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Posts Tagged ‘God’s mercy’


Luke 12:22-34: Allfarming for hunger

Saturday, March 26, 2022

If we learn nothing more about ourselves in this Lenten journey, let us pray that we understand how much easier life when we learn the simple lesson Jesus teaches us daily: Where your treasure lies, there also will your heart be.

Where do we place our priorities each morning? Do we jump into our day or do we pause to spend time orienting ourselves to God’s agenda rather than our own?

Where do we place all our energies each afternoon? Do we make plans for vacations, parties, and reunions as frequently as we plan to spend time in prayer and fellowship with others?

Where do we place our petitions each evening as we tumble into sleep? Do we give thanks for the good we have received as much as we worry about all that did not go well?

Jesus is quite clear. Where we focus our attention and anxiety, this is the place we are storing up the essence of ourselves. Where we spend our time in kingdom building, this is the place we are calling our home for all eternity.

farming 4 hungerWhere do we choose to deposit all that we do and are? In our wealth and power? In our influence and possessions? How much better it is to place all we are and all we do in the ample heart of God.


Spend some time with Luke 12:22-34 today and compare biblical texts. How will we change our hearts as we move toward the closing days of Lent?

Visit http://www.farming4hunger.com/, or click on the image to the left, to see how one man’s determination to store up goodness has changed his life and his world. Consider sending some of your Lenten alms to a kingdom-building organization that gives its all to enact God’s goodness and mercy.

Special thanks to a Noontime friend for sharing the good news about Farming 4 Hunger. 

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The Four Gospels: Theophilusbible-1

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

In the next days of our Lenten pilgrimage as we near the celebration of the Easter miracle, we will focus on the New Testament with its words of joy that call us to newness. Today we take time to compare varying versions of verses as we listen for the voice that speaks within. If possible, we will look for a quiet place and time in which we can look at the opening verses of each Gospel.  And we will listen for God’s wisdom, ask for God’s grace, and rest in God’s mercy.

Matthew 1 begins with: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. When we consider why Matthew was calling his largely Jewish audience to Jesus’ lineage, we may begin to understand the importance of our own heritage, the influence of our tribe and its traditions, and the opportunities for division that unity in Christ might bridge.

Mark 1 begins in this way. The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Thinking about this story that was written quite close to the resurrection event, we may begin to comprehend the fear and awe that gripped these first followers of Christ, the same fear and awe that take hold of us today, and the prospect that Christ heals all wounds when we open ourselves to his care.

Luke 1 begins in another manner: Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the vents that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word handed down to them to us, I too have decided after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received. Contemplating these words, we might also consider how our own story of our life in Christ might begin, how it might play out, and how it might conclude. We might also consider how we live out Christ’s message each day as we play and work and pray.

John 1 begins with its soaring, beautiful language that carries us on a journey we cannot forget or put aside: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Meditating on these concepts, we might allow ourselves to be called into newness, to be open to restoration and to forgive others as we are forgiven.

Today we think, we contemplate, we consider and we meditate on the story of Jesus. Let us also act in Christ’s name to heal a world that longs for peace and mercy. When we click on the scripture links we open a world of hope where before there was no possibility. We enter into a world of fidelity where before there was only betrayal. And we allow Christ to create goodness and light out of harm where before there was only darkness and evil. Let us, like Theophilus, enter into our relationship as a beloved friend of God. And let us allow God to bring us the Easter promise in a full and meaningful way so that we might realize the certainty of the teachings we have received, so that we might pass on the goodness that God has in store for each of us.


For more information on ideas for Luke’s use of the name Theophilus, visit: http://biblehub.com/topical/t/theophilus.htm

Image from: https://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com/

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John 2:13-25: Cleansing the Temple 

El Greco: Christ Cleasning the Temple

El Greco: Christ Cleansing the Temple

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

In today’s Gospel we hear that Jesus made a whip out of cords and then used it to drive moneychangers out of a sacred place of worship. As we read Jesus’ words, we might consider how we have cluttered our hearts with sacrifices that mean little or with the bargains we hope to exact from a loving God.

Take these [doves] out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.

As we read Jesus’ words we might consider our willingness to give over the false temples we have constructed to the cleansing, healing hands of Christ.

Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.

As we read John’s words we might consider God’s great generosity and mercy.

Many began to believe in [Jesus’] name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.

As we read John’s words we might consider how we might begin to cleanse our hearts and minds, and how we might willingly offer them up for destruction.


Learn about Regina at the Women for Women site

Learn about Regina at the Women for Women site

Study El Greco’s rendering of Christ Cleansing the Temple above, then explore the sites below and determine if there is an appropriate action we might take toward removing the marketplace from our temples and releasing the captive doves.

