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Posts Tagged ‘Law of Love’


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

hands childressEzekiel 33:7-9

Saving Souls

We turn to the words of the prophet Ezekiel as we react to Jeremiah’s indictment of evil in the world. Yesterday we reflected on how God calls each of us to kingdom-building. Today we reflect on how this kingdom might come about.

If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die”, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked one from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.

Saint James tells us: If anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death. (James 5:19-20)

Saint Paul reminds the Romans and us: Love does no evil to the neighbor. (Romans 13:10)

God says: I see many of you undermining the kingdom; yet I see many more of you working to build it up. I want each of you to find her way, or his way to work for and with me. For many of you it is to speak aloud the words I send to you. For others it is to quietly and persistently implement the simple words of my Law of Love. For still others it is to make a loud and banging noise about injustice. And for yet others it is to untiringly appear wherever the wicked tear down vineyard walls to plant new vines again. This is not complicated. It is, in fact, simple. What is complicated is bringing all that you are and all that you have to bear on this one point: there is no greater kingdom than mine; there is no greater love than mine; there is no greater joy than mine . . . in you. Again I invite you to the tireless but rewarding work of the kingdom, for when you join me, you save your soul . . . and those of countless others.

Rather than hide in despair, we step into the light. Rather than wail in sorrow, we take up our task. Rather than gnash our teeth and beat our chests . . . we trust God, pray for those who need our intercession, and join all those whom God has called to the saving of souls.


Image from: http://christianstandard.com/2012/07/meeting-needs-saving-souls/

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1 john 2Saturday, May 22, 2021

1 John 2

Ideal and Real – Part II: Connecting

“The author sets forth the striking contrasts between light and darkness, Christians and the world, and truth and error to illustrate the threats and responsibilities of Christian life. The result is not one of theological argument but one of intense religious conviction expressed in simple truths. The letter is of particular value for its declaration of the humanity and divinity of Christ as an apostolic teaching and for its development of the intrinsic connection between Christian moral conduct and Christian doctrine”. (Senior 387)

When we find ourselves making strong theological arguments rather than listening with the heart of Christ, we know that we have strayed from John’s words. When we exhaust ourselves in heavy conflict we know that we have put Jesus’s Law of Love too far out of our reach. When we find ourselves grasping for complicated and high-flying arguments, we know that we have turned away from Jesus’ method of teaching in simple truths.

Words or battles are not important when we live The Law of Love; rather, it is the intrinsic connection we make between our Christian moral conduct and the doctrine we expound that is our measure.

Let us spend sometime today with verses 12 to 17 of 1 John 2, and examine why and how and if our battles draw connecting lines between our conduct. And let us spend time exploring truths we speak.

Tomorrow – Part III: Hostile Camps


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.387. Print.  

Adapted from a reflection written on Sunday, January 10, 2010.

Image from: http://www.slideshare.net/tay777/1-john-2

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temple_priestMonday, May 3, 2021

Hebrews 4:14-16

High Priest

In some religious structures it is customary to regard a particular member of the community as a singular mediator between the creator and the created. “As a prestigious, elite class the priests were also expected to preserve the holiness of the sanctuary and the uniqueness of the people of Israel.  Therefore they were subject to added restrictions not incumbent upon the average Israelite. A priest was forbidden to officiate if he had a physical defect (Lev. 21:17-24), was ritually impure, was under the influence of alcohol, or had married a woman forbidden to a priest”. (Achtemeier 882)

Jesus comes to serve as high priest for all.  Jesus comes to us a priest who administers the Law of Love. Jesus comes to us as our brother and high priest to call each of us to unity in and through him.

In this Eastertide, let us consider how we respond to this holy call to peace and grace and love.


For more on the Biblical role and the history of the high priest, click on the image above, or visit: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/265328/high-priest or http://www.gotquestions.org/high-priest.html or http://biblehub.com/dictionary/h/high.htm

Achetemeier, Paul J. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE DICTIONARY. 2nd edition. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996. 882. Print.

