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Posts Tagged ‘eternal life’


John 1: In the Beginning

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. (NRSV)

No matter how often we read these words they bring us new beauty.

Footnotes tell us that the writer lays out the themes that develop as the Gospel continues: life, light, truth, the world, testimony, the pre-existence of Jesus, the incarnate Logos who is God’s revelation and the expression of God’s love for us.  When we think of the stories we hear and read in this Gospel, we know for a certainty that God is calling us to be diverse, to tend to that diversity and to place our hope in this diversity – because it is in this diversity that the Spirit manifests itself best.

The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
    God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
    in readiness for God from day one. (MSG)

God calls us to intimacy, and Jesus calls out this same petition in his brief life.  God asks us to commune with one another in a way we think impossible, and we can only do this if we rely on Wisdom.  This morning’s first reading was from Wisdom 3:1-12, The Hidden Counsels of God on Suffering.  Looking at verse four of that reading we are reminded that our hope is what makes us immortal.  This hidden counsel of God manifests itself in Jesus, the world’s only true hope.

In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. (GNT)

Jesus, the Suffering Servant, comes to us to serve – not to be served.  And so must we serve rather than be served.  No one has ever seen God except through Jesus Christ, the apostle John tells us; yet God speaks to each of us through Jesus.  It is fitting that Jesus represents this hope of God. It is correct that we awake and rise each day to look to Jesus. It is right that we act and live in hope, for it is this hope that makes us immortal.

Adapted from a reflection written on September 20, 2007.

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Galatians 3:26-29: Re-Creation – God’s People

Easter Friday, April 21, 2017

If we wonder how God sees the children God lovingly created to bring light to the darkness, we might consider Paul’s words to the Galatians.

It is through faith that all of you are God’s children in union with Christ Jesus. You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ himself. So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are the descendants of Abraham and will receive what God has promised.

Through God’s grace, we receive the gift of faith and we read the testimony left by others.

From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! (1 John 1)

Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we receive the gift of life eternal. On this Easter Friday, as we gather ourselves for Easter re-creation, we benefit from spending time with John’s first letter of testimony. He tells us that all he recounts is real. He reminds us that all he recounts to us has taken place. And he states very clearly that all he reports to us continues to occur today.

To explore varying versions of the verses cited in today’s Noontime, use the scripture links and the drop-down menus.

 

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Philippians 2:6-8: Re-Creation

Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017

[Jesus] always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. (GNT)

In this Lententide, we have meditated on the humility we might learn on our Emmaus journey; we ponder the outrageous hope we have in the Spirit. We have considered the phoenix rising from ashes as we have pledged to remain in God. We have admitted that we are children of God who rest in Christ; and we have determined to remain in the world while not being of it. We have reflected on the act of allowing ourselves to be de-created so that we might become new in Christ. Today, as we celebrate the wondrous miracle of new life that conquers death, we come to terms with our human yet divine nature.

Jesus emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. (NRSV)

Richard Rohr tells us, “All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain . . . If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably become cynical, negative, or bitter . . . If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it – usually to those closest around us: our family, our neighbors, our work partners, and, invariably, the most vulnerable, our children”. (Rohr 119)

Jesus shows us how we might allow our suffering to save ourselves and others.

Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. (MSG)

On this great day we might celebrate the breaking of chains of death that none thought breakable. When we witness Christ in his interactions with those who were crucified with him, and later the women and men who discovered the empty tomb, we do not see Christ puffed up in glory. Rather, we find a humble and loving shepherd who leaves an entire flock in order to rescue a single sheep.

On this great day we celebrate the invitation to re-create ourselves in Christ. We give thanks for the invitation to redemption in Christ. And we rejoice in the promise of hope the Spirit offers us. Let us accept these caring gifts with humility, fidelity and love.

The feast of Easter is an eight-day celebration, so this week we will consider how and where we might show our gratitude to God for these gifts of eternal salvation.

Richard Rohr, OFM. The Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.  

To spend more time with these verses, use the scripture link to read varying translations of these words, and to open our hearts to these remarkable gifts of faith, hope and love.

 

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John 11: Healing Death

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Giotto di Bondone: The Raising of Lazarus

Giotto di Bondone: The Raising of Lazarus

John the Baptist was imprisoned and when he got wind of what Jesus was doing, he sent his own disciples to ask, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?” (MSG) This week we are given an opportunity to give our own testimony.

