema of chapter 6 verses 4 to 9.

Teach them to your children, speaking of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. 

These are concepts we speak to ourselves but that we hesitate to speak to others, especially when we are rushed or tired.

You are about to cross the Jordan to enter and occupy the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you. 

We have been assured a fertile place in which to flourish, a land of promise and goodness.

We have been guaranteed a love far greater than any we can imagine, a love that forgives always, a love that never diminishes or loses interest.

We have been asked to keep these words close and to repeat them to those who follow.

We have been asked to hold God close, to follow God’s way, and to call others to likewise follow.

This request is not a great one when what we receive in exchange is the gift of eternal life, of eternal nourishment, of eternal love, of eternal wonder at the goodness of our God.


Click on the image above to learn more about the Shema, or visit: https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-aishes-chayil-p4-2077021

A Favorite from Monday, April 26, 2010.

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John 6:52-71: Some Left Over – Part Xbread-and-wine

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

In so many ways, and on most of our days, we ask God as Jesus’ disciples do in today’s Noontime: This [bread of life discussion] is hard; who can accept it?

Jesus says to his disciples as he says to us: Does this shock you? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

And we may question as Jesus’ followers always do: Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Jesus knows that we do not understand the full impact of his words and he also knows that he will be betrayed by us in some way great or small. And so Jesus says: Did I not choose you? Yet is not one of you a devil?

Jesus refers here to Judas and he might also be referring to one of us; yet so great is Christ’s heart, so magnanimous is the Creator and so transforming is the Spirit that God’s unbounded love can heal each of us when we return to Christ with our foibles and faults fully visible in our hands as offering to our loving God.

God says: No matter how egregious or small the error, no matter how heinous or petty the action, no matter how deceitful or damaging the word, my love is great enough to redeem you. My heart is full enough to heal you. My wish to have you with me in all space for all time is greater than any wrong you may have done. Turn to me, for in my eternal living there is always enough love left over.

Compare these verses in various versions of the Bible using the scripture, and listen for God’s words of eternal promise and everlasting life.


Image from: https://creativemarket.com/camaralenta/1227831-Grapes-wheat-bread-and-wine-featuring-wine-bread-and-communion

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John 6:16-35: Some Left Over – Part VIIIloaves-fish

Monday, August 8, 2022

Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel contains what is called the Bread of Life Discourse in which Jesus amplifies the miracle his followers have just witnessed, the multiplication of loaves and fish. Bracketed by this miracle and discussion of Jesus as eternal bread is a well-known story: Jesus walks across the stormy waters to rescue his friends from their swamped boat, saying, “It is I. Do not be afraid”. Now the disciples have ears that are ready to hear the love story Jesus wants to impart. The miracle of fish and loaves will expand at the last Passover meal Jesus will share with them to encompass the world in the Creator’s enormous embrace of love. The bread and wine that Jesus will part with them will become Christ’s body and blood. The multiplication of loaves, the breaking of bread and the offering of wine will be experienced in a momentary reality that becomes an eternal embrace of love. The miracles they have experienced – and those they will continue to experience – are more than mere metaphor. They are an act of love.

We search for the Living Christ just as the people do in verses 22-24), and when we ask: “When did you get here?”  Jesus tells us: You are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for food that endures for eternal life.

Explore verses 22 through 35 and compare various versions to discover what Jesus’ words mean to us on this day in this time. When and where do we find eternal sustenance? How and why do we seek eternal bread? With whom do we share our own stories of encounters with the resurrected Christ? And what changes can we imagine in our little lives that will lead us to unity in Christ’s eternal life?

Tomorrow, murmuring.


Image from: https://tben.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/7-miracles-in-the-book-of-john-part-7/

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John 17:1-5: Glory, Part VIII – Unityuniversality

Monday, July 25, 2022

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes for us Unity and Variety (12:1-14); we are accustomed to looking for those characteristics that define as unique.  Today we look at the idea of glory as found in the unity of God’s variety.

Today’s lesson on Glory: The great diversity we find in God’s creation call us to come together in unity through Christ.

It is true that there is great variety in God’s creation and that we are a part of that variety.  It is also true that many of us are uncomfortable when approached by a person or an idea that varies from what we expect or want. Today we read this prayer of Jesus’ in which Jesus intercedes for all — and not some – of the people. So what do we do about those who are not on our invitation lists, in our lunch group or book club, on our street, in our political party or in our church pews? How do we begin to include all of creation that we have not regarded as one with all of us?   When we hear Jesus today, we understand that he glorifies God by obeying God in making this universal call to all.

