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Posts Tagged ‘journeys’


John 2:13-25: Clearing the Temple

Monday, March 11, 2019

El Greco: Christ Cleansing the Temple

Today’s Gospel from John tells us that: Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there.  He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace” Jesus clears out the holy precinct and turns it over to the one who creates all.  This is an apt reading for the Lenten season because these words call us to the work of our Easter journey.  They call us to clear out the temple of our interior, to make all ready for the indwelling of the Spirit, to prepare for the Word to take up residence within.

Spend some time today with The Jesus Bridge reflection on this blog and examine how we prepare our own temple to receive the Word.  Do some of our relationships need mending?  Do we know someone who looks for companionship as they struggle to put a first foot on the path to reconciliation?  Have we really begun our journey to wholeness?

We remind ourselves that we are all traveling up to Jerusalem with Jesus.  How do we prepare?  What is our attitude as we step off into the morning mist?  And when we reach our destination, are we willing to clear out the temple and rid ourselves of old addictions?  We will only know once we spend some time with God today.

This is a season of journeys and paths. As you reflect, enjoy the photos at this link . . . and begin to clear out the Temple.


You may want to explore amazing paths in: amazing-paths 2019-march 11 images received from a friend earlier this month.

A re-post from March 11, 2012.

Image from: http://www.journeywithjesus.net/Essays/20090309JJ.shtml 

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paths 17Wednesday, April 9, 2014

John 13:24-30

A Prayer for the Journey

We have examined a number of different pathways our lives might take as we journey with God.  Some offer no options and seem to have little hope. Others are open and give us a variety of choices.  As we move through these last weeks of Lent, let us pause to consider the Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat.

A man sowed good seed in his field . . .

Good and gentle God, you sow your word in our hearts and minds. May we come to fully hear your word.

While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off . . .

Good and wise God, you offer us the grace of your love. May we come to completely see you in others.

When the crop grew and bore fruit then the weeds appeared as well . . .

Good and gracious God, you plant a desire in each of us to know you intimately. May we arrive at seeing you in all of creation.

paths 20The slaves of the householder came to him and said, “Master, did you not sow good wheat in your field? Where did all these weeds come from?

Dear and humble Jesus, you accompany us when we need you most. May we respond to your quiet and healing touch.

He answered, “An enemy has done this”.

Dear and practical Jesus, you see each of us entirely and totally. May we seek to love you as you love us.

His slaves said to him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?

Dear and loving Jesus, you give us your full and total attention. May we learn to spend time with you each day.

He replied, “No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them . . .

Loving and serene Spirit, you see both eagerness and reluctance in each of us. Help us to find unity within sunset-barn-and-wheat-field-steptoe-craig-tuttleourselves and with one another.

“Let them grow together until harvest; then I will say to the harvesters, ‘First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning . . .

Loving and compassionate Spirit, you provide endless time and limitless space for us to grow in you. Help us to forgive ourselves and one another without reservation as you forgive us.

‘But gather the wheat into my barn’.”

Loving and providential Spirit, you persist against all odds. Help us to move forward on the path of our life . . . even when we are wearied by the trials of the journey.

God the Creator, God the Redeemer, and God the Healer, abide with us this day and every day. We know that the obstacles along our way are stepping stones to encounter ourselves.  We know that you are with us even when we cannot see or hear you. And we live in the expectation that the harvesters will bundle us in to your enormous and generous barn. Amen.

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paths 15Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Matthew 13:17-23

So Many Paths – Part IV

Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.

The Parable of the Sower is a familiar one and yet . . . we resist changing so that our journey might be a little lighter. We refuse adjustment from our present position even though modification in our living might offer and opportunity for conversion. When we find ourselves traveling a road that seems immutable and absolute we need not fear, for we are graced with the Word that combats all Woe. How do we tune our ears so that we might honestly listen to God’s word? How do we un-muddy our eyes so that might rightly see God’s presence in our lives?

Life gives us surprising obstacles and we lose heart. We lament and complain. We recoil and mourn. Life treats us well and we take credit for all that we have and are. We act with hubris. We become pompous and self-righteous. Once we have set out on a path, do we have any recourse to change? Once we are well on our way, are we doomed to a single outcome?

paths 16The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart.

When we hear the Torah, the Prophets and the Gospel we are as free to heed God’s Word as we are to ignore it.

The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.

When we hear Jesus’ parables we are as free to search for meaning as we are to treat these stories as children’s tales that hold no meaning for adult lives.

The seed sown among thorns in the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.

paths 18When we witness injustice we also witness the presence of the Spirit in a hostile and frightening world. We are as free to respond to that Spirit to unit ourselves in God’s grace with Christ’s mystical body as we are to squelch it.

But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.

When we find ourselves on a difficult path fraught with danger and friction . . . we are as free to ask for, to receive and to respond to God’s grace as we are to remain implacably set in our own rigid way. As we near the end of the Lenten season and prepare to open ourselves to Christ’s Easter joy, let us determine to receive Christ with gratitude, to celebrate God’s presence with delight, and to rest in the serenity of the Spirit.

