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Posts Tagged ‘God’s hope’


1 John 4:12: God’s Enormous Love

Easter Wednesday, April 4, 2018

We continue the celebration of Easter throughout this holiest of liturgical times, focusing on one verse a day, comparing varying translations, remembering God’s immense love, anticipating the joy of God’s hope, and resting in the transformation of God’s wisdom.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. (NRSV)

We look for physical signs of God’s presence . . . yet we see God in the acts of mercy we offer to one another.

No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in union with us, and his love is made perfect in us. (GNT)

We look for spiritual signs of God’s presence . . . yet we see God’s hope in the acts of rescue we offer to one another.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God remains united with us, and our love for him has been brought to its goal in us. (CJB)

We look for emotional signs of God’s presence . . . yet we see God in the wisdom we offer to one another.

No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! (MSG)

We look for God in so many ways . . . yet God is among us without our thinking, without our asking, without our believing.

How might we bring the Easter joy of God’s love to one who seeks wisdom, hope and compassion?


When we compare translations of these verses, we come to understand that the perfection of love is its steadfast power and hope in our lives.

Image from: https://williamsonsource.com/pennells-ponderings-on-god-being-in-control/ 

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Esther F: The River is Esther

Edward Armitage: The Feast of Esther

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It has been a week since Ash Wednesday when we began our Lenten journey of discovery, renewal, and transformation. We have had seven days to contemplate the state of our world and our personal circumstances. We have reflected on the violence in Esther’s world and in our own. Today, amidst bloodshed and reversals, and despite our fears, we find a way to give thanks.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai declare his praise for God’s providence. We too, might announce our acclaim.

Then Mordecai said: “This is the work of God. I recall the dream I had about these very things, and not a single detail has been left unfulfilled – the tiny spring that grew into a river, and there was light, and sun, and many waters”.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai describe God’s river of compassion, and the river is Esther. We too, might affirm God’s love.

“The river is Esther, whom the king married and made queen”.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai announce his gratitude for God’s power. We too, might proclaim our appreciation.

“The Lord saved his people and delivered us from all these evils. God worked signs and great wonders, such as have not occurred among the nations”.

In the apocryphal verses of this story, we hear Mordecai assert his joy for God’s presence. We too, might broadcast to anyone who will listen our confidence that God also abides.

“Gathering together with joy and happiness before God, they shall celebrate these days on the fourteenth and fifteenth of the month Adar throughout all future generations of his people Israel”.

With these apocryphal verses, we experience the river that is God’s power, fidelity, hope and mercy. And this river is Esther.

 Tomorrow,, Esther on the fringes of society.  

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Isaiah 55:8-9: God’s Ways

Sunday, October 1, 2017

There is little wonder that we become confused in our contemporary society; and God is aware of this.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. (NRSV)

God’s generosity is far too deep and far too wide for us to understand; and God is aware of this.

“My thoughts,” says the Lord, “are not like yours,
    and my ways are different from yours.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so high are my ways and thoughts above yours. (GNT)

God’s call to us to follow in the ways we cannot understand are a struggle. And God is aware of this.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not my ways,” says Adonai.
“As high as the sky is above the earth
are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (CJB)

God’s hope for us is greater than we can imagine. And God is aware of this.

“I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think. (MSG)

God’s love for us is greater than we can take in. And God is aware of this.

Although God’s ways are not our ways, God abides with us still. For God is aware of who we are. And so God loves us still.

When we compare varying versions of these verses, we understand the enormity of God’s faith, hope and love in and of us.

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Wisdom 13:1-9: The Wisdom of God’s Creation

Sunday, November 22, 2015Gods-creation

Anyone who does not know God is simply foolish.

When we look at the beauty of the planet, we see God’s goodness.

Such people look at the good things around them and still fail to see the living God.

When we share earth’s resources, we experience God’s generosity.

They have studied the things God made, but they have not recognized the one who made them.

When we bring together science, reason and spirituality, we experience God’s wisdom.

Instead, they suppose that the gods who rule the world are fire or wind or storm or the circling stars or rushing water or the heavenly bodies.

When we see the elements as God’s gifts to us, we see God’s trust in us.

tree in handsPeople were so delighted with the beauty of these things that they thought they must be gods, but they should have realized that these things have a master and that the master is much greater than all of them, for God is the creator of beauty, and God created them.

When we pause to reflect on the beauty of God’s creation, we see God’s hope for us.

