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Posts Tagged ‘made in God’s image’


Job 12:7-10: Wisdom of Earth, Sky, and Sea

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Why has the state of Hawaii banned the use of some sunscreens?

Even birds and animals have much they could teach you.

We are surrounded with wisdom . . . if only we might see.

Ask the creatures of earth and sea for their wisdom.

We are immersed in knowledge . . . if only we might hear.

All of the creatures know that the Lord‘s hand made them.

We are one with all of creation . . . if only we might learn.

It is God who directs the lives of the creatures.

How might we protect endangered species while nurturing human life?

We are made in the image and likeness of the one who creates all goodness . . . if only we might unite with all, even those with who we differ greatly.

Everyone’s life is in God’s power.

We are called in the divinity of Christ . . . if only we might heal.

Birds and animals have much they could teach us.

How might we make it possible for millions of creatures to co-exist?

We are complete in the confidence of the Spirit . . . if only we might love.

We must ask the creatures of earth, sky, and sea for their wisdom.


When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to compare other translations with these GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION, we learn much from the creatures of the earth, sea and sky. 

Images from: https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/nature/hawaii-just-banned-some-types-sunscreen-protect-coral-reefs and https://greentumble.com/poaching-endangered-species/ and http://www.takepart.com/photos/endangered-species-then-now/bald-eagle-delisted-recovered

 

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Matthew 28Wonderfully Made

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The truly wonderful part of the resurrection story is that we are a part of it.  This event is not only something that happened two thousand and some years ago.  This story is really about conversion . . . and conversion takes place constantly not only within our own hearts, but it also happens all around us.  For this reason we can sing Psalm 139 that was part of today’s Mass readings: We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

Jesus’ resurrection is not only his own returning to the Father, it is also our return to the Father (John 17), and so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

The guards at the tomb are entirely astonished, not knowing how Jesus’ body was removed from under their noses; but we know . . . and so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary discover the empty tomb and believe that the Lord’s body has been stolen.  The angel tells them: Do not be afraid and so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

They run away quickly, fearful yet overjoyed . . . as are we and so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

Jesus meets them as they return with the other disciples and they all fall to their knees . . .  as do we . . . and so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

The disciples gather in fear and joy in Galilee.  They worship him, but still they doubt.  Somewhere deep inside we see ourselves in Christ and worry that we may be lacking; yet still we find the courage to say . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

Uncertainty, anxiety, shame and fear.  Jesus recognizes all of these in us and still he chooses to suffer and die so that we might be with him.  If nothing else within us tells us that we are special, this story should.  If nothing else around us affirms our goodness and holiness, this story should.

Hope, joy, courage and patience.  Jesus recognizes all of these in us and for this reason he chooses to suffer and die because he wants to be with us.  If nothing else within us tells us that we are special, this story should.  If no one else around us affirms our worth and our purpose, this story should.

We are wonderfully made . . . we are made to love and be loved . . . we are in God’s image . . . we are sisters and brothers of the risen Lord.  We are fear-filled and awestruck at God’s power.  We are overjoyed and hopeful at God’s presence.  And so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made . . . and wonderfully loved. 


We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on June 24, 2011.

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Isaiah 55:8-9: A Duality of Ways

Parallel paths create a generous, merciful way.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

As God’s creation, we reflect God’s image in a kaleidoscope of diversity. In an enormous mosaic, we compose a wonderfully diverse creator.

“My thoughts,” says the Lord, “are not like yours,
    and my ways are different from yours.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so high are my ways and thoughts above yours. (GNT)

As sisters and brothers of Christ, the Spirit calls us to unity in our wonderful variety. Despite the difficulty of the task, we must find a way to reconcile, to pardon, to accept forgiveness, and to remain open to transformation.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. (NRSV)

God says: Just as it is difficult for you to understand my deep generosity with all of creation, it is difficult for you to comprehend my plan and my way.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not my ways,” says Adonai.
“As high as the sky is above the earth
are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (CJB)

God says: Just as it is wonderful for you to revel in my presence, it is wonderful to live in your way even as you live in mine.

“I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think. (MSG)

God says: Rather than suffer as you work to follow in my way, allow the rain in your life to water the place where you are planted. Let my sustain presence work at growing the blossoms that wait within you. Ask the good seed I have planted in you to be harvest for the poor, the broken-hearted, and the hungry.  

Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
    and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
    producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
    not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
    they’ll complete the assignment I gave them. (Verses 10-11 MSG)

God says: Yes, my ways are not your ways but my essence is also yours. My feet, my hands, my lips and my ears are yours as well. My mind is yours. My heart is yours. My very being resides in you, waning in times of drought, flourishing in times of bounty. There is nothing you can do to fully deny me. There is nowhere you can go to hide from me. Each day when you rise, ask me to join me in the harvest of the day. I am already there. Each noontime when you pause in your busy day, invite me to sit with you. I am already there. Each evening when you retire, rest in me as I rest in you. Yes, I am already there. Although there is a duality in our ways, we walk together always. You are not empty-handed, for I am in your hands. Remember this always.

