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Posts Tagged ‘peace’


Isaiah 45:3-8: Hidden TreasuresHidden-treasures

Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 15, 2022

I will give you treasures out of the darkness, and treasures that have been hidden away . . .

Jesus comes into the darkness of the world to bring the light of truth and peace. Despite any gloom that threatens to engulf us, there is always hope when we remain in Christ.

God says: The hidden treasures that you seek are already in your grasp. You rise in Easter resurrection and already have the gift of eternal life. What more do you seek that you do not already experience? What more can you wish for when eternal happiness is already yours? Your struggles are not a darkness that will overtake you, rather they are gateways to new reunion, new life, and new love in me. Return to me always with all your troubles and do not be afraid when hardship falls upon you. I am your hidden treasure. I am the gift of life that already lies within.

 


Enter the word treasure in to the blog search bar and discover other treasures we already hold without asking.

Image from: http://vine-institute.org/discover-summit/

 

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Ezekiel 13:10-12: Against the Prophets of Peace – Part III

Thursday, April 7, 2022

We have built walls and also torn down barriers. We have jumped on band wagons and also stood alone on firm principle. We have allowed ourselves to join group think and also waded through the facile misconceptions and alluring conspiracies. Today we hear Ezekiel call out to us, if might only listen and heed.

“The fact is that they’ve lied to my people. They’ve said, ‘No problem; everything’s just fine,’ when things are not at all fine. When people build a wall, they’re right behind them slapping on whitewash. Tell those who are slapping on the whitewash, ‘When a torrent of rain comes and the hailstones crash down and the hurricane sweeps in and the wall collapses, what’s the good of the whitewash that you slapped on so liberally, making it look so good?’

And so, we ask . . .

When have we gleefully slapped wide swipes of whitewash on the faces of truth? Why have we ignored truths are self-evident and preached lies that are outlandish? How have we joined those who rise up against prophets and when have we fought back against blatant ignorance and fear? These are all difficult questions. These are all beautiful opportunities to rise in the incense of our sacrifice for Christ.

Tomorrow, the hurricane. 


Image from: https://resin-expert.com/en/guide/how-to-whitewash-brick 

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Ezekiel 13:7-9: Against the Prophets of Peace – Part II

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 Yesterday we paused to question the delusions we live by and the realities we try to enact as we consume the deluge of information that overwhelms us. Our daily experience is somehow different each day and somehow horribly the same. We might give ourselves over to despair that strains against Ezekiel’s hope. We might rise on the incense that rises from the ashes of our dreams. We might join Christ in the resurrection of the truth we know exists. These choice between foolish nonsense and solid truth is open to us. 

“Haven’t you fantasized sheer nonsense? Aren’t your sermons tissues of lies, saying ‘God says . . .’ when I’ve done nothing of the kind? Therefore—and this is the Message of God, the Master, remember—I’m dead set against prophets who substitute illusions for visions and use sermons to tell lies. I’m going to ban them from the council of my people, remove them from membership in Israel, and outlaw them from the land of Israel. Then you’ll realize that I am God, the Master.

Ezekiel’s words are harsh here. They are difficult to put into focus when we reflect on the generous love of Christ and yet, the severity of the prophet’s words are matched – and even overcome – by God’s enormous, generous love. 

And so, we ask ourselves . . . 

Do we substitute our own illusions created in fear for God’s visions freely given in love? When do we coddle and cajole? When do we cower even as we wield fear and exclude? When do we stand firm as we strive to include? 

Tomorrow, whitewashed walls. 


To understand more about our delusions, click on the image or visit: https://ridgeviewhospital.net/delusions-vs-hallucinations/

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Ezekiel 13:1-6: Against the Prophets of Peace – Part I

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

We continue to monitor news feeds to keep track of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. We keep a watchful eye on data that track the Covid pandemic. We keep in touch with family and friends as we prepare for the coming celebration of Easter and rebirth. We spend time with colleagues as we discuss Supreme Court nominations and local, state, national, and international politics. We are perhaps overwhelmed with information that cries out for our reflection and consideration at the same as we leave behind the innocents who suffer in a dozen hot spots of the world. We are perhaps exhausted from praying and straining; yet still we persist as we share our concerns and hopes, sorrows and joys. Today we begin a study of Ezekiel 13, we reflect on whether we stand for or against the prophets of peace.

Today’s citation is from THE MESSAGE version.

God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, preach against the prophets of Israel who are making things up out of their own heads and calling it ‘prophesying.’ Preach to them the real thing. Tell them, ‘Listen to God’s Message!’ God, the Master, pronounces doom on the empty-headed prophets who do their own thing and know nothing of what’s going on! Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals scavenging through the ruins. They haven’t lifted a finger to repair the defenses of the city and have risked nothing to help Israel stand on God’s Day of Judgment. All they do is fantasize comforting illusions and preach lying sermons. They say ‘God says ... when God hasn’t so much as breathed in their direction. And yet they stand around thinking that something they said is going to happen.

