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Posts Tagged ‘made in God’s image’


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Abba[1]Psalm 69:35-37

Dwelling There

Let the heavens and earth sing praise, the seas and whatever moves in them! God will rescue Zion, rebuild the cities of Judah. God’s servants dwell in the land and possess it; it shall be the heritage of their descendants; those who love God’s name shall dwell there.

Each of us has a place, a person, a concept, or an idea that fills us with nostalgia to become our personal Zion. Each of us feels secure and safe in our private Judah. Each of us wants to feel firm ground beneath our feet; we want a horizon that promises good tomorrows; we want an interior quiet and a life of joy with friends and companions. These are the possessions we want to pass along to our children. We want to know where we stand and who stands with us. We want to know that our Zion and Judah will last forever. We want to know that we are dwelling there . . . with God . . . for all time. And we want our children to live securely in this place with us.

We purchase or rent homes and apartments. We hire architects and landscapers. We fashion dwelling places that suit our whims but these hand-made structures are not the dwelling places we will want to pass down to our children. These temporary houses do not last forever.

We are the faithful who long for Zion and Judah. We are the faithful who are the descendants of God’s loyal followers who have gone before us. We are the faithful who pass down our spiritual dwellings to our children. We are the faithful who long to live in God for an eternity. And so we pray.

Heavenly Creator, we know that we are made in your image. We hope to remain faithful to the divine potential you have planted in each of us.

Divine Brother, we are guided by you, our rescuer. We hope to listen keenly to the parables and stories you use as lesson plans for us.

Gracious Spirit, we are nurtured and comforted by you, our counselor. We hope to rest in God’s wisdom and grace as we prepare to dwell with you for an eternity.

Grant us this day your grace, your love, your joy.  Amen.


Image from: http://holyspiritrevolution.com/the-tabernacle-how-close-are-you-with-god/

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Monday, August 17, 2020

Isaiah 49

The Cup of the Lord

Hear me, O coastlands, listen, o distant peoples . . . Thus begins this chapter in which the prophet laments his role as servant of the Lord. The cup from which he must drink has become too bitter. He is exhausted from the repeated warnings he delivers to deaf ears. He believes that God has made him a sharped-edged sword and hidden him under his arm, a polished bow hidden in the quiver. He believes that he has toiled in vain and yet he knows that his reward is with the Lord. 

Although this servant of God suffers as he drinks this difficult cup of salvation, he knows that God has promised to make him a light to all nations and the chosen one of God. This servant understands that through him lies the liberation and restoration of many for God pities them and leads them and guides them besides springs of water. Still, the work of the prophet-servant is difficult, dangerous and heavy. It exhausts even those who come to the task full of vigor and strength. Yet despite this lament . . . God persists in calling.

Look about and see, they are gathering and coming to you . . . Those who hope in me shall never be disappointed. It is more difficult for the faithful servant to walk away from this important work than it is to persist. And so the prophet perseveres. All mankind shall know that I, the Lord, am your savior, your redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob. 

We know that Jesus comes to do God’s will, to restore and redeem, to defend and save. But do we think of ourselves as suffering servants alongside the tireless Jesus?

We know that Jesus is the Son of God. But do we know that we are God’s adopted children created in God’s image?

We know that we – like Isaiah – are now exhausted from the work we do in God’s name. But do we ask Jesus to shoulder the burden with us and to carry us on his own broad shoulders?

The suffering servant is Jesus who is the Messiah. We too will suffer as we serve. Yet we too will become the pathway of freedom and redemption for many. We too will gather many who want to come to God. We too are descendants of Jacob. We too are children of God.


Go to the online Bible dictionary at: http://bibledictionaries.com/ , enter the words suffering servant, and explore the concept of one who drinks from the Lord’s Cup.

Image from: https://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/media/articles/eucharist-our-sustenance-st-gaudentius/attachment/gaudentius-eucharist-our-sustenance/

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Michelangelo: Creation

Michelangelo: Creation of Adam

Psalms 7 to 18

Life, Death, Divinity, Humanity

This reflection was written upon the death of a friend’s father and is shared today as a Favorite. 

Much of life is lived in a confusion of fear and thanksgiving and we find a jumble of these emotions in Psalms 7 though 18.  Looking at just the New American Bible titles of these poems gives us a series of jubilant prayers mixed with sorrow-filled ones.  It is in this way that these poems bring us a faultless reflection of life.

The fusion of worlds present in the human made in the image of God is a dichotomy which we can either unite our id, ego and superego . . . or it can split us into child and adult separated by a chasm of fear.  Fear of what?  Fear of suffering.  Fear of humiliation.  Fear of loss.  Fear of abandonment.  Fear of loneliness.  Fear of knowing that we err.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of death.  And when I think of this litany of pain, I realize that each of these woes is accompanied by a restorative.  Joy in celebration.  Joy in exaltation.  Joy in gain.  Joy in companionship.  Joy in intimacy.  Joy in knowing that we are doing the right thing.  Joy in perfect, trust-filled union with another.  Joy in life.  Our fear-filled humanity struggles with our covenant-honoring divinity.

Psalm 8 brings us dichotomous images announced in the title: Divine Majesty and Human Dignity We find more in the psalm: earth and heaven, babes and foes, enemy and avenger.  The verses that tell all that we really need to know:  What are humans that you [God] are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them?  Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor.  You have given them rule over the works of your hands, put all things at their feet . . . O Lord, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!

What a wonderful God we have who loves us to the extent that he creates us, visits with us, loves and comforts us, feeds, houses and clothes us, heals and tends to us, listens to us, blesses us . . . always . . . with constancy . . . with fidelity . . . with dignity . . . with patience . . . through eternity.

We often feel closer in death to the ones we love than we did when these dear ones were yet in this life.  These loved ones speak to us constantly now that the physical distances of this world no longer separate us.  They bring us the very real presence of the next world with their constant visitation.  We cannot see them because of the limiting time and space of this globe but still their existence is real.

Teilhard de Chardin 2We are human.  We are divine.  And we feel the constant struggle of reconciling these two worlds of self.  A human death brings us up short because we are forced to consider if we believe that we are created as gift.  We pause to think again about the Resurrection, the forgiveness of sin, life everlasting.  We cannot help but reflect on how we have treated this departed one: with the dignity deserved no matter the situation?  With the witness of divine majesty?  Did we salute the gift of this person while they were still in this life?  Did we honor this person while still with us as well as we will honor them in death?

The ones we love who have died linger among us.  We love that much.  They still laugh when we laugh, cry when we cry.  We cannot see them with the eyes of this world, or hear them with these ears.  But they are here with us nonetheless.  As we are with them.  They hold us close.  They have not disappeared.  Their presence is still felt . . . and it will be . . . forever and ever.  Amen.


Adapted from the May 31, 2008 Noontime.

For more information about Teilhard de Chardin, click on his image above or go to: http://teilharddechardin.org/

Image of the creation of Adam from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Creation_of_Adam

For other reflections on eternal love and human vulnerability, enter those words into the blog search bar and explore.

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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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