Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘God’s love’


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Over the next few weeks we will look closely at Psalm 119, the longest chapter in Scripture. In this time of pandemic, transition, and social and political unrest, we turn to this acrostic poem that brings us God’s beautiful message of love in groups of eight verses named for the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. 

Psalm 119:1-8

aleph[1]Aleph

Walk in the law . . .

Laws, precepts, testimonies, statutes, precepts, commandments, decrees, ordinances, the Way. So many words to express a concept so simple.

We are made in God’s image and so we are called to nourish God’s Law of Love within ourselves and in others. We are made as creatures of mercy and so we are called to nurture God’s Testimony of Mercy wherever and whenever we find it. We are made to love boldly and well and so let us move among both our friends and our enemies to serve as catalysts of God’s Way of Love for the world.

God says: Do not be overwhelmed when I call you to love as I do. I have placed seeds of love in each of you and I nourish them daily so that they might bloom in you. You are too often downcast at the obstacles you find before you, but I tell you that when you lift your eyes above these barriers you find me. When you love for my sake you bring a new eternal life into the world for me. When you endure as I do . . . you last forever as I do. 

We too often see our limitations rather than our promise.

Today we reflect on the first lesson in Psalm 119.  It is God’s simple request that we walk in the way the Lord shows to us.  Tomorrow, Beth.

Give thanks to the Lord who is good, God’s love endures forever . . . (Psalm 118:1)


To learn more about the Hebrew letter Aleph, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://biblehub.com/topical/a/aleph.htm and http://alephjournal.wordpress.com/about/

Read Full Post »


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Leviticus 19:17-18

love one anotherAs Yourself

You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow man, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

From the first moment we become aware of God’s presence we come to know the depth of God’s love.  From the first moment we feel God’s presence we feel the breadth of God’s love.  From the first movement of God in our lives we learn that God asks much but also gives much.   

And with this knowing we understand that we must love others as ourselves for this is what it means to be Christmas people.


Enter the words love one another into the blog search bar and reflect on how God’s love calls us to be Christmas people.

Image from: http://deodate.wordpress.com/tag/love/

Read Full Post »


Friday, January 8, 2021

1 John 4:10

images[8]This is Love

In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that God loved us and sent God’s Son as expiation for our sins.

Jesus tells us that it is easy to love those who treat us well and difficult to love those who do us harm, and yet if we wish to emulate Christ we must learn to love our enemies. This is the love that the Apostle John saw at close range. It is the love that he describes in his Gospel and letters. It is a love that knows no bounds or limitations. It is a love that refreshes, renews, heals and restores. It is a love that changes us forever when we receive it and when we enact it.  This is the love that changes and transforms us . . . and this is what it means to be Christmas people.

Be merciful as God is merciful.  (Luke 6:32-36)


Image from: http://trystanowainhughes.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/prison-sunday/

Read Full Post »


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

1 John 3:19-23

confidenceConfidence in God

Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. Beloved, if [our] hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God and receive from God whatever we ask, because we keep God’s commandments and do what pleases God.

Where we condemn, God forgives. Where we exclude, God embraces. Where we shun, God loves. Let us remain in the truth God brings to us, live by the commandment of love Christ has shown to us, and live in the confidence the spirit has bestowed on us.

On this twelfth day of Christmas, enter the word Confidence into the blog search bar and consider how we might be confident in God as Christmas people.  


http://woman-with-a-mission.blogspot.com/2010/04/encouragement.html

Read Full Post »


Monday, January 4, 2021

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

1 John 3:11

Pierre Louis Cretey: The Nativity

Pierre Louis Cretey: The Nativity

Loving One Another

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another . . .

The ancient Shema tells us how we are to live as children of God. The Apostle John reminds us that we already have the answers we seek. The Gospels describe how God has come to live among us, entering the world as a vulnerable child. The message is always the same . . . we are to love one another, even those whom we do not wish to love.

On this eleventh day of Christmas, enter the words Love One Another into the blog search bar and consider what this message means for us as Christmas people.


For more information on the Shema enter the word into the blog search bar or go to: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/shema.html

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

Read Full Post »


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.

Read Full Post »


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

Read Full Post »


Monday, November 16, 2020

pearl-in-clam[1]Matthew 7:6

Pearls of Great Price

Do not give what is holy to dogs or cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Swine and dogs were words used by Jews to express contempt for Gentiles. Commentary tells us that they may also be used by Christians to describe those obstinate, impenitent Christians. In this portion of Matthew’s Gospel, the writer records the teachings of Jesus in which we are asked to pray for one another rather than judge one another. A true disciple is one who is willing to go to his knees and pass through the narrow gate onto The Way which Jesus walks. A true disciple is wary of false prophets, looks to build his life on a sturdy, strong foundation, and understands that he need not fight God’s fight. A true disciple knows that if we want to tap into our divinity, we must first humble ourselves as Christ does. A true Christian depends on God for all things, and witnesses this loyalty by praying for the swine and the dogs in his life.

This saying can be a harsh one. This teaching can be difficult to take on and live out. It calls for the courage to remain on our own with God rather than be in the company of a crowd. It calls for perseverance in traveling a long road with many turnings that hide the future from our eyes. But we are pearls of great price, worth more than any amount we might imagine. And these pearls have been bought at great cost by Jesus’ redemptive suffering, death and resurrection. These pearls will not be left alone to be snatched up by a thief. These pearls are worn by God with great love. They are tended with great care.

We are pearls of great price, as Paul reminds the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23), bought with sacrifice and love. So rather than step casually into a life we have been given as gift, let us live each day with the care and devotion God gives to our creation. Let us value the breath we have been given even as wet us pray for those who do not. And rather than give what is holy to dogs or allow ourselves to be trampled by swine, let us celebrate with joy each new dawn that brings us the mystery and of God’s love.


Image from: http://connectathens.blogspot.com/2009/08/pearl-of-great-price-032509.html

Adapted from a reflection written on February 9, 2010.

Read Full Post »


Sunday, November 8, 2020

david-and-nathan[1]2 Samuel 11 and 12 and Psalm 51

Sin and Parable – Part I

Have mercy on me, oh God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

One of the most famous stories in scripture is that of David’s complicated sin of lust, adultery and murder. The most intriguing portion of this story is the way in which the prophet Nathan carefully, but firmly, points out to his king that a grave breech of the covenant with Yahweh has been made. David is far too intelligent and too spiritual to walk away from the opportunity that Nathan offers, the opportunity to admit to transgression, to see the multiple sins he has committed, to ask forgiveness, and to repent with sincerity. This is what makes David truly great. He is so human that when he sins, he tries to cover up these willful acts, and we can identify with this. But when confronted by the truth, he admits his guilt and seeks forgiveness. This may be the difficult part for us, asking forgiveness for those things which hide so deeply in our depths that we may not even recognize that they are there.

Enter the name Nathan in the blog search bar to discover more about this prophet and to consider what he might have to say to us today.

Tomorrow, more thoughts on David as we explore Jesus’ parables. 


Adapted from a reflection written on February 13, 2008. 

Image from: http://nathanhart.org/rivulets/david-bathsheba-nathan-and-god/

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: