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Posts Tagged ‘God’s goodness’


artworks-000017516576-lw5fu1-cropTuesday, May 25, 2021

Psalm 19:2-4

Day and Night

The heavens proclaim the glory of God

And the firmament shows forth the work of God’s hands.

Day unto day takes up the story

And night unto night makes know the message.

No speech, no word, no voice is heard

Yet their span extends through all the earth,

Their words to the utmost bounds of the world.

This spring we have reflected on the importance of preaching God’s Word with every small and great act in our lives. We have pondered the Lesson of the Fig Tree and the worth of even the smallest of sparrows. We have spent time examining our experience of Christ and we have compared the ideal with the real. Today we arrive at understanding that each day and each night are filled with God’s grace even when we cannot see or feel it. We have arrived at believing that just as the firmament extols God’s goodness . . . so must we. No speech is necessary. No word need be uttered. We have only to spend each waking moment doing God’s work. We have only to put our slumber into God’s trustworthy hands for it is in this way that we enter into God’s eternal goodness.

Is this what the Apostle John has seen and heard? Is this the goodness we seek? Is this the gift we have already been freely given?

Tomorrow, a prayer for our days and nights.


Visit the scripture link above and read the versions of this citation that have been pre-selected. Choose another version and ponder how the firmament speaks without words. 

Image from: https://soundcloud.com/handbook/sunrise

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Saturday, February 13, 2021

untitledPsalm 119

God’s Love Letter – Part I

God inspires the psalmist to record on an ancient scroll the words we long to hear and these words continue to resonate with us today.  Let us reflect on the beauty, grace and peace of God’s message of love to each of us.

Aleph: The Paradox of God and Humans – God calls humans into creation and we are free to respond.  Beth: God’s Dwelling Place Below – Mary serves as the ark for God’s New Covenant as she brings Jesus into the world. Gimel: Reward and Punishment- Just as there is duality between these concepts there is a duality in how we might view God’ Law.  Daleth: Selflessness – God invites us to take part in creation by living out the Law in loving our enemies rather than in revenge and violence against them. He: Thought, Speech and Action – We begin to see how we might answer God’s call.

Waw: Connection – Even if we try to deny our connection with God it exists; even if we turn our back on God, God continues to dwell within. Zayin: Woman of Valor – God enters the human race in the person of Jesus, relying on Mary, a woman of valor.  Heth: The Life Value of Run and Return – We sometimes fail to recognize God in the marginalized who live at the edges of society and yet Jesus lives his entire life with the disenfranchised. Teth: Inversion, the Concealed Good – God’s plan is one of ideas and lives turned on their heads. Yodh: The Infinite Good – We are invited to share God’s infinite goodness.

Use the scripture link to choose a different version of Psalm 119 and read the opening strophes with different eyes. Reflect on the gift of God’s love. Treasure God’s presence in each moment of our existence. 

Tomorrow, Part II of God’s Letter to us.


Image from: http://pictures.4ever.eu/love/hearts/heart-181117

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Friday, February 12, 2021

Psalm 119

In a world that still struggles with so many assaults on love, God continues to abide with us to remind us that God’s love alone will bridge all gaps and heal all wounds. The skeptics among us scoff as they ask how the faithful believe that God is with us when anger and fear stalk the world. The defeated among us cry out to ask how long the faithful will carry the onerous weight of the war and pestilence that takes its dreadful toll. The remnant among us find joy and sing praise as they give their share of the world’s burden to a loving, generous God who converts all harm to good.

We spend time reflecting on the last chapters of this song of God’s love to creation.

Qoph: Redemption of Fallen Sparks – God’s love redeems us although we may not trust it.

Resh: Clarity – God’s grace and mercy are present to us although we may not see it.

Shin: The Eternal Flame – God’s Law of Love is infinite and all-encompassing although we may not count it.

Taw: The Seal of Creation – God’s creation marks us with the sign of love although we may not sense it. It is through this creation that God marks us forever with the mark of Love.

Tomorrow, God’s Love Letter.

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Monday, January 25, 2021

In these days when we continue to recover from social, political, medical, and emotional turmoil, we look to this longest chapter in Scripture for guidance. Today, joy follows mourning.

9-teth[1]Psalm 119:65-72

Teth

Teach me your wisdom and knowledge . . . It was good for me to be afflicted, in order to learn your laws . . .

