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give_thanks_with_a_grateful_heartWednesday, September 22, 2021

Psalm 138

Hymn of a Grateful Heart

I thank you, Lord, with all my heart. I bow low toward your holy temple; I praise you name for your fidelity and love.

God says: I know that you are grateful but it is good of you to tell me. Keep in mind that you are my temple so remember to care for yourself even as you care for others in my name.

You have exalted over all your name and your promise. When I cried out, you answered; you strengthen my spirit.

God says: I am always with you although you may not sense it. I smooth many obstacles for you each day and when you meet the obstacles that frighten you, know that I am with you. You cannot fail. There is nothing to fear.

The Lord is on high, but cares for the lowly and knows the proud from afar.

God says: My prophet Jeremiah tried to tell the leaders of my flock that they had erred. They did not listen. You are prophets in your own day and you warn of danger; yet you are also ignored. I see your exhaustion but I am telling you that you need not expend yourself totally. Do what is right. Listen to my word and share it. When darkness arrives I am with you. My light will pierce that darkness and all truth will be revealed.

Though I walk in the midst of dangers, you guard my life when my enemies rage. You stretch out your hand; your right hand saves me.

happy grateful peopleGod says: I know that you are grateful and it is good of you to tell me. My promise is genuine. My compassion is complete. My hope is eternal. My love is trustworthy. You are made in my image and so I look for the truth and integrity I planted in you in the moment I first thought of you.  

The Lord is with me to the end. Lord, your love endures forever. Never forsake the work of your hands!

God says: There really is no end for you are eternal. Rest in me today and allow these words to seep into your sinews. Relax with me today and let the words and hope of my prophet Jeremiah console you. Abide with me today and reflect on this prayer. I am with you always and everywhere. You are the work of my hands. I cannot forget you. I will not abandon you. I will always guide and protect you. Of this you may be sure.


Compare different versions of Psalm 138 through the scripture link above. Choose other versions with the drop down menus and spend some quiet time with God. Allow God’s word to seep into your bones. Give all of your fears, anxieties and worries to God. And offer up a hymn of thanksgiving from a grateful heart.

To see and hear the Westminster Abbey Choir sing Psalm 138, go to YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNqvpM2MFYM 

Image from: http://pastorfergus.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/this-sunday-were-giving-thanks-at-st-pauls-together-for-gifts-to-share/ 

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Moses TentMonday, September 20 , 2021

Psalm 15

Refusing Panic

Who may dwell in the Lord’s tent or upon the Lord’s holy mountain?

Jeremiah has spoken to God’s people just as God has asked, and for his fidelity and suffering, he is abused and mocked.  The remnant remain and believe. The faithful know that sooner or later, Jeremiah will be silenced, but God’s word, spoken honestly and carefully, will never die. God’s truth lives forever and cannot be extinguished.

Jesus comes to live among us to heal and redeem, and for his compassion and mercy he is rejected and crucified. The remnant remain watchful and hopeful. The faithful know that here and now Christ continues to walk and live among us. God may be placed out of mind but God is present and cannot be denied. The Spirit is indwelling and cannot be extinguished.

A number of months ago we visited with Psalm 15 and we return today as we prepare for Jeremiah’s journey to Egypt – a place where the Hebrew people once sought refuge and became chained by slavery. A place from which the Twelve Tribes made their exodus with Moses to be delivered in their promised land. A place that served as refuge for the Christ family following Herod’s plot to murder the infant Jesus. Today we reflect on Psalm 15 and remind ourselves that when we stand steadfast in Christ, we must be prepared to reject anxiety. We must be ready to shun our fear. We must be willing to refuse any sense of panic.

Who may dwell in the Lord’s tent or upon the Lord’s holy mountain?

