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Posts Tagged ‘freedom’


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

images[1]Psalm 119:153-160

Resh

Rescue me . . . Take up my cause . . . Redeem me . . . Give me life . . . Give me life.

As we near the close of this psalm we have come to understand that real and permanent rescue lies only in God.

God says: You have spent many days exploring this longest of Psalms and through your persistent study and faithful prayer a new clarification begins to seep into your bones and sinews. Take me with you in your heart and mind, your body and soul as you go about your work, rest and play. Invoke me when you are frightened. Celebrate with me when you experience joy. Remember always that I love you and that my love for you erases all wrong and rights all injustice. With me comes the dawn of a new light, the breaking in of a new wineskin, the shifting away from old habits and customs that tie you down and do not bring the lasting freedom of the heart as I do. Remain in me always and everywhere, for only in me do you find clarity.

We are sometimes quite stubborn and refuse to believe that contentment might be gained by examining our old traditions to jettison those that hamper our development. We are sometimes quite slow in taking up the gift of new life. We are often not willing to die . . . so that we might live.

For if we have grown into union with [Christ] through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. (Romans 6:5-6)

Living in Christ is never easy for we must be willing to examine our thoughts, words and deeds and we must be willing to live in a new way. We ask for clarity when we already have it . . . but refuse to understand it . . . because our understanding will call for action on our part. Yet, living in Christ is always rewarding for we are quickly forgiven, always loved, and always blessed. We ask for clarity and we already have it . . . let us be willing to understand the gift of new life that we hold in our hands.

Tomorrow, Fallen Sparks.


For more on how Resh speaks to us of clarification and God’s difficult yet wonderful call, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/reish.htm

Image from: http://houseofjoseph.net/alef-bet_download_page.htm

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Friday, January 1, 2021

The Eighth Day of Christmas

Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre: Nativity

Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre: Nativity

Galatians 4:4-7

Proof

When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into your hearts crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child than also an heir, through God.

We struggle to realize a kind of independence from any being – natural or supernatural. We strive to gain control of our own destiny – earthly or spiritual. We tussle with time and attempt to govern the passing of minutes, hours and years – looking back into the past and forward into the future while neglecting the precious present. We have need of none of these desires and indeed we expend our energy and creativity uselessly on these false battles . . . for we already have all that we could hope for. We are rescued from darkness. We are ransomed through the love of God. And we are already heirs of a kingdom and fortune too vast to be measured or counted. We have our proof in this small, tiny child.

On this eighth day of Christmas as we stand at the threshold of a new day that marks a new year, let us live in this prized gift of the present that the Father has given to us.  Let us give thanks to the Father for all that we have and all that we are.  On this day when we begin a new year that we so eagerly await, let us cease our search for the proof of God’s love and let us be convinced – as Christmas people – that what we seek we already possess.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jean-Baptiste_Marie_Pierre_-_Nativity_-_WGA17676.jpg

Enter the words Children of God into the blog search bar and spend some time reflecting on what it means to greet Christ as a brother.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020obedience[1]1 Peter 1:13-16

Obedience

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ . . . [and] be holy as he who called you is holy . . . for it is written, “Be holy because I [am] holy”.

Peter understands the importance of living in Christ’s holiness perhaps more than any other apostle. Peter both denied Christ and witnessed that Jesus is the son of the Living God. Peter understands the real cost and gift of suffering. Peter believes in the inheritance he holds in his hands, mind and spirit.  Peter comprehends the importance of living in Christ, and the insignificance of the many small problems with which we crowd our days.

God says: Listen to our brother Peter for he has great wisdom for you. Peter understands that real freedom can only be won through obedience to the goodness I have planted in you. Peter understands that straying from my Word is normal and that suffering is unpleasant and painful. Peter also understands that cleaving to my Word can go against your desire for independence . . . but that total and true independence can only be gained through your following in The Way of Christ. There is much more that Peter understands and that he wants to convey to you but for today . . . rest with the idea of obedience. And reflect on when and how and why you have felt most free. Like Peter you will find that the obedience he preaches releases you from the small, petty worries of your days. Like Peter, you will come to more fully understand how obedience releases you from all that constrains and frightens you.