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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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Second Sunday in Lent, February 28, 2021

Psalm 94psalm-94-18-19[1]

Our Interior Law – Part IV

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We ask for wisdom so that we might discern your law that lives within each of us.

Blessed the one whom you instruct, O Lord, whom by your law you teach, giving them rest from evil days. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for peace in our turbulent days so that we must rest with you as we move through our days.

For the Lord will not cast off God’s people, nor abandon God’s inheritance; but judgment will be with justice, and all the upright of heart will follow it. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for integrity and uprightness so that we might live out the Gospel as Jesus teaches us.

When I say, “My foot is slipping,” your mercy, O Lord, sustains me; when cares abound within me, your comfort gladdens my soul. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for compassion and forgiveness so that we might live the love the Spirit inspires in each of us.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We tap into our interior law, knowing that it always leads us in the best direction, understanding that it flourishes at the best of God’s time, and believing that it nourishes and sustains each of us and all of us.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

Jesus says, “Do you not yet understand or comprehend?  Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”  They answered him, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”  (Mark 8:17-21)

God’s love is far greater than we can imagine and far more durable than we can believe.  And this is God’s law of love.  There is always love in abundance . . . forever. Blessed are those who see and hear. Blessed are those who allow God to soften hearts. Blessed are those who believe that God’s law lives within.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.


Image from: http://shareaverse.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/comfort-3/psalm-94-18-19/ 

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

imagesCAJ3N3X3Psalm 119:169-176

Taw

Let my cry come before you, Lord; in keeping with your word give me discernment. Let my prayer come before you; rescue me according to your promise.

In this last stanza the psalmist finally leads us to the understanding that our cry becomes a prayer when we call out to God; the Law becomes a beautiful unfolding of God’s promise of rescue.  The Law of Love, once we take it into our lives to enact it fully, imprints on our hearts and minds and souls the mark of God’s own creation.

God says: So do you now see that my laws bring you to me when you see them as expressions of my love?  Do you understand that when you regard my precepts, testimonies and statutes as commandments to confine and categorize yourself and others you miss the meaning of my message? All of my decrees ask you to intercede for those who have harmed you. Each of the many rules you have created are as dust before me if they close you in revenge and anger. I do not ask for burnt sacrifices; I ask for an open heart and mind. Once you open your heart to me you begin to understand; and the sweet gift of discernment is yours. So ponder what you have heard . . . and prepare to receive the full impact of my Word.

God gives us a joyful invitation in Psalm 119. It is an invitation to accept the gifts of freedom, grace and peace. It is an invitation we may accept or turn down. It is an invitation we will want to consider with care.

One of the scribes . . . asked [Jesus], “Which is the first of all commandments?”  Jesus replied, “The first is this, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)


To understand more about the letter Taw and how it represents the seal of creation, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/tav.htm

Image from: http://www.osfphila.org/about/tau

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

the-letter-shin[1]Psalm 119:161-168

Shin

My heart reveres only your word . . . I rejoice at your promise . . . Your teaching I love . . . Seven times a day I praise you . . . Lovers of your teaching have much peace . . . for them there is no stumbling block . . . I look for your salvation . . . I fulfill your commands . . . I observe your decrees . . . I love them very much . . . All my ways are before you.

In this penultimate strophe the psalmist has finally arrived at deep understanding of what it means to follow the Law.  It is not a stringent adherence to a long and complicated set of requirements.

God says: There is really only one law. Many of you have created layers and contingencies for yourselves but all of your regulations do nothing if they do not build my kingdom. All of your small rules and overbearing stances do nothing if they are not respectful of each human condition. Your fears create worlds I do not intend. Your desire to control only antagonizes others and sends them away from me. There is only one law and it is this: Love one another as I have loved you – love your enemies as well as you love your friends – ask me to intercede for those who harm you. Your joy at finding me in this one law will be evident to all so rather than preach with your lips . . . spread the good news with your thoughts and actions. This will engender in you an eternal fire that overcomes all obstacles, a perpetual passion of love and peace that can never be extinguished.

