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Posts Tagged ‘Micah 6:8’


Exodus 36-38The Altar of Our Lives

Friday, December 28, 2018

At this harvest time of year when we gather to give thanks for all that we are and all that we have, let us consider our thoughts, words,and deeds in light of the Hebrews’ desert experience and in gratitude for the fulfillment of God’s best hope in us.

Written on November 16, 2008 and posted today as Favorite . . .

The Israelites were faithful to Yahweh in constructing a residence for their one true God, and this one God Yahweh – who tolerated no other gods before him – was faithful in accompanying his people to guide and protect them.  Today’s reading describes the detail the Israelites followed in order to provide the appropriate altars, veil, table, ark and lampstand.  The chapters preceding these describe the collection of materials and artisans.  The chapters following these describe the vestments, and dwelling . . . and how Yahweh settles into his home on earth among the human race.

El Greco: Christ Cleansing the Temple

In the New Testament story, Jesus comes to earth to be the new high priest . . . and to construct a new temple in place of the former one.  He also calls his artisans and gathers his materials . . . his original apostles and disciples . . . and all those apostles and disciples who have heard his story . . . and who have acted in faith to join this story.  He also settles into his home on earth . . . in the hearts, bodies and minds of all those who follow him today and all days.

In Acts we read about the coming of the Holy Spirit settling upon the original apostles in flames of fire.  The Spirit still settles upon and in those who join with Christ in his mystical body to become living stones in the new living temple of Yahweh.

The Hermitage of San Girolamo, Italy

We are creatures seeking the God who created us, the God who walks with us, the God who abides with us.  We are formed for worship and for joy.  Each day at our rising, each noon at our pausing, each night at our entering into the world of dreams and sleep we have a new opportunity to refurbish our temple . . . to keep it always a pleasing place of adoration . . . a place where our souls sing in communion with others who wish to walk and live in this liminal space of love and peace, mystery and serenity.

What does our God require of us?  This is no mystery.  He does not require holocausts or sacrifice.  He does not require incense morning, noon and night.  But this is what he requires: that we do what is right, love goodness, and walk humbly with our God.  (Micah 6:8

Let us offer our sacrifices of fear, anxiety, pain and anger on the altar of our lives.  Let us do what is right; let us love goodness; and let us walk humbly as we work at the building of God’s temple with the surrender of our lives.

John Pettie (1884):Fixing the Site of an Early Christian Altar


A re-post from November 25, 2011.

Images from: http://www.oceansbridge.com/oil-paintings/product/73395/fixingthesiteofanearlychristianaltar1884 and http://taniarubimenglish.blogspot.com/2011/02/bible-trivia-furniture-of-tabernacle.html and http://www.journeywithjesus.net/Essays/20060313JJ.shtml and https://thenoontimes.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/cucco711.jpg

A good website for information concerning the Hebrew temple furnishings.  http://taniarubimenglish.blogspot.com/2011/02/bible-trivia-furniture-of-tabernacle.html

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John 18:37: Testifying to the Truth

Ivan Glazunov: Jesus Before Pilate

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Jesus said to Pilate: For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

We might also ask the same question.

God says: You argue and struggle with one another, scuttling back and forth to determine the truth about circumstances that surround and affect you. You lie and deceive, plotting with and against one another to create falsehoods that bring division. You speak up and witness to untruth. You support and rejoice in the light and life of Christ, celebrating his essence as the foundation on which to stand.

These are the scenarios we see before us, bringing us choice and – perhaps – confusion. After cautious consideration, we ask ourselves: Do we believe that we are born to testify to the truth? When we listen, do we tune our ears to discern reality? When we speak, do we rely on God for the words we will use? When we act, do we personify authenticity? Do we operate in the dark or the light? Do we exclude or include? Do we allow God to convert all harm to good? Do we work in joyful hope for the goodness of God’s kingdom?

God says: You know how to discern Christ’s truth. You know how to act in the truth. You are to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) If Pilate were to ask you today what truth is, would you tell him? If Jesus stands before you today, will you walk with him? If I speak to you when you are lost in the darkness, will you pause to hear my Word so that you might live in the truth? And might you share this wonderful truth with others? 


Image from: https://stjohnscathedral.ca/2013/03/28/worship-for-holy-week/jesus-before-pilate-glazunov/ 

 

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Psalm 22: Spiritual Warfare – Proclaiming God’s Name

Easter Saturday, April 7, 2018

Yesterday we began a reflection of Psalm 22 and its opening mournful words uttered by Jesus from the cross, My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Today we arrive at the later portion of this hymn of praise.