God says: I am well aware of the sacrifices you make for me. I see that you put your desires and sometimes your needs to the side as you take up my cause and deliver my words. Like my prophet Jeremiah you even place yourself at risk when you speak and act as I have asked. Know that I see all of your big and small losses. Understand that I see how you suffer. Believe that I place my hope in you and that you may place all your hope in me. I am goodness and goodness never fails. I am compassion and compassion always heals. I am love and love never abandons. Love always accompanies, always saves, always redeems, always transforms, always brings home. If you must be carried off to Egypt, know that I go with you. And know that I will also bring you home.

Today, spend time with this short psalm, and consider not if we may dwell in the Lord’s tent or on God’s holy mountain, consider how we can dwell anywhere else.

Walk without blame, do what is right, speak truth from the heart, do not slander, defame, or harm your neighbor, disdain the wicked, honor those who love God, keep your promises at all cost, accept no bribe . . . for whoever acts like this shall never be shaken. 


For another reflection on Fearlessness, enter the word in tot he blog search bar and reflect on the importance of trusting God, of rejecting panic, and of remaining as remnant that is never shaken.

Image from: http://thepraiseandworshipconnection.blogspot.com/2013_08_01_archive.html

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

psalm 32Psalm 32

Time of Need

I kept it secret and my frame was wasted.

I groaned all the day long for night and day your hand was heavy upon me.

Indeed my strength was dried up by the summer’s heat.

We do not know but we can imagine that the prophet Jeremiah prayed the psalms from his prison cell or from the bottom of the miry cistern. Chains alone did not stop him from speaking. Scorn and mockery could not hold back the words he knew he must deliver and the actions he knew he must take. If he intoned Psalm 32 it may have been bitterly for he could not put an end to his punishment by acknowledging his sin or by recanting an evil act; or it may have been joyfully for he also knew that God was his only place of safety. Jeremiah, the innocent, bemoaned his reality as he suffered at the hands of corrupt and unjust leaders; but Jeremiah, the prophet, understood the message of hope in this prayer.

So let every good man pray to you in the time of need.

The floods of water may reach high but him they shall not reach.

You are my hiding place, O Lord; you save me from distress.

You surround me with cries of deliverance.

In our moment of stress, God replies through the voice of the psalmist.

I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel and watch over you.

Do not be senseless like horses or mules; with bit and bridle their temper is curbed, else they will not come to you.

In our time of need, God speaks to us today.

Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you just; exult all you upright of heart.

When the weight of the world is too much to balance, let us give our burden of despair to God, and be glad in the hope, and grace and love of the Lord.


Visit the Overwhelmed By Grace post on this blog by entering the words in the search bar.

Image from: http://loopyloo305.com/2012/12/16/psalm-32/

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Friday, July 2, 2021

Jeremiah 20:10

Pierre Antoine de Machy: Place de la Révolution Exécution Capitale

Pierre Antoine de Machy: Place de la Révolution Exécution Capitale

Terror

I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! Let us denounce her!” All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. “Perhaps she will be trapped, then we can prevail, and take our vengeance on her”.

So much that we do – or fail to do – stems from fear. Fear that we will err, that we will be left alone, that we will be too foolish, too prickly, too slow, too something, too anything or too nothing.

God says: You do not need to afflict yourself with these terrors. Does not my prophet also say to you, “But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame’ to lasting, unforgettable confusion.” This utter and endless confusion comes upon your enemies through the very plots they lay out to entrap you. Always remember that you are not alone. Always remember that you are always guided and protected. Always remember that you are well loved. In that way, these terrors that grip you will fall away. These terrors that your enemies plot against you will vanish into nothing-ness.

Jesus tells us endlessly: Do not be afraid. Let us consider how fear operates in our lives and let us determine to remind one another that when we live in and through, and with God, there is nothing and no one we need fear.

Enter the word fear or terror into the blog search bar and reflect on who or what motivates us.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pierre-Antoine_Demachy_Une_ex%C3%A9cution_capitale,_place_de_R%C3%A9volution_ca_1793.jpg

To read more on how the Committee of Public Safety brought about a Reign of Terror in France, click on the image above or go to: http://sheg.stanford.edu/reign-of-terror

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Saturday, June 26, 2021

1 Samuel 12

christ washing feetJudging         

Yesterday we contemplated how we might refrain from judging one another. Today we reflect on how we might judge as God judges.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5. Here I am; testify against me before the Lord . . . It does not concern me in the least that I be judged by you or any human tribunal . . .