In this ninth strophe we near the middle of Psalm 119 and here the psalmist reaches out to God, asking for wisdom and knowledge specifically, promising to adhere to the Law of loving one another that Yahweh has written on our hearts. The psalmist expresses a truth we all know but often do not want to admit: we learn life’s lessons best when we are under siege or overwhelmed, and it is from this suffering that God calls forth joy.

God says: I tell you frequently so of this you may be certain: I am with you always, I see your joys and sorrows, and I bring all manner of goodness out of the great harm that some of you plot. So put away any plans of deception and come to the truth. Honesty, authenticity, integrity and love will heal any rift. In my plan and in my time, my love transforms even the darkest of hearts. You may believe my goodness to be hidden . . . but it lives forever in your hearts.

Rather than curse our painful circumstances, let us enter into God’s plan of inversion and allow our sorrow to lead us to the one who can heal the deepest of wounds. Let us allow God to love us infinitely and unconditionally.

When the Lord restored our fortunes we thought we were dreaming. Our mouths were filled with laughter; our tongues sang for joy . . . Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy. Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, with return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves.  (Psalm 126)

Tomorrow, the letter Yodh.


For more information on the letter Teth and how it represents inversion and concealed good, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/tet.htm or http://www.hebrewtoday.com/content/hebrew-alphabet-letter-tet-%D7%98

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Thanksgiving Day, U.S.A

November 26, 2020

Jesus Healing the Centurion's Servant

Paolo Veronese: Jesus Healing the Centurion’s Servant

Matthew 8:5-13

As we gather in the U.S. to give thanks for all that we are and all that we have, we remember that we are all . . . 

Under the Centurion’s Roof

This story has long held our fascination – a Roman centurion approaches the very un-pagan Jesus on behalf of his servant. This story raises questions for us – who is the servant who merits so much devotion on the part of his master; and what has caused the paralysis? A fall? A disease? A battle wound? This story is repeated by many as part of the Communion Rite – Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, say but the word and my soul shall be healed. This story invites us to step into the household of this Roman centurion to discover why he has such faith, and it invites us to examine our own sense of thanksgiving for all that we have.

My servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully . . . how do we ask for God’s help when those who serve us suffer?

I will come and cure him . . . countless times each day we benefit from God’s blessing and intervention. How do we thank God?

Lord, I am not worthy . . . only say the word . . . how do we respond to the signs of God’s intervention we see all around us?

As you have believed, let it be done for you . . . how do we tell the world about the goodness of God’s love for us?

A Centurion was a person of power and influence who rose through military ranks using his skills as a soldier and leader. If he paid homage to any god or creed, it would have been in keeping with the pagan beliefs held by his contemporaries; yet he comes to Jesus.

Jesus is willing to enter under any roof to heal all suffering and to bind up all wounds. If we find our ourselves hesitating to invite the master into our hearts, let us take a lesson from the powerful and compassionate soldier. Let us go to God with our needs and hopes. Let us speak plainly to the Lord about our feelings and circumstances. And let us give thanks to God for God’s great goodness and love.

Phyllis Tickle offers us a prayer of Thanksgiving that we might share with others as we gather under the Centurion’s roof.

“O Lord my God, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; yet you have called me to stand in this house, and to serve at this work. To you and to your service I devote myself, body, soul, and spirit. Fill my memory with the record of your mighty works; enlighten my understanding with the light of your Holy Spirit; and may all the desires of my heart and will center in what you would have me do. Make me an instrument of your salvation for the people entrusted to my care, and grant that by my life and teaching I may set forth your true and living Word. Be always with me in carrying out the duties of my faith. In prayer, quicken my devotion; in praises, heighten my love and gratitude; in conversation, give me readiness of thought and expression; and grant that, by the clearness and brightness of your Holy Word, all the world may be drawn into your blessed kingdom. All this I ask for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen”.  (Tickle 255)


Tickle, Phyllis.  THE DIVINE HOURS: PRAYERS FOR AUTUMN AND WINTERTIME. New York: Doubleday, 2000. Print.

To learn more about a centurion and his place in Roman society, go to: http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/a/Centurion.htm

Image from: https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-healing-servant-Centurion-Veronese/dp/B07CSSNKSJ

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

you are forgivenPsalm 32:1-2

Remission

Happy the one whose fault is forgiven, whose sin is blotted out; happy the one whom Yahweh accuses of no guilt, whose spirit is incapable of deceit!