Then I will proclaim your name to the assembly; in the community I will praise you.

Large words on the wall of the student-dining hall where I teach remind us as we enter:  You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.  (Micah 6:8There is no mystery in this.  The completion of God’s plan is predictable; and if we wish to survive spiritual battle, the requirement is simple as Micah tells us: We train ourselves in order to invite wisdom; we exercise compassion with justice in order to invite goodness.  All the rest follows naturally.  The outcome of good over evil is predictable and sure; but the timing and details are in God’s hands.

All the ends of the earth will worship the Lord; all the families of nations will bow down to you.

In this end that Micah sees but whose time we cannot foresee, God is all there is.  The war of life is waged and won by God.  Any influence of evil disappears.  The faithful remnant is rewarded. This we are promised.

I will live for the Lord; my descendants will serve you.  The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you brought.

When miracles of liberation happen, we must proclaim them, thanking God.  We must sing God’s praise continually for blessings great and small because in spiritual warfare the fall of darkness and deceit is brought about in an accumulation of these small songs intoned by the grand chorus of the thankful.  We also remember that the tiniest of miracles – constant signs of God’s presence in our lives – are significant for those to whom they are granted.

Mathis Gothart Grünewald: The Crucifixion (detail) 

In spiritual warfare we need not connive, we need not plot.  We need only do what we know is right, understanding that we are graced by God.  We need to avoid thinking that we are in control, knowing that God’s plan is always better than our own.  We need to give over everything to God, believing that God turns all harm to good, even – and especially – the ultimate resolution of all conflict.

We are foot soldiers in spiritual warfare, and we know our orders.  We must be patient in our perseverance as we grow to become God’s harvest in God’s time.  We must speak, pray, study, witness, watch and wait.  We must be ready.  This is all that is required of us.  We do not know the hour or time of this warfare’s end; but we know the outcome.  This we have been promised.   This we are told.  Let us pass the word along . . . that in the hour when we feel most abandoned, we are most accompanied.  That in the hour when we believe all is lost . . . all is truly found.

Adapted from a reflection, entitled Spiritual Warfare, written on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2008.


Wordle from: http://footprintsfromthebible.blogspot.com/2017/06/lords-prayer-hallowed-be-thy-name.html  To view Grünewald’s entire altarpiece painting, visit, http://www.christianiconography.info/iconographySupplementalImages/crucifixion/grunewald1515.html

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Micah 1:3: Behold the Lord

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Michelangelo: The Prophet Micah

Michelangelo: The Prophet Micah

In this final week of Advent, let us decide to make our hopes tangible, our dreams a prayer for our reality, our faith unwavering and our love secure. Let us cleave to the Creator, follow the Redeemer and rest in the Spirit. This week let us give one another the gift of preparing for the very real promise of eternity.

The prophets tell us that the Lord is about to move among us.

For lo, the Lord is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. (NRSV)

The prophecy describes how God wants to be one of us.

The Lord is coming from his holy place; he will come down and walk on the tops of the mountains. (GNT)

These verses remind us that we receive the gift of holiness through God’s invitation of unity in our diversity.

For — look! —Adonai is coming out of his place, coming down to tread on the high places of the land. (CJB)

micah-6-8The prophets call us to rejoice in our gladness by acting in meekness and integrity, and by living in love.

Look, here he comes! God, from his place!
    He comes down and strides across mountains and hills.
Mountains sink under his feet,
    valleys split apart;
The rock mountains crumble into gravel,
    the river valleys leak like sieves. (MSG)

Behold, the Lord comes to walk among us with peace and joy. The Lord calls us to humility, justice and love.

When we explore other translations of this prophecy, we discover the gift of love we already hold.

 

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Psalm 22: Spiritual Warfare – Part II

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Male hands crossed for prayer in dark

This Favorite was written on November 11, 2008.

As the words on the wall of our school’s student dining room remind us:  You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.  (Micah 6:8) There is no mystery in this.  The requirement is simple.  Spiritual warfare is this: Train self in order to invite wisdom; exercise compassion with justice in order to invite goodness.  All the rest follows naturally.  The outcome of good over evil is predictable.  The time of final resolution is not.

All the ends of the earth will worship the Lord; all the families of nations will bow down to you.

In this end which we see but whose time we cannot predict, God is all there is.  The war of life will have been waged and won by God.  Any influence of evil will disappear.  This we have been promised.

I will live for the Lord; my descendants will serve you.  The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you brought.