This is the call to find unity rather than division is one which we must take up and then extend to others.  This is the call that gives glory to the Father. This is the call that we can answer if we reply with the patience, openness, and understanding of Christ.

For this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 

Let us spend time today with Jesus’s words as we consider who and what separates us from God’s glory that calls all to be one in Christ. And let us reflect on our concept of eternal life as described by Jesus.


Adapted from a reflection written on August 17, 2008.

 Image from: http://www.spirituality.org/is/150/editorial.asp or http://www.icsu.org/publications/about-icsu/icsu-universality-of-science-2006

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Blog-The-FutureWednesday, January 26, 2022

Daniel 12:1-4

Prophecy of the Future

[The Jewish and Christian communities] preserved the most important innovation contained in the book of Daniel, the notion of resurrection in 12:1-3: “and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” Isaiah 26:19 may allude to the possibility of the resurrection of the dead, but if so, it is the only instance in the OT. “Those who are wise” (12:3) may well refer to the chasidim of which the writer Daniel is a part. Whether they pass over into the realm of the holy ones of God, the hosts of angels, is not entirely clear, though the notion that they will shine “like the stars forever and ever” might support the idea. In any case, the writer of Daniel has dared here to go further than any theological predecessor in Israel, since he suggests that beyond the culmination of human history and the wise shall shineGod’s victory on behalf of righteousness is “a world populated by the saints themselves”.  (Mays 633)

Prior to this point in Daniel’s prophecy, everything had taken place as predicted. Now the faithful are called to believe beyond their experience of today.

What do we – as the faithful remnant at the turn of the 21st Century – see as our own prophetic future? How do we anticipate moving into the days we have yet to live? Who will be our companions on The Way? And what do we do each day and each night that indicates to ourselves and the world that we are followers of Christ?


Mays, James L., ed. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 633. Print.

For more on the chasidim, visit: http://www.rebbe.org/chasidism.html

For more reflections on the words of this prophet, enter the word Daniel into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: http://thecommunityofleaders.com/are-you-leading-the-future-or-managing-the-present/

 

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trustMonday, June 7, 2021

1 John 5:6-12

Making Liars of Ourselves

As we near the end of John’s first letter we might be shocked to hear what the apostle has to say to us. Let us encourage one another to hear God’s word and send it on.

Whoever does not believe God has made himself a liar by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.

As we consider the testimony John gives to us we might be amazed to hear that God loves each of us. Let us encourage one another to enact God’s word and send it on.

And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in the Son.

As we begin to understand the breadth and depth and height of God’s love we might be humbled to realize that God comes among us as the human Christ to suffer as we suffer, to rejoice as we rejoice. Let us encourage one another to love God’s word and send it on.

Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever dos not possess the Son of God does not have life.

As we begin to fully take in all that John has related to us we might be amazed to understand that God loves us always, even when our actions do not reflect our words. Let us encourage one another to speak truth by living authentically rather than making liars of ourselves with all the great and little actions in our lives.

authenticityEnter the word authenticity in to the blog search bar and consider how easy it is to cease making liars of ourselves.


Image from: http://www.pammarketingnut.com/2011/05/are-authentic-social-relationships-over-rated/

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Let us loveSaturday, May 29, 2021

1 John 3:11-18

From the Beginning

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another . . .

For this is the message we carry into the world: we must love one another, even – or perhaps especially – our enemies.

Do not be amazed, then, if the world hates you . . .

We are not amazed, then, when the world condemns us.

Whoever does not love remains in death . . .

Whoever loves those who hate him remains in life eternally.

The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers . . .

The way we come to know love is to enact it. The way we come to know hope is to give it.

Children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and truth . . .

Sisters and brothers, let us not love in what we say but in what we do.

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another . . .

Spend some time today with the four selected versions of this citation in the scripture link above. Choose another version from the drop down menus and ponder what we have heard from the beginning, what we know, and how we enact God’s love in the world.


Image from: http://www.annarborrehab.com/

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

the-letter-shin[1]Psalm 119:161-168

Shin

My heart reveres only your word . . . I rejoice at your promise . . . Your teaching I love . . . Seven times a day I praise you . . . Lovers of your teaching have much peace . . . for them there is no stumbling block . . . I look for your salvation . . . I fulfill your commands . . . I observe your decrees . . . I love them very much . . . All my ways are before you.

