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Posts Tagged ‘miracles’


Acts 12:1-19: No Small Commotion

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Mattia Preti: Saint Peter Freed

Spending time with Peter’s sermons, we find that, filled with the Spirit, he raises his voice. We find that step-by-step, and trusting God’s voice, he delivers the message of Good News. And as if to prove that God loves us with great power and fidelity, God releases the faithful servant from prison. We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often doubt that God can do great things for us?

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his wrists. 

We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often doubt that God releases us from the chains that bind our lives?

The angel said to him, “Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”

We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often fear following the angels God sends to us?

Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision.

We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often ascribe God’s intercession to coincidental circumstances?

After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him.

We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often balk at moving through the doors and gates God opens for us?

When morning came, there was no small commotion among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 

We read the miracle of Peter’s escape from prison and ask ourselves . . . Why do we so often deny the commotion that takes place in our lives when God intercedes for us?

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore this sermon, we allow ourselves to consider the small and great commotions God makes in our lives. And we determine to share the Good News of our redemption with the world.

For another reflection on Peter’s miraculous deliverance from prison, visit the Suddenly post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/01/07/suddenly/

 

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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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Acts 4:5-12: Filled With the Holy Spirit

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Peter Before the Sanhedrin

Peter and John heal a crippled beggar (Acts 3) and when the crowd erupts with wonder, they explain that the miracle takes place only through them, and not because of them. It is the Messiah, crucified earlier, who brings about this marvelous cure. (See yesterday’s Noontime.) The commotion brings attention from the authorities who arrest the pair. Peter and John find themselves in prison, and finally they stand before the Sanhedrin. The authorities ask, By what power or by what name did you do this?” 

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, let it be known that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 

There is no doubt that these words shock his listeners, but Peter further explains, There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

If we read more of this story, we find that this series of events brings more followers to this small community. If we reflect on this story, we discover the marvel of God’s love and the power of Christ’s authority. If we pray with this story, we discover that we too, are filled with the healing presence of the Holy Spirit. What miracles might we bring to others when we allow ourselves to be conduits of God’s love?

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore this sermon, we allow ourselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  

Tomorrow, Peter’s fourth sermon following Pentecost.

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Isaiah 30:18-36: The Lord’s Favor

Friday, March 10, 2017iching_graphic

The Lord is waiting to show you favor . . .

During Lent we so often beat ourselves up, tossing around guilt in an effort to expiate our activity or inactivity in God’s plan.  In a Bible Concordance, the word favor is cited too often to analyze quickly but the enormity of the number of times we see its use tells us something about our creator.

The Lord is waiting to show you favor . . .

Those who give are so often wrapped in giving to others, they forget to be the recipient of gifts from others.

Those who advocate are so frequently caught up in the work of justice, they become accustomed to life always being a struggle.

Those who are frequent recipients of favor from God and others, they may take it as a given, as a requisite to measure the worth of a day, as an entitlement.

The Lord is waiting to show you favor . . .

Perhaps the favors we seek are before us at all times, and the miracle occurs when we truly open our eyes to see them.

Perhaps the words we long to hear are being said but are lost in the cacophony of life.

The Lord is waiting to show you favor . . . He will be gracious to you when you cry out, as soon as he hears he will answer you . . . No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, while from behind a voice shall sound in your ears: ‘This is the way; walk in it,” when you would turn to the right or left.

There is a tag hanging on the doorknob of the workroom in my classroom that reads: When the student is ready, the master appears.  I first read this a number of years ago in the I Ching and was happy to find this tag in a shop while vacationing with my children and grandchildren at the ocean.  I love to put my hand on that door – the door behind which we store tests, make coffee, have quiet chats.

The Lord is waiting to show you favor . . .

Perhaps all we need to do during this Lenten season is to store away our tests, make coffee . . . and rest in the friendship of God and one another.

The Lord is waiting to show you favor . . .

A Favorite from February 26, 2009.

For more on the I Ching, visit: http://www.iging.com/intro/introduc.htm 

 

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Ezra 6: 19-23: Marvels – Part IV

Sunday, November 13, 2016presence-of-holy-spirit

We remember well the marvels the Lord has done for us. 

We remember that the Lord has returned us from exile.

We join the whole crowd as we rejoice at the splendid deeds done by the Lord.

We tell the world that with great joy we celebrate for it is the Lord who has made us joyful.

We tell the world that we are so full of joy that we will keep the feast.

And so we pray.

Good and generous God, you have brought us back from the darkness that haunted us, and you remind us that we are “people of the “presence”.

Good and gentle God, you have seen our plight that marginalized us, and you have come to redeemed and heal us.

Good and courageous God, you have heard our prayer of worry and fear, and you have answered us with your miracles great and small. 

Good and bold God, you have seen how we struggle with the storms of life, and you have done great things for us that are marvels in our lives.

Good and strong God, you have helped Ezra and Nehemiah to rebuild the Temple and now you build a Temple within each of us. 