Tomorrow, the duality of justice.


When we compare varying versions of these verses, we open ourselves to the duality of our ways and God’s.

Image from: https://thenoontimes.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/parallel-paths.jpg

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Acts 10:28-47: Hearing the Good News

Peter and Cornelius

Thursday, May 4, 2017

God is the creator of both space and time. God is in charge. God creates humans in God’s image. God loves all of creation. God creates us in, for and through love. God loves us very much. This is good news indeed.

Today we read about Peter’s meeting with Cornelius, a Roman centurion living in Caesarea, Palestine. Today we focus not on the fact that this well-positioned, powerful man turns away from paganism to live in Christ; rather, we reflect on God’s desire to break down walls between nations and philosophies. Today we watch Peter put aside his Jewish restrictions and prejudices in order to meet, speak with, and even seek union with a man who represents repression to the Jewish nation. And finally, we focus on God’s desire for union and community with each of us . . . with all of us . . . and not an elite few.

We meditate on Peter’s words in verse 28: God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.

Can we imagine a world in which our enemies become our close associates?

We spend time with Cornelius’ account of hearing God’s words in verse 31: Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 

Can we imagine a world in which we heed God’s message of healing and love?

We remember Peter’s understanding of God’s love in verses 34-35: I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 

Can we imagine a world in which we are both recipients and vehicles of God’s miracles?

Like Peter and Cornelius, once we hear God’s words and understand their meaning, we also come to know these truths: We are witnesses to the loving action of God in our lives, we are called to minister to all of God’s people, and we are the vessels of God’s Holy Spirit in the world.

This is marvelous news indeed. These are wonderful truths undeniably. This is Good New we want to both receive and share.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore this sermon, we allow ourselves to share the Good News that the Holy Spirit is with us. 

Tomorrow, Peter’s fifth sermon following Pentecost.

 

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Psalm 139:14-15: God’s Work of Art

Friday, November 4, 2016139

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Why do we hide from the God who created us?

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Why do we hesitate to call Jesus our brother?

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Why do we doubt that the Spirit guides us?

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Why do we hesitate to celebrate with God when our lives are joyful?

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Why do we believe in coincidence more than miracles?

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Why do we doubt that we are fearfully and wonderfully made?

Enter Psalm 139 into the blog search bar and explore how we are fearfully and wonderfully made. 

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Ephesians 2:10: God’s Modern Handiwork

Thursday, November 3, 2016ephesians-2-10

On those days when we feel as though we can do nothing well, we remember.

God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do. (Good News Translation)

On those nights when we worry about the past and fret about the future, we remember.

For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. (NRSV)

At those times when we want to celebrate all that we have been able to accomplish in Jesus’ name, we remember.

gods-chiselNow God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (THE MESSAGE)

At those times when we join with others to praise the goodness of God, the strength of Christ, and the consolation of the Spirit, we remember.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (NASB)

At all times and in all ways . . . we remember.

When we use the scripture link to compare varying translations of God’s word, we discover that we are, indeed, God’s beautiful work of art. 

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John 12:44-50: Light

Sunday, October 16, 2016

the starry night

We are made in God’s image in a glorious diversity of structure and personality. Today we hear the words of Jesus describing himself as Light to the WorldIn God’s image, we are called into life both individually and collectively to be that light as well.  We have our instruction, it seems, and they are simple.  We are made to be planted beside one another, warts and all, to agree on the Gospel story, to allow God to hone the rough edges from our exterior, and to open our hearts to the possibility of being Light and Hope and Love.  There is no greater calling.

In our familiar creation story we are told of the gift of life itself. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26

The prophet Isaiah reminds us that we are named, loved and called.  For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel my chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not.  I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God besides me.  It is I who arm you, though you know me not, so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun men may know that there is none besides me.  I am the Lord, there is no other.  I form the light and create the darkness, I make well-being and create we; I, the Lord, do all these things.  Isaiah 45:4-7

Paul writes to the Colossians and he writes to us. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. Colossians 1:12-18 Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. Colossians 3:9-10

Christ himself calls us to set the world ablaze with our fervor for our mission in him.  Jesus said to his disciples [to us], “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” Luke 12:49

And as we reflect, we pray.

lightinthedarkness_mediaplayerimageWe are created in light to bring light to the world. Let us never doubt the Creator’s strength and wisdom, and let us call on God for help when we feel the darkness too close around us.

We are made in God’s own image as sisters and brothers of Christ. Let us always rely on Jesus’ love and compassion when we are overcome by the worries of the world.

We are made in love to bring love to the world. Let us forever depend on the healing presence of the Spirit when we are wounded or betrayed.

May Jesus Christ be always our way, our truth, our life and our light.  Amen.  

When we use the scripture links to explore other translations of these verses, we encounter the wisdom and life, the truth and light we seek.

Adapted from a Favorite written on October 23, 2008. 

For another reflection on the meaning of Christ’s light in the world’s darkness, click on the image of the universe above or visit: http://cribandcross.org/the-light-in-the-darkness/

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Galatians 5:1: In and for Freedom

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Girl jumping with rose petals in air

In freedom we are created. For freedom we must live.

