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Posts Tagged ‘Jeremiah 29:11’


Isaiah 55: An Invitation to Grace

Saturday, June 8, 2019

All you who are thirsty, come to the waters . . .

We are told in the story of the Revelation (7:16) that those who thirst will find true water which quenches forever.

I will renew you with the everlasting covenant . . .

We are told by the prophets Jeremiah (23:4) and Ezekiel (34:16) that the true Shepherd has promised to bring all of his sheep home from all the places to which the false shepherds have scattered them so that none of them shall be missing.

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near . . .

We are told in the Gospels to knock, ask, and seek (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9) while the bridegroom lives among us (Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19, Luke 5:34, John 3:29).

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord . . .

We are told in the first letter to the Corinthians (13:1) that our childish ways are not the childlike ways in which God asks us to walk; and in Ephesians (2:2) that the ways of the world are not God’s ways.

For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.

We are told in Ezekiel (37:27) that God will dwell among his people; and we are told by Jesus in the Gospel of John (10:34-38) that he was sent among us to call his faithful home, and that these faithful live in him just as he lives in the father.

Yes, in joy you shall depart, in peace you shall be brought back . . .

We are told in Jeremiah (29:11) and throughout the Psalms, but especially in 126, that God has plans in mind for us which are plans for joy rather than sorrow.

This shall be the Lord’s renown, an everlasting imperishable sign . . .

We are told in the Gospel of John (4:10) that God offers us the gift of everlasting life, of true water which quenches forever.

All of scripture is Christ, is God’s word to us, God’s expression of love to us.  And all of this scripture cries out to us that we are invited to the feast of the bridegroom as the beloved bride.  In the album Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman there is a song entitled The Invitation which tells us all we need to hear about the love the father holds for us. It reminds us that we are bride to a constant, faithful, ardent lover, the true prince of peace who leaves nothing lacking, who will not rest until he holds us closely.  This is our invitation to blessing.  This is our invitation to beatitude.  This is our invitation to grace.  This is our invitation to love.


A re-post from May 25, 2012.

Images from: http://www.parisianevents.com/parisianparty/what-to-wear-to-a-wedding-in-france/ and http://matttullos.com/grace-is-on-a-family-tree/

To listen to Steven Curtis Chapman sing “The Invitation” click here.   

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Matthew 22:41-46: Messiah

Bartolomé Murillo: The Adoration of the Shepherds

Christmas Day, December 25, 2017

Being a teacher, Jesus asks his listeners a question to see if they have fully understood the enormity of his message; and when it is clear they have not . . . he calls forth the very principal on which they stand to show them where they err.  He truly is a master.  He uses what we say and do to mirror back to us the echo of what we declare.

From today’s MAGNIFICAT: From the beginning of time, God has acted to reverse the loneliness which represents the consummate curse to the human race – an experience analogous to hell.  Even this master defers to his creator, God, in all the important decisions of his life.  He responds to the call of love which washes away the fears of loneliness, anxiety, betrayal, failure and abandonment.  This master obeys the voice within that calls him to act in and for love.  If Christ does this, if this is what it means to be Messiah, then how can we believe that we know a better way to exist?  How do we dare to defy God?

From today’s MAGNIFICAT reflection by Mother Elvira Petrozzi:  If you are able to be an instrument in the hands of God, if you have trust, love, and the patience to accept His plans for you, He restores to you what you have given, one hundred times over . . . Those who trust in him will not remain imprisoned in their little plans.  I have seen young people who built a cage with their own hands and then fell into desperation because of it.

Christ built no cages; he opened doors and windows.  Christ did not succumb to the siren song of Satan to be like gods.  Christ obeyed the voice of his vocation.

