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Posts Tagged ‘peace’


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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ascendingSaturday, September 25, 2021

Psalm 119:54-55

Our Songs

Your statutes have been my songs wherever I make my home. I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law.

Life brings many forms of darkness, night times when we feel as though we are apart and journeying to a half-known destination, places that remind us of once-sacred spaces that we can no longer can find. It is at these moments and in these places that we most often are uncertain and even afraid. It is in these places that we look for a security we once had and are no longer certain of how to find. But these dark pilgrimages are sacred opportunities to draw closer to God. These journeys of faith and hope are holy encounters with the in-dwelling Spirit. These passages are encounters with the eternal and universal Christ who loves us so dearly that he insists on searching for us even if we are the one lost when ninety-nine are found.

God says: The patriarchs lived in covenant with me through which we expressed our love for one another. The Hebrew nation made a tent in which I dwelt so that we might have an intimate union. The early followers of my son Jesus celebrated the Eucharist to create a sacred place and time that we might share. You also come to me in so many ways at so many times in so many places. The truth is this . . . that wherever you are, I am. Wherever I am, there is a possibility for peace. Wherever two or more of you are gathered in my name, the impossible becomes possible. When you ascend to the holy temple within yourself, sing your own song of praise. When you think of my laws, consider how they free you rather than bind against you. For I have planted my hope in your heart. I have sown my fidelity in your mind and my courage in your soul. Allow my presence to break forth in joyful song as we celebrate and give thanks for the gift of one another.


Spend some time comparing different versions of these verses at the scripture site above. Read through the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120 – 134) and allow the ancient verses to resonate within. Share your gratitude through acts of kindness and justice.  And sing out joy and praise to God who never leaves our side.

To learn more about Songs of Ascent, visit: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/655450/jewish/What-is-a-Song-of-Ascents.htm 

For a meditation with Psalm 130, click on the image above or go to: http://jdittes.blogspot.com/2010/10/more-than-watchmen-wait-for-morning.html

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Friday, August 27, 2021

Bedouin Tent in the Sahara

Bedouin Tent in the Sahara

Jeremiah 30

A Cry of Dismay

In this portion of Jeremiah’s prophecy, we have a reprise of oracles already spoken. Perhaps we need to hear this message once more. We have heard and read these words and yet, do we fully comprehend God’s promise?

The Old Testament God unleashes the storm upon those who have fallen away from the covenant. God guides, admonishes and protects. The New Testament God lives our trial with us. Jesus heals, restores and redeems. The Spirit comes to live within each of us to console, fortify and counsel.

Let us spend some time today with these verses so that we might more fully understand. Read the four Bible versions on the scripture link above, or choose others from the drop-down menus on the scripture site. Listen for God’s unique response to our own cry of dismay, and determine to rest in the peace that only God can give.

A cry of dismay we hear; fear reigns, not peace.

Be not dismayed. Behold, I will deliver you from the far-off land.

You shall again find rest, for I am with you.

“The outcast” they have called you, “with no avenger”.

See! I will restore the tents of Jacob.

When I summon you, you will approach me.

You shall be my people, and I will be your God.

See, the storm of the Lord!

When the time comes . . . you will fully understand.


To read a blog post on women in scripture dwelling in tents, click on the image above or go to: http://www.womeninthescriptures.com/2012/05/dwelling-in-tent.html

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wisdom characterTuesday, June 15, 2021

Ecclesiastes 14:20-15:10

Achievement

Every achievement rots away and perishes, and with it goes the author.

This is difficult for us to hear.

Happy the one who meditates on wisdom, and reasons with good sense, who studies her ways in the heart, and ponders her secrets.

This is news we will want to take in.

Happy the one who pursues wisdom like a hunter, and lies in wait by her path; happy the one who peeps in at her windows, and listens at her doors, the one who lodges close to her house and fixes pegs on her walls.

This is advice we will want to ponder.

