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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Mother of Jesus’


angels-announcing-the-birth-of-christ-to-the-shepherds-flinck-govert-teunisz-1024x792-dec-30

Linck Govert Teunisz: Angels Announcing the Birth of Christ to the Shepherds

Luke: Do Not Fear – Part V

Christmas Friday, December 30, 2016

Do not be afraid. We need to hear these words. We need to share these words. We need to use these words every day.

The angel of the Lord speaks to the high priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, assuring his that the Living God was making the impossible possible in their lives.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. (Luke 1:13)

The angel of the Lord speaks to the girl Mary, the mother of Jesus, assuring her that the Living God was entering her life in a special way.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:30)

The angel of the Lord speaks to shepherds who guard their flocks on the night of Jesus’ birth, assuring them that a newness has just entered into a weary world.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10)

Jesus speaks to Jairus, a synagogue leader, assuring him that his daughter is alive and has not died.

But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” (Luke 8:50)

Jesus speaks to the people, assuring them that the darkness of the world can be dissipated by the light of truth and peace.

“I say to you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. (Luke 12:4)

Jesus speaks to his followers, assuring them that the evil of the world is transformed by love.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

Anton Raphael Mengs: Dream of Saint Joseph

Anton Raphael Mengs: Dream of Saint Joseph

Lifetimes after these verses are recorded, we remind ourselves that the impossible is possible with God. All harm becomes goodness through God. Darkness becomes light. Despair becomes home. Doubt becomes faith. Evil becomes love. And for all of these reasons, we need not fear.

Today we might ask, “How do we live in order to remember that we need not be afraid? How do we live in such a way that we demonstrate our understanding that God is everywhere and lives in us? And how do we share this Good News in our thoughts words and deeds?

In Matthew 1:19An angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. To learn why, visit: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/why-did-joseph-plan-to-divorce-mary 

Throughout Christmastide, we continue to remember God’s words, “Do not be afraid”.

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Luke 8:1-3: Ministering Women – Part IV

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Quentin Metsys: John the Evangelist and the Three Women at the Tomb of Christ

Quentin Metsys: John the Evangelist and the Three Women at the Tomb of Christ

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. (John 19:25)

The courage to do what others will not do. We might all, women and men, have the courage to minister to one another.

The women who had followed Jesus from Galilee went with Joseph and saw the tomb and how Jesus’ body was placed in it. (Luke 23:55)

The persistence to follow once we hear God’s call. We might all, women and men, find the tenacity to remain with one another in Christ.

“Woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who is it that you are looking for?” She thought he was the gardener, so she said to him, “If you took him away, sir, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” (John 20:15)

The fidelity to follow when there seems to be no hope. We might all, women and men, find faithfulness in the Holy Spirit.

We sat down and talked to the women who gathered there. One of those who heard us was Lydia from Thyatira, who was a dealer in purple cloth. She was a woman who worshiped God, and the Lord opened her mind to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and the people of her house had been baptized, she invited us, “Come and stay in my house if you have decided that I am a true believer in the Lord.” And she persuaded us to go. (Acts 16:12-15)

The women we find in scripture struggle against the norms of the times. They remain faithful to Christ and his promise of resurrection. They remain hopeful in good times and bad. They love endlessly with the love of the divine.

We might all, women and men, like the ministering women we see today, be willing to give voice to the voiceless, to persist where others weaken, and to share the startling good news that Christ has redeemed the world.

For more on Lydia, go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Lydia

Why does it matter that women discovered the resurrected Christ? Visit: http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/christian-trends/why-it-matters-that-women-discovered-the-empty-tomb.html 

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Deuteronomy 4:1-8: The Advantages of Fidelity

Monday, August 15, 2016faithfulness-2

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call?

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She is considered by most to be the first Apostle of Christ when she proclaimed the Magnificat which we hear in Luke 1:46-55.  With the giving of her fiat, her statement to God that his will be done in her, the completion of the world’s salvation is assured.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call?

We reflect on our willingness to believe that God accomplishes all that he promises and we realize that sometimes we have difficulty believing that God actually walks among us.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call?

When we consider the message of this portion of Deuteronomy we also think about the enormity of all that is promised to us in the covenant, that we might be sisters and brothers in and of Christ.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call?

Fidelity is a quality found infrequently in our society in which some of us change friends and intimacy as often as we change shoes.  The fidelity we see in the young girl Mary is astounding when we consider the usual consequence of stoning to death for a girl who conceives without being married.  The fidelity we hear about in the covenant entered into by Abraham, mediated by Moses, and brought to fruition through Mary is something too great and too wonderful to be believed . . . and yet the benefits are so abundant to us that we cannot take in their enormity.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call?

Calling on God is something that some of us do too seldom.  God wants nothing more than to help, to heal, to transform . . . and to keep the promises he has made.  God accompanies us in our journey and rejoices when we ask for help, celebrates when we return home, and sings with joy when we remind others of how much we are loved by God.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call?

God’s story is almost too wonderful to tell.  It is certainly too wonderful to be believed and yet . . . we are assured daily of God’s presence.  Let us delight in the promise of great reward for fidelity.

For what great nation is it that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call?

Our God is a faithful and patient, forgiving and just God.  Our God moves among us, keeping promises God makes.  Our God awaits our call.

Adapted from a favorite written on August 15, 2010.

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Luke 2: Growing in Wisdom

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tanner: Christ and his Mother studying Scriptures

Henry Ossawa Tanner: Christ and his Mother studying Scriptures

When Joseph and Mary had finished doing all that was required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their hometown of Nazareth in Galilee. The child grew and became strong; he was full of wisdom, and God’s blessings were upon him. (Luke 2:39-40)

Being a woman of God, Mary would have believed all that the angel Gabriel said to her and her husband Joseph. She would have relied on the Scriptures and she would have made certain that her son was imbued with the Law, the Prophets and the Books of Wisdom. Today we reflect on our own struggle to take in and make our own ancient words and traditions. We reflect on how we also might grow in God’s wisdom, how we might best share with others the Good News that Jesus has come to live among us.

