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Posts Tagged ‘joy’


Galatians 3:26-29: Re-Creation – God’s People

Easter Friday, April 21, 2017

If we wonder how God sees the children God lovingly created to bring light to the darkness, we might consider Paul’s words to the Galatians.

It is through faith that all of you are God’s children in union with Christ Jesus. You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ himself. So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are the descendants of Abraham and will receive what God has promised.

Through God’s grace, we receive the gift of faith and we read the testimony left by others.

From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! (1 John 1)

Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we receive the gift of life eternal. On this Easter Friday, as we gather ourselves for Easter re-creation, we benefit from spending time with John’s first letter of testimony. He tells us that all he recounts is real. He reminds us that all he recounts to us has taken place. And he states very clearly that all he reports to us continues to occur today.

To explore varying versions of the verses cited in today’s Noontime, use the scripture links and the drop-down menus.

 

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Luke 24:13-35: The Road to Emmaus – Part V

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Helge Boe: On the Road to Emmaus

They urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.”

We journey toward our Easter resurrection, carrying our doubts and fears, measuring, and even judging, ourselves and those who walk with us. We hope to avoid obstacles, not realizing that they provide us with opportunities for transformation. We see ourselves in a race against time, not understanding that God’s time is eternal. We perceive ourselves as small entities in competition with the billions of earth’s citizens, not comprehending that we are all the living stones of the temple that is God’s kingdom.

They urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.”

A humble yet confident, vulnerable yet strong young man joins us on our journey. He speaks words that both comfort and challenge. He listens well. Asks thoughtful questions. We can feel the compassion and empathy coming from his eyes; his whole body exudes an essence we want to capture so that we might carry it along with us. Yet we need not. We try to possess what we already own. We try to control what we are already promised.

This man’s words are wisdom. His actions are mercy. He embodies hope, he enacts fidelity, he is love. Do we invite him to linger with us, or are we too busy tending to our pains and worries, monitoring our timelines and space?

They urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.”

Hendrick Terbrugghen: Supper at Emmaus

Christ walks with us today as surely as he walked with these disciples in the journey to Emmaus. He breaks bread with us today just as he did at the supper table in Emmaus. Let us set aside the time and space to share our uncertainties with him. Let us dedicate the time and place to share our joy. And let us allow The Teacher to open our hearts to the enormity of God’s love and promise as we journey toward the Easter promise.

They urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.”

For more on the Emmaus experience, click on the image of the Boe painting, or visit: http://www.jesus-story.net/emmaus.htm 

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Luke 24:13-35: The Road to Emmaus – Part IV

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

We might imagine ourselves discovering Christ just as we break bread with him. We might imagine his disappearance as a disappointment or as an opportunity to share the joy of Good News with others. Our reaction to Christ’s presence brings us great fear, great sorrow, great joy, or a mixture of many emotions. How do we write our own story?

Christ appears to the Apostles on the road to Emmaus. Mosaic (6th Century mosaic)

They didn’t waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, talking away: “It’s really happened! The Master has been raised up—Simon saw him!”

Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.

God says: You may find this story difficult to believe. You will want assurance that you would not miss my presence among you; yet you need not be afraid. I am not angered that you overlook me, gaze past me, and cringe away from me when I appear as the homeless, the hungry, the refugee, and the poor. When you suffer embarrassment, all you need do is turn to me with a vulnerable heart. When you are uncomfortable each time I come to you as the marginalized, all you need do is open your arms to me. When you are angry with circumstances you cannot control, ask for my guidance and protection. I have the strength and persistence, the love and fidelity, the hope and energy to be with you through every moment of your suffering. Give me your anxiety and fear. Come away and break bread with me. All the rest is nothing. I am all. And I am enough in this day and in all days.

Diego Velázquez: The Supper at Emmaus

When we spend time reflecting on this story, and when we admit the number of times our anger or discomfort have gotten the best of us, we realize that we, like the Emmaus disciples, have the opportunity to break bread with Christ himself.

