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Posts Tagged ‘God rescues’


nile mapMonday, September 13, 2021

Jeremiah 42

. . . You Are Remnant

 

If you remain quietly in this land I will build you up, and not tear you down . . .

We will know when we are closest to God when our hearts are broken.

I will plant you, not uproot you . . .

We will know that God is near when we hear the call to make reparation.

For I regret the evil I have done you . . .

When we most feel like abandoning a place or a relationship, we will know that restoration is at hand.

Then listen to the word of the Lord, remnant of Judah.

When we repent our own broken vows, when we remain rooted and bloom where we are planted . . .

The Lord has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel. 

When we build bridges with our enemies . . .

The Lord has brought them back from the land of the north.

When we move forward into true union and intimacy with God . . .

The Lord will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child, they shall return as an immense throng. 

When we ask nothing more than to do God’s will . . . then we will know that we are remnant.

They departed in tears, and the Lord will console them and guide them; the virgins will make merry and dance, and young men and old as well.  

So let us sing with our remnant companions . . .

The Lord will turn their mourning into joy, the Lord will console and gladden them after their sorrows.

And let us call others to the dance . . .

Cease your tears of mourning, wipe the tears from your eyes, the sorrow you have sown shall have its reward.

Let us recount how the Lord has rescued us . . .

There is hope for your future.

And let us remember that we are God’s beloved . . .

How long will you continue to stray o rebellious daughter?  

Let us tell others of the wonders of God’s love . . .

The Lord has created a new thing upon the earth.

Let us soften our hearts and unbend our stiff necks . . .

The Lord will place a new law within them, and write it upon their hearts.

Let us agree to be God’s people . . .

“I will be their God”, says the Lord, “and they will be my people”. 

For there is nothing more worthy than remaining faithful to God . . . there is nothing more worthy than becoming remnant.


Image from: http://www.keyway.ca/htm2012/20121230.htm

Adapted from a reflection written on October 7, 2007.

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Friday, September 10, 2021

heart life not dullJeremiah 39

Our Lives as Booty

Jerusalem is invaded and destroyed, the enemy chases down and captures the king, the princes are murdered before the father’s eyes, and the poor are left behind to tend the farms and vineyards.  Jeremiah is released from the guard house where he had been detained for his words. He conveys the words of the Lord’ assurance to his Egyptian rescuer, Ebed-melech: Behold, I am now fulfilling the words I spoke against this city, for evil and not for good; and this before your very eyes.  But on that day I will rescue you, says the Lord, you shall not be handed over to the men of whom you are afraid.  I will make certain that you escape and do not fall by the sword.  Your life shall be spared as booty, because you trusted in me, says the Lord.

From commentary: “Jeremiah’s behavior illustrates how to survive.  By submitting to Babylon, he has escaped with his life as the prize of war and returned home.  The Eded-melech sequel lends strength to this interpretation.  Although the fate of the city is sealed, Ebed-melech will escape with his life as a prize of war because he trusted in YHWH.  It is that confidence that most exiles emulate, and they too will gain a future.  The many themes of these narratives unite in this rhetorical effort to persuade the exiles to submit to Babylon as the only avenue forward”. (Barton, and Muddiman 520)

All of this sets us to thinking about God’s justice.

From the mini-reflection in today’s MAGNIFICAT Evening Prayer: The concept of God’s justice can seem frightening.  We are aware of our own sin and fear retribution.  However, God’s justice is not about him getting back at those who offended him.  God’s justice sets things aright . . . [so] we should not dread God’s justice.  Rather we should rejoice in right order returned to his creation.

And so we pray . . .

Just, yet merciful God who sees and knows all, we return our lives to you.  We, who are created by your hand, turn back to you all that we have managed to enact in our lives in your name.  We, who have known the protection of your power, fly home to live in you.  We, who have been saved by your love, gather all that we are as booty to be taken in by you.  In your mercy, guide us.  In your kindness, guard us.  And in your great love, give us the hope, the grace and the endurance we will need to live in joyful hope for you.  We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 


Barton, John, and John Muddiman. THE OXFORD BIBLE COMMENTARY. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001. 520. Print.