Happy the one who pitches a tent in wisdom’s shade, and camps beneath her branches; this one is sheltered from the heat, and in her glory this one makes a home.

We will want to consider where we dwell and think about where we hang our coat.

Whoever is in awe of the Lord will act like this, and whoever grasps the Law will have wisdom. She will come to meet this one like a mother, she will receive this one like a virgin bride.

We will want to consider where and if we have wisdom and if the wisdom we claim brings us peace.

Wisdom will give her children the bread of understanding and water to drink. The one who leans on wisdom will not fall or be put to shame. Wisdom raises us above our neighbors and opens our mouths when we stand before the assembly. Fools and sinners will not have possession of wisdom or even set their eyes upon her. Wisdom stands remote from pride, and liars cannot call her forth. Praise is unseemly in a sinner’s mouth, since it is not put there by the Lord. For praise should be uttered in wisdom since that is when the Lord calls it forth.

wisdom specsWisdom comes not from achievement, power, wealth or influence. True wisdom comes from God alone and she cannot be purchased, coerced or manipulated. Today we learn that the source of wisdom is no mystery. Once we find her . . . let us do all that we can to remain in her. For this is an achievement that will never fail.

 


Images from: http://jovisgoes.com/category/wisdom/ and http://www.unlearning101.com/fuhgetaboutit_the_art_of_/2010/01/three-powerful-quotes-on-wisdom.html

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temple_priestMonday, May 3, 2021

Hebrews 4:14-16

High Priest

In some religious structures it is customary to regard a particular member of the community as a singular mediator between the creator and the created. “As a prestigious, elite class the priests were also expected to preserve the holiness of the sanctuary and the uniqueness of the people of Israel.  Therefore they were subject to added restrictions not incumbent upon the average Israelite. A priest was forbidden to officiate if he had a physical defect (Lev. 21:17-24), was ritually impure, was under the influence of alcohol, or had married a woman forbidden to a priest”. (Achtemeier 882)

Jesus comes to serve as high priest for all.  Jesus comes to us a priest who administers the Law of Love. Jesus comes to us as our brother and high priest to call each of us to unity in and through him.

In this Eastertide, let us consider how we respond to this holy call to peace and grace and love.


For more on the Biblical role and the history of the high priest, click on the image above, or visit: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/265328/high-priest or http://www.gotquestions.org/high-priest.html or http://biblehub.com/dictionary/h/high.htm

Achetemeier, Paul J. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE DICTIONARY. 2nd edition. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996. 882. Print.

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christs-empty-tombWednesday, April 21, 2021

John 7:40-52

Never Before

When Jesus enters Jerusalem, his presence creates division, particularly in regards to the origins of the Messiah. In these days of Lent and Eastertide we have reflected on how our encounter with Christ engenders questions and sparks discussion. Scripture has shown us how Jesus, followed by large crowds, is proclaimed the new king of a new kingdom. We have participated in the ancient liturgies of the Triduum and, along with countless generations of the faithful, we declare Christ the Messiah. Despite of, or perhaps because of, Jesus’ message of liberation and rescue, arguments separate us as we react to the call of the Gospel. Today we are reminded that: Never before has anyone spoken like this one.

On this day, as we proclaim Christ risen from a world of death and darkness, we ask, what do we believe?

On this day when we say Jesus has entered our lives in a particular way, how do we enact the Gospel call to love those who hate us?

On this day when we celebrate the presence of God in our lives, how do we proclaim to the world that the one who stands before us has never been seen before?

EmptyTombWishing Easter peace and blessings to all in the Noontime Circle.

Asking Easter joy and grace for all the faithful.

Trusting in Easter transformation for all of God’s creation.

Amen.


A re-post from Easter Sunday 2014.