 

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Matthew 5:13-16: Salt and Light – A Reprise

pope-francis

Pope Francis

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jesus tells us that we must be salt for the earth, adding flavor, bringing joy; and we are to share this salt of our faith with others.

Jesus tells us that we must be light for the world, slicing through the darkness, bringing hope; and we are to shine this light on the margins and into the corners.

To hear Pope Francis’ words on how we might be both salt and light, visit Vatican Radio at: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/06/07/pope_on_how_to_be_salt_of_the_earth_and_light_of_the_world/1235417

 

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Ephesians 3:2-6: Do Not Fear – Part XIV

Monday, January 9, 2017

file-saint_paul_writing_his_epistles-_by_valentin_de_boulogne

Valentin de Boulogne: Saint Paul Writing his Epistles

Although we have closed Christmastide we pause to spend a few moments with some of Paul’s words to the Ephesians about the secret plan of God, the mystery of Christ, the Word who arrives to live among us. These words remind us why we have nothing to fear.

The following verses are from THE MESSAGE translation. When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to compare other versions, God’s plan begins to clarify for us.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and us – that he is imprisoned because of his belief in Christ; yet he appears to have no fear of his impending punishment.

This is why I, Paul, am in jail for Christ, having taken up the cause of you outsiders, so-called. I take it that you’re familiar with the part I was given in God’s plan for including everybody. I got the inside story on this from God himself, as I just wrote you in brief.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and us – that he is confined because of his belief in Christ; yet he appears to have no fear of his approaching trial.

As you read over what I have written to you, you’ll be able to see for yourselves into the mystery of Christ. None of our ancestors understood this. Only in our time has it been made clear by God’s Spirit through his holy apostles and prophets of this new order.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and us – because of his belief in Christ, that he has nothing to fear in this world.

The mystery is that people who have never heard of God and those who have heard of him all their lives (what I’ve been calling outsiders and insiders) stand on the same ground before God. They get the same offer, same help, same promises in Christ Jesus. The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and he tells us – that because of our belief in Christ, we have nothing to fear in this world. Paul tells us that we need only step into the Christmas gift of grace, peace, joy and hope. And he tells us that when we witness to this gift, we begin to act with and in Christ in our world.

Wishing each of you in the Noontime circle a New Year filled with Christ’s grace and peace, joy and hope.

Tomorrow, recognizing Christ.

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Numbers 6:22-27: Do Not Fear – Part XIII

Saturday, January 7, 2017numbers-blessing

Tomorrow is the official close of Christmastide with the observation of the Epiphany of the Lord when we celebrate the true arrival of the Christ in our lives.

We might best prepare ourselves for the discovery and acceptance of this amazing gift by remembering Aaron’s blessing to the tribes. With this reception of God’s grace, and with all that we have encountered in this season of Christmas, we are hopeful that we will remember . . . we have nothing to fear.

May the Lord bless you and take care of you;

And may we remember that the Christmas gift of Jesus lives and breathes and moves in each of us . . . even our enemies.

May the Lord be kind and gracious to you;

And may we remember that the Christmas grace of the Christ moves and acts and witnesses to each of us . . . even when we have separated ourselves from God.

May the Lord look on you with favor and give you peace;

And may we remember that despite what we se, despite what we hear, despite what we feel . . . we have nothing to fear.

Amen.

blessing-handsWishing each of you Christmas peace and joy throughout the year.

To compare other translations of this blessing, use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to explore.

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Micah 1:3: Behold the Lord

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Michelangelo: The Prophet Micah

Michelangelo: The Prophet Micah

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 prophets tell us that the Lord is about to move among us.

For lo, the Lord is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. (NRSV)

The prophecy describes how God wants to be one of us.

The Lord is coming from his holy place; he will come down and walk on the tops of the mountains. (GNT)

These verses remind us that we receive the gift of holiness through God’s invitation of unity in our diversity.

