Posts Tagged ‘fear and anxiety’

Daniel Bonnell: The Road to Emmaus

Luke 24:13-35: Drawing Near

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

In this second week of Eastertide, we continue to relive the Easter miracle of our resurrection as we re-visit the Gospel readings for the Easter Octave. Today we find a theme we often visit during our Noontimes, the road to Emmaus. Despite our having read and heard this story so often, we find a newness today.

As they talked and discussed, Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them; they saw him, but somehow did not recognize him. (GNT)

Perhaps we re-live this story so often because we walk with Jesus as these followers do. They – and we – move through life with eyes on a distant Emmaus some miles away. They – and we – stride quickly forward to escape a terrible Jerusalem that put an end to the beautiful dream. They – and we – rehash a story that is at once too terrible and too beautiful to recall. “Such promise,” we say to one another. “Such disaster,” we whisper to this stranger. “Such disappointment,” we hear ourselves sigh.

We move forward with the stranger who draws near, and we have the odd sensation that we know him; yet we do not recognize the strong body coupled with the compassionate heart. His words comfort and challenge in the same moment. His eyes tease and console in the same gaze.  What is it, we ask ourselves, that draws us near?

They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was. (MSG)

It is no wonder that this is a favorite story for in it we see Christ as we need him. Tending to our wounds while animating us to gather strength. Challenging our doubt while calming our anxiety. Drawing near to our hearts while healing our fear.

In this Eastertide, as we move toward our own Emmaus, let us commit to looking for Christ in each person we meet every day. Let us promise to give over to Christ each worry that plagues us every night. Let us remember that Christ rises to heal us each morning and walks with us to heal us every afternoon. Let us welcome the stranger who draws near to affirm to one another that despite our harsh circumstances, we are not abandoned. Then let us draw near to the Spirit in one another, for it is in this act of openness that we find our healing, unending encounter with the living Christ.

As they talked and discussed, Yeshua himself came up and walked along with them, but something kept them from recognizing him. (CJB)

When we explore varying translations of this story, we open our ears and eyes, and we draw ever nearer to Christ.

For more reflections, enter the word Emmaus into the blog search bar.

Image from: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-road-to-emmaus-daniel-bonnell.html 

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Psalm 39: Landing in Troubletrouble

Saturday, March 11, 2017

We might all pray Psalm 39 each morning in our present atmosphere of gossip, innuendo and hyperbole.

I’m determined to watch steps and tongue
    so they won’t land me in trouble.
I decided to hold my tongue
    as long as Wicked is in the room.
“Mum’s the word,” I said, and kept quiet.

In our current environment of fear, anger and suspicion, we return to the words of the psalmist.

    But the longer I kept silence
The worse it got—
    my insides got hotter and hotter.
My thoughts boiled over;
    I spilled my guts.

“Tell me, what’s going on, God?
    How long do I have to live?
    Give me the bad news!

In our present milieu of nepotism, corruption and denial, we look for Wisdom in God’s Word.

You’ve kept me on pretty short rations;
    my life is string too short to be saved.
Oh! we’re all puffs of air.
    Oh! we’re all shadows in a campfire.
Oh! we’re just spit in the wind.
    We make our pile, and then we leave it.

“What am I doing in the meantime, Lord?
    Hoping, that’s what I’m doing – hoping
You’ll save me from a rebel life,
    save me from the contempt of dunces.

I’ll say no more, I’ll shut my mouth,
    since you, Lord, are behind all this.
    But I can’t take it much longer.

In our current setting of despair, anxiety and distrust, we look for hope in God’s promise of justice.

When you put us through the fire
    to purge us from our sin,
    our dearest idols go up in smoke.
Are we also nothing but smoke?

In our present circumstances, we are honest with our Creator. We are hopeful in Christ. And we are faithful to the Spirit.

“Ah, God, listen to my prayer, my
    cry – open your ears.
Don’t be callous;
    just look at these tears of mine.
I’m a stranger here. I don’t know my way –

    a migrant like my whole family.
Give me a break, cut me some slack
    before it’s too late and I’m out of here.”

In every moment of every day, we remember that God is with us no matter our circumstance, and no matter our state of mind. We remember to trust the hand that created us, and to follow the voice that calls us.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore other versions of this psalm, we encounter God’s real presence in our lives, especially when we find ourselves surrounded by trouble. And we encourage one another to trust the wisdom and promise of God.


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1 Corinthians 2:6-10: The Freedom of Wisdom

Thursday, February 23, 2017tree-of-knowledge

We scour bookshelves. We search the Internet. We gather with friends. We quiz colleagues. We share our deepest worries with loved ones. Our pursuit of wisdom is a universal human quest and our search consumes much of our time; yet the knowledge we so avidly seek is a knowledge we already hold, the eternal mindfulness that springs from God’s wisdom. We only need open our hearts to God’s Word.

St. Paul tells us: We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground . . . but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so.

God says: You need not succumb to your fears and anxieties. Bring them to me and my Spirit will quiet them. When you put your faith in the world and the skills you have honed to get the best of that world, you rely on fleeting talents. When you stand on your trust in me, you stand on firm ground. This is the wisdom you seek.

St. Paul continues: God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of God’s purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out God’s best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is.

God says: You need not give in to your anger and resentment. Bring these passions to me and my Spirit will transform them. I live in you for an eternity and my plan is to bring you home to me. When you place your hope in the promises of the world, you rely on potentials that can never develop. When you hope in me, you hope in God’s own purpose. This is the wisdom that redeems.

We are offered the gift of a quiet, internal wisdom that brings calm in the chaos. We are given the promise of eternal deliverance from all that we fear. We are blessed with the freedom to choose God’s endless and redemptive wisdom. To this gift and promise we open our hearts. For this gift and promise let us give thanks.

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