I am reminded of a favorite verse from Jeremiah: For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for your woe! (29:11)

This is what it means to be Messiah.  Obeying God for love of God rather than out of fear or laziness.  Loving God for the passion we feel for God rather than from a sense of duty or response to a whim.  Committing ourselves to the Messiah even as the Messiah commits himself to God, this is what we believe.  This is what we follow.  Enormous plans for our joy, rather than little plans for woe.  Awesome plans for a serenity that comes from doing what is good and right and beautiful . . . even though there may be pain in the interim.  For . . .

It is in the doing that we redeem and are redeemed.

It is in the acting that we declare and are declared.

It is in the obeying that we love and are loved. 

This we know.  This we believe.

Let us rise up and follow the Messiah born to us this night. 

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 12.2 (2009). Print.  

Adapted from a Favorite written on February 12, 2009.

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

cc_jer29_11plant[1]Jeremiah 18:13-17

An Unnatural Apostasy

Therefore, thus says the Lord, “Ask among the nations – who has heard the like?”

God speaks to us of a behavior that has gone far away from the norm.

Truly horrible things has virgin Israel done!

We know this story – Israel has rejected her close relationship with God and has chosen to align herself with pagan gods.

Does the snow of Lebanon desert the rocky heights?  Do the gushing waters dry up that flow fresh down the mountains? 

Israel’s actions are as unnatural as snow melting in freezing weather or rivers ceasing their journey through mountain valleys.

Yet my people have forgotten me: they burn incense to a thing that does not exist.

Israel abandons the covenant that has brought her out of Egypt and established her in fertile lands.

They stumble out of their ways, the paths of old, to travel on bypaths, not the beaten track. 

Israel goes against all advice and convention to insist on her own journey that is full of danger.

Their land shall be turned into a desert, an object of lasting ridicule: all passers-by will be amazed, will shake their heads. 

Those who do not remain faithful will find their lives arid; they will be embarrassed by their own actions once they have the opportunity to look back on what they have done.

Like the east wind, I will scatter them before their enemies; I will show them my back, not my face, in their day of disaster.

Old Testament thinking sees God as an angry, vengeful creator.  New Testament experiences God through a messianic lens that perceives God as merciful and forgiving, beckoning and tending, guarding and guiding.  New Testament thinking teaches us that we can trust the creator to care for us when we look for wisdom and peace.  Messianic thinking places hope in the presence of the creator among us in human form.  Messianic hope teaches us that no one is too lost, nothing is too disastrous and no obstacle is too impossible for our God who loves us dearly and well.

Jeremiah also brings us these words: For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

When we reflect on Israel’s unnatural turning away from so great a love, let us also consider our own relationship with God.  Do we scatter before the east wind . . . or do we cleave to the source of all good and all hope?  Do we bow to an unnatural apostasy . . . or do we remain as steady as the snows upon the high mountain tops . . . and rush down mountainsides with joy as we fall into God’s own hands?

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Friday, June 21, 2013

TS_scroll2[1]Isaiah 25:1

God’s Wonderful Plan

O Lord, you are my God, I will extol you and praise your name; for you have fulfilled your wonderful plans of old, faithful and true.

When life takes a sour turn we have a number of paths from which to choose and even though we might not see them clearly, these opportunities to journey with God are always present.  Over the last several weeks we have examined how to deal with calamity, dark plots, loss and schemes and we have seen that the bread of life, our new manna, always appears when we find ourselves in exodus.  As we move away from the enslavement of paralyzing fear we know that we must take our small footsteps toward our well-deserved freedom; yet each of these small step is an agony when we believe we are traveling alone.  Too often crisis comes upon us with overwhelming anxiety and fear.  Too often this fear becomes doubt.  And too often this doubt convinces us that we are best to travel without companions of any kind.  If this is our thinking . . . we know that we must make an adjustment to allow God’s wonderful plan for us to unfold.

We may be tempted to turn away from people, places or events that bring us happiness thinking that we somehow “jinx” ourselves by anticipating joy and goodness.  And when we do this we avoid God’s wonderful plan for us.

path[1]We may shrink back from the offer of a traveling companion thinking that we can “go it alone” or that “we are better off not weighing anyone else down.  And when we do this we reject the opportunity for God to visit us with a healing, itinerant angel.

