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Posts Tagged ‘miracles’


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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Matthew 9:1-8: Gossipy Whispering

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mathieu Ignace van Bree: Christ Heals the Paralytic

Mathieu Ignace van Bree: Christ Heals the Paralytic

Too often when we come into contact with those among us who suffer physical or mental differences, we turn away in alarm or surprise. Or worse, we give in to the temptation to whisper about someone’s condition without realizing that our behavior is clearly visible. Our gossipy whispering is audible.

Jesus teaches us a difficult lesson today.

Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why this gossipy whispering? Which do you think is simpler: to say, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’?” 

We know that in ancient times – and still in some cultures today – afflictions are seen as divine punishment for sin. Jesus forgives with the authority given him by the Creator.

Jesus teaches us how to measure our compassion today.

“Get up. Take your bed and go home”.

In our hearts and minds we are grateful when we do not suffer, grateful when we walk in bounty. We also know that God’s grace blesses us with the gifts that make it possible for us to earn a living, to afford a roof, food and clothing. Although in many societies we believe that everyone is entitled to an equal opportunity, we also must know that not everyone is equally endowed.

Jesus teaches us how to heal today.

And the man did it. The crowd was awestruck, amazed and pleased that God had authorized Jesus to work among them this way.

In a world that is strangely topsy-turvy, we know that we are responsible for our response to God’s call more than we are responsible for our fame, wealth or power. Jesus calls us to put aside our gossipy whispering and invite those among us who are paralyzed in any way to join us. Jesus invites all to come together with whatever gifts we have to build the infinite and boundless kingdom.

Jesus teaches us about goodness today.

When we use the scripture link above and the drop-down menus to explore other translations of this story, we hear God’s call as healing and compassionate kingdom-builders.

To learn more about Jesus’ miracles, click on the image above or visit: http://iconsandimagery.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html  

Tomorrow, withering the fig tree. 

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Matthew 9:27-31: The Blind

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Jesus: St. Saviour Church - Turkey

Jesus icon in St. Saviour Church: Chora, Istanbul, Turkey

The stories of Jesus’ healing are perhaps the most loved. They tell us in the modern era what we want and need to hear. Miracles happen. Outrageous hope is possible. Love changes everything. Faith, the cornerstone of discipleship, rises from our constant communication with God and brings reward greater than any power, wealth or fame. But to all of this goodness and compassion too many of us are too often blinded by the lures of the world that surrounds us. So great is God’s love for each of us that we are given the daily opportunity to choose Mammon or God. The blind men in today’s story choose God.

THE MESSAGE translation brings this familiar story home in a powerful way.

Two men cry follow Jesus and cry out to him, pleading for sight so they might more fully enter life. And so Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!”

How often do we ask for God’s help? How often do we reply, “Why, yes, Master!”

St. Saviour Church - Chora, Istanbul, Turkey: Jesus heals Two Blind Men

St. Saviour Church: Jesus heals Two Blind Men

He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw. Then Jesus became very stern. “Don’t let a soul know how this happened.” But they were hardly out the door before they started blabbing it to everyone they met.

Do we believe that we become what we believe? Do we covet what others have or what others are?

It happened. They saw.

Does our worldly doubt overcome our spirit’s hope? Do we turn to God when we are in turmoil or fear? Do we blab the good news to others or hold it for ourselves? Do we ask for sight and wisdom only to ignore or abuse the gift once it is given? Do we decide that Jesus’ ancient words do not suit our modern world?

Become what you believe.

St. Saviour Church in Chora, Istanbul, Turkey

St. Saviour Church in Chora, Istanbul, Turkey

We are so often blind to so much that takes place around us and this is not surprising since the world is a dichotomy of faith-inspiring creation and the frightening ugliness of evil. But we are created in God’s image, created to rise to the hope of God’s creation, created to sing in harmony with God’s Spirit. So rather than reject with cynicism the possibility of Jesus’ presence in our lives, let us share – as do these two cured men – the goodness and enormity of God’s love. When we find that we are blind . . . let us ask for Jesus’ healing . . . and let us celebrate the miracle of his love.

The image above is not the clearest but there are a number of lovely photographs in this post on the ParMieux Adventures blog at: http://parmieuxadventures.blogspot.com/2010/12/st-saviour-in-chora.html 

To learn more about this church, visit the Kiriye Camii (St. Saviour) page on the Sacred Destinations site: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/turkey/istanbul-st-savior-in-chora-kariye 

Compare THE MESSAGE translation of these verses with others using the scripture link and the drop-down menus to see how Jesus speaks to us today through this story.

Tomorrow, why does Jesus ask these men to keep silent about the miracle of their healing.

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Matthew 9:18-26: Two Women

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Ong Wilson: The Daughter of Jairus

Ong Wilson: The Daughter of Jairus

Jairus’ anguish over the loss of his daughter moves Jesus to return the child to life as we know it. The story also bookends another: the healing of a woman suffering from hemorrhage. These two women, one young and one elderly, show us the breadth of God’s compassion and consolation. These two women, one passed on to the next world and the other still in it, show us the goodness and mercy of the Spirit. As we consider this version and compare it to Mark’s in 5:21-40 we have the opportunity to ask for our own miracles. Let us not hesitate to ask God to grace our own lives in such a meaningful way.

To learn more about this painting, click on the image. To suggest other images we might enjoy seeing, enter the painter and the name of the work as a the comment to this post.

banner_touchjesusThis week we pause 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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