Each of us knows that we are imperfect. Each day we struggle with the temptation to react in anger, to share gossip, to judge, to allow envy to take us over. And yet we also hope to stand blameless before the creator. The miracle of God’s goodness and greatness brings us this opportunity for redemption, this offer of remission.

God says: I do not want you to hide from me because you know you have been unpleasant, unhelpful or even angry with others. I do not want you to believe that the obstacles you see between you and me are insurmountable. Rather, I want you to bring your fears, your worries and your imperfections to  me. Together we will lift them. I promise to take on the heaviest of loads. There is no wrong you can describe to me that will make me shudder. My patience and forgiveness are bottomless; my love and hope are limitless; my yearning to have you close to me is unbearable. Come to me so that we can lay aside all that bothers and frightens you. 

God knows us too well to expect that we will never err. God loves too well to leave us by the wayside.

Christ loves us so well that he removes all guilt with a healing look. Christ seeks us so fervently that all blemish and all imperfection fall away with a healing touch.

No threat of guile or deceit is too much for the Spirit to transform. No rumor of sin is so enduring that the Spirit will not outlast it.

Let us put aside our fear and go to God that we might receive the gift of remission.

Tomorrow, the effects of remaining silent.


Image from: https://holycrossrumson.typepad.com/pastor/2018/08/forgive-us-our-trespasses-as-we-forgive-those.html

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Gray-Red-Broken-heart-broken-hearts-21417978-300-300[1]Psalms 19:15

Words and Thoughts

Let the words of my mouth meet with your favor, keep the thoughts of my heart before you, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

We speak an immeasurable number of words in our lifetimes yet how many of these words are exchanged with God? We ponder infinite chains of ideas; yet how many of these thoughts are intertwined with the word of God? With God as our source and God as our daily sustenance, all that we think and all that we do will spring from God’s goodness.

God says: I understand how easy it is to be caught up in gossip and in the minutiae of life; and this is why I ask you to begin and end each day with me. When we share time together the small and petty problems melt away. I also understand that complicated and overwhelming issues crowd your television screens, fill newspapers and leap out of radios to frighten you; and that is why I ask you to pause during each day even if only for a moment to let me know your worries and anxieties. I want to give you strength. I want to carry you above the danger. I want to give you peace of heart and mind and soul. Let us begin with simple words exchanged between us. Your worries come to me; my peace comes to you.

We cannot resolve all of the huge and complex problems of our world . . . but we can raise our petitions to God. We cannot fix the many niggling worries that plague us . . . but we can bring these troubles to God. We cannot reconcile all damaged relationships . . . but we can ask God to mend our broken ways and broken hearts. We cannot ease all troubled minds . . . but we can make our distress known to God.

Let us call on God’s mercy and goodness. Let us keep our words and thoughts focused on God. And let us keep our hearts and minds centered in God. For in God lies our strength and our redemption.

Tomorrow, we begin a journey with Wisdom.


A re-post from August 26, 2013.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Moretto: King David

Moretto da Brescia: King David

1 Chronicles 16

Ministry

If we remain constant and in constant dialog with God we are continually surprised by God’s goodness.  When God’s is the first advice we seek, we cannot go wrong; our daily battles will be upheld, and we will stand in awe of God’s generosity.

The Levite hymn of praise that appears in this chapter is thought, by some scholars, to have been added later; other experts believe that it so reflects The Chronicler’s style that it must have always been included in this part of David’s story.  That discussion aside, we can see that David, at this point in his life, makes no decisions without God’s input.  The years he spent on the run avoiding Saul’s troops and making his little guerrilla strikes, have prepared him well for this.  We see here someone who understands that even those close to us, those to whom we have pledged our loyalty and love, can and will betray us, someone who understands the importance of fidelity, perseverance and thanksgiving.  The David we see today has come through fire and understands his place in God’s plan, and he understands and accepts his ministry as his vocation.

When we read David’s entire story, we also see that David slips into separation from God.  He is never, nor are we, a finished product.  He is in process with God and his faith journey will take him many places before it ends in old age.  Even at his death, David is embroiled in the argument of which son will rule after him and the death of his beloved Absalom will bring him deep sadness in his final days; yet David continues to commune with God, to listen and to daily dialog, and to live out his ministry as a faithful servant.