How willing are we to believe that Jesus has power even over death?

 Jesus announced, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.” (MSG)

How willing are we to act as Jesus does to bring life out of death?

The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone to sleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.” Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap. (MSG)

How willing are we to tell the world the Good News that Jesus wants each of us to live in eternal space and time in unity with him?

“You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?” (MSG)

How willing are we to heal death as Jesus does?

“Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.” (MSG)

How willing are we to believe?

For more reflections on the raising of Lazarus, enter his name in the blog search bar and explore.

When we compare different translations of these verses we begin to see that God wants for each of us the eternal gift of life.

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1 John 2:15-17: Get Set for Eternity

Saturday, December 3, 2016

NASA and European Space Agency: Carina Nebula

NASA and European Space Agency: Carina Nebula

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world – wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important – has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out – but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. (MSG)

We may welcome this news from John the Beloved with eager ears, or we may want to ignore his counsel. In either case, do we not all want to welcome eternity?

The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever. (GNT)

We many want to accuse others of living too much in this world, or we may see ourselves as responding to the lure of quick but temporal satisfaction. In either case, do we not all want to participate in the unending feast?

The world is passing away, along with its desires. But whoever does God’s will remain forever. (CJB)

We may want to declare that the perfection of the kingdom is an impossible dream, or we may be one who testifies to the fact that with God all things are possible. In either case, do we not all want to share eternity with our loved ones?

This world is fading away, and these evil, forbidden things will go with it, but whoever keeps doing the will of God will live forever. (TLB)

We may want to quietly persist on our personal path with Jesus, or we may shy away from inviting others to join us. In either case, do we not all want to prepare for the gift of eternal peace?

When we compare varying translations of these verses, we find The Way to eternal life that John the Beloved assures for us.

The Hubble image above is a 50-light-year-wide panorama of the center of the Carina Nebula, and it shows a region of rapid star birth and death. (NASA and European Space Agency) For more images, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/23/science/space/unforgettable-hubble-space-telescope-photos.html?_r=0

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1 John 5: Walking with God

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Morgan Weistling: Walking with God

Morgan Weistling: Walking with God

And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know God who is true; and we are in God who is true, in God’s Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)

In this chapter of John’s first letter we are told how we might conquer the world: believing in Christ, observing God’s commandments, living out the testimony we witness in God’s loving care for us, believing in God’s message that we are given the gift of eternal life that is quite real and not an illusion, and entering into dialog with God who loves us more than we can understand or imagine.

What do we see in Weistling’s painting? A loving father who gingerly holds his child’s hands – not too tightly and not too loosely. We see a small, eager face filled with confidence and trust – looking up, looking forward. We see traces of a workshop, the messy business of life where there are pitfalls and obstacles to overcome and learn from rather than deny or avoid. Perhaps the child’s mother has brought her husband a meal or has stopped for a quick visit between father and child. We might ask ourselves: are the parents aware of the dangers of the workshop and the world? Most likely they are. We might also ask as we pause today: Is the father teaching the child . . . or is the child teaching the father? How much might we learn from the small ones around us?

Weistling: Kissing the face of God

Weistling: Kissing the face of God

Today we reflect on our own first steps as children and we remember that the human Christ had to learn how to stumble, how to fall, and how to stand again. We reflect on how we as adults have nurtured the children given as gift to us. And we reflect on how we might become childlike in our trust in and dependence on God. Are we the worried parent always looking to avoid the fall? Or are we the eager child always trusting in the Lord?

To learn more about these paintings, click on the images. 

Over the next few weeks we will be away from easy internet access but we will be pausing to read scripture and to pray and reflect at noon, keeping those in The Noontime Circle in mid-day prayer. You may want to click on the Connecting at Noon page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/ Or you may want to follow a series of brief posts that begins today, inspired by paintings of the life of Jesus Christ  that can be found at: http://www.jesus-story.net/painting_family.htm In these posts, we will have the opportunity to reflect on a scripture verse and an artist’s rendition of that event. Wishing you grace and love and peace in Christ Jesus.

 

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Romans 5The Difficulty of Love

Sunday, May 29, 2016Authentic-love-graphic

A Favorite from August 10, 2010.

