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Posts Tagged ‘God’s promise’


1 Timothy 3: 16: The Mystery of Devotion

Monday, August 6, 2018

The GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION of this verse proclaims,

No one can deny how great is the secret of our religion:

He appeared in human form,
    was shown to be right by the Spirit,
    and was seen by angels.
He was preached among the nations,
    was believed in throughout the world,
    and was taken up to heaven.

This secret is one we are called to share with those who have ears to hear, and hands and hearts to act.

The NEW REVISED STANDARD translation announces,

Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great:

He was revealed in flesh,
    vindicated in spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among Gentiles,
    believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory.

This mystery is one we will want to proclaim to those who have lost hope, who feel abandoned, or have gone astray.

THE MESSAGE translation of Timothy’s words declares,

This Christian life is a great mystery, far exceeding our understanding, but some things are clear enough:

He appeared in a human body,
    was proved right by the invisible Spirit,
was seen by angels.
He was proclaimed among all kinds of peoples,
    believed in all over the world,
taken up into heavenly glory.

This gift is one we will want to affirm to all – especially our enemies – for it is God’s gift of life that inspires devotion, asserts Christ’s love, and confirms the Spirit’s transforming mercy.


When we compare varying translations of this verse, we begin to experience the mystery, secret, and promise of this great gift. 

Images from: https://isha.sadhguru.org/in/en/wisdom/article/krishna-jesus-and-the-path-of-devotion and http://www.chrisrochephotographer.co.uk/project/devotion/

 

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Exodus 3: “I AM”

Sébastien Bourdon: Burning Bush

Ascension Sunday, May 13, 2018

In order to make the traditional feast of Ascension Thursday accessible to more of the faithful, some dioceses observe its celebration on the Sunday following the customary date. Today we reflect on the message God gives to Moses through the medium of the burning bush that never burns; and over the next days, we will spend time reflecting on how God communicates with us the enormity and the mystery that is God’s love for us.

God said, “I am who I am. You must tell them: ‘The one who is called I Am has sent me to you.’ Tell the Israelites that I, the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, have sent you to them. This is my name forever; this is what all future generations are to call me”. 

“I am who am”.  

What does this simplest of phrases mean for us? That all of creation announces God. That all of humanity comes from this source.

“I am who am”.  

What might this simplest of phrases hold for us? God’s promise that we are never alone, and never abandoned.

“I am who am”.  

What might this simplest of phrases portend for us? That we have nothing to fear and everything to expect.

“I am who am”.  

Today as we contemplate God’s gift of self to each of us, we spend time with this simplest of phases as we reflect on its meaning and promise.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bourdon,_S%C3%A9bastien_-_Burning_bush.jpg

For an explanation of the significance of the tetragrammaton YHWH, visit: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Yahweh

Mark’s Gospel is a lightning bolt paean describing the story of Jesus’ coming among us, this presence of God who longs to live among the faithful. For a reflection on this blog, visit: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-new-testament-revising-our-suffering/mark-i-am/

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Proverbs 30: Who Needs God?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

We never seem to learn that God is infinite and loving, and so the writers of Proverbs want to assure us of God’s compassion before they end their lesson plan of practical advice.

No God!—I can do anything I want! (MSG)

Knowing that, like small children, we want to believe we are gods, and also knowing that God offers us divinity itself, the writers of Proverbs remind us that God’s wisdom brings us peace.

I have not learned wisdom,
    nor have I knowledge of the holy ones. (NRSV)

Understanding that we often are too frightened or too stressed to feel God’s presence, the writers of Proverbs provide us with lists of mysteries, wonders, and symbols to guide us on our way.

I have not learned enough wisdom
    to know the Holy One. (CJB)

Believing that God has nothing but goodness in store for us, the writers of Proverbs remind us that despite any darkness that threatens our security, the light of God’s promise lies in each of us.

I am more like an animal than a human being;
    I do not have the sense we humans should have. (GNT)

Assuring us that God’s promise is true, the writers of Proverbs tell us that we only need run to God with open and honest hearts when we have lost our way.