And so we ask ourselves . . . 

When and why do we fantasize? What are our illusions and realities? What sermons do we preach with the actions of our daily lives? Where do we stand? With or against the prophets of peace? 

Tomorrow, fantasizing nonsense. 


To learn more about the International Day of Peace, the 21st of September each year, click on the image or visit: https://internationaldayofpeace.org/

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Matthew 13:54-14:2: Opinionsover-inflating-your-opinion

Wednesday, March 23, 2015

He did not work many mighty deeds in his native place because of their lack of faith. The opinion of those who knew Jesus as a child blocks his neighbors from seeing what is so plainly true.

Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us that the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:22-25) What, then, does human opinion matter if we do not move and live in God?

Paul tells the Ephesians and he tells us that by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is a gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:6-9) How, then, are we to believe that we can heal and restore unless we heal and restore in Christ Jesus?

Paul asks the Galatians and he asks us: Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? (Galatians 3:3-5) Why, then, might we put aside the Spirit and believe that we are complete without God’s indwelling presence?

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the reputation of Jesus and said to his servants, “This man is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him”.  The opinion of the one who ruled over Jesus’ native land is influenced by the power he wields and the influence he exerts on others.

Might we compare our own opinion of Jesus with that of those who knew him so well? What is our vision of wisdom, grace, faith, weakness and foolishness? How do we receive the miracle of life that awakens us each day and accompanies us to bed each night?

In our Lenten journey we pause to consider . . . whose opinions matter most to us . . . and how do these opinions influence our thoughts and deeds each day?


Image from: https://eraoftechnology.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/over-inflating-your-opinion/

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Monday, February 7, 2022watchmanforjerusalem

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Studying the Stumbling Block

We are all called to be prophets in the Messianic Age, a time when we each have a personal relationship with Christ . . . the one who calls us to sound the trumpet that he is already among us.

Christ is among us. Yet we do not see. We are the body of Christ. Yet we do not come together. We are called to do Christ’s work in the vineyard. Yet we are stiff-necked and hard-hearted. We lament over our stumbling blocks rather than rejoice in them.

When we read Ezekiel we realize that we are called by God as prophets, and we are also asked to call one another to this same office. We are to announce the coming that is taking place now. We are called to be sentinel to one another. We are called to unbend our own necks and to rebuke the stiff-necked among us. We are called to soften our hard hearts and to reprove the hard-hearted in the midst of us. We are called to listen for the sentinel’s cry from our brothers and sisters. We are called to give the cry of the Word we see and hear.  We are called to respond to the virtue in one another, to warn and to be warned. We are God’s church, the body of Christ, the Spirit that dwells within seeking harmony, unity and peace.

How do we attain this peaceful unity?  Verse 20: If a virtuous man turns away from virtue and does wrong when I place a stumbling block before him, he shall die.  He shall die for his sin, but his deeds shall not be remembered; but I will hold you responsible for his death if you did not warn him.  When, on the other hand, you have warned a virtuous man not to sin, and he has in fact not sinned, he shall surely live because of the warning, and you shall save your own life.

Let us spend a bit of time with this verse today and imagine the possibilities of God’s call.

Tomorrow, understanding the stumbling block.


Adapted from a reflection written on January 19, 2008.

Image from: http://www.pray4zion.org/TheWatchmanofIsrael.html

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Pompeo Batoni: St. Paul

Pompeo Batoni: St. Paul

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Joy and Discipleship

Romans 14-15

 The New Testament brings us the good news that God has come to live among us, has died as one of us and has risen from the dead as one of us. Paul tells us that with Christ there is always hope when we sink into doubt, light when we walk in darkness, and joy when we suffer sorrow.

Paul speaks to the Romans two thousand years ago, and he also speaks to us today. His life as a disciple was difficult and yet Paul shares with us the great joy he experiences in his travail.

The apostle Paul says: For the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

God says: The world of corruption, greed and warfare is the kingdom as you have constructed for yourselves. When you live in me this world becomes one of righteousness, peace and joy. I know that this is difficult for you to believe but just one of you can make a difference; and if two or more of you come together in my name, your light will pierce the darkness. 

The follower of Christ, Paul says: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

God says: The life of sadness, pain and sorrow is the life you have fashioned for yourself. When you place your days and years in my hands you live the potential I have dreamed for you. If you are overcome, seek help. If you are overwhelmed, find others who are determined to live in peace rather than revenge. If two or more of you gather in my name, your prayer converts harm to good. 