For these marvels and wonders we give thanks. For the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we rejoice. For your holy presence we celebrate. Amen.

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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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Job 6The Reply of the Innocent

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Favorite from September 6, 2009.job-innocent-suffering-300x225

It is true that sometimes we are completely innocent of any wrongdoing and yet we suffer.  One of the primary questions we ask as human beings is this:  Why is it that things sometimes go so wrong for us and so right for others?  We also ask: What have we done to deserve suffering and how do we cope without falling apart entirely?  Some of us even ask: How long can I go on?  Is life worth living?

Today we hear from Job, the man who suffers through no fault of his own.  His fidelity attracts Satan’s notice and so he becomes an object of play in the devil’s evil game.  Job describes with beautiful metaphors how quickly his friends abandon him, being undependable as a brook, as watercourses that run dry in wadies . . . [they are] caravans [that] turn aside from their routes [to] go into the desert and perish. 

In today’s Gospel (Mark 7:31-37) we hear the story of how Jesus opens ears and a throat when he says words that he also says to us: Be open!  In MAGNIFICAT, the mini-reflection for Morning Prayer reads: Jesus opened the ear of the deaf man that he might hear in a new startling way the word of salvation.  What we hear as good news, we proclaim as good news: that is our task as disciples.

How we arrive at not hearing is not important; nor is the question about why we have become silent in our isolation.  What is important is this: That one has come who releases all of us from our bondage – whether these chains have been acquired through our own action or inaction, or whether we are innocent slaves.  One has come to call us to unity, and this one calls to each of us: Be open!

Be open to a surprising newness.  Be open to pardoning and being pardoned.  Be open to miracles in our lives.  Be open to the amazing potential we possess.  Be open to proclaiming the good news that we are free and need not toil futilely.  Be open to the life of discipleship.  Be open to union in Christ, with Christ himself.  Be open . . .

This is easy to hear but difficult to do.  We might turn again to Job who knows the pain of separation . . . and also the joy of reunion.

Whether we suffer in innocence or through our own action or inaction, our reply to the one who created us can be the same.  When we hear the voice that calls, let us all answer:  We are open to the possibility that we might live again!  This is our best human reply to the divine.

And this is the greatest miracle of all . . . that whether we suffer through guilt or whether we are innocent . . . we can all be open to God . . . for we are all sought by God for to each of us he says: Be open!

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 6.9 (2009). Print.  

Click on the image above for more on the suffering of the innocent, or visit: http://www.thelakesanglican.org.au/why-does-god-allow-suffering/ 

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2 Kings 6:8-24Ambusharamean-horsemen

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Favorite from September 5, 2009.

The King of Aram cannot win against the God of Israel who speaks to the faithful through their prophet Elisha.  As I read this story I too, wish that I had such a direct route to wisdom . . . and then I realize that I do.  Today’s story of ambush is tempered with God’s pity for the Arameans, something we do not see often in the Old Testament.  It is also a reminder that God abides with those who seek him in humility and trust, that when the faithful follow in fidelity, they too will benefit from a voice that advises them as if it has heard conversations in secret places that are meant to outwit God.  Today we remember that God is everywhere, hearing everything, seeing everyone, knowing every thought.  At first this can be unsettling – we realize that there is no part of us that we can hold separate from God.  Later it is comforting – we realize that we do not want to be without this supreme intelligence and infinite mercy.  We come to see that God’s presence – and our attentive ear tuned to God’s voice – is the only force which saves us from the ambushes plotted in secret places.  We begin to comprehend the depth of God’s love for us.

When an ambush is sprung upon us, we might want to turn to Psalm 143 to intone its verses:  My spirit faints within me; my heart within me is desolate. 

When we feel as though all our own forces have been spent in enduring the onslaught, we say:  I spread out my hands to you; my soul grasps to you like a thirsty land. 

When we feel ourselves about to faint from the fear or anxiety which strangles us, we pray: O Lord, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me; do not hide your face from me or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit. 

We remember the times in the past when we have survived ambush by calling on God for help:  I remember the time past; I muse upon your deeds; I consider the works of your hands. 

We ask for God’s assistance: Revive me, O Lord, for your Name’s sake; for your righteousness’ sake, bring me out of trouble.

When we take ourselves away from the panic and pain, we come to see that we too benefit from miracles brought to us through the words and actions of our own holy women and men.  When we rely on the voice of God rather than the voices of society, we too become transformed by miracles that arrive as gifts from our loving God.  And when we show mercy for those who have listened to their own advice rather than words from God, we too will see that no more raiders will come into our land.

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Psalm 22: Spiritual Warfare – Part II

Tuesday, September 6, 2016ephesians 6

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

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.

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 have been 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.

Tomorrow, a prayer for spiritual warfare.

For a Bible Study on Ephesians 6, click on the image above, or visit: http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/spiritual-warfare-lesson-1-understanding-the-battle-11554631.html 

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