When we compare varying translations of these verses, we come to more fully know that each of us holds an essential portion of God’s promise to humanity, and that each of us mist come to truly know our God.

Tomorrow, applying all we have learned.

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1 Kings 1: Power Changes Hands

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

As Easter approaches, and as we witness the swirling tides of power grow and collapse around us, we remember this reflection from March 14, 2008; and we remember that we are children of God, living with God’s loving promise.

This is a story or power ebbing and rising.  It is also a story of corruption, convolution and byzantine conniving.  And it is also the story of God’s providence, God’s openness to the impossible being possible, and God’s awesome ability to turn all harm to good.  Just reading the first chapter of this book gives us a sliver of our history as Yahweh’s people.  It can even give us a context for the corruption in our church structure today.  We know who we are as God’s children: we are created, we are loved, we are longed for, we are anointed, we are blessed, we are saved, we dance an intimate dance with our God.  The greater question for us may be: Who am I in God’s creation? 

Sometimes these answers are more difficult to live with. If we believe, for example, in the sanctity of life, we must also believe that torture is an unjust way of interrogating people. If we believe that the Christ is present in the world today through us, we are still all God’s children, even if we cannot all agree about all of the details of an issue.

When we read about the people in these historical books, we come away with the assurance that no matter the era or epoch, we are all God’s people under the same skin.  We all err.  We all have the opportunity for redemption.  We may all make reparation.  We may all forgive and be forgiven.  We are all God’s children.

When we read ACTS OF THE APOSTLES to remind myself of the many struggles which the early Church had during its formation, we can see clearly the presence of the Holy Spirit, God’s nurturing, abiding presence hovering constantly around these early apostles.  We see power transferring from the Pharisees and their separatist thinking to the apostles and their universal salvation thinking.  And even among the early Christians there was dissent: the necessity of circumcision, the need for baptism by the spirit, and so on.  The Holy Spirit shepherded these people . . . and shepherds us today.

In both the Old and New Testaments we read of the human qualities of contrivance, deceit and falsehood . . . and we also read of honesty and redemption.  Nathan, Bathsheba, Adonijah, Solomon, Zadok are all characters in this tale from long ago . . . and they are the people we see before us on the television screen each evening when we tune in to hear the day’s news.  When we watch these people of then . . . or of today . . . how do we see ourselves responding?  How do we witness to The Word?  How do we react as children of God?

We might ponder these things tonight in our evening prayer.

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Isaiah 28:16: Cornerstone – Part I

Wednesday, March 1, 2017cornerstones-21

When we have no place to put our feet, we stand on the Word of God as a strong cornerstone that withstands all onslaught.

This, now, is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I am placing in Zion a foundation that is firm and strong. In it I am putting a solid cornerstone on which are written the words, ‘Faith that is firm is also patient.’” (GNT)

When the winds of change pull us into a crushing vortex, we rely on the wisdom of God as a bulwark against the storm.

Therefore thus says the Lord God,
See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone,
    a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation:
    “One who trusts will not panic.” (NSRV)

When we cling to the precipice and look for a foothold, we trust the promise of God and remain firm in the Lord.

Therefore here is what Adonai Elohim says:

“Look, I am laying in Tziyon
a tested stone, a costly cornerstone,
a firm foundation-stone;
he who trusts will not rush here and there. (CJB)

God says: Despite the fear the takes away your breath, you can rely on me to sustain you. Against all odds I will keep my promise of life to you. Regardless of the danger of the world, you must know that I will never abandon you. In the face of evil and darkness, I will always bring you life and light. Remain in me and rely on my promise that the cornerstone of life will always support you.

But the Master, God, has something to say to this:

“Watch closely. I’m laying a foundation in Zion,
    a solid granite foundation, squared and true.
And this is the meaning of the stone:
    a trusting life won’t topple.
I’ll make justice the measuring stick
    and righteousness the plumb line for the building.
A hailstorm will knock down the shantytown of lies,
    and a flash flood will wash out the rubble. (MSG)

When the world batters us and leaves us vanquished, we rely on God’s cornerstone of wisdom to serve as our bulwark against all storms.