Once we decide to trust God in both large and small matters we free ourselves from energy-sapping anxiety. This is what Peter means by girding our minds and living soberly in the moment. This is the holiness to which Peter calls each of us . . . in the name of Christ.

Tomorrow, Peter tells us about reverence . . .  


Image from: http://metropraise.blogspot.com/2012/09/obedience-is-better-than-sacrifice.html

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Saturday, September 5, 2020

Jeremiah_33_3[1]Jeremiah 33

Promise

We visit the book of Jeremiah often in our Noontime reflections; it is a rich and complex prophecy. Jeremiah is so frank, honest, and open about his suffering. Chapter 33 is particularly lovely and holds much promise about healing after punishment.

This prophecy might prove difficult for those among us who are addicted to turmoil and conflict or to the control of others and our surroundings. Jeremiah speaks of reliance on God who loves dearly and intensely, tenderly and passionately. Through Jeremiah, God announces a desire for our own personal freedom so that we might freely choose to be in relationship with God. Whether we suffer or celebrate, God wants to dance in intimacy with us.

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. This quiet instruction from God speaks of the closeness and confidence of our relationship. We have only to ask. God will answer. Like the faithful spouse.

Verse 9: Then Jerusalem shall be my joy, my praise, my glory, before all the nations of the earth, as they hear of all the good I will do among them.  They shall be in fear and trembling over all the peaceful benefits I will give her. The prophecy of Jeremiah is not only a faithful prediction of what will happen to King Zedekiah, to the city of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Israel, it is a foretelling of the Christ story and it is the story of our own ransom and redemption.

God wants only freedom for us so that we might have the option to choose to love and follow. Christ arrives to bring us this freedom from slavery and darkness. The Holy Spirit abides with us constantly, whispering this promise to us repeatedly.

When we seek freedom from all that haunts us, we only need turn to a forgiving and loving God. This is where real and lasting love lies. This is where eternal sustenance and strength lie. And this is where the undying and sure promise of God’s presence and movement in our lives will always lie. This is the freedom God willingly gives. God’s promise to us is this great. God’s love for us is this persistent and ever-lasting.


Adapted from reflections written on January 1, 2007 and April 28, 2010.

Image from: http://pastorblog.cumcdebary.org/?m=201208

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Sunday, June 28, 2020

prison2[1]Casting Away Chains

Psalm 2:1-3

Why do the nations rage and the peoples devise futile plots? The kings of the earth rise up, and the princes conspire together against the Lord and against his Anointed One: “Let us finally break their shackles and cast away their chains from us”.

Jesus came into the world to set us free from all the fears and anxieties that enslave us.  He lives and breathes with us that we might believe that we do not need to pay homage to any of the little gods the nations, the peoples and the princes have established.  Jesus is the Anointed One who comes to tells us that there is only one law to follow . . . The Law of Love.

God says: As I have said so many times, it is confusing to sort through all the little gods you have chained yourselves to: the god of time, the god of space, the god of power, the god of control, the god of fear, the god of fame, the god of glamour, the god of wealth, the god of status and so many more.  There is only one God and I Am that God.  There is only one law, The Law of Love.  There is only one dominion, the Kingdom I invite you to build with me.  I have broken your chains just as I broke the chains of Paul and Silas.  Trust in me and put aside your little plans.  Allow me to cast away the chains that are too heavy for you to lift.

We need no plots, no schemes, and no tricks to be one with God.  We need only surrender, obedience and love.  Let us trust the one who forgives endlessly.  Let us rely on the one who judges mercifully.  And let us follow the one who unlocks all chained and secret places.


Type the word plots or schemes in the blog search bar and examine how we separate ourselves from God . . . and how we might allow God to release us from our personal prison.

