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Posts Tagged ‘love’


Revelation 4: Heavenly Worship

Monday, September 2, 2019

Written on August 2, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Footnotes tell us that much of this imagery can also be found in Ezekiel, where God is seen as surrounded by worshiping figures.  All of these creatures and people are symbolic; and good footnotes or a good commentary are helpful when sorting and understanding all of these ideas.  What makes so much sense to me is the idea that it is right and good to live a life in constant praise of God.  I like this thought.  It brings me comfort to know that the angels, saints and all creatures celebrate God in heaven just as we do here on earth.  I think that being in God’s presence necessitates a willingness to worship, to praise, to thank and to petition.  What will we do in heaven if we have not practiced coming together to be near to God?  How can we expect to understand any heavenly rite if we do not accustom ourselves to ritual here on earth?  Why would we think that we might get along with lambs who frolic among lions . . . if we cannot live in harmony here on earth?

We have many earthly opportunities to demonstrate our willingness to be humble, to build bridges between ourselves and our enemies, to be peacemakers.  Where do expect to stand when we arrive at the heavenly throne room?  How do we expect to know how to behave?  Why do we expect that in another place we will suddenly be able to love . . . when we have not learned to do so here?

We have this idea so often that God is in his heaven while we are in the world.  We have forgotten the lesson of this story . . . that the kingdom is now, the kingdom is here.  We are every waking and sleeping moment in God’s presence . . . and how do we behave?

Today we might begin anew with our lessons for Heavenly Worship.  We might begin anew in our lessons of Love and Unity.


Image from: http://epitemnein-epitomic.blogspot.com/2012/06/gods-institutes-of-praise-prayer-and.html

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2 Corinthians 4:7-10: The Potter’s Hands

Friday, August 30, 2019

2 Corinthians 4:7-10Brothers and Sisters: we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.  We are afflicted in every way but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh.

It is so quick and easy – in the short term – to rely on ourselves and what we have managed to gather up from the world.  It is much better – in the long run – to rely on God who gives us all we will ever need.

God says: You begin as clay in my hands, an earthen vessel made of earth’s dust.  My son sacrifices himself to be with you for infinite time and in infinite space.  Giant obstacles become small hurdles over which my Spirit will lift you . . . if only you recognize me.   

When we depend on God we are mightier than all.  When we rely on Christ we are hope for the world.  When we love as the Spirit loves, we are eternal.  Let us give ourselves over as clay to the master potter’s hands . . . and enter fully into our promised transfiguration.


A re-post from August 9, 2012.

Image from: http://pottery.about.com/od/throwingonthewhee1/tp/finalizpot.htm

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John 1:12-13: Children of God

Saturday, August 24, 2019

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. 

For a long time I have reflected on the idea of how it is determined who is given the gift of faith and who is not.  I have had conversations with God in which I ask why it is that some of us are so stiff-necked and others of us have the gift of patience.  I trust God’s plan, I believe that we are created to be God’s children, and here in the Gospel of John, in one simple sentence, we are enlightened.  I will have to refer to this citation when the questions rise from some place of wonder to pull me from my core of belief.

Believing in Jesus as the Word, as Resurrected, as brother – this is what makes us children of God.  Through him, with him, in him, in unity with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is pre-existence.  Jesus is the Incarnation – the word and thought and touch of God amidst us.  Jesus is an offering, a gift freely given by a loving and passionate God . . . a God who loves us so deeply and so endlessly . . . that he brings himself to us without our even asking.

What a wondrous God is this.


Adapted from a Noontime written on April 23, 2008  and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://www.elizabethhillgrove.com/2012/05/monday-after-mass-vol-1.html

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John 17: The Prayer of Jesus

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Even if we have spent time with this prayer before it is well worth our while to spend time with this chapter; it reveals a Christ who is eager to pray for each of us . . . directly . . .

I pray not only for them [my apostles gathered around me], but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you , Father, are in me and I in you, that they may also be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.

And we do believe that God sent Jesus . . . The Word . . . God’s Expression of Self to Us.

We do believe that God is in Jesus . . . that God is in us . . . and that we are in Jesus and God.

We do believe that we are given glory.

We do believe that we are to be brought to perfection as one.

We do believe that we are a gift to Jesus and to God.

We do believe that Jesus’ love is in us and that we are in him . . . as love . . . a love which knows no bounds . . . no impossibilities . . . no constraints . . . no conditions . . . no barriers . . . no darkness . . . no death.

We do believe!


Written on April 17, 2008  and posted today as a Favorite.

For another reflection on Jesus’ Prayer For Us click on the image above or go to: http://sheddinglightonthepath.blogspot.com/2012/05/jesus-prayer-for-you-and-me.html

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Ezra 10:16-44: The Guilty

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Tower of David Ruins: Jerusalem

At the time that the Jews were returning from their exile, Ezra condemns certain priests who intermarried with the Gentiles strayed from Yahweh.  Their solution?  To sever relationships with wives and children and make a guilt offering.  This is a course of action appropriate for their time but it is not the action that New Testament people will take.  If we are People of the Restoration, People of Resurrection and healing, we will build bridges where there is dissent and conflict.  We will look for compassionate yet just ways to maintain contact and to heal breaches in relationships.