Each of us has a ministry we hope to fulfill.  I admit to struggling with my own vocation.  It would be so much easier, I say to God regularly, if I did not have to do all that God asks, if I might pick and choose my own works as I see them suiting my talents.  The reply always returns with an accompanying chuckle: God knows that the path is full of obstacles, and God knows how we tire.  It is for this reason that God abides constantly, never leaving our side.  God knows well the plans God has in mind for us, as the prophet Jeremiah tells us (29:11), and God desires to surprise us at every turn with an encouraging smile, a loving caress, a kiss that does not betray.  God’s constancy and goodness and wisdom are tools lent to us in order that we perform our ministry.  God also provides us with little respites at oases that suddenly and surprisingly appear.  Those are the moments in which we might raise our own hymns of praise just as the Levites do in today’s reading.

As we remain constant, we remain close to God.  As we remain close, we commune with God.  As we commune, we worship.  Let us lift our voices together in a paean of praise.

Tomorrow, the constancy of dialog with God . . .


Image from: https://www.pubhist.com/w4727

Written on June 20, 2009. Revised and posted today as a Favorite. 

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Psalm 65: Sacred Rest

Saturday, December 22, 2018

We are about to enter a week of Thanksgiving in the United States, a time when we traditionally set aside time for family and friends, a time when we traditionally acknowledge the goodness of the Creator and the generosity of Creation.  It has also become a time for bargain shopping.  Somehow we always manage to clutter up the time God gives us for refreshment and recuperation.  It is as if we cannot stop ourselves from the neurotic filling up of time and space with meaningless objects and activity.  A few brave souls have begun to push back against the opening of stores at midnight on Black Friday and I applaud their effort. http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111118/NEWS90/111119739/-1/NEWS  I have even joined the petition.  For some of us to bargain shop, others of us must leave family and home to wait on us.  I think we as a people are missing something.  Rest.

An excerpt I recently read from Richard Rohr’s Following the Mystics through the Narrow Gate …Seeing God in All Things (CD, DVD, MP3) has set me to thinking.  Today’s Noontime Psalm moves me further along in the same direction.  Rest.  We need to rest and reflect.

“The final experience of mysticism, after the optimistic explosion that we usually call hope, and the ensuing sense of safety, is of deep rest. It’s the verb I’m told that is most used by the mystics: ‘resting in God.’ All this striving and this need to perform, climb, and achieve becomes, on some very real level, unnecessary. It’s already here, now. I can stop all this overproduction and over-proving of myself. That’s Western and American culture. It’s not the Gospel at all.

“We’ve all imbibed the culture of unrest so deeply. We just cannot believe that we could be respected or admired or received or loved without some level of performance. We are all performers and overachievers, and we think ‘when we do that’ we will finally be lovable. Once you ride on the performance principle, you don’t even allow yourself to achieve it. Even when you ‘achieve’ a good day of ‘performing,’ it will never be enough, because it is inherently self-advancing and therefore self-defeating. You might call it ‘spiritual capitalism’.”

Rohr is telling us what we really know: we must step back from the high velocity life we have constructed for ourselves and we must give time over to God.  We need to rest, reflect, and give thanks.

The psalmist intones: To you we owe our hymn of praise . . . to you our vows must be fulfilled . . . to you all flesh must come . . . There is no denying this truth.  We owe all that we are and all that we have to God.  For this we must give thanks.  We all physically return to God.  This is a truth that cannot be avoided.

You answer us with awesome deeds of justice . . . you are robed in power, you set up the mountains by your might, you still the roaring of the seas . . . the tumult of the peoples . . . There is no avoiding this reality.  We might throw ourselves against our problems with childish anger but in the end it is child-like petition that brings us to our senses. This is a truth that cannot be ignored.

You visit the earth and water it, make it abundantly fertile . . . you adorn the year with your bounty, your paths drip with fruitful rain, the untilled meadows also drip; the hills are robed with joy . . . There is no tricking ourselves into believing that God has no interest in us whatever.  God’s generosity is too enormous to reject; God’s kindness is impossible to refute.  We may give ourselves credit for earning what we have gathered but it is God the Creator who makes the panoply of Creation available to us.  This is a truth that cannot be argued away.

The pastures are clothed with flocks, the valleys blanketed with grain; they cheer and sing for joy . . . There is no evading these simple facts.  God creates.  God provides.  God rests.  If we hope to rest at all . . . we must first rest in God . . . We must call our friends and loved ones to join us in this sacred resting . . . and we must together give thanks to the Creator for Creation.


A re-post from November 19, 2011.

Image from: http://adjusttowellness.com/Kids_5Reasons.html 

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