To read the story of Paul and Silas’ miraculous release, see Acts 16.

A re-post from June 28, 2013. 

Image from: http://glad-u-see.com/salvation.html 

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Leviticus 10:1-3: Closing the Distance

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

When I read the Book of Leviticus I marvel at how closely these early people monitored their physical, moral and spiritual lives.  I try to imagine living at a time when there was no FDA, no FDIC, no AMA, no Magisterium, and I begin to feel the need to formulate rules for everything.  Of course, once the rules are set we will want to enforce them.  And once we enforce them we will need to judge them.  This thinking, in spite of the fact that it seems liberating, has the effect of closing us down.  In today’s reading we see what happens when two people get too close to Yahweh in an unauthorized rite.  This is not the God of the New Testament who invites us in, who yearns to live in the temple of our souls.

Jesus arrived in the world to set us free.  He loosens the bonds of captives.  He releases us from addictions, ailments, anxieties and fears.  He invites us to open ourselves and to be as vulnerable to the world as he is himself.  He invites us to incorporate with him as Light to the world, Hope to the world, Love to the world.

In the chapters following today’s citation we might read about the early Hebrew thinking regarding childbirth, leprosy, personal un-cleanliness, atonement and scapegoating.  In the chapters previous we can find all we need to know about what foods to eat and not to eat.  Out of necessity for survival, this early Hebrew nation was regulated to the smallest detail – inviting narrowness and judgment.  Today, we who live in the Messianic times are free to explore God and to join in the constant renewal of creation.  We cannot forget that we have been freed from all that frightens us, and we must act as if we believe the Jesus who stood in Nazareth and read from the scroll of Isaiah saying:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

Because he has anointed me

To bring glad tidings to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives

And recovery of sight to the blind,

To let the oppressed go free,

And to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. 

(Luke 4:18-19)

As twenty-first century Christians, we might proclaim the same to one another in Christ’s name.  Let us bring glad tidings to the poor, including those among us who are poor in spirit.  Let us abide with one another as we free those among us who are held captive by our fears.  Let us be light so that others who are blinded might have sight.  Let us witness to all kinds of oppression, whatever and wherever it may be.  And let us proclaim a time acceptable to the Lord.  Amen.


Written on October 7, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite. 

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

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1 Corinthians 15:1-11: The Teaching

Trinity Sunday, June 16, 2019

Modern Corinth

We have before us today the story of who and what we are, what we believe, and how and why we came into being.  This story tells us everything we need to know about why we exist.  It is the teaching that Paul received from Christ, and it is the teaching that he preaches constantly, both to the people of his time and to us today.  Sometimes I need to re-read the story often, especially at the times when the world tests my stamina.  Paul teaches.  We are called to believe.

For a capsule view of the teaching Paul repeats so often we can go to Acts 17 and 18 when he is in Athens and about to depart for Corinth.  He delivers his message as he always does, telling the marvelous story of how we only need to rely on God, how God has come among us to live and suffer and die and rejoice as one of us, and of how we are all brothers and sisters of this God who has risen and who wishes to have us with him in intimate union.  This wonderful message is received in three ways: some scoff, some say they like the idea but are too busy at the moment to hear more, others believe . . . and join Paul in his mission.

We are offered this same opportunity each day as we rise, as we pray, as we work, as we play.  We choose whether we want to poke fun, to be lukewarm, or to become fervent in our dedication to this simple yet amazing story.

From the MAGNIFICAT evening reflection on Acts 16:26 when the disciples are freed from shackles by an earthquake: Just as the disciples were delivered from prison, so were all of us delivered from the prison of sin and death by the resurrection of Christ and the gift of the Spirit.  In moments of discouragement, let us remember the hope that lights our way to a goal far more wonderful than we can imagine even now. 