What we read today is how to “fear” the Lord, how to stand in awe of God before all else and before anyone else. Only God is God. Only God matters. God alone is enough, says Teresa of Ávila.

The Liturgy of the Hours prayers and Mass readings often reflect this theme.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful . . . Whoever exalts himself will be humbled . . . Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Pride sets subtle snares. Whenever we imagine that we are in control of life – our own or someone else’s – we have fallen prey to the ancient whisper in the Garden: “You shall be like gods”. Mortality is the enduring reminder that we become like God not only by our own power but by the power of the cross. (MAGNIFICAT, 304)

We have a number of reminders today: No one’s but God’s opinion matters; we do not need to strive to be gods for we are children of God; we behave divinely when we humble ourselves just as Jesus does; our happiness comes after and through our suffering; pride is deceptive and alluring.

In his farewell speech, Samuel challenges his audience to judge him or to find fault with his conduct. Paul tells us that he does not care at all about who judges him or how. The one who judges me is the Lord. Of course, we can take these views to the extreme and pretend that we can do as we like and that we do not have to conform to any civil rules or social mores. This would be an extreme and unreasonable position to hold for even Jesus tells us to render Caesar’s business unto Caesar. The words we read today help us with the most important part of our being . . . our spiritual self. These words today help us to focus properly on what is vital to us and significant in our lives: our relationship with God.

Fortunately for us God is merciful and forgiving. Blessedly for us God loves us and is waiting for us to turn to him. God waits for us graciously and compassionately. Let us accept God’s gift with humility. Let us take the lowest seat at the table so that we might stand before God and others to declare our faithfulness to God in confidence and love.


Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Mini-Reflection.” MAGNIFICAT. 22 March 2011. 304. Print.

Image from: http://drtimwhite.com/humility-is-key-to-the-unity-of-a-church/

Adapted from a reflection written on March 22, 2011.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Chronicles

King-Solomons-Temple

King Solomon’s Temple

For a number of days we have wandered through the chapters of Chronicles much as the Hebrews wandered through the Sinai desert. We know our goal and where it is likely to be found. We know who guides us past calamity and who protects us from devastating harm. We have considered where and how to build our temples and to whom. We have reflected on the meaning of achievement, endurance, defeat, success and exile. We have considered the value of passing along our faith stories and of recording the joy of God’s presence in our lives. We have examined time and the role it plays in our perception of self and God. Ultimately, we arrive in a place and moment when we can no longer deny that we are created out of love, for love, by love. Ultimately, we come to understand that our lives are our own sacred chronicle and that this history-of-self is our song of thanksgiving to God.

Let us spend some time today to reflect on who we find in our own faith story. What family members or friends have called us to remain in God? When does our story begin? When do we run along the heights of happiness and when do we run through dry valleys? What separates us from God? How and why are we able to return? When does Christ act in a specific way to heal our broken-ness? When do we feel abandoned or alone? And when do we feel the presence of the Spirit so strongly that it cannot be denied?

As we move through our days, let us pause to celebrate our commitment to the story we say we are living. As we move through our nights, let us reflect on specific words or images as we record our story of faith and salvation. And let us decide to share our story with fellow travelers, just as the Chronicler does.


Image from: https://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-asia/first-temple-crowning-achievement-king-solomon-and-home-legendary-ark-covenant-021683

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Thursday, May 27, 2021

1 John 3:1-3

1 johnSee What Love

See what love the father has bestowed on us that we might be called the children of God.

We need say nothing more about our relationship with God. We are God’s children.

The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know God.

We need write nothing but that God loves each of us dearly. We are God’s children.

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.

We need not expend energy worrying or tears crying about what the creator may or may not think of us. We are God’s children.

Everyone who has this hope based on God makes himself pure, as God is pure.

