Posts Tagged ‘open minds and hearts’

Exodus 16: Some Left Over – Part II

Tissot: The Gathering of the Manna

James Tissot: The Gathering of the Manna

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Bread from Heaven

The Lord said to Moses, “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you . . . Present yourselves before the Lord for God has heard your grumblings”.

How quick we are to complain when life does not go “our way”. When we take time to read the story of the desert manna we see that we are not the first people to forget our deliverance from slavery. And we suspect that we will not be the last to protest our circumstances. But are we willing to see how God cares for us when we are troubled and anxious?

In the Exodus story God provides a double portion of manna on the day before the Sabbath so that the weary desert wanderers may be sustained on their day of rest. On God’s direction, Moses calls forth water from rock (Exodus 17 & Numbers 20) when the people complain. Despite all of this grumbling, God provides enough so that there is some left over. God gives us more than what is sufficient to see us through the difficult places in our lives. It is up to us to remain open, listening and accepting. It is up to us to present ourselves. And when we do, we receive far more than mere bread and water.

Aert de Gelder: Abraham and the Angels

Aert de Gelder: Abraham and the Angels

Abraham’s Visitors

While the day was growing hot . . . Abraham saw three men standing nearby.

We might also take a lesson from Abraham who, on an ordinary day and in an ordinary way, unknowingly encounters God when he receives strangers into his camp. (Genesis 18) Abraham extends desert hospitality and sees that his guests’ feet are washed and that they receive food and drink. This traditional hospitality on a typical day brings a surprise announcement: despite their age, Abraham and Sarah will receive the gift of a child. When they open their hearts and home, Abraham and Sarah discover new depth in their lives; they celebrate new gifts.

The Road to Media

Bernardo Strozzi: Tobias Curing his Father's Blindness

Bernardo Strozzi: Tobias Curing his Father’s Blindness

Tobiah went to look for someone acquainted with the roads who would travel with him to Media.

In this wonderful story of Tobit, the faithful man who remains loyal to God even in the land of exile, we find another reason to open ourselves to the outsider. When Tobias (Tobiah) invites a stranger to accompany him on his journey to Media, he unwittingly enlists the aid of the Angel Raphael. (Tobit 5) Once again, we find that hospitality and fellowship lead to such great gifts and such great reward that there is always some left over.

Tomorrow, more Old Testament stories in which God provides more than enough.

To reflect more on these stories, enter the words Tobit, Abraham or Angels into the blog search bar and explore.  

Images from: https://thejewishmuseum.org/collection/26365-the-gathering-of-the-manna and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham and http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/437763

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Monday, October 18, 2021

Mark 12:18-27

Resurrection – Part IV: Witnessing 

Are you not mislead because you do not know the power of God?

On All Saints we celebrate the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us in their own act of witness. As we move closer to this celebration when we celebrate our own gift of sainthood, we recall words from the Letter to the Hebrews: Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us. (Hebrews 12:1)

In reflecting on the idea of resurrection, we have come to understand that it is not a possession that we might earn but rather a presence already in our midst. Christ is among us, healing and calling, soothing and loving. But we must be watchers with open minds.

When we consider the gift of resurrection, we have come to believe that it is not a privilege bestowed on an elite few but rather a gift already given to all. Christ is within us, restoring and renewing, transforming and changing. But we must be receptive with open hearts.

Once we understand that Christ is already among us and that we will glimpse him in the loving acts of another, we also understand that we must witness to this wondrous gift of self freely given. When we slip into the thinking of the Pharisees who say that in order to love God we must memorize a code and adhere only to this code without considering what results from our elitism, we know that we must watch for the healing hand of God who includes all and excludes none. When we find ourselves thinking as these Sadducees who doubt that the Living God exists and that he loves us to the point of taking us in, forgiving and holding us forever in love, we must be on watch for the Spirit who speaks ardently to those who fear or doubt.

And once we have watched, once we have waited, once we have worked as a response to the Gospel call, then we must call one another to faith. A faith filled with outrageous hope in new possibilities.

We must be on watch like the sentinel on the high city tower. We must wait patiently as the virgins who anticipate the coming of the bridegroom. We must work in the kingdom fields of mercy and compassion and healing.  And as we watch and wait and work we must witness as the risen Christ to one another as we call out to one another these truths we hold dearly and closely. We ask intercession from the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us to help us as we run the race of life. In this way we might hope to avoid the fate of the Sadducees we see today. The fate of living a life that is greatly misled. 

Compare other versions of today’s citation and watch for the presence of the Spirit in your life today.

Adapted from a reflection written on November 22, 2008.

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_Woe_unto_You,_Scribes_and_Pharisees_(Malheur_%C3%A0_vous,_scribes_et_pharisiens)_-_James_Tissot.jpg

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