Image from: http://christianmotivations.weebly.com/christian-motivations-blog/archives/08-2014/3

A Favorite from February 5, 2011.

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Joel 3: Pouring Out


Joel 3: Pouring Out

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Joel[1]

Sistine Chapel – Michelangelo: The Prophet Joel

We have seen this little book a number of times and Joel always has the same message for us: the end days will be arriving – Yahweh will be just and merciful – compassion will reign but he will also pass judgment.  Joel calls us to get our spiritual house in order so that we do not suffer, so that we are rescued, so that we might live with God and all of creation in joyful harmony.  In this Christmastide, as we begin anew, we might want to consider Joel’s call.

God loves the faithful remnant so dearly that God wants to pour out the spirit upon each one.  God loves God’s children so well that God rescues them from the darkest corner and farthest place.   God loves all of creation so intensely that God leaves no door closed, no word unsaid, no gesture undone in order to bring the children home.  Let us listen to the word of this loving God as given to us by the prophet Joel.

I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind . . . imagine what we might accomplish if  we allow God’s Spirit to pour into us.

I will work wonders in the heavens and upon the earth . . . imagine what wonders we might experience if we allow God to work in us.

Everyone shall be rescued who calls upon the name of the Lord . . . imagine how we might free ourselves from old worries and anxieties if we might allow God to lead us.

There shall be a remnant as the Lord has said . . . imagine what we might experience if we come together as God’s faithful remnant.

And so we pray . . .

Grant us fresh hope at the beginning of this day: that we may live it for your glory and our neighbor’s good.

Relieve us of the burden of old worries and stored grievances: that we may pass through the narrow gate that leads to the kingdom.

Protect us from recurring fears: that we may serve you in freedom and in peace.

Heal all those who labor under the pain of depression, scrupulosity, and anxiety: that all may know the joy of your love.

Lord Jesus Christ, you have brought us safely to this new day and this new liturgical year as you promised to bring us safely to dwell with you one day in your kingdom of light.  Defend us against all that would weigh us down and slow our steps, so that we may run with delight in the way of our Gospel.   Amen.


A re-post from December 5, 2012.

Image from: http://fathermarkcollins.blogspot.com/2012/11/between-fear-plenty-lies-gods.html

Cameron, Peter John. MAGNIFICAT. 4.9 (2007). Print.  

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Isaiah 21: Fall of Babylon

Friday, March 15, 2019

Francesco Hayez: Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem

Today’s reflection follows yesterday’s Noontime reading and here we see the Babylonian Captivity is a seminal episode in our Judeo-Christian history; it is an experience against which we measure many others.

A cruel site, revealed to me.  Trauma, upheaval, betrayal, suffering, turmoil – this is what Isaiah sees coming.  The conqueror will be conquered.  This is unimaginable.

I am too bewildered to hear, too dismayed to look.  Terror, shock, horror, panic, dread – this is what we fear is around the corner, up the street, in our own backyard.  We turn away confused by what we see and hear.  Nothing makes sense.

My mind reels, shuddering assails me.  We are so upset that we make ourselves ill.  This is an experience we know.  We also know that we cannot endure unless someone somehow brings us relief.  We struggle to stay afloat; we flail our arms to remain upright.  We cannot believe we are in this situation.

For thus says the Lord to me: Go, station a watchman, let him tell what he sees.  We pull ourselves together and decide that rather than fall completely to pieces we have to trust someone.  Tentatively we put out a hand to God.

And I stay at my post through all the watches of the night.  As long as nothing more happens we can stand erect watching, waiting for our deliverance.  We scan the horizons to see how God will come to our rescue.  We wait and keep watch, fearful yet hoping.