Since people are amazed at the power of these things, and how they behave, they ought to learn from them that their maker is far more powerful.

When we witness to the resiliency in God’s creation, we begin to understand God’s strength.

When we realize how vast and beautiful the creation is, we are learning about the Creator at the same time.

creationWhen we witness to the complexity of God’s creation, we begin to understand God.

If the foolish had enough intelligence to speculate about the nature of the universe, why did they never find the Lord of all things?

Today we have the opportunity to discover if we are wise or foolish about God’s creation. We can read about the 2015 World Climate Summit at: http://www.wclimate.com/world-climate-summit-2015/

 

 

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Psalm 146: The Abundant Helper

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Don’t put your life in the hands of experts who know nothing of life, salvation life.

God’s generosity cannot be outdone; God’s love cannot be overcome.

Mere humans don’t have what it takes; when they die, their projects die with them.

God’s hope is eternal; God’s fidelity is everlasting.

God always does what he says – he defends the wronged, he feeds the hungry.

Jesus heals the broken and comforts the abandoned.

God frees prisoners – he gives sight to the blind, he lifts up the fallen.

Jesus calls each of us to pardon as we are pardoned.

God loves good people, protects strangers, takes the side of orphans and widows, but makes short work of the wicked.

The Spirit dwells within each of us, making a place for God’s abundant help to rescue, reconcile and redeem . . . so that we too might take part in God’s great plan of salvation.

generosity_of_god_smallWhen we use the scripture link to explore other versions of Psalm 146, we discover God’s abundant help. We discover God’s great plan for salvation life.

Click on the images to discover more about “Accessing God’s Willing Generosity,” and other thoughts on God’s abundant help. 

 

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Romans 11:33-36: The Mystery of God

Guercino: Padre Eterno

Guercino: Padre Eterno

Monday, June 8, 2015

Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are God’s judgments and how unsearchable God’s ways!

It is impossible for humans to fully and completely know and understand God. The structures of the human brain are incapable of the capacity and agility of God’s mind; yet we are well loved and well-tended by God. And this is the mystery of God’s wisdom.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?”

It is impossible for humans to totally and absolutely take in God’s plan. The complexities of God’s intention are intense and multilayered; yet we have a precious and integral role to play in God’s design. And this is the mystery of God’s hope.

“Or who has given God anything that he may be repaid?”

It is impossible for humans to constantly and faithfully look at the world through God’s lens. The rigor and determination that is required are more than we humans can muster or maintain; yet God never abandons us . . . although we may abandon God. And this is the mystery of God’s love.

For from God and through God and for God are all things.

cosmos-wallpapers-8God’s mystery is not meant to separate or divide, categorize but rather to call, invite and unite. God’s mystery and presence can be found in any space in the universe and at any time in creation. God’s mystery is so enormous it cannot be unraveled . . . and so intimate that it cannot be ignored.

To God be glory forever.

We need not understand God. We need not – and cannot – be equal to God. But we can enter into God’s mystery and give ourselves over to God’s love. There is nothing more we need, and there is nothing more important than learning to lean in to the Mystery of God.

Amen.

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ancient_prison_by_p_h_o_t_o_n1Saturday, October 18, 2014

Jeremiah 52:31-34

The End – Part III: Hope

In the last verses of this prophecy we read an addendum that at first glance we might toss away as another confusing story from scripture. We see before us the tale of the last two kings of Judah: Jehoiachin who surrendered himself and his family to Nebuchadnezzar to live in exile, and Zedekiah, who plotted against Nebuchadnezzar with the Egyptians, later fled during the Babylonian siege, was captured, blinded and was also sent to Babylon. Years later Evil-merodach brings Jehoiachin from his prison cell to give him a life-time stipend and a place of relative honor in the foreign court; Zedekiah does not appear again in this saga of violence and turmoil.  What is their end? We have few details. How could they have avoided capture and destruction? We have few answers. What might we learn from this dire account? That is our reflection for today.

Jeremiah’s prophecy is well spoken but ignored. Are we the prophet who speaks against the wind? Are we those who might be saved by the prophet’s warning? In either case, the fear of capture and destruction has already overwhelmed us. We have no other place to rest but in God’s hope and compassion.

Jeremiah’s life is a foreshadowing of the suffering and death of Jesus the Nazorean. Are we the people of Judah who hear his words and are transformed? Are we those who scoff and persecute him? In either scenario, the tumult of life has already entangled us. We have no other place to turn but to God’s strength and mercy.

