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Posts Tagged ‘healing’


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Unidentified Flemish painter: Rich and Poor, or War and Peace

Unidentified Flemish painter: Rich and Poor, or War and Peace

Jeremiah 8

Incomprehensible Conduct

When someone falls, does he not rise again? If he goes astray, does he not turn back? Why do these people rebel with obstinate persistence?

Jeremiah sees the coming calamity: the stubborn Israelites refuse to cease worshiping idols. The prophet knows that these are a stubborn, persistent people . . . and the prophet sees their conduct as incomprehensible.

We frequently hear and use the word persistence to indicate our perseverance in following Christ. Here the prophet Jeremiah reminds the people of Judah – and us today – that God grieves for us when we are persistent in our lack of repentance and our shameless conduct. Yet we know it is equally true that God’s loving Spirit will heal and cure us when we decide to turn away from our idols. We understand that the persistent love Christ lives out for us will redeem our unbelievable behavior. We live in the hope that God’s compassion for us will abide . . . even when our conduct is beyond comprehension.

In his letter to the Romans (12:14-21), Paul reminds the faithful of the depth, the breadth and the intensity of God’s love for us – and the persistence of this love in the face of our inexplicable reluctance to return God’s love. Bless your persecutors; never curse them, bless them. Rejoice with others when they rejoice and be sad with those in sorrow. Give the same consideration to all others alike. Pay no regard to social standing, but meet humble people on their own terms. Do not congratulate yourself on your own wisdom. Never try to get revenge: leave that, my dear friends, to the Retribution. As scripture says: “Vengeance is mine – I will pay them back”, the Lord promises. And more: If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat, if thirsty, something to drink. By this you will be heaping red-hot coals on his head”. Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good.

When human conduct is incomprehensible in its darkness and evil, rather than attempting to convert these souls on our own, we must turn to God, the source of healing and redemption. We must intercede for these lost ones and ask that God call them into the light from their shadowy places. And we must ask that the Light of the world, the Christ, enter into them to cure and redeem them. In this way their conduct may become comprehensible. In this way we demonstrate our eagerness to seek the perfection of Christ in all we say and think and do.


Adapted from a reflection written on June 26, 2010.

For a reflection on Jeremiah 8, click on the image above or go to: https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1771

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faith as mustard seedWednesday, July 7, 2021

Matthew 17:14-20

The Mustard Seed

The mustard seed was the smallest seed known to farmers in Galilee in Jesus’ day, yet once planted in fertile soil, the tiny seed grew into a bush as high as ten feet. An amazing change for something so small – and an apt metaphor for the change that can occur in any one of us – once we believe in the Word of God and the abundant possibilities that God opens to each of us.

In today’s Noontime we read about a boy whose demon proves stronger than the faith of Jesus’ disciples, and so the child’s father takes him to the Master in order that the demon be driven out. This same story can be read in Mark 9:14-29 where we find a slightly longer, slightly different version; however, in both cases we see the themes of faith and prayer brought into focus by our trust in God.

Like the father in today’s story, we are to bring our petitions to Jesus. Like the boy himself, we are to give ourselves over to the possibility of being healed, even when we suffer from birth, even when our plight seems permanent. Like the apostles who cannot affect a cure, we are to stay close to Christ as we tend to the mission we have been given.

Platitudes are ineffective when we experience or witness great suffering. Wise sayings affirm our beliefs. Acts of love, of kindness, of hope and of faith are our outward signs of our relationship with God. Our prayer, our fasting, our almsgiving, our constancy in attending to our interior temple are our inward maintenance of this relationship.

We are here on earth to complete our mission, to experience the true potential God has placed in us. We are here to bring soft and open hearts to a hard and suffering world. We are here to offer yielding necks to an excessive and difficult society. We are here to witness and to live lives of compassion and justice. We are here to be healers and to be healed.

We are here to be mustard seed, to yield plenty from the smallest grain, to give as we have been given, to transform as we have been transformed, to love as we are loved.


A Favorite Noontime from July 17, 2008.

Visit Mark 4:30-34 and Luke 13:18-21 and 17:1-10 to hear more of Jesus’ words about faith as the Mustard Seed.