We may avoid sharing our sorrow and grief with others, or we may believe that we are not deserving of a traveling partner who will accompany us through the sticky patches of life.  And when we do this we shut ourselves away from the small miracles that God works as we share our pain with our traveling companions.

We may punish ourselves believing that we have been fooled as does Jeremiah when he cries out: You duped me, O Lord and I let myself be duped (Jeremiah 20:7).  For this reason we may shut ourselves away, we may “tough it out” or we may even try to pretend that all is well.  And when we do this we deprive ourselves of the gift of sharing our yoke with one who bears all burdens well.

I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.  (Jeremiah 29:11)

When we refuse all offer of alliance we refuse God’s wonderful plans and perhaps we are thinking that we are too exhausted or too inept to fight the battle that looms ahead.  And when we think this we forget that . . . The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst.  No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher while from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: “This is the way; walk in it,: when you would turn to the right or to the left”. (Isaiah 20:20-21)

Walking-path[1]God turns all harm to good.  God is faithful and true.  God is compassionate and just.  God is good and gentle.  God is powerful and tender. God is our rock that does not move and upon which we build a strong foundation.  And God is also a shield we carry into any battle that looms ahead.

So let us acknowledge the gift of God’s presence, let us open our hearts to the one who created us, and let us willingly receive the gift of God’s wonderful plan.

If you want to begin a journey but still do not see where or how to take the first step, click on the Journeys of Transformation tab on this blog and choose a path.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Moretto: King David

Moretto: King David

1 Chronicles 16

Ministry

If we remain constant and in constant dialog with God we are continually surprised by God’s goodness.  When God’s is the first advice we seek, we cannot go wrong; our daily battles will be upheld, and we will stand in awe of God’s generosity.

The Levite hymn of praise that appears in this chapter is thought, by some scholars, to have been added later; other experts believe that it so reflects The Chronicler’s style that it must have always been included in this part of David’s story.  That discussion aside, we can see that David, at this point in his life, makes no decisions without God’s input.  The years he spent on the run avoiding Saul’s troops and making his little guerilla strikes, have prepared him well for this.  We see here someone who understands that even those close to us, those to whom we have pledged our loyalty and love, can and will betray us, someone who understands the importance of fidelity, perseverance and thanksgiving.  The David we see today has come through fire and understands his place in God’s plan, and he understands and accepts his ministry as his vocation.

When we read David’s entire story, we also see that David slips into separation from God.  He is never, nor are we, a finished product.  He is in process with God and his faith journey will take him many places before it ends in old age.  Even at his death, David is embroiled in the argument of which son will rule after him and the death of his beloved Absalom will bring him deep sadness in his final days; yet David continues to commune with God, to listen and to daily dialog, and to live out his ministry as a faithful servant.

Each of us has a ministry we hope to fulfill.  I admit to struggling with my own vocation.  It would be so much easier, I say to God regularly, if I did not have to do all that he asks, if I might pick and choose my own works as I see them suiting my talents.  The reply always returns with an accompanying chuckle: God knows that the path is full of obstacles, and he knows how we tire.  It is for this reason that he abides constantly, never leaving our side.  God knows well the plans he has in mind for us, as the prophet Jeremiah tells us (29:11), and he desires to surprise us at every turn with an encouraging smile, a loving caress, a kiss that does not betray.  God’s constancy and goodness and wisdom are the tools he lends to us in order that we perform our ministry.  God also provides us with little respites at oases that suddenly and surprisingly appear.  Those are the moments in which we might raise our own hymns of praise just as the Levites do in today’s reading.

As we remain constant, we remain close to God.  As we remain close, we commune with God.  As we commune, we worship.  Let us lift our voices together in a paean of praise.

Tomorrow, the constancy of dialog with God . . .

Written on June 20, 2009. Revised and posted today as a Favorite. 

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