Our interpretation of God’s law is an invention of our fears and fantasies if it does not call us to forgive one another as God forgives us. Our ideas about Jesus’ teaching are an invention of our egos if they do not urge us to redeem one another as Jesus redeems us. Our beliefs about how to live out God’s precepts are false if they do not move us into action with the Spirit.

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test [Jesus] and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?  How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord your God with your all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself”.  He replied to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live”.  (Luke 10:25-28)

We look for peace. We seek life eternal. We want all obstacles in our lives to fall away.  A true and deep understanding of God’s love of all – even our enemies – brings us the serenity and union with God that we long for.

When Christ asks us how we read God’s law . . . what do we answer?  How do we act?

Tomorrow, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Taw.


To understand more about the letter Shin and how it represents both the flame that is evident and the flame stored in embers, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/shin.htm

Image from: http://www.heb4you.com/hebrew-alephbet/21th-letter-of-the-hebrew-alphabet.html 

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Monday, February 1, 2021

NunPsalm 119:105-112

Nun

Your word is a lamp for me feet, a light for my path . . . I make a solemn vow to keep your just edicts.

When we live superficially we give lip service to God’s call. When we live authentically we think, say and act in accordance with God’s Law of Love.

God says: My joy is endless when you finally decide to act in my love with the same or even greater intensity as you think and speak about my love. Allow the happiness of knowing your own divinity to serve as a beacon to others. Call out to others as I call out to you and tell the world of your delight in becoming one with me. Then . . .  come to me so that we might celebrate this union of your gift with my eternal goodness.

The simplest way to demonstrate your love for the Law of Love Jesus brings to us is to allow our joy to serve as a lamp to others, our delight in knowing God to serve as a light on the path of life.

Jesus says: You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then out it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand where it gives light to all in the house. Just so your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.  (Matthew 5:14-16)

Tomorrow, Samekh.


To learn more about the letter Nun as a symbol of the Messiah, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/nun.htm or http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/3_nun.html

 

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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Bible and glassesPsalm 119

A Prayer to Hear God’s Message, Promise and Call

The arrogant have dug pits for me; defying your teaching . . . They have almost ended my life on earth, but I do not forsake your precepts.

Others speak of hearing God’s voice and we too, have a strong sense of this guiding Spirit within.

Others speak of hearing God’s voice and we realize that we have never felt this strong, protective companion.

Others speak of hearing God’s voice and remembering the time in our lives when we too, felt accompanied by this loving presence, we wait for this comforting experience to return.

No matter our circumstance, no matter the moment in our life’s journey, Christ is present to and in each of us, even when we may not feel his presence. The psalmist tells us that when we do not experience a sense of God in our lives we are always welcome to ask God to touch us in a tangible way; and when we do feel God’s presence, we must turn to help those who do not. And we must celebrate.

Good and far-seeing God, you have given each of us the power to actualize our own potential. Help us to see you in our lives and to bring you to others who need to see your hand in their own lives.

Good and loving God, you encourage us to read your word, to practice your law and to aspire to the potential for divinity we each possess. Help us to find you in scripture and to open scripture for others so that they also find you in your Law of Love.

Good and insightful God, you are a fountain of wisdom. Nourish us with your truth and bring us your understanding, counsel and guidance. Remind us of your promise to always be present to and in us.

Good and saving God, you come to us as a child, as a light in the overpowering night. Help us to act as the Messiah does, reading your word, growing in wisdom, listening for your voice, and sacrificing self to bring light to the unforgiving darkness.

Good and eternal God, you are beginning and end, Alpha and Omega, source and summit for all. Speak to each of us in such a way that we might clearly hear your message, that we might eagerly believe in your promise, and that we might joyfully reply to your call.

We ask this in Jesus’ name, in unity with your sacred Spirit. Amen.

Tomorrow, Ayin.


If you are looking for an open and easy way to begin a daily dedication to scripture, choose any psalm and read it in segments prayerfully, pausing for reflection. Or turn to The Acts of the Apostles and begin to read the story of the Spirit among us.

For information about beginning a Bible reading plan, click on the image above or go to: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/12/27/a-bible-reading-plan-for-readers/

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