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Luke 1:46-55: The Inverted Kingdom – Part XI

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Raphael: Madonna della Sedia

Raphael: Madonna della Sedia

Today, when thousands of women converge on the U.S. capital, we explore Mary’s Prayer. A link for more information on the gathering follows this post. 

In days of political and civil turmoil, Mary the Mother of God reminds us how to pray

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

In times of family strife and confusion, Mary the Mother of God gives us words we might repeat.

For God has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

In the hour when friends become enemies and colleagues become strangers, Mary the Mother of God shows us the mind of God.

The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name.

Mary the Mother of God reminds us that God is more loving than we can imagine, more patient and compassionate than all of humanity gathered together.

The LORD has mercy on those who love God in every generation.

magnificatMary the Mother of God tells us that we have nothing to fear.

The LORD has shown the strength of God’s arm.

Mary the Mother of God asks us to put aside our pride to take up love.

God has scattered the proud in their conceit.

Mary the Mother of God shows us that power and might are as nothing.

The LORD has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.

Mary the Mother of God tells us that God alone sustains for an eternity.

The LORD has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich God has sent away empty.

Mary the Mother of God reminds us that God is persistent, God is faithful, and God is hope.

The LORD has come to the rescue of God’s servant, for God has remembered the promise of mercy, the promise made to Abraham and his children forever.

madona-morenaMary the Mother of God reminds us how to enter into and act in the world. Mary calls us to goodness, endurance, and love. In times, days, and hours when the world fails us, we might return to Mary’s MAGNIFICAT to amplify our love of God as we pray with her these words.

When we explore varying translations of these verses, we open ourselves to the healing power of Mary’s joy and thanksgiving.

In the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church’s great communal prayer, the MAGNIFICAT is part of Vespers, or Evensong. For more information on this prayer and how it parallel’s the prayer of Hannah, visit: http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/meditation-on-the-magnificat

For more on the Liturgy of the Hours and how each of us might join our voices with millions of others by pausing briefly a few times a day, visit The Liturgy of the Hours page on this blog.

For more on Raphael’s image of the Madonna and Child, click on the image above, or visit: http://www.everypainterpaintshimself.com/article/raphaels_madonna_della_sedia_1513-14 

Women gather in Washington, D.C. in solidarity for the protection of their rights, safety, health, and families, they recognize that vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of their country. https://www.womensmarch.com/ and https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-on-washington-official-tickets-29428287801 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/21/us/womens-march.html?_r=0

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Malachi 4:5-6: Behold the New Day

Friday, December 23, 2016

Duccio di Buoninsegna: The Prophet Malachi

Duccio di Buoninsegna: The Prophet Malachi

In this final week of Advent, let us decide to make our hopes tangible, our dreams a prayer for our reality, our faith unwavering and our love secure. Let us cleave to the Creator, follow the Redeemer and rest in the Spirit. This week let us give one another the gift of preparing for the very real promise of eternity.

The prophet Malachi communicates God’s words to us.

Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse. (NASB)

Elijah was able to perform miracles just as Jesus did in his own day and even in this present time. Malachi advises that we might want to look forward in hope rather than backward in fear.

But also look ahead: I’m sending Elijah the prophet to clear the way for the Big Day of God—the decisive Judgment Day! He will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents. If they refuse, I’ll come and put the land under a curse. (MSG)

That day is great for some and dreadful for others. As followers of Christ we are convinced that God’s “greatness” is with us in every moment and in every place.  We are also convinced that Jesus searches for every last sheep, for every hard heart, for every broken soul.

A stained-glass window featuring the prophet Elijah, Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucestershire, England

A stained-glass window featuring the prophet Elijah, Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucestershire, England

Behold I will send you Elias the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers: lest I come, and strike the earth with anathema. (DRA)

And as followers of Christ, we are also convinced that the Spirit works to remove all anathema, to heal all destruction and to bring about complete transformation for all.