Tomorrow, a prayer for the journey.

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paths 5Monday, April 7, 2014

Matthew 13:1-17

So Many Paths – Part III

Jesus says: “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, more will be taken away”.

Some lives are hidden journeys, following tracks laid down by unknown forces that pull us forward rapidly.  We fly past dense underbrush that hides us from the openness of the world. We are enslaved to a strict pathway that does not allow for deviation in any way. Journeys like this seem pleasant and ordered but they eliminate the opportunity to make choices. We find that we have no freedom. When we realize that we have chosen a pathway that thinks for us and keeps us away from the fullness of creation, we find that we are missing out not only on risk and danger but on our own development. We begin to understand Jesus’ words when he says that those with more will prosper and those with little will fail. It dawns on us that these words do not refer to material goods but rather, to a life lived in fullness of heart versus a life lived with a narrowness of mind. A constricted, prescribed and confining journey brings with it its own punishment of more constriction; while open and generous pathways call us out of ourselves and ask us to stretch. Open and flexible journeys offer us a new prosperity of love, peace and fulfillment. We discover that as we move away from restriction to stretch beyond our comfort zones, we learn about the depth and breadth and beauty of our gifts.

paths 6“This is why I speak in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand’. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them”.

There are paths that bring us changes that are so sudden that at first we believe ourselves to be lost. Huge, impassable obstacles loom large before us and all we see is a roadblock. All we hear is chaos. When we look closely, however, to discern God’s plan and call, we notice alternative routes we had not previously seen. We hear precious words of advice and encouragement to which we had earlier been deaf. With this new discovery of trusting God, we also realize a life of eagerness, adventure and acumen. We become wiser. We hear better. We see further. We find endurance. We find that we can bear far more that we had imagined. We understand that we are loved far more than we had hoped. Our eyes see opportunity where before we had seen loss; our ears hear rejoicing where before we heard only dirges.

paths 14Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears because they hear. Many prophets and righteous people have longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Spaths 9ome journeys convince us that the world is made of two kinds of people: the good and the bad. We find ourselves believing the illusion that we can divide everyone and every idea into opposing camps or positions. And then we find ourselves either allying with the position we think is the safest and most suitable . . . or we struggle to achieve an impossible compromise that addresses none of the problems we find before us. This kind of living begins as an innocent attempt to simplify our journey, and it ends in a passage that is rigid, unforgiving and blind.

Tomorrow, So Many Paths – Part IV.

 

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paths 12The Fifth Sunday of Lent, April 6, 2014

Matthew 13:1-11

So Many Paths – Part II

How many ways are there to live a life? How many paths of wisdom lead to God? How many times are we called to modify, change or persevere in our chosen journey? Only a close and intimate conversation with God will bring us the answers we seek.

Some journeys look impossible.  They are full of traps, and barren of sustenance. We become exhausted just thinking of how we might prepare to travel such a pathway. The heights are dizzying. The precipices terrifying. We begin our journey with downcast eyes and laden heart. We are too frightened to think about the future. When this happens, let us consider that the stony way may be more difficult but that Christ will be all the more present for God knows the treacheries that lurk along the way. The Spirit knows full well that we will tire, that we will seek refuge in a hostile land. And let us consider that when we journey with God, there are always tools available – although we may not see them.

Some seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil . . . it withered for lack of roots.

path 14Some of us travel with blessings abundant. We have few fears, light hearts, and a song in our soul. Yet there is a danger hiding here that we begin to think that we alone are responsible for our good fortune. When this happens, let us be certain to spend time with God each day. Let us give thanks for the abundance of God’s grace. And let us celebrate and share the blessings God has bestowed on us.

Some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.

paths 7

Sometimes our journey is a déjà vu of experiences. We know the subtle changes before they take place. We anticipate the loops and curls and we struggle to untangle a series of events that feel all too familiar. We fight to orient ourselves. We wonder how we might move forward rather than spend endless time moving back and forth. When this happens, let us remember to turn to Christ with our questions and fears. Let us consider that God always provides refuge in any storm. And let us celebrate the goodness and love of God.

The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to us in parables?”

 

paths 10

Some journeys are shrouded in mystery; we find it impossible to see ahead. Even when we plan well, when we spend time with God, when we do all that God asks of us . . . nothing seems to work until . . . we finally realize that trust is the only necessary commodity we need take on our journey. When this happens, we understand how and where to find peace. We begin to understand that serenity cannot be earned. We see the wisdom of allowing ourselves to fall into Christ’s arms rather than flail against our journey for a lifetime.

Jesus said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted”.

And so we pray: Good and gracious God, we trust you with all that we have and all that we are.

Kind and gentle Jesus, we follow you when we cannot see and cannot hear.

Abiding and faithful Spirit, we lean on you, we rely on you, we look to you for all that we need. Amen.

Tomorrow, So Many Paths – Part III

 

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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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