Let us welcome the guilty . . . for we are among them.

Let us forgive . . . for we are forgiven

From the MAGNIFICAT morning intercessions.

You made all human beings in your image: fill us with reverence for one another.  Hear your children’s plea!

You restored us in your image through the work of the cross: teach us to work to restore the dignity of all those degraded by the works of evil.  Hear your children’s plea!

You raise us to newness of life in Jesus Christ: fill us always with Easter joy.  Hear your children’s plea!


Written on April 16, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://www.moderatotours.com/easter_abroad.html

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 4.16 (2008). Print.

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2 Corinthians 2:5-11: Seek Pardon

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The surest way to fend off the forces of darkness is to pardon one another.  This is how the world, God, and we ourselves will know that we truly love.

From La Biblia de América: Apostles must be compassionate and know how to pardon.  This is not discipline for the sake of discipline itself, nor is it a punishment leveled by the church, the community.  Nor is it acceptable to allow permissiveness or anarchy.  There are even tines when the church – we – must make decisions which may be painful for us.  But the last word will always be love, reunion and pardon.

We have said this before in our Noontime reflections: Permissiveness leads to a further lack of obedience before God.  A community of Christians is called to rebuke one another in mercy . . . first alone and if not heard, then with another member of the community and again if not heard . . . finally, before the assembly.  This kind of discipline is what brings unity out of diversity.

This is the time of year when we have recently celebrated the Feast of the Ascension and remember that Christ – when he rises to God – carries our humanity with himself.  He opens the door to the possibility that we too, may unite with God in the most intimate of ways.

This intimacy is what we all seek.  It is what we yearn for, what we crave.  It is what we feel lacking in our lives.  And it is a thirst that will only be quenched if we first find it within ourselves to seek pardon and to pardon . . . to love and be loved . . . to unite with all that is . . . even if it is different from what we know.  We are people who long for reunion.  Let us open the door of forgiveness and enter into love.


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

Images from: http://thrivingwithneurofibromatosis.blogspot.com/2012/05/forgiveness.html and http://youthspeaknews.org/2011/11/29/the-gift-of-forgiveness-this-advent-season/

A re-post from May 30, 2012.

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Song of Songs 8: Found

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

“The Song of Songs, meaning the greatest of songs (1,1), contains in exquisite poetic form the sublime portrayal and praise of the mutual love of the Lord and his people.  The Lord is the Lover and his people the beloved.  Describing this relationship in terms of human love, the author simply follows Israel’s tradition.  Isaiah (5, 1-7; 54, 4-8), Jeremiah (2, 2f.32, and Ezekiel (16; 23) all characterize the covenant between the Lord and Israel as a marriage.  Hosea the prophet sees the idolatry of Israel in the adultery of Gomer (1-3).  He also represents the Lord speaking to Israel’s heart (2, 16) and changing her into a new spiritual people, purified by the Babylonian captivity and betrothed anew to her divine Lover ‘in justice and uprightness, in love and mercy’ (2,21) . . . [The Song] is an allegory in which each remark, e.g., in the dialogue of the lovers, has a higher meaning.  It is a parable in which the true meaning of mutual love comes from the poem as a whole . . . In Christian tradition, the Song has been interpreted in terms of the union between Christ and the Church and, particularly by St. Bernard, of the union between Christ and the individual soul”.  (Senior 791-792)

In this last chapter, we see the young lovers walking toward home; and the seal in verse 6 is a reference to a ring or emblem with which one marked, signed or identified an object.  In this poem, love is seen as the force that conquers all else. “In human experience, death and the nether world are inevitable, unrelenting; in the end they always triumph.  Love, which is just as certain of its victory, matches its strength against the natural enemies of life; waters cannot extinguish it nor floods carry it away.  It is more priceless than all riches”.  (798)

The Bride, the Church, the soul, remains chaste.  Her rich dowry is kept under watchful eyes until the time when she has matured, until the time she will be given in marriage and the dowry handed over to the groom who waits.

We are this bride.  We are this beloved.

We – like this bride – have suffered, have wandered, have searched, and have found.  We have also been found by the one who treasures us, the one who knows that we are a pearl of great price . . . the one who values us.  A dowry has been set aside for us to assure our redemption.  We are the seal set upon the heart.  Knowing this, having endured much, we still thirst.

This evening, as we wander home through the garden with its intense and alluring aromas, we are accompanied by the one who waits for us as we grow and mature.  We continue our journey up from the desert, leaning upon the lover.  We awaken under the apple trees where we were once conceived.  And when we open our eyes, we know that we have been found once again.  And we look into the eyes of our creator . . . who calls us anew to rise with the new day.

 


A re-post from May 28, 2012.