To learn more about this painting, click on the image. 

Over the next few weeks we will be away from easy internet access but we will be pausing to read scripture and to pray and reflect at noon, keeping those in The Noontime Circle in mid-day prayer. You may want to click on the Connecting at Noon page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/ Or you may want to follow a series of brief posts that begins today, inspired by paintings of the life of Jesus Christ  that can be found at: http://www.jesus-story.net/painting_family.htm In these posts, we will have the opportunity to reflect on a scripture verse and an artist’s rendition of that event. Wishing you grace and love and peace in Christ Jesus.

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Joshua 3: Crossing the Jordan

Friday, April 22, 2016stones-stack-940x3601

Each time we must embark on an essential task which appears to be impossible, we ought to read this book of how a determined band of faith-filled people were able to accomplish something which appeared to be impossible . . . but only impossible in human terms . . . for with God, all things are possible.

This chapter follows on the heels of the story of how Joshua and his fellow-spies were saved by Rahab, the woman who runs a brothel perched higher than the city wall.  Footnotes tell us some interesting details about this woman whom the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews praises.  Details like these allow us to remember that God uses many ways to gain the ends he seeks, and God does not allow discontinuity or aberrations to interfere with the end goal of bringing the kingdom to fruition.  And this is good news for all of us for when we read Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1, we read a litany of saints and sinners.  We are all members of Christ’s family.  We are his adopted sisters and brothers.  And as a community, we are his bride, invited to cross the Jordan in our journey home.

There are many river crossings for us to make. There are many currents that want to rip us away into an overwhelming tide.  There are many boulders hidden under the rippling water that have slippery surfaces and sharp edges.  The river is a beautiful life-giving place; yet it is full of danger.  The Hebrews carried their God in an Ark they had fashioned carefully of gold.  This Ark held the presence of Yahweh – desert manna, stone tablets of The Law, and Aaron’s rod.  This Ark was later replaced by the Blessed Mother who bore the incarnation of God to the world.  This Ark must now be the temple place we prepare in our hearts where Yahweh may dwell in each of us.  This is the Ark that we now take up as we wade into the swirling depths of life.

What does our Ark contain?  Have we made it with loving care?  When we lift the lid, what do we see?  Superficial lives or faithful service?  Hollow hearts of false oaths or full ones yearning to share what we experience?  Is the tablet still of stone or have we allowed God to write his promise on our hearts?  Do we see the Law of Self or the Law of Love?

If we are to reach the opposite shore of the river, we might want to unpack and re-pack the ark of our lives before we step into the eddying water.  Perhaps we will leave something behind.  Perhaps we will go in search of something we know we ought to have.  How do we know what to take with us?  It is simple.  We must ask and answer this question: When we open this ark before God, our creator, will we find an image of God?  Will God smile with the love of a parent who sees work well done by the child?

Before we step into the Jordan of our lives, let us think about the contents of the ark we carry on our shoulders and if we must . . . let us with honesty . . .  unpack and re-pack the contents of our lives.

Adapted from a favorite from May 26, 2008.

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John 20: God’s Yardstick – Mary of Magdala

Andrea Solario or Bernardino Luini: Mary Magdalene

Andrea Solario or Bernardino Luini: Mary Magdalene (The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD)

Absolute Fidelity

Monday, January 11, 2016

In these opening days of a new year, we look for ways to better see God’s yardstick in our lives, and for ways to leave the world’s yardstick behind.

There are many places to explore the story of Mary Magdalene but perhaps we need only look at one – her response to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Surely her fidelity and openness to Christ’s healing presence are models we might follow.

Much has been written of this woman and we can guess that nearly all is conjecture. We began our exploration of women who serve as God’s measuring stick with Mary the mother of Jesus. Today we close this portion of our reflections with the other most significant woman in Jesus’ life. This must be admitted even if we believe that the Magdalene was a reformed prostitute or had recovered from epilepsy by Jesus’ healing hand. Whether we believe she was a camp-follower, a friend, a companion or a spouse, we need only to read John’s account of the resurrection story to understand that her devotion to Jesus governed her life.

Van der Weyden: The Deposition of Christ or Desxcent from the Cross (The Pradoi Museum, Madrid, Spain)

Van der Weyden: The Deposition of Christ or Descent from the Cross (The Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain) Mary Magdalene to the far right

On the day following Shabbat she returns to the tomb to embalm Jesus’ body, braving any punishment she might experience at Roman or Jewish hands. Her reward is an encounter she did not expect. The Magdalene does not hold this good news to herself; rather, she runs to tell the others that Christ is still among them and is waiting to meet them in Galilee. She also runs to tell us that Christ is with us and is waiting within our own broken hearts. Just as Mary the Mother brings the presence of God into the world, so do does Mary of Magdala bring his story to us. It is for this reason alone that we easily look to her life as a persistent, enduring, loving measure of God’s love.

For Smithsonian articles that uncover the mystery of The Magdalene and the places Jesus lived and worked and prayed, visit: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/who-was-mary-magdalene-119565482/?no-ist or http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/unearthing-world-jesus-180957515/ Use the Smithsonian site to search for more information about these people and places.

For information about each of these paintings, their provenance, the artists and the symbolism, click on the images or visit: http://hubpages.com/art/Rogier-Van-Der-Weyden-Descent-From-The-Cross and http://art.thewalters.org/detail/37520/mary-magdalen/ 

For more reflections on Mary Magdalene, enter her name into the blog search bar and explore.

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