Photo credit: beaconfallscongregational.org from Karina’s Thought at WordPress: http://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/faith-as-small-as-a-mustard-seed/

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Monday, April 12, 2021

pathway in sunEyes to See

As we celebrate the transforming path of mercy that leads to the Paschal Mystery, we will want to have eyes to see the Word of God among us so that we might take heart when we are discouraged, so that we might have hope when we are in despair, so that we might have light when we are in darkness.

The prophet Ezekiel tells us: Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house. (Ezekiel 12:2)

The wisdom writer tells us: What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 6:9)

The prophet Zechariah tells us: Then the angel who was speaking with me went out and said to me, “Lift up now your eyes and see what this is going forth”. (Zechariah 5:5)

In Luke’s Gospel we hear Jesus say: Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them. (Luke 10:23-24)

The evangelist John tells us in his first letter: What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life – and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us – what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. (1 John 1:1-4)

Once we see how God’s Word heals the wounded and transformed the faithful, we will want to respond to God’s call. We need not use words. We need only act. As we near the Easter feast, let us decide how we will convey the love of the Living God to all. Let us decide how we will join those who also long for the world’s joy to be complete.

walkway over waterTomorrow, a prayer to hear and see.


Images from: http://brainpathways.net/college.aspx 

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Holy Saturday, April 3, 2021

psalm 124Psalm 124

Contemplating Amos

Amos describes the effects of corruption and greed, and today we wait in hope for the triumph of mercy and love over these destructive forces. We await the triumph of life eternal over death.

Had the Lord not been with us, when people rose up against us, they would have swallowed us alive.

Amos warns of the danger that lies in complacency and comfort.

Had the Lord not been with us, when their fury blazed against us, the waters would have engulfed us.

We have the illusion that we have created all that we own and all that we are.

Had the Lord not been with us, when people rose up against us, they would have swallowed us alive.

We take credit for our talents and ideas.

Had the Lord not been with us when the torrent overwhelmed us; seething waters would have drowned us.

Let us give thanks to God the creator who has given us an abundance of gifts.

Blessed be the Lord who did not leave us . . .

Let us give thanks to Jesus the Messiah who remained to rescue us all.

Blessed be the Lord who is always with us . . .

Let us give thanks to the Holy Spirit who abides and heals and comforts.

Blessed be the Lord . . .

Let us give thanks.

Our help is in the name of the Lord . . .

Let us give thanks. Amen.


 Image from: http://www.pinterest.com/rhondajoaldrich/healing-mind-body-spirit/

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Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021

Curacin_del_paraltico_Murillo_1670

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo: Curing of the Paralytic

Amos 5:1-2

Fallen

She is fallen, to rise no more . . . she lies abandoned upon her land, with no one to raise her up.

These are sad lines which are somehow appropriate in this Lenten season as we consider our relationship with God. We all fall; none of us is exempt. And we all have opportunities to rise, to change and to transform. Amos’ prophecy tells of a fierce God who exacts punishment for crimes committed and if we only read this far we might never read scripture again. The next part of Israel’s story, the best part, is about this Word Fulfilled through the Messiah, the Christ.

In John’s Gospel we read the story of Jesus curing a man at the Jerusalem Sheep Gate pool of Bethesda.  This man has been crippled for thirty-eight years (John 5:1-16) and as Jesus enters the area, he sees a large number of ill, blind, lame and crippled people; yet Jesus moves toward this one man and asks: “Do you want to be well?”

Jesus comes to us in this same way every day, singling us out of the crowd, asking us this question about our personal journey. Jesus does not worry about the fact that because of his actions some in the crowd tried all the more to kill him. Jesus risks all for each of us. And so might we risk a bit for Jesus.

Amos’ list of words and woes could well be our own. We can complain and cast guilt; we can be willful and ego-centric. We can operate from a foundation of envy, fear and pride, or we can be willing to change. We can listen for the Word, we can put our Woes into perspective, and we can answer yes to Jesus’ question. Sir, I have no one to put me into the healing pool; while I am on my way someone else gets there before me.  And Jesus will say to each of us: Rise, take up your mat, and walk. 

Then we must begin the work of healing, of nurturing our willingness to take on the challenge to look both inward and outward. Once we take up our mat that represents all we have known and put it beneath our arm, we take up the opportunity offered by Christ to rise and transform. Once “healed”, we will have to carry our mat. And we will, from time to time, be called to witness to others as to why we have the mat still beneath our arm. We will be called to witness to why we behave differently from our former selves. We will be called to tell our story of transformation. We will have to explain that once we were fallen, and that now we have risen.