The sharer of Christ’s work and work, Paul says: I urge you, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in the struggle by your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the disobedient, and that my ministry may be acceptable so that I may come to you with joy by the will of God and be refreshed together with you. The God of peace be with all of you. Amen. (Romans 15:30-32)

God says: The struggles you experience are opportunities to discover new strength in one another and in my Spirit. The ministry you live is a new opening to life in Christ. The prayer you offer is reliance on my strength and fidelity. When you bring me your sorrows and your fears you step into the depths of my love . . . you become one in your brother Christ, and you rise to live again in the Spirit, converting the pain of the world to celebration. Come, and follow me . . .

joyToday Paul speaks to us to bring us the hope and joy and word of God. Let us set aside a bit of time tonight before the close of this first day of the new year to decide how we will respond. How will we share with others the good news that the depths and heights and breadth of darkness will always be overcome by the light of Christ’s joy? How will we strengthen ourselves and others in Christ?

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right-hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.


Image from: http://www.jesuswalk.com/philippians/artwork-st-paul.htm

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proverbs 12-20Monday, December 6, 2021

Joy and Proverbs

Deceit

The Book of Proverbs is more than mere adages we repeat in moments of confusion or stress. They are universal metaphors that serve as anchors in a bewildering and sometimes tumultuous world. Many resources are available to understand these maxims and during this second week of Advent we will focus on the surprising power of the proverbs to reveal God’s truth to us.  If this week’s exploration of Proverbs calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. Today we find joy even in deceit.

Each of us has experienced a time when joy has been difficult to find. It is sometimes difficult to imagine that the wickedness and deceit we see around us will ever dissipate; peace and serenity seem powerless against the forces of corruption and treachery. Betrayal, envy, slander, gossip, plots against the innocent and vulnerable, schemes against the marginalized and voiceless seem far more powerful than the power of humility, serenity and peace. But then we might be thinking that we must generate goodness from our own resources . . . and we will have forgotten that God alone can penetrate stony hearts, Christ alone is the path to resurrection, the Spirit alone abides through hate and calumny and fear

Verse 10:28: The hope of the just brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked perishes.

joyGod says: What is the justice I ask you to bring to the world? Is it a gargantuan task that saps every bit of energy you possess? Is it a complex plot with an infinite number of people and parts? No . . . the justice I ask you to bring is you witnessing. Stand with the marginalized and the innocent. The justice I ask you to enact is your voice. Speak when the Spirit asks you to speak. The justice I ask you to nurture is your outrageous hope that all things are possible in and through me for the hope of the just brings joy.

Verse 12:20: Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those who counsel peace have joy.

God says: When you experience every kind of deceit, you need not hide or cower in the shadows. Step into the light of my goodness and live as you know you are called to live. When plots unfold before you, allow my peace to fill you. When schemes unravel around you, allow my serenity to guide you. When intrigue and conspiracy reign, step into my quiet stillness and know that I am with you. In this way you will experience joy . . . even in the cruelest of circumstances.

During this second week in Advent we will continue to share simple verses from Proverbs that bring joy to our hearts. Tomorrow, God’s joy is present even in the midst of evil.


For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

Image from: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/345088390170692266/

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Temple

The Jerusalem Temple in the days of Herod

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Ephesians 4:1-6

In a Manner Worthy

For a number of weeks we have spent our noontimes with the prophecy of Jeremiah examining the loss of the great temple, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the humbling experience of exile and deportation. We have also considered our own exile, we have reflected on the prophet’s foreshadowing of the Christ, and we have examined how we might be Jeremiah’s enemies or companions. Today we consider the final message from the prophet that holds so much importance for us. Despite accumulating deceits and betrayals, there is always hope . . . because God is always with us, moving us to live in a manner worthy of God’s call.

From Paul’s letter to the early Christians in Ephesus, and to each of us . . .

I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received . . .

In an ever-quicker world we may not pause often enough to hear God’s voice.

With all humility and gentleness . . .

In an always-competitive world we may not make room for those on the margins.

With patience, bearing with one another through love . . .

In an increasingly self-centric world we may not feel the need to advocate for those who have no voice.

Striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace . . .

In a world of crisis and emergency we may not restore the soul or rest in God.

One body and one Spirit . . .

In an always-dynamic world we may not see that we are one.

As you were also called to the one hope of your call . . .

In an always-problematic world we may not believe in a reason to hope.

humilityOne Lord, one faith, one baptism . . .

In an always-divergent world we may not want to listen to others.

One God and Father of all . . .

In a world that thinks there is no God we may not witness to injustice and corruption.

Who is over all and through all and in all . . .

In an always-vibrant world we must believe that we are worthy of the call that God has sent us.

Amen.


To learn more about Solomon’s Temple and the renovations made by Herod, visit The Archeology of the Bible site by clicking the temple image above or visiting: http://www.bible-archaeology.info/temple_of_jerusalem.htm 

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