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Posts Tagged ‘healing’


Mark 16:1-3: Rolling Back the Stonerolling back the stone from the tomb

Monday, September 5, 2022

[Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome] were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”

Not long ago I heard a Ted Talk on rewilding on a day when I also had spent time reflecting on the last chapter of Mark’s Gospel. As a child I took for granted that the women who returned to Jesus’ tomb to dress his body might rely on finding someone to roll away the heavy stone for them. As an adult, I now better understand the trust these women, either knowingly or unwittingly, placed in God’s plan that they might be given the opportunity to serve as an integral part of the resurrection story. They thought they were going to anoint the dead body of a well-loved prophet and healer; but what God has in mind is their role as the first proclaimers of the Good News that Jesus has risen.

On that warm afternoon in August I considered how off the mark we are when we make plans with definitive outcomes without considering God’s input. And I determined to readjust my thinking yet again to leave my thinking more open to God’s powerful dreams and possibilities.

If we ever doubt God’s desire to love us into goodness, we need only remember the outcomes of giant dreams and enormous possibilities presented in these and other video presentations. Today we pause in our study of Mark’s story and remember why, and when and how the little roles we imagine for ourselves in kingdom building become opportunities for intimate relationship with our loving and healing God.

Watch one or all of the short clips below and consider how and when and why God rolls back the heavy stones in our lives. Reflect on the power of God to heal, restore and change . . . and how we humans fit into God’s amazing plan.


How Wolves Change Rivers at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q

How Whales Change Climate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M18HxXve3CM

Humpback Whale Shows Appreciation after Being Freed from Nets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcXU7G6zhjU

To learn more about rewilding, visit: http://rewilding.org/rewildit/

More Ted Talks can be found at: https://www.ted.com/talks 

Image from: https://stthomasplymouth.org/the-stone-that-needs-to-be-rolled-away/ 

 Enter the words The Magdalen into the blog search bar and discover more about Christ’s first disciple.

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Mark 6:1-6Jesus of Nazareth

Diego Velázquez: Christ Cricufied - The Prado Museum, Madrid

Diego Velázquez: Christ Crucified – The Prado Museum, Madrid

Friday, August 26, 2022

“What is this wisdom that is given to him?  What mean such miracles wrought by his hands?” . . .  And Jesus marveled at their unbelief.  (Douay)

“Where did this man get all this?  What kind of wisdom has been given him?  What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands?”  . . .  He was amazed at their lack of faith.  (NAB)

“This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joseph and Jude and Simon?  His sisters, too, are they not here with us?”  And they would not accept him. . . .  He was amazed at their lack of faith.  (Jerusalem Bible)

“Where did he get the things he is teaching?” they said.  How can he perform such miracles?”  . . .  He was amazed at their unwillingness to believe.  (William Barclay translation)

When I reflect on the Crucifixion, call to mind the image created by Diego Velázquez that tells us – much like Marks’s Gospel – of the stark reality of the love Jesus, this God-man, has for each of us. It seems to me that Velázquez has captured the unambiguous difference between the healing, merciful Christ and the Jesus of Nazareth who is disbelieved in his own town. The mystical eeriness produced by the floating cross coupled with the universality of Jesus’ half-covered face allow us to personalize this image with our own version of the very human Christ.

I imagine that our own lack of faith proves a heavy obstacle to the performing of miracles and to the healing of bodies and souls; yet Jesus of Nazareth abides. He still performs the impossible.

Let us invite this Jesus into our homes today and every day. Let us open our hearts and minds to the wild possibilities he dares to dream with us.  Let us gather together as his resurrected body to bring healing and hope to one another.


Use the scripture link above to explore other translations of these verses.

Adapted from a favorite written on June 8, 2008. 

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Featured_picture_candidates/Crucified_Christ_(Vel%C3%A1zquez)

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John 6:1-15: Some Left Over – Part VIIfive-loaves-of-bread-and-two-fish

Sunday, August 7, 2022

John’s recounting of the multiplication story brings us even more insight and perhaps answers to questions raised over the last several days. Is this a miracle of greed becoming generosity or does Jesus actually multiply bread and fish? Why does God bring together so many in need? Why does Jesus ask the apostles to provide food when he knows they do not have the funds to do so? How is it that the Spirit heals so generously and so completely?

A large crowd followed Jesus and his disciples because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.

God’s response to our many needs to walk among us as one of us. Let us pray that we leave our hearts and minds open to this presence.

“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Jesus said this to test Philip, because he himself knew what he was going to do.

Jesus’ instruction of those closest to him is constant and loving. Let us pray that we treat others with this same respect and dignity.

When they had their fill, Jesus said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted”.

The Spirit’s power to heal cannot be overestimated. Let us pray that we have the foresight to honor the Spirit as we ought.

So they collected the fragments, and filled twelve baskets from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world”.

And so we pray as we explore God’s word.

Jacopo Tintoretto, Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes

When we encounter God’s generosity, we pray for humility so that we might give thanks for this enormous gift.