In a season of intense political turmoil in the U.S. and in other parts of the world, we might be tempted to commandeer the word freedom to use it as best suits our views. Today we have the opportunity to examination Paul’s letter to the Galatians, and to reflect on a spiritual meaning of this concept.

Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again. (GNT: GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION)

We might ask: Slaves of and for what? Slaves to a way of living that bears much fruit for me and little for others? Does this freedom come with, or in spite of, the exclusion of others?

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (NRSV: NEW REVISED STANDARD VERSION)

We might ask: Slaves of whom? The opinions of my neighbors? The viewpoints of my colleagues? Are we slaves to an affiliation that demands complete loyalty or one  that offers openness and inclusion?

Stand fast, and be not held again under the yoke of bondage. (DRA: DOUAY-RHEIMS AMERICAN VERSION)

We might ask: Freed by who and how? When did Christ set me free? Why? How was I previously enslaved?

So Christ has made us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get all tied up again in the chains of slavery to Jewish laws and ceremonies. (TLB: LIVING BIBLE)

We might reply: God has freely and lovingly chosen to create us out of God’s free will and ample heart.

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. (MSG: THE MESSAGE)

We might reply: We are made in the image and likeness of God; and this gift God gives us to cherish or to squander.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (NASB: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)

We might reply: We must free one another from the constraints of gossip and plots.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (KJV: KING JAMES VERSION)

We might reply: We must free one another from deceit and betrayal.

We have freedom now because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law. (ICB: INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S BIBLE)

freedomWe are creatures created in freedom by our fully-free and generous God to live a fully-free and fruit-bearing life. We must offer autonomy to others even as we are offered this same precious gift. We must live by true self-determination wherever we journey, break chains wherever we live and work, heal the wounds of bondage wherever we play and pray. For if we truly believe in freedom all the world will know, because we will offer one another this same generous and life-giving gift.

In freedom we are created. For freedom we must live.

Use the scripture link to compare other translations of this verse, or enter the word freedom into the blog search bar for more reflections.

 

 

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Micah 6: Path to Perfection

Thursday, June 16, 2016Micah6-8

Adapted from a Favorite written on June 16, 2009. Yesterday we considered false prophets and false leaders; today we reflect on who and what and how a true leader is and how her or his leadership impacts the world.

Is this coincidence that here I am on an SSND retreat and for the first time as a Noontime reflection this citation of Micah 6:8 appears?  I do not know.  These words that stand high on the cafeteria wall above the statue of the Blessed Mother regulate the small detains and the big events of our lives at NDP.  They are words that are important to anyone who believes that God is the creator of all good.  They are words to live by.

Micah speaks to those who turn their gaze away from social injustice and in this chapter we hear the Lord ask: My people, how have I offended you?  I who took you out of Egypt and slavery, I who gave to you as guides Moses, Aaron and Miriam, I who saved you from pagan nations, what have I done that you ignore me? 

Today’s Gospel is Matthew 5:43-48 and I am thinking about today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation by Fr. Alfred Delp, a priest condemned to death in Germany in 1945.  He wrote about the path to perfection which Micah foretells and which Jesus describes.  The essential requirement is that humanity must wake up to the truth about itself.  We must rouse our consciousness to our own worth and dignity, of the divine and human potentialities within ourselves, and at the same time we must master the undisciplined passions and forces which, in our name and by bemusing us with delight in our own ego, have made us what we are . . . Humans want to be happy and it is right that they should.  But by thinking only in terms of self we destroy ourselves for it is a limited concept and has no room for anything stronger than the human order.  Left entirely to themselves humans are unhappy and intrinsically insincere.  We need other people to give us a sense of completeness; we need the community.  We need the world and the duty of serving it.  We need eternity, or rather, we need the eternal, the infinite. 

The people to whom the prophet Micah spoke were not much different from us today in that these were people of means who sought to enjoy the gifts of life.  What they forgot – and what we may also forget if we do not remind ourselves – is this: We are made by God, in God’s image to bring our diverse expressions of God together into one body, the body of Christ.  When troubles assail us, as they always do and are meant to do, we might smile as we step into them, seeing them as opportunities to serve God rather than as obstacles to pleasure.  Life and its turmoil is our playground where we are given the chance to interact justly, wisely and humbly with God guiding and speaking to us constantly . . . telling us how to go and where to go.

This is the mystery we are offered.  It is the mystery we might share for eternity . . . if first we remember to respect good, to love with fidelity, and to obey humbly.  We are not asked to be perfect by God for this is an impossibility; but it is true that God asks us to seek perfection in our search of him, and in our desire to be God’s instrument.  In this way we do become perfect.  If this is our path, the humble, loving and wise path described by Micah, then we cannot misstep.  It is in this kind of journey that we find true, deep and ever-living happiness . . . through our perfect desire to be with and follow God . . . lovingly, justly, wisely, humbly.

Cameron, Peter John, ed. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 16.6 (20o9). Print.  

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