And so, we petition God in this way. Good and generous God, we do not want to lie near a healing pool going over our list of words and woes; we want to rise and carry our mat that has become a symbol of all that holds us back. Help us to better understand how to step away from all that keeps us from transforming through you. Lead us to put our feet on the proper path in the proper way at the proper time. And remind us often of how it is that we now are strong enough, and brave enough, to rise and carry our mat. Amen.

On this Palm Sunday, we gather all those in our prayers who are fallen, and we offer our prayer in hope that we all will rise again.


Adapted from a reflection first written on March 20, 2007.

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Curacion_del_paralitico_Murillo_1670.jpg

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Monday, March 15, 2021

Amos 3-6

Words and Woes

Amos conveys the words of God in his prophecy. Put away black-and-white thinking. Step away from corruption and nepotism. Be open to transformation and redemption. Jesus arrives as the teacher who leads us away from dualism. He points out exploitation and favoritism.  He rescues and changes.

Amos shares the woes he sees. The ease with which violence creeps into our lives. The mourning that threatens to drag us into darkness. The worship of little gods and the turning away from the Living God. The Spirit comes to abide with us, easing the pain of loss, comforting those who are crushed, gathering the remnant into the Body of Christ.

Amos tells us that there is much more to life than ease and comfort, power and fame. Amos reminds us that our real life lies in how we treat one another and not in the accumulation of wealth or titles. Amos asks us to move out of the darkness and into the light.

Christ comes to teach us how to live The Way. Christ steps out to lead us, taking on corrupt structures and power bases. Christ lives in each of us, renewing, recalling, and patiently ministering to our fears, wants and anxieties.

These are the Words of God conveyed by Amos. Jesus lives as the Word of God, walking and healing as he moves among us.

These are the Woes of the world as seen by Amos. Jesus comes to live among us and to remind us that trust in God alone prevails over the deepest and worst violence.

As we continue to move through Lent, let us pause to consider if or how we trust the healing hands of Christ.

Tomorrow, a Lenten prayer for understanding.


For a fresh view of Amos’ prophecy visit: http://jasonsoroski.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/unqualifed-the-story-of-amos/

Image from: http://www.artnet.com/artists/james-smetham/the-call-of-the-prophet-amos-o79LEkNxDOXiMmVWrrBNCQ2 

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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Matthew 5:38-48

CNN News: Ukraine Protestors

CNN News: Ukraine Protestors

We re-post this reflection written in 2014 in union with those who stand up for personal and communal freedom justice on every continent. The human race seems determined to create chaos rather than unity. Let us come together with all those who seek the common good. And let us pray not only for the oppressed but also for those who commit acts of oppression. 

A Prayer to Nourish Us Here and Now

Matthew records the words Jesus speaks to those who gather round him when he describes the kingdom of God in the Beatitudes, the new Law of Love that supersedes the law of the Torah and Moses. We have spent much time this week reflecting on the Interior Law placed within each of us at our inception.  This law flourishes in faith, grows in hope and acts in love. And so we pray, we look for strength as we build God’s kingdom.

BBC News: South Sudan in Crisis

BBC News: South Sudan in Crisis

You have heard it said, an eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.

Around the planet the peoples of the world constantly look for answers to difficult questions; they consistently yearn for security and peace; they continually hunger for the words that Jesus speaks in his Sermon on the Mount. And so we pray, we look for courage as we build God’s kingdom.

When someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other one as well.

In Ukraine the people struggle to find leadership that is free of corruption.  And so we pray, we look for integrity as we build God’s kingdom.

If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well.

In South Sudan the people struggle to live a life without fear. And so we pray, we look for justice as we build God’s kingdom.

Reuters: Thai Protestors Target Ministries and Threaten Stock Exchange

Reuters: Thai Protestors Target Ministries and Threaten Stock Exchange

Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two.

In Thailand the people fight over who will bring them into the light.  And so we pray, we look for truth as we build God’s kingdom.

Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on the one who wants to borrow.

In Venezuela the people fight over how they will share the power of leadership.  And so we pray, we look for peace as we build God’s kingdom.