In this penultimate strophe the psalmist has finally arrived at deep understanding of what it means to follow the Law.  It is not a stringent adherence to a long and complicated set of requirements.

God says: There is really only one law. Many of you have created layers and contingencies for yourselves but all of your regulations do nothing if they do not build my kingdom. All of your small rules and overbearing stances do nothing if they are not respectful of each human condition. Your fears create worlds I do not intend. Your desire to control only antagonizes others and sends them away from me. There is only one law and it is this: Love one another as I have loved you – love your enemies as well as you love your friends – ask me to intercede for those who harm you. Your joy at finding me in this one law will be evident to all so rather than preach with your lips . . . spread the good news with your thoughts and actions. This will engender in you an eternal fire that overcomes all obstacles, a perpetual passion of love and peace that can never be extinguished.

Our interpretation of God’s law is an invention of our fears and fantasies if it does not call us to forgive one another as God forgives us. Our ideas about Jesus’ teaching are an invention of our egos if they do not urge us to redeem one another as Jesus redeems us. Our beliefs about how to live out God’s precepts are false if they do not move us into action with the Spirit.

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test [Jesus] and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?  How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord your God with your all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself”.  He replied to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live”.  (Luke 10:25-28)

We look for peace. We seek life eternal. We want all obstacles in our lives to fall away.  A true and deep understanding of God’s love of all – even our enemies – brings us the serenity and union with God that we long for.

When Christ asks us how we read God’s law . . . what do we answer?  How do we act?

Tomorrow, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Taw.


To understand more about the letter Shin and how it represents both the flame that is evident and the flame stored in embers, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/shin.htm

Image from: http://www.heb4you.com/hebrew-alephbet/21th-letter-of-the-hebrew-alphabet.html 

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Friday, October 30, 2020

091212-impossible[1]Daniel 11

God as the Ultimate Power

The king shall do as he pleases, exalting himself and making himself greater than any god; he shall utter dreadful blasphemies against the God of gods. He shall prosper only till divine wrath is ready, for what is determined must take place. He shall have no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one in whom women delight; for no god shall he have regard, because he shall make himself greater than all.  (Verses 36 and 37)

This portion of Daniel’s prophecy is difficult to follow, even with a commentary, as there are varying opinions about the identity of the three kings of Persia, there are several rulers with the name of Antiochus, and kingdoms in the region are morphing and changing while dynasties rise and fall. It is sufficient to note, however, that the writer here conveys the sense of confusion that the Hellenistic Wars bring about. Syria and Egypt battle over who controls the Jewish kingdom and the little people wonder where and how all the conflict will end. The foreign ruler, King Antiochus, venerated Apollo and Zeus and he even saw himself as the king of Mount Olympus, Zeus/Jupiter. He did as he liked, including the placement of a gargantuan of a pagan god in the Jerusalem Temple. All that once was thought immutable is now changing and here the angel of the Lord tells us, through Daniel, that the Lord God will not be manipulated, controlled or mocked; the Lord is ultimately in control of all and everyone. Those who do not understand this will eventually come to see “this simple portrait of a tyrant, possibly even a mad one, willing and able to work his designs without being challenged even by the gods (v. 37) and yet unaware that his ultimate doom has been sealed in secret by the God who is the master of all of history and whose word is the last as well as the first”. The closing verses of this chapter predict the future and in the following chapter we find “the most important innovation contained in the book of Daniel, the notion of resurrection in 12:1-3”.  (Mays 633)

It strikes us as odd that one who professes to lead as a servant might have so little regard for the small works of beauty and goodness that are significant to the community. These leaders appear to place little value on benchmarks or markers or significant events that a people hold in common. They believe themselves more important than a god like Adonis, the one who sways so many women (Jones 1447).

When we find ourselves in the hands of those who are able to work their designs without being challenged by any entity on earth, we will want to remember that God is the ultimate source of infinite power, and that this power brings with it the gift of new, eternal life. This power generates from profound goodness and self-sacrificing love rather that brute muscle and dispassionate control. This power determines the nature of life and even death itself. And this power brings the gift of resurrection to those who follow faithfully.


Adapted from a reflection written on July 22, 2010.

Image from: http://www.quiettime.org/6243/power/

Jones, Alexander, ed.  THE JERUSALEM BIBLE. New York, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966. 1447. Print.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 633. Print.

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