When miracles happen, we must proclaim them, thanking God.  We must sing God’s praise continually for our blessings great and small because in spiritual warfare the fall of darkness and deceit is brought about in an accumulation of these small songs intone grand chorus.  We also remember that the tiniest of miracles is significant for those to whom they have been granted . . . and that these miracles are a sign of God’s continual presence in our lives.

Tomorrow, foot soldiers. 

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Psalm 22: Spiritual Warfare – Part I

Monday, September 5, 2016bulls of bashan

Today’s and tomorrow’s Noontimes are adapted from a reflection written on Armistice Day, November 11, 2008.

On the day we celebrate the end of war, we might pause to think a bit about the spiritual warfare in which we are all daily engaged.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

While still on the cross, Christ appealed to the father with this prayer that generations of his people have used while addressing God in times of stress.  In the NAB the psalm bears the title Prayer of an Innocent Person.  Jesus, the unblemished lamb, dies in innocence, in the act of bringing healing to peoples crying for relief.  But Christ knew, as Paul tells us in Ephesians, Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.  Paul describes the armor of God we must wear as we enter into the warfare each day: the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Our feet must be shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.  (Ephesians 6)

Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.

Bashan – a land east of the Jordan noted for the size of its animals – provides fierce opposition to the life of a Christian.  Again, Paul reminds us in his letter to Titus how to be consistent with sound doctrine, namely, that . . . [we] be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love and endurance, reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train [others].  (Titus 2Paul also calls women to a role subordinate to men which was appropriate for the day – and which we now recognize as outmoded in its effect.  The point here is that combat as we witness need not be fierce.  It need only be faithful, prayer-filled, and consistent with the Gospel.

Then I will proclaim your name to the assembly; in the community I will praise you.

As the words on the prophet Micah remind us:  You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.  (Micah 6:8) There is no mystery in this.  The requirement is simple.  Spiritual warfare is this: Train self in order to invite wisdom; exercise compassion with justice in order to invite goodness.  All the rest follows naturally.  The outcome of good over evil is predictable . . . even if the time of final resolution is not.

Tomorrow, war and miracles.

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

micah61[1]Psalm 36

God’s Love is Mercy and Justice

This week we have pondered God’s love as a two-edged sword that grants both mercy and justice.  We have reminded ourselves that God’s love is ample and healing.  God’s love sets aright all that has hindered us.  God’s love nourishes us on our journey.  God’s love guides and teaches us.  God’s love is ever-present, even when we believe that we are alone. Today we continue to reflect on the double edge of God’s love as we linger for a time with Psalm 36.

Sin directs the heart of the wicked; their eyes are closed to the fear of God.

Jesus gives us a new understanding of “fearing the Lord”.  The Old Testament writer stands in awe of God’s power and love for we have witnessed how this love is both compassionate and just.

The wicked live with the delusion their guilt will; not be known and hated.

Jesus reminds us that there is no secret place we can hide that we are not seen by God.  He tells us that all will be revealed and he encourages us to share our worries and woes with him so that he might heal us and lift the load that weighs us down.

Lord, your love reaches to the heaven; your fidelity, to the clouds.  Your justice is like the mountains; your judgments, like the mighty deep; all living creatures you sustain, Lord.

God’s love is faithful; it reaches to the clouds.  God’s love is justice; it is as firm as the highest peaks.  God’s love is deep; it pervades the universe.

How precious is your love, O God!  We take refuge in the shadow of your wings. We feast on the rich food of your house; from your delightful stream you give us drink.

God’s love is outweighed by nothing and no one.  There is no better place to take shelter from the tempest of life.  There is no better food to nourish us.  There is no better water than the Living Water of God.

For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light. 

Jesus comes to fill the darkness with the light of God’s love.  Jesus tells us that he is The Word, the two-edged sword of God that cleaves and which we are to render to him.  Jesus also tells us that he comes to set the world afire with God’s call to love even our enemies.

Keep on loving those who know you, doing justice for upright hearts. Let the foot of the proud not crush me nor the hand of the wicked cast me out.

God’s love is the two-edged sword: it grants both mercy and justice.  It divides marrow from bone and renders holy God’s faithful.  It pries pride from the darkest of places and heals cold hearts with its cauterizing heat.

See how the evil-doers fall; flung down, they never rise.

God’s love calls us to intercede for our enemies so that we might enter into the healing power of forgiveness.

The prophet Micah instructs us: Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. (Micah 6:8)  We can have no better reminder than this Psalm that God’s love is both merciful and just.

Let us take this time today to reflect on the healing, nourishing, guiding, two-edged sword of God’s Word.

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