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Posts Tagged ‘God’s goodness’


shepherdSaturday, August 14, 2021

Jeremiah 22 & 23

Ungodliness

Jeremiah presents us with a roll call of false leaders, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim and Jeconiah.

Woe to him who builds his house on wrong; his terraces on injustice, who works his neighbor without pay, and gives him no wages.

Jeremiah also presents us with a messianic vision, the promise of a good and honest shepherd who fulfills the promise of bringing the faithful home.

I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.

Jeremiah shows us the dichotomy of evil and goodness in which we live. He gives us mirror in which we might discover our own ungodliness.

God says: You need not tremble when you read about the terrible leaders who lead my faithful away from me and to the hungry, demanding little gods of Baal. You need not fear for your life if you live in me. You need not hide or bury yourself away when danger threatens. You need only rest in me. Allow my peace to give you a quiet place of rest. Let the freedom I give you prove the depth of my love, the strength of my fidelity, and the healing power of my hope.  

False and true leaders, false and true prophets, false and true shepherds. Jeremiah draws clear pictures of what we may see in ourselves and others as he warns us of the danger of ungodliness.


For information about Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim and Jeconiah, visit:

http://biblehub.com/dictionary/j/jehoahaz.htm

http://biblehub.com/dictionary/j/jehoiakim.htm

http://biblehub.com/dictionary/j/jeconiah.htm

To learn about Josiah, visit: http://biblehub.com/dictionary/j/josiah.htm

Image from: http://www.open-mike.ca/2013/08/13/day-225/

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ancient wine flaskSunday, August 1, 2021

Jeremiah 13

The Loincloth and the Wineflask

This wicked people who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts, and follow strange gods to serve and adore them, shall be like this loincloth that is good for nothing. For as the loincloth clings to the main’s loins, so had I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord; to be my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty. But they did not listen to me.

Today we are presented with this image that indicates the level of intimacy God expects to experience with us. The faithful are so close to God that they share in God’s goodness and are worthy of praise. The faithful are a beautiful part of God’s plan. They are the Children of God.

Every wineflask is meant to be filled with wine . . . Can the Ethiopian change his skin? The leopard his spots?

20080613-Loin-Cloth-ReddishGod says: Your destiny is to live life fully as my precious, lovely children. When I say that you are meant to cling to me I do not look to demean you; rather, I look to glorify you just as you glorify me. When you act in the ways that my son shows to you, you become one with me. When you turn away to follow your little, demeaning gods, you walk away from this beauty, goodness, renown and glory. Come! Follow me! I want to bring you home to this most safe, most intimate, most loving of places. Allow me to heal and counsel you. Permit me to guide and protect you. Soften your hearts, unbend your necks, and come home to the one who wants to lift you in body, mind and spirit.

The people who listen to Jeremiah’s prophecy turn away from these words; they draw away from God’s work of ministering to those on the margins and focus instead on the accumulation of wealth, comfort and goods.

What do we choose to do today?


To meditate on Jeremiah Chapters 11, 12, 13, enter the words The Infinity of True Happiness into the blog search bar and explore.

To explore more artifacts of the ancient world, click on the image of the wine flask above and follow links, or go to: http://theancientworld.tumblr.com/post/16764938939/wine-flask-bianhu-with-geometric-decoration-ca 

For another reflection on Jeremiah 13, click on the image of the loincloth above or go to: http://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/1078-jeremiah-13/ 

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Friday, July 23, 2021

Jeremiah 4

ReconciledbannerSincere Repentance – A Reprise

Just when we believe that hope is lost, a door opens. Just when we think that we will not be forgiven, word arrives. Just when we feel the end is near, life begins again. Psalm 133 celebrates the goodness to be found when adversaries determine to reconcile differences.

Assurance

How very good and pleasant it is when we see God in one another despite narrow hearts and tightened minds.

These quick moments delight as surely as a loved one’s gaze renews  . . . as ever a child’s breath blesses her mother’s cheek.

The Lord’s happily granted gift of forgiveness heals all . . . despite our reluctance to respond to God’s love.

The Lord’s freely given gift of life affirms divinity in each . . . despite our reluctance to believe in God’s promise.


Visit the Spiritual Courage post on this blog by entering the words into the blog search bar, and consider the consequence of a severe repentance. What consequences await us when we gather courage to do what we know must be done?

Image from: http://www.everydaychurch.com/cpt_news/reconciled-amaris/

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waiting-on-the-benchSaturday, July 10, 2021

Romans 8:26-28

The Waiting

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

We so often find ourselves thinking that God’s plan is not suitable, not adequate, not timely or – worse – non-existent. If we wonder what God thinks, we do not have to look far.

God says: I know that you can never hear these words too much: Do not be afraid; I am with you always. I know that when you are weary and your resources are low that you become frightened and even panicky. I know that your patience wears thin; I know that you doubt that my plan has intelligence or design. Read the words from my Book of Wisdom in Chapter 13 verses 13, 16-19 and know that your perfection arrives not in your lack of error . . . but in your perseverance with me, your clemency toward others and your generosity in the Spirit. Consider all of this . . . and know that I love you.

Look at the other Biblical versions of today’s readings and think about how we recognize God in the patience, clemency and generosity of others. Choose four different versions from the drop down menus and consider why and how we wait for God’s justice. Consider where and when we see God’s goodness.


Image from: https://rickezell.com/2018/02/07/4-reflections-while-you-wait/ 

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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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