Jeremiah’s words resonate in our world today. Are we those who hide from the reality of famine, civil strife, epidemics and enormous natural disaster because they do not touch us personally? Are we those who work against catastrophe and injustice wherever and however we can? In either event, we are already involved and connected. We may not recognize that a calamity’s one last flickering ember of hope lies in us. We have no other place to rest but in God’s presence and love.

Cataclysm is part of the human experience as is God’s hope. Catastrophe haunts our daily living while God’s providence serves as guide. Disaster can never be avoided, nor can God’s call to love.

Pergamom Museum, Berlin: Jehoiachin Ration Tablet

Pergamom Museum, Berlin: Jehoiachin Ration Tablet

Jehoiachin and Zedekiah share a place in the Babylonian court although from different vantage points. At any time in their life journey God grants them the opportunity to live in hope, in a manner worthy of God’s call. From the darkness of his blinded vision, Zedekiah has only to seek and accept God’s forgiveness. Perhaps he does. We shall never know. From the shame of surrender and captivity, Jehoiachin has only to ask for God’s hope and receive it. Perhaps he does. We shall never know. From the place where we stand in our life’s journey we have only to look for God’s presence and accept it. Perhaps we do. If so, then we will always know that God is with us from the beginning to the end. God abides through capture and dwells within during destruction. Whether our fate is in the hands of our own Nebuchadnezzar or his son Evil-merodach, there is never an end without hope, for there is never an end without God.

Tomorrow, Part IV . . . In a Manner Worthy

To read about the excavation of Jehoiachin’s ration tablets in Irag, click on images above or visit: http://forourlearning.wordpress.com/  OR http://www.livius.org/ne-nn/nebuchadnezzar/anet308.html 

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god-of-hopeWednesday, October 15, 2014

Jeremiah 50 & 51

Against Babylon: A Reprise

Announce and publish it among the nations . . .

We must share the good news of the many times God has walked intimately in our midst . . .

Publish it, hide it not . . .

We must speak up when we see injustice in our world . . .

Lost sheep were my people, their shepherds mislead them . . .

We must witness to the false leaders and shepherds of our present day Babylons . . .

Flee from Babylon, leave the land of the Chaldeans . . .

We must declare our willingness to step away from the corruption and deceit of our new Babylons . . .

Israel and Judah are not widowed of their God . . .

We must remember that despite our exile in our own Babylon, we are never abandoned, never alone . . .

Raise a signal on the earth, blow the trumpet among the nations . . .

We must share the good news of the many ways God remains intimately in our midst . . .

Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is trodden; yet a little while, and the harvest will come for her . . .

We must share the good news of God’s hope for the children of God . . .

Be not discouraged for fear of rumors spread in the land . . . but behold the days are coming  . . .

When we will no longer doubt . . . that God is always with us . . . against all of our Babylons.

Amen.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

jeremiah 29-11Jeremiah 29

A Message to Exiles

Jeremiah is clear: the future prosperity of those going into exile depends upon settling in and making the most of a long captivity. Hananiah and his followers have miscalculated, and have lost their lives in the bargain; the exile will not be a short one. Jeremiah and his supporters have proved correct; Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire is not a passing force; it will hold a central position in the region for quite a long time. (Mays 567)

At first glance we find a bleak situation – there is no remedy, no rescuer, and no plan in place to put injustice right. And yet, Jeremiah offers hope with some of the most beautiful verses in all of sacred scripture. He brings hope to a desolate and despairing people; he brings us words from the Living God that will sustain us when nothing else will.

When nights are endless and days are wearying, we remember . . .

Thus says the Lord: I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare, not for woe!  plans to give you a future full of hope.

When human resources are gone and we know we are empty . . .

When you call me, when you go to pray for me, you will find me.

When we see nothing but obstacles before us . . .

Jeremiah 29.13Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, and I will change your lot.

When we believe we can no longer survive . . .

I will gather you together from all the nations.

When we yearn for a time past when we understood more and were confused less . . .

I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.

When we consider the periods of exile we experience even in the midst of our lives busy with families, neighbors and colleagues, we might turn to Jeremiah who harbingers the promise of God’s outrageous hope, the promise of Christ’s redemption, and the promise of the Spirit’s in-dwelling. This is his message to the exiles and to us: God has plans for you . . . plans for your joy . . . and not for woe . . . plans to bring you back . . . to the place you have been promised.

 

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