The other citations all direct us to reflect on what to do when we are discouraged.  Psalm 126, along with Baruch 4:22-23 (I have trusted in the Eternal God for your welfare, and joy has come to me from the Holy One . . . With mourning and lament I sent you forth, but God will give you back to me with enduring gladness and joy) and Isaiah 55:11 (My word shall not return to me void but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it).

When we become discouraged we only need to remember The Teaching: God has come among us to walk with us, to bring us release and peace and even joy.

They go out, they go out, full of tears, carrying seed for the sowing: they come back, they come back, full of song, carrying their sheaves.  (Psalm 126:5-6)

Let us join Christ in the song, let us join Paul in the harvest, and let us join one another in peace and joy.

Amen.


Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Evening.” MAGNIFICAT. 20.5 (2009). Print.

For more on Paul in Corinth click on the image above or go to: http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=14&Issue=3&ArticleID=1

Written on May 20, 2009 and re-posted today.

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John 10:9: “I Am the Gate”

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Jesus tells us, “I am the gate. Those who come in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture”. (GNT)

We notice that Jesus does not trap his sheep in an enclosure with strict rules. Knowing their love for others – even their enemies, he invites them to come in and go out through the safe gate of The Way.

I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures. (DRA)

We see that Jesus does not confine his followers in tight corners. Knowing their fidelity, he gives them the freedom to come and go in his Truth.

I am the door. If a man goes in through me, he will be safe and sound; he can come in and out and find his food. (Phillips)

We watch Jesus who does not micromanage the faithful. Believing in their hope, he invites them to walk in The Light.

I am the Door; anyone who enters through Me will be saved [and will live forever], and will go in and out [freely], and find pasture (spiritual security). (AMP)

We know that Jesus understands the difficulty of our journey. Loving our persistence, he invites us to become a branch on the great vine of life. If we doubt his patience as he offers this invitation, we remind ourselves of this story’s details.

Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. (MSG)

Today we receive a loving invitation to walk in The Way, to hope in The Light and the Life, and to live in the truth that is Christ. Let us move toward this door to authenticity. Let us enter this gate to transformation.

Tomorrow, the Narrow Gate and The Great Reversal.


When we compare varying versions of this verse, we see that despite the circumstances of our lives, we might look for the doors that Christ opens for us.

Image from: http://normansennema.com/archives/18173

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Tobit 5Rafael 

Jacopo Vignali: Tobias and the Arcangel Raphael

Monday, May 7, 2018

A Favorite from May 12, 2010.

I have always loved this story of synchronicity, healing and steadfastness and each time I read it I reflect upon – and marvel at – the number of times that the angel Rafael has been present in my life.  Sometimes I know he is present in the healing hands of physicians, ministers and friends.  Other times it is only until well after an event that I realize I have been visited by an angel.  God constantly sends us his guides; we may or may not be aware of their presence.

We are created to experience joy rather than sorrow, reunion rather than separation, salvation rather than abandonment.  We are meant to be free from bondage, free to enter into relationship with the force that created us, free to enter fully into our divinity.  In yesterday’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation by Fr. Maurice Zundel we read:  We are called into a heart-to-heart relationship with the Lord in which our whole being must enter . . . The only way to enter into the mystery of the universe is through the divine presence.  When we are hidden in the presence of God . . . we are at the heart of the true universe.

Fr. Maurice Zundel

Humans have a yearning to belong, an ache to be part of something significant, and I believe that this is what makes human love so alluring to us.  We want to be the center, the axis point, the object of someone’s love . . . and yet we already are.  Rafael walks with us and guides us more times than we even know; and he arrives as the healing messenger of God.  Let us give thanks and be glad.  Let us rejoice and praise God.  Let us keep a sharp look out for the Rafaels in our lives . . . and let us repeat our stories of God’s power to save, of God’s infinite and compassionate love, for we are creatures of joy and not woe.


Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 3.11 (2010). Print.  

To learn more about Fr. Maurice Zundel, a Swiss theologian, visit: https://amishcatholic.com/2018/02/28/maurice-zundel-on-prayer/ 

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