Francesco Hayez: The Babylonian Exile

Here he comes now: a single chariot, a pair of horses; he calls out and says, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon, and all the images of her gods are smashed to the ground.  We hear the news we never thought we would hear.  The impossible has taken place.  An old foe has fallen.  A former enemy begs forgiveness.  We are stunned and know how to respond as the truth of our deliverance seeps into our consciousness.

Oh my people who have been threshed, beaten on my threshing floor!  What I have heard from the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, I have announced to you.  At first we think we have miss-heard, misunderstood but it dawns on us that God has brought about the impossible.  God has answered our prayer.  And although others may encourage us to take revenge upon a vanquished opponent we choose to react as Jesus asks.  We give thanks, and we heed the words of St. Paul to the Colossians (3:12-14).

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.  And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. 

And so we pray . . .

Good and generous God, we are tempted to crush the enemy we see fallen; but we know that you call us to intercede for those who have plotted our downfall.  The enemy who wished to annihilate us has in turn been vanquished; you have saved us from destruction.  Help us to forgive as we have been forgiven.  Remind us to bless as we have been blessed.  Let us love as we have been loved.  Amen. 


A re-post from March 15, 2012.

For more reflections on The Book of Lamentations click on the images above or go to: http://tndickersondiaries.blogspot.com/2011/01/lamentations-highlights.html

Also see The Book of Lamentations page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/lamentations-surviving-ruin/

For more on the Book of Isaiah, go to the Isaiah – God of time and Space page on this blog at https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/isaiah-god-of-time-and-space/

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Luke 15:1-32: All That was Lost

7_lost-sheep-jesus

The Lost Sheep

Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 6, 2016

Sceptics wonder where the faithful see God in the world that surrounds us. Non-believers take credit for all that they store up; they blame themselves and others for a lack of success. The faithful move forward with their eyes on the prize . . . the knowing that all that was lost will in the end be found, all who were scorned will in the end be justified, and all who were last will certainly be first.

In today’s Gospel we again hear the familiar stories of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son. We hear Jesus’ clear assertion after each of these stories that God rejoices more over the gratitude of the lost who are found than the steady love of those who never leave him. This certainly gives us something to consider.

We may see ourselves as sheep who never leave the shepherd’s side . . . but when we are honest we know that we have each been lost at one time or another. We might welcome the joy the creator showers on us.

Parable-of-Lost-Coin-Feti

The Lost Coin

There’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

We may see our tiny turnings toward God as insignificant moments in a turbulent day . . . but God sees them as a wonderful occasion to rejoice. We might join in the rejoicing of others.

Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.

We may see a lack of fairness in our lives when those who are newly arrived to faith in God are celebrated as much or more than those who have been faithful . . . but God invites all of us to join in the celebration of the return of those who have been found. We might tell others this good news of God’s goodness.

You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!

1-1-1-1-1-A-A-lost-coin-found-We may each remember times when we have envied the good fortune showered on others when we work long and hard to remain close to God. We may each have experienced times in our lives when all that has been lost far overshadows what appears to be found. In all of these occasions, when we look carefully and honestly, we will see that what once was empty has been made full. What once was dark now has been made light. And what once was lost has
most beautifully been found. When we give thanks to God for this marvelous gift of redemption, we become part of the celebration and great joy in the kingdom that erupts when the lost are found.

prodigal son

The Lost Son

When we believe that we do not see God’s presence often in our lives, let us look at these times when weariness, anger, jealousy or envy may have unfocused our vision. And let us ask God for clarity as we begin this week’s Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “God’s generosity is sometimes not fair,” let us think instead, “When we put away the past and follow God’s example of enormous generosity, we are better able to welcome the lost back home into the kingdom . . . and to give thanks for our own part in God’s great rejoicing”. 

For other reflections on, The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin and The Prodigal Son, use the blog search bar to explore. 