Today, click on the scripture link above and study the four pre-select versions of this citation while thinking of these statements. Choose another version and read these simple yet hope-filled verses again and reflect on the amazing truth John brings to us . . .

See what love the father has bestowed on us that we might be called the children of God.


Image from: http://imgracemadewoman.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/bible-quotes-1-john-3/1-john-1-3-niv-wallpaper/

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bible and candleFriday, May 21, 2021

1 John 2

Ideal and Real – Part I: Treatise

Most scholars agree that this treatise on Christ’s love was not written as a letter but rather as a discourse on “certain false ideas, especially about Jesus, and to deepen the spiritual and social awareness of the Christian community”. (Senior 387)

We too, are presented with false teachings about deeply held beliefs. We too, are in need of a deepening spiritual and social awareness. We too, are called to nourish and tend to our community.

“1 John lends itself . . . readily to every time and place. For a document generated by bitter conflict, it is amazingly positive and loving in tone . . . What is stated positively is sometimes denied a short time later. The reason for this alteration of ideal and real lies in the circumstances being addressed . . . First John’s apparent indecisiveness reflects the chastened perspective caused by the trauma of division. The symbols need reshaping. The author urges his readers away from a smug sense of their own perfection, to an awareness of their need to repent. Not only ‘those who went out from us’ have sinned. All have sinned and need the expiation offered by Jesus”.   (Senior RG 563)

When we face a bitter conflict, we might follow John’s example of adopting an amazing and loving tone.

When we experience indecisiveness, we might want to find out if the wavering comes from a real or perceived trauma.

When we feel smugly superior to others because of our assumed perfection, we might repent and ask forgiveness of those whom we have slighted.

I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.

What is real? What is imagined? What is perfect? What is flawed? Spend a bit of time today with 1 John 2 to consider the challenge this loving apostle lays out before us. Reflect on what is real, on what is ideal, and on what we do with our own flawed and accurate perceptions.

Tomorrow – Part II: Connecting


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.387 & RG 563. Print.

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

Image from: http://www.catholicmarriageprep.com/resources/wedding-readings

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Monday, May 17, 2021

Simon Vouet: The Apostle John

Simon Vouet: The Apostle John

1 John

Connection

“The purpose of this letter is to combat certain false ideas, especially about Jesus, and to deepen the spiritual and social awareness of the Christian community . . . The author affirms that authentic Christian love, ethics, and faith take place only within the historical revelation and sacrifice of Jesus Christ . . . 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 Christine doctrine”. (Senior 387)

God comes to live among the created as one of their number. God wants to share our sorrows and our joys. Gods want to be numbered among us. God wants to number us as Children of God. The apostle John records not only his beautiful Gospel of love, he also leaves us his letters of assertion and encouragement.

What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with God and with the Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that your joy may be complete.

God says: I want you to make the connection that just as Jesus is both divine and human so are you. Just as my Spirit comforts and consoles so do you. Just as I myself save and guide. So do you. I send you this invitation to be one with and in me. If you turn me away today I return tomorrow. This is how much I love you. My apostle John makes connections in his letter to you, and he asks that you connect what you do with what you believe, what you say with how you act.  Make that connection now, put aside all else, and come to me.

“1 John lends itself more readily to every time and place . . . It is amazingly positive and loving in tone. For Christians through the ages it has transcended its hard circumstances of origin to be considered one of the great spiritual witnesses of the New Testament”. (Senior RG 563)

In the coming days we will explore John’s message of love that nourishes the faithful throughout time, and we will explore ways to make connections to what John has seen and heard and touched.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.387 and RG563. Print.   

For another Noontime reflection on this letter, go to the 1 John – Testimony page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-new-testament-revising-our-suffering/1-john-testimony/

Image from: https://www.pinterest.dk/pin/459226493229842593/?amp_client_id=CLIENT_ID(_)&mweb_unauth_id={{default.session}}&amp_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.dk%2Famp%2Fpin%2F459226493229842593%2F&from_amp_pin_page=true 

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