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Posts Tagged ‘God’s patience’


Proverbs 6:12-35 and 7: Something Nasty

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

God is perfectly aware that not all creatures understand the goodness and generosity of creation’s gift. Having that in mind, the writer of Proverbs reminds us that the riffraff and rascals who plot and scheme will always – in God’s time and in God’s economy – wind up suffering the consequences of the chaos they plot against others. In a literary context, we refer to this as irony, the end of the twisting plot twisting back on the antagonist. We often believe that in reality the outcome is different: he who plots and schemes becomes rich and powerful; she who plots against the innocent escapes destiny’s karma.

Riffraff and rascals
    talk out of both sides of their mouths.
They wink at each other, they shuffle their feet,
    they cross their fingers behind their backs.

If we live in a timeline of the physical world, we might see ourselves as correct in thinking that the spiritual world holds out false hope. When we live in God’s eternal time, we find that we have misunderstood God’s plan for the kingdom. When we ignore God’s time and plan, we find that we have become like the riffraff and rascals we deplore. We have given in to something nasty. We will have rejected the advice of Proverbs that the final total smashup will arrive at our door, and we will become the hypocrites who cross our fingers behind our backs.

Their perverse minds are always cooking up something nasty,
    always stirring up trouble.
Catastrophe is just around the corner for them,
    a total smashup, their lives ruined beyond repair.

In the following verses, we hear about human actions that induce God’s ire; these items are laid out clearly. Various translations present differing translations but this interesting list is always the same, a litany of easy signs that we might look for in our own daily actions.

  • A proud look.
  • A lying tongue.
  • Hands that kill innocent people,
  • A mind that thinks up wicked plans.
  • Feet that hurry off to do evil.
  • A witness who tells one lie after another.
  • And someone who stirs up trouble among friends.

As Easter People, we share the Good News Jesus brings to creation that God’s merciful patience and generosity are always waiting in hope to redeem us. God’s persistence and wisdom are always presenting in faith new lessons for us to learn. God’s justice and consolation are always bringing us new opportunities to love as God loves.

The final verses of this chapter reprise the hazards of adultery and we might wonder why the writer brings this theme to us again. Besides the obvious danger of wanton men and women, might we also need be wary of addiction to lusting after power, wealth and fame? Might we need another practical warning to steer clear of riffraff and rascals lest we becomes one of those who ignore God’s call away from something nasty?

Even so, when the dust settles, we find that despite our recalcitrance, despite our rejection of truth, despite our haughtiness and ego-driven behavior, God’s compassion is awaiting us with Christ’s open and holy love. We are invited today to become one with that sacred heart.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to find different versions of these verses, we explore God’s transparent plan for our good, and the good of all creation.  

The original definition of hypocrite is “actor”. (See Merriam-Webster at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/hypocrite-meaning-origin) For interesting thoughts on hypocrisy, click the image of masks above. 

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God-Loves-YouMonday, October 27, 2014

Mark 8:14-21

Understanding

In light of our passage through Jeremiah’s prophecy, it is good for us to know that even the apostles who lived with Jesus did not understand what he was really about.  When God calls, we struggle to hear . . . but we do not always discern.

Our world is one of instant messaging in which we are always expecting immediate replies to our questions.  And we want these replies to make sense to us.  We know that God is always with us, speaking to us, asking us to follow; and we are made to respond to this call. Yet, we so often lack something so simple but essential: understanding.

As we read this story from Mark that we have heard many times, we wonder if perhaps the apostles lacked understanding – and we as well – because we do not trust God.  Are we second-guessing God?  Do we believe that we have misheard God’s word to us?  Do we want to believe that the universe is one big coincidence rather than think that there is an immensity to creation which we have only begun to mine?

Today Jesus reminds his friends of the times that he has sustained them out of nothing and then he asks: Do you still not understand?  We might have this conversation with God frequently, and we might believe that we have not heard or understood what it is that we are to do or not do, what we are to say or not say. Thinking that we have likely gotten something scrambled in our decoding, we re-question God and present our scrambled understanding.  This is the best that we can do.

Fortunately for all of us, God does not mind.  In that infinite patience and wisdom that characterizes God, we are asked an unlimited number of times: Do you still not understand? 

Beyond this simple question, God continues to call, continues to love.  What a great and glorious God have we . . . that God’s understanding is so immense that it encompasses and transforms all of our many misunderstandings.  And so we await again God’s words to us that always arrives with a smile: Do you still not understand?  As this beneficent face of a loving parent swims vaguely before us, let us focus on our own understanding of God’s plan for the Kingdom . . . rather than God’s apparent miss-understanding of us.

Adapted from a reflection written on September 9, 2009.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Mark 13:24-27

Jan Wildens: Landscape with Christ and his Disciples on the Road to Emmaus

Jan Wildens: Landscape with Christ and his Disciples on the Road to Emmaus

The Coming

Today we look at more verses that cause fundamentalists to calculate the exact date of the ending of life as we know it for all. Today we have an opportunity to grow in our knowledge of God. Today scripture is opened for us just as Jesus opened scripture for the disciples who journey to Emmaus. As we continue in our Easter pilgrimage, let us pause for a moment to consider Mark’s record of Jesus’ words.

Jesus says: If you know me then you will know my Father. Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me? (John 14:7, 9)

God says: If you know me than you know that I do not wreak havoc upon the earth. If you know me you understand that I am both patient and persistent.  If you know me you know that I am with you always and that I am willing to wait an eternity for you to turn to me . . . but turn you must. Do not be afraid to come to me. Be open to my invitation to be one in me. Do not fret about the details of your life but be open to my plan for you. It is a plan of wonder not of woe; it is a plan of love and this love has already come upon you. Do you wait and watch for a distant coming? I am already among you. You only need open your eyes and ears and hearts . . . and you will know.

When we find that we begin to fuss over the detail of who numbers in the elect and who will be left behind we can be certain that we have focused our energies incorrectly. When we make room for others at the table, when we forgive those who harm us, when we ask intercession for our enemies . . . then we know that we understand that the coming is already upon us.

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