For — look! —Adonai is coming out of his place, coming down to tread on the high places of the land. (CJB)

micah-6-8The prophets call us to rejoice in our gladness by acting in meekness and integrity, and by living in love.

Look, here he comes! God, from his place!
    He comes down and strides across mountains and hills.
Mountains sink under his feet,
    valleys split apart;
The rock mountains crumble into gravel,
    the river valleys leak like sieves. (MSG)

Behold, the Lord comes to walk among us with peace and joy. The Lord calls us to humility, justice and love.

When we explore other translations of this prophecy, we discover the gift of love we already hold.

 

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Ezra 6: 19-23: Marvels – Part III

Saturday, November 12, 2016

James Tissot: The return of the Prisoners

James Tissot: The Return of the Prisoners

We consider the marvels God has done for the faithful in ancient days, and we consider the response of the faithful.

The people who had returned from exile celebrated.

We recall the marvels God has done for our own ancestors, and we recall their celebration of God’s fidelity.

With great joy they celebrated.

We remember the presence of God in our lives, the miracles God has wrought in us, and we remember our celebration of God’s presence in our own days and nights.

For seven days they joyfully celebrated.

We hope for the presence of God in the lives of our children and grandchildren, and we hope that our children celebrate in joy for this presence.

The Lord had made them joyful.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow we rejoice in our return from exile as did the people of old.

James Tissot: The Reconstruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Herod

James Tissot: The Reconstruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Herod

They were full of joy.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow we rejoice in our return from exile as did our ancestors.

And they kept the feast.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow we rejoice when we pass on this tradition of joy as we also keep the feast.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to compare translations of these verses, we find that we have great cause to rejoice.

For more on Herod’s reconstruction work, click on the image of the rebuilt temple, or visit: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/second-temple/ 

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1 ThessaloniansThe Call

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Roman Market in old Thessaloniki - with new Thessaloniki in the backgroud

The Roman Market in old Thessaloniki – with new Thessaloniki in the background

A Favorite from April 22, 2009.

This is likely the first letter of the New Testament canon to be written around the year 50.  It is appropriate to spend time with this letter at this time of the year as it is flush with the exuberance of the early church and rather than address the profound theological concepts we find in later letters, Paul addresses the characteristics exhibited by the early Christians.  He writes especially about the joy and gratitude which these early people experienced as they waited for Christ’s return – – – which they thought was imminent.  What changes would we make in our lives if we lived as if we understood this concept of return and accounting?  How would this change our stewardship of the gifts we have been given?

The Biblia de América points out that this is a pastoral letter more than anything else and it is modest in its length and tone.  Paul’s’ themes are the mission, development and consolidation of the Church, the Trinitarian nature of the ordinary life, the mystery of evil, and the importance of salvation.  In order to put this letter into some context, we might read about his stay in Thessalonica in Acts 17 as part of his second missionary journey.  The city was a strategically situated port with trade to other parts of the Mediterranean.

Paul exhorts the faithful to refrain from sexual immorality if they are to live a Christian life.  He encourages mutual charity if they are to exhibit Christian love.  He inspires prayers for those who have already died and who are resurrected in Christ Jesus if they are to live in Christian hope.  He urges that the faithful remain faithful, even in the face of so many pressures which call them away from the Trinity.  We might heed his words today for we struggle with the same issues in the same way.  We have not come too far from where the early Christians stood.

Paul calls us to consolidation with those who live in Christ.

Paul calls us to love our enemy.

Paul calls us to be good stewards.

Paul calls us to remain strong against the negative influences of the times.

Paul calls us to Christ.

Let us spend a bit of time today reflecting on the call we feel to be faithful, hopeful, and loving in Christ’s body and resurrection.  What do our actions say about who we are . . . and what we believe?

LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.

To learn more about Thessaloniki, click on the image above or visit: http://romeartlover.tripod.com/Thessalo.html 

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