But before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes, I will send you the prophet Elijah. He will bring fathers and children together again; otherwise I would have to come and destroy your country. (GNT)

Malachi calls out to us across the millennia: Behold, Emmanuel is among you. Awake. Rise up. And Malachi asks that we give witness to the enormity of the gift we find in our hands, the gift of God’s infinite peace, Christ’s overflowing compassion, and the Spirit’s miraculous renewal.

When we compare varying versions of these verses, we behold the enormity of God’s gift that we receive without asking.

N.B. Some versions of Malachi number this citation as 3:23-24.

For more about Malachi, the last of the minor prophets, or Elijah, the prophet who life is decribed in the Books of Kings, click on their names and/or images above.

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Jeremiah 23:5-6: Behold!

Le Nain Brothers: The Nativity with the Torch

Le Nain Brothers: The Nativity with the Torch

The Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 18, 2016

In this final week of Advent, let us decide to make our hopes tangible, our dreams a prayer for a new reality, our faith unwavering and our love secure. Let us cleave to the Creator, follow the Redeemer and rest in the Spirit. This week let us give one another the gift of preparing for the very real promise of eternity.

Is it possible for an all-powerful God to come into the world as a helpless child?

Behold the days come, saith the Lord, and I will raise up to David a just branch: and a king shall reign, and shall be wise, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth. (DRA)

Might we believe that we are sisters and brothers of the one who wants to save us?

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. (NRSV)

Does it make sense that we are included in God’s mighty plan?

The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will choose as king a righteous descendant of David. That king will rule wisely and do what is right and just throughout the land. (GNT)

Can we imagine that the Spirit dwells in each of us?

“The days are coming,” says Adonai
when I will raise a righteous Branch for David.
He will reign as king and succeed,
he will do what is just and right in the land. (CJB)

Is it likely that we might learn to love those we hate and those who hate us?

“Time’s coming” – God’s Decree –
    “when I’ll establish a truly righteous David-Branch,
A ruler who knows how to rule justly.
    He’ll make sure of justice and keep people united.
In his time Judah will be secure again
    and Israel will live in safety. (MSG)

Behold, Emmanuel is among us. Behold, God’s promise is upon us. Behold, the Spirit calls us to unity.

This is the name they’ll give him:
    God-Who-Puts-Everything-Right.’ (MSG)

When we compare varying versions of these verses, we behold the wonder, the wisdom and the splendor of the promise God gives us.

For more on the three Le Nain brothers, visit: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Le-Nain-brothers

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Isaiah 57:14-21: The Restless Sea

Monday, August 22, 2016restless seas

In days when political and civic leaders grapple with the realities of our common world, Isaiah reminds us that the wicked are always with us, obscuring truth, engendering deceit.

The wicked are storm-battered seas that can’t quiet down. The waves stir up garbage and mud. (THE MESSAGE)

In times when religious and community leaders struggle to bring light to a present darkness, Isaiah reminds us that evil relies on chaotic upheaval and unpredictable alliances.

Evil people are like the restless sea, whose waves never stop rolling in, bringing filth and muck. (GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION)

In the hour of darkness when friends and family clash over how to move forward for the good of all, Isaiah tells us that God’s promise of healing and restoration is authentic.

But the wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss up mire and mud. (NRSV)

In the moment of fear and division when anxiety and confusion threaten our relationship with God, Isaiah tells us that there is one person, one person, one bond that calms all fear and quiets all anxiety. Isaiah reminds us that there is a voice that persists as it calls out: Let my people return to me. Remove every obstacle from their path! Build the road and make it ready!

Help and healing, humility and repentance, confidence and hope, eternal promise and love. Isaiah comforts us as he has done for millennia. Isaiah reminds us that God waits eternally for those who look to move from mourning to joy.

When we use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to explore various translations of these verses, we discover how we might all survive the restless seas.

Visit http://www.spiritualwarbiblestudies.com/index.php?topic=112.0 for a post exploring Isaiah 57:14-21. 

 

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