When we come upon Jesus’ warmth and presence, we pray for clarity so that we might follow wherever the path of discipleship leads us.

When we receive the Spirit’s healing, we pray for confidence so that we might join him in his loving response to pain and need.

We pray as we reflect on this well-known story of God’s presence in our lives. And we do this in Jesus’ name, in union with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

For more detail of the Tintoretto image, visit: https://www.christianiconography.info/metropolitan/2017/loavesFishesTintoretto.html

Tomorrow, bread of life. 


Images from: https://www.christianiconography.info/metropolitan/2017/loavesFishesTintoretto.html and https://www.olgparish.org/olg-news-events/2018/6/15/loaves-and-fishes

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Matthew 14:13-21: Some Left Over – Part IVloaves and fish

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Today’s story of the feeding of thousands follows the death of Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist. Perhaps it is for this reason that Jesus withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But as often happens with Jesus, the crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. Matthew also tells us that Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. In his deep compassion and love for these crowds, Jesus challenges his apostles to find food for the weary and needy. When the twelve report that all they have is five loaves and two fish, Jesus steps in to provide. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over – twelve wicker baskets full. 

Today as we reflect on this familiar story, we use the scripture link to bring a fresh perspective to familiar details and reflect on the following three points.

Despite his weariness and sorrow, Jesus is moved by emotion to tend to those who need him, knowing that ultimately there will be some left over. What social action can we take today on behalf of God’s people?

Having had their fill, Jesus’ followers gather up what is left over, knowing that God’s plenty is not to be squandered. What social action can we take today on behalf of God’s creation?

Weary from our own travels and fearful of the future, we hesitate to trust God and give from our need; we are tempted to trust ourselves and give from our surplus. What social action can we take today in the name of God’s holy Spirit?

This miracle is also described in Mark 6:34-44. 

Tomorrow, Mark and the feeding of four thousand. 


Image from: https://fravelinogonzalez.com/2015/07/26/homily-2015-07-26/

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Isaiah 42:6-7: The Mystery of Wisdom – Part IIcandle and scripture

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

I am the Lord, I have called you . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we call on the Lord, we find the answer lying in our own response to God’s call to intimacy with goodness.

I will hold you by the hand and watch over you . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we take God’s hand, we discover that we are also called to extend our other hand to those who live in darkness.

I will make you as a covenant to my people . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we extend our hand to others, we have entered into God’s promise.

I will make you a light to the nations . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we enter into God’s promise, God’s light flows through and from us.

I will call you to open blind eyes . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when God’s light flows from us, we begin to heal others.

I will call you to bring out prisoners from the dungeons . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we begin to heal others, we bring them forth from their prisons of fear, anger, anxiety and prejudice.

I will call you to bring out those who sit and wait in darkness . . .

The mystery of wisdom is that when we bring others forth from their prisons of darkness . . . we find ourselves standing in the fullness of God’s eternal, all-encompassing and nourishing wisdom.

Tomorrow, wisdom as promise and grace.


Image from: http://wallpapersinhq.com/55874-the_light_of_wisdom/

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Ephesians 4:3-6: The Mystery of the Spiritwhat_is_the_holy_spirit_cover

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Strive to preserve the mystery of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and father of all, who is over all and through and in all.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explains that the pagan gods of the Greek and Roman societies are indifferent, distant, and selfish; and they operate in a manner that runs counter to the Law of Love that Jesus describes for us.

God says: With these verses, my servant delivers a plea for unity. In your disparate lives you will too often move away from one another and away from yourselves for it is in the encounter with others that you best discover yourself. This is the mystery of my Spirit. She dwells within each of you, whispering words of comfort, healing physical and psychological pain. Yet she also dwells as a binding, calling voice to all of you. No one is left aside. No one is abandoned or left alone. All are welcome. All are loved. This is the great mystery of my love and of your life. Do not struggle against it; rather, lean into it. This love that wants to heal and transform is all you need to save you from turmoil and sorrow. When you live in me, you will constantly be surprised by my presence in unusual places. When you live through me you will consistently find the strength you will need as you work for me. My Spirit is in each. My Spirit is in all. My Spirit cannot be extinguished. My Spirit cannot be resisted. Allow the miracle and mystery of my love to live in and through you. Bring my presence to the world.

When we believe that one small action on the part of one person cannot make a difference, we have separated ourselves from the mystery and possibility of God’s love. Explore the work of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, an organization that works with the homeless to bring to fruition in a surprising way the healing and unifying work of the Spirit. We may also want to explore organizations that bring the most hope to those with homes who may experience hopelessness. Visit: https://impactful.ninja/best-charities-for-helping-homeless-people/


Image from: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/holy-spirit/

 

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Acts 2:1-11: Pentecostpentecost

June 5, 2022

All through Eastertide we have reflected on the gifts and treasures God so generously bestows on us. We have considered our role in God’s great plan. And we have remembered Jesus’ actions and words as he worked to build God’s kingdom on earth among God’s children. Today spend time with these verses and look for their impact in your own life.