It is in this chapter of Romans that we receive our greatest challenge of all challenges: Only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps even for a good person one might even find the courage to die.  But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. 

We read today one of the great paradoxes of Christian living – that we receive the gifts of faith, hope, love, grace, peace and life eternal when we are willing to die to self with Christ, so that we might rise again in new life.  We are reminded that none of our transgressions can turn God away.  Our creator is always waiting to comfort us, save us and free us from all that makes us unhappy.  It is we who forget this as Paul reminds us in his letter to the Philippians 4:6-7: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

romans-5-8Commentary tells us that here we see the law and sin in proper relationship to one another – only through the sacrifice of Jesus.  We may well wonder how we view our own transgressions against God, self and neighbor in light of this good news.  Do we shrink from examining our conscience, afraid of what we might find to confess?  Do we eagerly give ourselves over to recollection and self-questioning in order that we more fully understand our proper relationship with God through his Spirit? If the former, we take consolation from today’s Noontime that reassures us that no human can surprise God with sin.  If the latter, we do not hesitate to quiet ourselves within so that we might fully understand and believe that God wants nothing more than to love us . . . and be loved in return.

The difficulty with genuine and authentic love is this . . . that it imitates Christ.  It is willing to die to self even for enemies, because genuine and authentic love knows that through Christ there is always the opportunity to transform.  Through Christ we are each called to rise and live again.  In this way through Christ, our hearts and minds are guarded in Christ Jesus.  We can find no better champion than Christ.  We can find no better protector than Christ.  We can find no better lover than Christ.  For it is Christ who makes all difficult things possible . . . through his abundant and difficult love.

For another reflection on authentic love, click on the heart image above or visit: http://www.newhopeladies.com/?p=486

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1 John 1: Eyewitness

Holy Saturday, March 26, 201612351-Jesus_Hands_Resurrected.1200w.tn

Can we fully understand . . .?

From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.

Can we fully comprehend . . .?

We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!

Can we fully believe . . .?

mary magdaleneThis, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him.

Can we fully take this in . . .?

We are more than bystanders to the truth and light that rises from death. We are eyewitnesses to the light that rises from pain. We are one in the body of Christ that rises from death itself to bring life eternal that knows nothing but joy.

Using the scripture links and drop-down menus, spend time with this letter from the Beloved Apostle John. Then watch or listen to Matt Maher’s video presentation on the promise and surprise of resurrection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUQm-F5LFu0

 

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1 John 1: God’s Yardstick – The Gospel Writers

The Infinite Life of Christ

Duccio di Buoninsegna: Christ at the Sea of Galilee (detail from Episodes of Passion and Resurrection)

Duccio di Buoninsegna: Christ at the Sea of Galilee (detail from Episodes of Passion and Resurrection)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

We hear eye-witness accounts from those who were there, from those who walked and talked, ate and lived with Jesus. Scholars believe that Mark most likely writes his Gospel for early followers, gentiles who faced persecution after Jesus’ death and resurrection. He explains a number of Jewish customs to his audience and only once refers to the Old Testament. Matthew, on the other hand, writes to Jews who believed in Jesus as Messiah. Luke directly addresses Theophilus, someone of high position and wealth, and his message bolsters the story the early Christians told. John writes to non-Jewish believers, those who struggle with the conflict between philosophy and faith. And it is John who opens his first letter with words that ought to convince any who doubt the veracity of the Jesus story. (Zondervan 1356, 1620, 1663, 1718)

From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. (1 John 1:1-2)

Not only do the Gospel writers give testimony to the truth they have lived, they ask that we pass this story along. They ask that we keep the Spirit in our hearts. They ask that we keep the Creator forever in our minds.

We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! (1 John 1:3-4)

And Jesus says to his followers: “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.” (John 20:29)

1-john-3-17-does-gods-love-abide-in-him1Those who lived the Gospel story have something to pass along to us. Those who read this story today have something to pass along to those who follow. When we spend time today with Gospel verses of our choosing or with one of John’s letters, we open the door to a deeper understanding of the yardstick of love that God hands to each of us so we might better measure the wealth of our lives, the infinite life of Christ we share with others.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 1356, 1620, 1663, 1718. Print.

Tomorrow, yearning. 

 

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