You have heard it said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Swiss Broadcasting: Activists Injured by Gunshots

Swiss Broadcasting: Activists Injured by Gunshots

In West Virginia, USA the people ask for answers to dark questions.  And so we pray, we look for compassion as we build God’s kingdom.

If you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?

In our own home town the people ask for honesty and justice.  And so we pray, we look for love as we build God’s kingdom.

We are not much different from those people who listened to Jesus two thousand years ago; we too, hunger for security, healing, truth, forgiveness and redemption.

Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. And so we pray, we look for endurance as we build God’s kingdom.

National Geographic News: West Virginia's Chemical Valley

National Geographic News: West Virginia’s Chemical Valley

The perfection God asks of us lies not in our living a life without mishap; rather, it lies in our persistence to return to the Law of Love no matter how far we stray. The kingdom Jesus describes is not in some distant future when all God’s children have suddenly seen and corrected the errors in their lives.  The kingdom of God is here and it is now.  God’s forgiveness and mercy are here and now.  God’s healing and presence are here and now. God’s compassion and love are here and now. Let us take strength from the one who created us, take heart from the one who accompanies us, and peace from the one who dwells within us. Amen.


To learn more about the stories shared in this prayer, click on the images above or go to: http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/17/world/europe/ukraine-protests/, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25677297, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/14/us-thailand-protest-idUSBREA0B03C20140114, http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news/international/Activists_say_five_Venezuela_protesters_injured_by_gunshots.html?cid=37945644, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140116-chemical-valley-west-virginia-chemical-spill-coal/ 

For another Noontime reflection on these verses, enter the word Vengeance into the blog search bar and explore.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2013

The Sixth Day of Christmas

Malachi 3:19-20 (4:1-2)

The Day is Here

Matthais Stom (Stomer): The Adoration of the Shepherds

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble . . . But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.

A child born in quiet dignity.  A world waiting to be saved. God humbles the proud with the smallness of this child. God heals the wounded with the power of this child. God rescues all with the compassion of this child. The long-awaited day of wonder and promise is here. All of this we know, for we are Christmas people.

Enter the word justice in the blog search bar, or visit the pages about the prophet Malachi, and consider what we know and believe as Christmas people.


Differing translations of Scripture have differing numbering systems for this prophecy.  

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Adoration_of_the_Shepherds_-_Matthias_Stom_(Stomer)_-_Google_Cultural_Institute.jpg

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Monday, December 21, 2020

6596191_orig[1]Zephaniah 3:20

Coming Home

At that time I will bring you home, and at that time I will gather you; for I will give you renown and praise, among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring about your restoration before your very eyes, says the Lord.

We yearn to go back to a place and time of innocence. We miss the elders who peopled our childhood years. We look for comfort in old, familiar places. Zephaniah reminds us today that all of these dreams are already fulfilled.

God says: Rather than see the world around you as chaos, come to me so that I might give you rest. Rather than look at what is missing in your lives, consider all that you are and have. Rather than look for consolation, turn to others who need your consolation. This is the gathering Zephaniah describes to you.  This is the restoration he proclaims. It is the healing I bring to each of you when you decide to live and think and act in me. You do not have to wait for the death of your body to experience this coming home to me . . . you are already there. Put aside your chores and your worried for a little time . . . and come to me.  I have much I wish to give you.

coming-home[1]Time, people and places. We feel nostalgia as we recall good memories and ward off the bad. We re-create in our mind’s eye the faces of loved ones we can no longer see or touch. We close our eyes and conjure up the scents and aromas of those places we thought we had lost but that we now somehow find in an old reminiscence. God’s time is eternal; God brings all of us together in the Mystical Body of Christ; God is in all places at all times. When we join this great coming home . . . all of time, all the faithful, and all places come together in union with this God who loves us so much that he chooses to live among us.  Zephaniah tells us that when we come home to God we are already there in those times and places we miss, we are already there with all of our beloved.

In this last week of Advent when the day of Jesus’ birth nears, let us consider for a time the renown and praise that we are already given by God.  Let us consider the renewal this season brings to us. And let us go gladly to take part in this gathering up and this coming home.


For more reflections on the words of the prophet Zephaniah, enter his name into the blog search bar and explore.

Images from: http://www.thefellowshipsite.org/zephaniah-317.html 

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