When the time was fulfilled . . . frequently we hear these words in scripture. When we take these words in we understand that God’s work comes about in God’s time and space, and not ours.

They were all in one place . . . a number of times we hear God’s call to unity in the Spirit. When we come together in Jesus’ name our prayers are answered even though we might not believe this truth to be so.

The Spirit enabled them to proclaim . . . through both Old and New Testaments we are often told that the Spirit will tell us which way to walk, that a voice will speak to us to give us the words we will need to speak in God’s time and in God’s plan. When we relax into this knowledge we find new peace, a new skin, a new heart.

They were confused . . . so often in the Bible stories we read we understand that even those who are intimately involved with God are confused by the plan that lies before them. When we rest in the knowledge that God has nothing but our joy in mind, we can trust the Spirit to show us which path to take in labyrinth of life.

They were astounded and in amazement . . . repeatedly we hear this news in both Old and New Testaments that we humans are astonished at the depth and breadth and height of God’s goodness and love. When we allow ourselves to believe this good news, we find new peace, new life and new serenity.

We hear them speaking . . . we are constantly barraged by so many words and so many images. Today we open our hearts to the Spirit and focus on one or two of these phrases or words. Today we allow God to speak through us. Today we celebrate the enormous gift and presence of the Spirit in our lives. Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost.


mainslide-pentecostUse the scripture link and the drop-down menus to spend time with these Pentecost verses today . . . imagine the world we might create . . . let go of all small and petty plans . . . prepare to be amazed by God’s goodness . . . to be wrapped in Christ’s love . . . to be healed by the Spirit’s power to restore. Let us go out to all the nations in Christ so that all will hear us as if we were speaking in their own tongues . . . for it is in this way that we encounter the gentle compassion and eternal strength of Christ.

Images from: https://stephenlbaxter.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/celebrating-hope-at-pentecost/ and http://www.westburyumc.org/pentecost-sunday-2013

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Deuteronomy 4:32-40: Anything So Great

Luca Rossetti da Orta: Holy Trinity

Luca Rossetti da Orta: Holy Trinity

Saturday, June 4, 2022

This week we have reflected on our relationship with the Spirit, the lessons Jesus teaches us, and our response to God’s call; tomorrow we look forward to the celebration of this trinity of love. We remember some of Moses’ words as he calls his people to new life.

Ask now of the days of old, before our time, ever since God created man upon the earth; ask from one of the sky to the other: Did anything so great ever  happen before? Was it ever heard of? Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you did, and live? Or did any god ever venture to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, with strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors, all of which the Lord, your God, did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?  

We ask ourselves these same questions. Have we ever encountered anything so great as this promise fulfilled of rebirth and transformation? Have our little gods of comfort and pleasure brought us the measure of joy as the healing of the Spirit?

We might see the world as a place of evil and corruption, or we might see it as a place of possibility and hope. As we prepare to celebrate the miracle of the Pentecost and anticipate the gift of Trinity, let us count the blessings God has generously given, let us determine to live as Christ has asked us, and let us remember the saving power of the Spirit. For there has never been, and never will be, anything as great as these three in one.


Use the scripture link above to compare versions of these verses, and consider if we have ever experienced anything so great as this promise, this miracle, this trinity of love.

Click on the image to learn more about the feast of the Trinity or visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_Sunday

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The Spirit


Acts 19:1-8: The SpiritGUWG-Heart-Bible-Pic

Monday, May 30, 2022

In the New American Bible Paul said to the Ephesians: Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?

They answered him: We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.

Today we take time to consider our own concept of the Spirit and our willingness to allow the Spirit’s impact on our lives. To do this we might use the scripture link above to explore other versions of these verses. We may or may not be baptized or confirmed in a Christian way of life. If we have, we might consider how vulnerable we have allowed ourselves to become. If we have not, we now have the opportunity to consider entering into this special relationship.

In the Message, Paul asks: Did you take God into your mind only, or did you also embrace him with your heart? Did he get inside you?

And the people answer: We’ve never even heard of that—a Holy Spirit? God within us?

How much does the Spirit influence our lives? Are we aware that God lives within? Do we welcome the Spirit? Do we share our Spirit experiences with others? Do we thank God for this faithful, hope-filled, healing presence?

what-is-the-holy-spirit2-740x405If Paul were to walk among us today and ask us his question, what do we answer? Have we heard of the Spirit? Do we recognize or understand this powerful force in our lives? Do we hold this message within or do we spread the good news?

Here is how Paul reacts to the questions that pepper him: He entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.

What is our response to those who question the presence and power of the Spirit? How do we enact the Spirit in our relationships with others? And what do we do with the good news we have received?

Enter the word Spirit into the blog search bar, explore, reflect, rejoice and share.


Images from: http://getupwithgod.com/bible/the-bible-in-5-words/

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