Images from http://blog.tuscandream.com/tuscany-italian-garden-wedding-estate-304/italian-garden-bride-groom/ and http://www.rebeccaatthewell.org/youtube.html

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. Print.   

For more on this beautiful poem, visit The Song of Songs – Tryst in the Spring page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/song-of-songs-tryst-in-the-spring/

Written on January 29, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite.

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Song of Songs 6:4-12: The Charms of the Beloved

Pentecost Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Tirzah Valley

Tirzah is a probable reference to the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel and most likely means pleasantThe following descriptions use pastoral allusions, creating images that would certainly be pleasant to the people in the first century before Christ.  The other marriage imagery is familiar to New Testament readers who are accustomed to hearing Christ describe his own union with us, his church, his bride, his beloved.  Footnotes send us to Matthew 9:15; 25:1-13; John 3:29; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-32 and Revelation 19:7; 21:9.  The portion of the Song of Songs we focus on today is a description of the charming characteristics of the groom’s beloved – – – a description of us, the bride.

We see here that Christ is centered on wooing us, drawing us into his ways.  Do we consider Christ to be the center of our own lives?

We read here that Christ seeks us out no matter where we are.  Do we seek Christ in the same way?

We reflect on the fact that Christ sacrifices all he has – himself – for his beloved.  Do we sacrifice all that we are and have in the same way for Christ?

This is how we acquire the charming inner beauty of the Beloved we read about today: through our constancy, preparedness, fidelity, and trust.  This inner beauty radiates outward, calling to the groom, echoing his own faithful love.  Nothing else matters.  No other union is more real.  No other love is more secure.

This Song is accredited to Solomon yet was most likely written at the end of the Exile (around 538 B.C.E.).  It describes the intimacy of a conjugal relationship; the same relationship we are to have with Christ.  In such a close bond there in nothing hidden, there is no illusion, no deception.  We must put all of that aside if we are to find the happiness we seek.

In this sublime description of abiding, ardent and even passionate love, we find the meaning otherwise hidden from us by a material life full of itself with its alluring deceits, waywardness and trickery.  If we are to be both serene and passionate in our love for God, if we are to find peace that holds us faithful, we must put all worldly ways aside because . . . my lover belongs to me and I to him . . . Before I know it, my heart makes me the blessed one of my kinswoman.

Pomegranate Trees

The invitation to union with the beloved is open to each of us.  So let us go down to the garden to look at the fresh growth of the valley, to see if the vines are in bloom, if the pomegranates have blossomed . . . let us set a little time apart each day . . . for it is in this serene and peace-filled place that we encounter a love we have only otherwise imagined . . . the love of Christ.


A re-post from May 26, 2012. Originally written on April 21, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

For a Bible Walk through the Tirzah Valley click on the image above or go to: http://www.biblewalks.com/sites/Makhruk.html

For some interesting history, and a few tips on how to eat a pomegranate, click on the fruit image or go to: http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2009/10/how-to_eat_a_pomegranate.html

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John 14: Being

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Have I been with you for so long a time and still you do not know me?

I am thinking that this is God’s reply to me when I show up every morning with my same list of thanksgivings and petitions.  Of course God knows that I am grateful for the miracles he has sent to me which keep my hope burning.  Of course God knows the desires of my heart for the people I love and know well, for the people I do not know so well but who come onto my horizon, and even for the people with whom I am in conflict.  Of course God knows all, and yet still I persist because this is my way of showing constancy.  It is my way of sustaining faith in the fact that we are already saved and have only to follow in order to enter into Christ.  It is my way of maintaining the hope that all sheep will enter into the sheepfold.  It is also my way of loving God in others – this perseverance in seeking intercession.

The Last Supper Discourses begin in this chapter of John and they are – for me – the most beautiful part of this story.

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Any one of us who has worried, been anxious, angry or deeply sad will be able to turn to this verses and find consolation.  Any one of us who has mourned loss, who has celebrated joy, who has spent a lifetime searching for answers will find the portal to true understanding and experiencing God’s love.

I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I go you may also be.

Any one of us who has been abandoned, betrayed, cheated or cut off from something or someone we love will find peace in these words.  Any one of us who lied to another or who has intentionally deceived or hurt another, will also find forgiveness and assurance in these words.

Whoever has believed in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these.

Any one of us who has drained themselves for the sake of others will find strength in these words.

Whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 

Any one of us who has trouble just being on any given day, just surviving any given day will find life in these words.

If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. 

We ought not shrink from giving thanks to or from petitioning the one who created us.  Let us go with open eyes, open minds and open hearts to the one who gives life in abundance that we may live in him.  This is what God expects.  It is what God asks . . . that we be in him . . . as he is in us.

Have I been with you for so long a time and still you do not know me?


A re-post from May 10, 2012.

Images from: http://ipeace.us/profiles/blogs/about-gratitude and http://benison.wordpress.com/2008/05/03/the-creation-and-the-scripture-number-5/

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