To learn about The Innocence Project that assists prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing, visit: http://www.innocenceproject.org/free-innocent. Find out about how more than 300 people in the United States have been exonerated, including 20 who served time on death row. For a story Anthony Ray Hinton, one of those freed after nearly 30 years in Alabama, forgives those who incarcerated him, visit: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/09/30-years-on-death-row-a-conversation-with-anthony-ray-hinton#.VmpdpHOMQ 

Tomorrow, coming to believe.

 

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John 15:18-27: Glory, Part VI – Hatred

Friday, July 24, 2015

James Tissot: Jesus Wept

James Tissot: Jesus Wept

Knowing that we find humility, emptiness, and service when we willingly become branches on the great vine of Christ, we look to understand how God’s glory arrives through the world’s hatred.

Today’s lesson on Glory: Even the hatred of the world cannot overcome the love of God. This may be difficult to believe until we remember that with God . . . all things are possible.  

We each have encountered animosity in our families and among our friends and colleagues. There is no question about the existence of these negative forces that threaten security. There is no doubt that we ourselves have been drawn into the darkness that loops itself in its negative quashing of peace; yet – as Christ has told us – we need not fear for before the power of hatred presented itself at our door, it has struggled with the redeeming power of Christ.

If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.

We remember God’s words to Samuel: It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king. (1 Samuel 8:7)

I have chosen you out of the world and so the world hates you.

We remember Jesus’ words to his followers: Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. (Luke 4:24)

When the Advocate comes who whom I will send to you from the Father, he will testify to me.

We remember the words of Psalm 118: I thank you for you have answered me; you have been my savior. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the Lord this has been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. (Psalm 118:21-23)

And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.

We remember the words of Jesus to his disciples: Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?” Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. (Matthew 21:41-43)

And so we pray,

Understanding and gentle God, you understand our pain and suffering at the hands of those we love. You know the suffering we experience when we are wrongly accused. We know that especially in the world’s anger you are present to heal, transform and restore. We rest in the knowledge that no force is greater than your love, no darkness can escape your redemption, no atrocity can overcome your glory. We ask your constant guidance and transformation through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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1622_advent_joy_pt3_fullMonday, December 1, 2014

Joy and the Psalms

Rescue

The Book of Psalms calls us to praise God and these hymns created millennia ago still resonate with us as we ask for God’s help and intercession, bless and honor God’s name, mourn our losses and rejoice in our understanding of God’s goodness. In order to better understand these beuatiful songs in this second Book of  Wisdom Books during this first week of Advent, or we can focus on the power of the psalms as we connect with God as sisters and brothers in Christ, as we seek a healing pathway on which we carry our lament to the Spirit, as we come together to praise and honor the creator God, and as we experience the surprise of God’s joy that protects and defends, rescues and saves.

The following verses have been modified to give us mantras that we might hold on to as we move through our days and nights. If you are able, carve out a bit of Advent time this afternoon or evening to reflect on one or two of these verses and ponder what their meaning might be for us in your particular circumstances. Click on the scripture links and explore other versions of these verses. Share an idea about the surprise of joy in the dark places and times in our lives with a loved one, a neighbor or friend. And allow the surprise of joy to brighten each day as we move forward in the season of hope-filled waiting for the arrival of the Christ.

joyPsalm 28 verse 7: The Lord protects and defends me; I trust in God who gives me help and makes me glad; I praise God with joyful songs. Do we think of sharing God’s joy with others?

Psalm 30 verse 11: You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance, O God; you have taken away my sorrow and surrounded me with joy. Do we call on God’s joy when we are alone or suffering?

Psalm 35 verse 27: May those who want to see me acquitted shout for joy and say again and again, “How great is the Lord! God is pleased with the success of his servant.”  Do we acknowledge God’s role in the joy that comes to us?

Psalm 40 verse 16: May all who come to you be glad and joyful, O God. May all who are thankful for your salvation always say, “How great is the Lord!” Do we accept God’s presence in our lives and do we share the joy of this presence with others?

If this week’s exploration of Psalms calls you to search for more surprises, 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. Tomorrow,  joy in God’s power.

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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