Women for Women: http://www.womenforwomen.org/

Women in Black: http://womeninblack.org/

Read about Las madres de la Plaza de Mayo documentary at: http://www.nytimes.com/movies/movie/227561/Las-Madres-The-Mothers-of-Plaza-de-Mayo/overview

Watch the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo documentary trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jTxfPz3_rw

 

 

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joyTuesday, November 2, 2021

Matthew 5

A Prayer for Joy

We move further into scripture looking for stories of joy that continue to surprise us. To explore other stories, 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. Today we pause to pray in gratitude for Joy.

We most often associate joy with positive feelings of happiness; yet God dwells most fully with the broken-hearted. Today, whether we are content or sad, we open our hearts to God’s mercy and goodness.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

We frequently ask for joy in the darkest of moments; and Christ walks with us most passionately when we are lost or abandoned. Today, whether we are alone or with loved ones, we open our hearts to Christ’s power and transformation.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We regularly forget joy when we are suffering or in pain; yet the Spirit dwells within us most completely when we experience sorrow and loss. Today, whether we feel God’s presence or not, we open our hearts to the Spirit’s consolation and peace.

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Joy is present in our lives even when the horizon is dark and our circumstances grime. Although we sometimes feel as though our woe outweighs our joy, we find that God surprises us in the most unusual of times, places and ways.

beatitudes and heartsLoving God, we thank you for your gift of surprise today.

Healing Christ, we thank you for the gift of your presence today.

Healing Spirit, we thank you for your gift of hope today. Amen.


To reflect further on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, visit Matthew 5. Or visit Luke 6 for Jesus’s Sermon on the Plain. Spend time with these verses today. Consider the blessings and woes we find each day and how we find God in all of these experiences.

If there is time, enter the word joy into a Bible online concordance and allow God to surprise you. Explore www.biblegateway.com or use your web browser to find a concordance that appeals to you . . . and prepare for the gifts of joy and surprise.

https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=joy&qs_version=NRSVCE

Image from: http://www.blulogan.org/tag/matthew-chapter-5

For more about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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joySunday, October 24, 2021

Deuteronomy 16

Joy and Feasts

From time to time we will visit scripture to look for stories about joy that will surprise us in a number of ways. If you wish to explore other stories in which joy astonishes us, 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. Today our story is from the Book of Deuteronomy.

God of forgiveness, God of love, you teach us to celebrate with you; and yet, we forget your teaching.

God of hope, God of faith, you instill us with a model of your love; and yet, we put aside your inspiration.

God of promise, God of hope, you ask us to reverence you; and yet, we overlook your many miracles that grace our lives.

God of mercy, God of wisdom, you inspire us to worship you; and yet, we create vast deserts of days without thanking you.

God of feasts, God of joy, you offer us your merciful justice; and yet we hoard your compassion and neglect to share this gift so lovingly given by you.

Deuteronomy 16:15: Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.

Let us remember to thank God for the gift of our health, our gifts, our hearth, our goods, our home, family and friends by sharing joy gladly, by celebrating freely, and by thanking God often for the great gift of Feasts.


To read about the feasts of Passover, Weeks and Booths, read Deuteronomy 16. Also visit: http://biblehub.com/dictionary/p/passover.htm, http://biblehub.com/dictionary/w/weeks.htm and http://biblehub.com/dictionary/b/booths.htm 

To learn about the importance of Feasts in the Old and New Testaments, click on the image of Solomon’s Jerusalem below, or visit: http://www.keyway.ca/htm2012/20121001.htm 

solomon's jerusalemFor more about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/ 

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James Tissot: Jesus Appears to the Holy Women

James Tissot: Jesus Appears to the Holy Women

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Mark 12:18-27

A Prayer for Resurrection

On this All Souls Day we remember those who have gone before us . . . as we listen and watch for the resurrection that we are promised.

On All Souls Day we celebrate those who are yet to come as we watch and wait for the resurrection that is freely given.

On All Souls Day we call forth the great cloud of witnesses as we wait and work in the resurrection kingdom.

On this All Souls Day we praise God’s goodness and mercy as we work and witness to the healing of the resurrection.

On this All Souls Day we rejoice with the faithful as we witness and we pray for the transformation of the resurrection, so that we may not be greatly mislead.

Amen.

In the northern hemisphere days shorten and nights lengthen. In less than a week we will move back to standard time and celebrate the feasts of All Saints and All Souls. As we watch, wait, work, and witness, we prepare for these feasts that anticipate the great feast of salvation that we will celebrate at Easter. 


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_Jesus_Appears_to_the_Holy_Women_(Apparition_de_J%C3%A9sus_aux_saintes_femmes)_-_James_Tissot.jpg

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ancient_prison_by_p_h_o_t_o_n1Monday, October 4, 2021

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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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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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/

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