Posts Tagged ‘Manasseh’

Ezekiel 8:3-6: Abominations in the Temple

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Desecration of the Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes

Footnotes tell us that there truly was an abomination set in the temple by King Manasseh (see 2 Kings 21 and 2 Chronicles 33) and later removed by King Josiah (2 Kings 23).  It was a statue of Asherah, a Syrian goddess.  (If you want to read about her, you can go to www.jewishencyclopedia.com.)  Footnotes also tell us that although the statue had been removed, it was likely re-established with the re-paganization of Jerusalem when Josiah died.  In any event, the point is that something sacred, the dwelling place of Yahweh, is profaned by the very people who should be protecting and honoring it.  Do we do this from time to time in our own lives?  Do we allow sacred places and sacred people to be invaded or desecrated?  Do we worship symbols that make us feel good rather than God who brings us joy?  Are we paralyzed in our old and comfortable habits rather than learning to live in the newness of Christ?  Are we blind to the needs of others?  Do we have deafness of heart?  Or do we hear the cry of poor and the broken-hearted?

From the morning and evening MAGNIFICAT intercessions:

Free those who are paralyzed by sinful ways, and teach them to run with joy in the way of your commandments.

Give sight to those who are blinded by self-centeredness, and teach them to see the beauty of those around them.

Grant hearing to those who are deaf of heart, and teach them to rejoice in your word.

You build us into a dwelling place in the Spirit: fill us with the glory of your presence.

We are human.  We find comfort in things which bring us immediate satisfaction.  But this comfort is not lasting.

We are divine.  We find serenity in things that spring from God.  And this serenity is everlasting.

Written on April 21, 2008  and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://www.biblesearchers.com/yahshua/passovertrial/cosmicdrama.shtml

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning” and “Prayer for the Evening.” MAGNIFICAT. 4.11 (2008). Print.  

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Ezekiel 43: God’s Glory Returns


National Geographic: Ruins of Roman Archway in Tyre, Lebanon

Thursday, May 25, 2017

As a counterbalance to the description of the downfall of Tyre on which we have reflected before, today we have a description of the temple in the New Jerusalem. What we see described here is God living with all of the Israelites forever. The man leading the prophet through this beautiful scenario says: Describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan, and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple – its arrangements, its exits and entrances – its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations. This portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy is full of detailed descriptions of the place and the people who make up this new city where God dwells forever with his people. It was meant to both instruct and to bring comfort to those who lived in exile with this prophet. The footnotes in the NAB point out that in the new Israel the temple is free, even physically, from civil jurisdiction – moving away from the habit of corrupt kings like Ahaz and Manasseh who treated it as a private chapel for pagan rites.

Jerusalem _ Old City Walls _ Noam Chen_IMOT

Noam Chen: Old City of  Jerusalem

When Jesus arrived on the scene hundreds of years later as the true Messiah, he upset much of this separatist and purist thinking. It was for his openness and universality that he was hunted down, condemned and put to death.  Because his new Law of Love fulfilled and superseded the old Law of Moses, he and his apostles were hounded out of towns and executed. Even in the early Christian church we see the struggle with this idea of openness and universality with the first Council which convened in Jerusalem to determine the importance of circumcision as a requirement for church membership. After discussion, and when the dust settles, we read in Acts that circumcision was not determined necessary.  God’s church is open to Gentile and Jew, slave or free, woman or man – to all those who will be faithful to the Covenant first established with Adam and Eve.

This is how we see the New Temple and the New Jerusalem as revealed by Ezekiel millennia ago. This place of worship where God dwells is where we live even today . . . if we might only choose to open our eyes and ears to it. This prophet was painting a picture of radiance for his exiled peope, and they must have taken heart at the memories these words stirred of how it is to gather together as Yahweh’s faithful to repent, to petition, to give thanks, to worship.

As Easter people who believe in the Resurrected Jesus, we too, can relax into these images and make them our own. We can carry them into the world with us each day as we encounter and then counter the darkness that wishes to prevail. We can arm ourselves with these pictures of the universal gathering of all of God’s People . . . the Faithful to the Covenant . . . the Hopeful in all things hopeless . . . the Truthful in all relationships . . . the Struggling with the cares of this world . . . the Freed who have escaped the chains of doubt and anxiety. For we are Easter people who live the Resurrection even now. For God’s Glory has returned in us . . . in our willingness to serve . . . our willingness to be vulnerable . . . our willingness to witness . . . our willingness to be Christ and Light and Truth to a world struggling to be free of the darkness.

This is God’s Plan. This is God’s Design. This is God’s Law.

Amen.  Alleluia!

A Favorite from April 13, 2008.

For a Noontime reflection on Tyre, visit: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/09/18/tyre/ 

For more National Geographic images of Lebanon, click on the image above. 

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2 Kings 21: Wicked Kings


Michelangelo: Manasseh (on the right – the figure on the left is likely Manasseh’s wife)

Monday, May 30, 2016

He did evil in the site of the Lord. 

It is easy to point to leadership and begin to make a litany of their defects.  What is more difficult is to look inward to ourselves to examine the way we bring Christ into our interactions with others.  It is helpful when we hear those around us criticize our political, social, family and workplace leaders to study carefully how these leaders call us into action.  Do they appeal to our care and concern for all and one another; or do they activate our anxiety for a special group of clique?  Do they look for ways to build bridges and overcome division; or do they relish splits and schisms?  Do they delight in mercy and compassion for all; or do they gloat at the misfortune of those not included in their group?  By these signs and by the fruits of their labor, we will know who is doing evil and who is doing good . . .and we will know whom to follow.

He did evil in the site of the Lord. 

In the Old Testament we see this sentence used frequently in the writer’s description of how leaders who have been given the gift of servant to a people misunderstand the trust placed in them.  Manasseh and Amon allow and even encourage the people to turn from God and to turn to the worship of whatever gives them pleasure: money, sex, politics, the newest fashion, and so on.

He did evil in the site of the Lord. 

I am reading a book I bought recently by Caroline Myss which I will keep by my side this summer as part of my reflective reading.  It is entitled ANATOMY OF A SPIRIT: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing, and the first page I opened carried the bold sub heading: Challenging Toxic Tribal Power.  Out of respect for the writer, I am the sort of reader who begins a book at its first page and reads through to the last; but this page was too much of a temptation for me.  I was drawn to skim this chapter which deals with Loyalty, Honor and Justice and how these concepts can be used to either counterbalance evil or to be “restrictive or narrow when interpreted narrowly”.  (Myss 113) Myss tells us that before we can allow healing to begin, we must examine our attachments to tribal prejudices.  I suspect these pages will hold many thoughts for reflection this summer but I am struck by how the strategies and tactics of these ancient wicked kings still have power over us.  When the leader of the pack tells us that a thing or a person or an event is good or bad, do we accept this statement blindly as truth?  Or do we challenge toxic behavior with compassion, openness and a heart of mercy?

He did evil in the site of the Lord. 

We can never allow toxic behavior to hold us captive.  We must, speak, act and rebuke with compassion.  And we must always leave ourselves open to the outrageous hope that those who do evil may find transformation.  Indeed, it is this very transformation that we as the victims of abuse must petition before God, because with God all things are possible . . . even the redemption of wicked kings.

He did evil in the site of the Lord. 

Let us, today, petition God to soften the hearts and open the souls of the those who do evil . . . that they, with us, may come to know the richness and depth of God’s love.

A Favorite from May 30, 2009.

Myss, Caroline. Anatomy of a Spirit:The Seven Stages of Power and Healing. Harmony Books, New York. 1997.  

For a YouTube introduction to ANATOMY OF A SPIRIT, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sADOmxzbil4 

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passenger manifest

Brisbane, Australia Ship Manifest

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

1 Chronicles 5:11-22

Who Are We?

The establishment of the tribes of Israel in the Promised Land is described in this portion of 1 Chronicles. All of this sorting and sifting of names and places looks like a census report we might stumble upon as we research our own roots; or we may be reminded of a ship’s manifest in which we delight to see a grandparent’s name. What we read about today is Reuben, Gad and East Manasseh whose family trees are described; and in this section of the history we see the tribe of Gad struggling to establish a secure dwelling place. They do this with God’s help. For during the battle they called on God, and he heard them because they put their trust in him . . . Many had fallen in battle, for victory is from God; and they took over their dwelling place until the time of exile. In anticipation of later events, the Chronicler tells us that in the beginning the people of Gad led God-centered lives and so were successful. We know that later these warrior people join David in his fugitive life under King Saul and that they are eventually deported by the Babylonians. More information can be found at . . .   http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112386/jewish/Gad-and-His-Tribe.htm

We watch the news coming to us from around the world and we pray that people will be able to put aside their tribal differences in order to affect change that will bring unity once they move beyond tyranny. We watch the national and local news to see legislatures and communities fall apart that at one time came together in distress. There is something in human nature that calls us to smallness once we are comfortable and to greatness when we are oppressed.

USA 1910 Census Document

USA 1910 Census Document

Who are we when we struggle to keep our heads above water? Who are we when our lives are going well? Who are we when we feel that God is in our corner? Who are we when life goes wrong?

Although we may not feel God’s presence, he is always with us. Although we may not hear God’s voice, he is always speaking. God remains constant, we are the unpredictable ones.

When we write the story of our lives we will want to keep in mind that God is always present in both big and little ways. Whether or not we feel that he is with us . . . God is here as our constant, faithful redeemer. When we feel that no one is looking . . . who are we?

Adapted from a reflection written on February 26, 2011.

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