Images from: http://www.the-dock.org/blog/2011/easter-sunday/ 

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Cows of Bashan and Mount Hermon

Cows of Bashan and Mount Hermon

Amos 4

Second Word

Amos delivers God’s word to the priests in Bethel for a year and when he is rejected he returns to his shepherding work. He speaks to the Israel nation about their lack of fidelity. And he reminds us of how we can turn back to God and the covenant once we discover that we have again fallen under the spell of the pagan gods of fame, money, influence and power. Amos reminds us that there is always redemption. Restoration is always possible.

God says: In this time of Lent I call you to examine your conscience and you perform this scrutiny well. You are aware of all that you do when you allow yourself to be honest. You know where and how to return to me when you allow yourself a bit of quiet and a dose of truth. So put your worries and fears aside for your renovation already lies within you. Your recovery from all that plagues you is already in your body, mind and soul. All that needs happen is that you note what you do, that you put aside your pagan gods, and that you turn and return to me. Uprightness lives in you through me. Do what you must to nourish the integrity that dwells in you. This is the Second Word that comes from me through my prophet Amos.

In our modern society we are not much different from our ancient ancestors despite our science and technology; the very real temptation to become Cows of Bashan is as keen and alluring today as it was millennia ago; yet we know that life is more than we see before us.  And so we still yearn for union.  We still seek wisdom and peace.  We are still vessels of the Spirit that creates us. God still dwells within . . . waiting to transform and rescue us.

Tomorrow, Third Word.


For information about Bashan, click on the image above or go to: http://www.bibleplaces.com/golanheights.htm

For another Noontime reflection on Amos 4:1-2, enter the words The Cows of Bashan into the blog search bar and explore.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Matthew 5:38-48

CNN News: Ukraine Protestors

CNN News: Ukraine Protestors

We re-post this reflection written in 2014 in union with those who stand up for personal and communal freedom justice on every continent. The human race seems determined to create chaos rather than unity. Let us come together with all those who seek the common good. And let us pray not only for the oppressed but also for those who commit acts of oppression. 

A Prayer to Nourish Us Here and Now

Matthew records the words Jesus speaks to those who gather round him when he describes the kingdom of God in the Beatitudes, the new Law of Love that supersedes the law of the Torah and Moses. We have spent much time this week reflecting on the Interior Law placed within each of us at our inception.  This law flourishes in faith, grows in hope and acts in love. And so we pray, we look for strength as we build God’s kingdom.

BBC News: South Sudan in Crisis

BBC News: South Sudan in Crisis

You have heard it said, an eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.

Around the planet the peoples of the world constantly look for answers to difficult questions; they consistently yearn for security and peace; they continually hunger for the words that Jesus speaks in his Sermon on the Mount. And so we pray, we look for courage as we build God’s kingdom.

When someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other one as well.

In Ukraine the people struggle to find leadership that is free of corruption.  And so we pray, we look for integrity as we build God’s kingdom.

If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well.

In South Sudan the people struggle to live a life without fear. And so we pray, we look for justice as we build God’s kingdom.

Reuters: Thai Protestors Target Ministries and Threaten Stock Exchange

Reuters: Thai Protestors Target Ministries and Threaten Stock Exchange

Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two.

In Thailand the people fight over who will bring them into the light.  And so we pray, we look for truth as we build God’s kingdom.

Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on the one who wants to borrow.

In Venezuela the people fight over how they will share the power of leadership.  And so we pray, we look for peace as we build God’s kingdom.

You have heard it said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Swiss Broadcasting: Activists Injured by Gunshots

Swiss Broadcasting: Activists Injured by Gunshots

In West Virginia, USA the people ask for answers to dark questions.  And so we pray, we look for compassion as we build God’s kingdom.

If you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?

In our own home town the people ask for honesty and justice.  And so we pray, we look for love as we build God’s kingdom.

We are not much different from those people who listened to Jesus two thousand years ago; we too, hunger for security, healing, truth, forgiveness and redemption.

Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. And so we pray, we look for endurance as we build God’s kingdom.

National Geographic News: West Virginia's Chemical Valley

National Geographic News: West Virginia’s Chemical Valley

The perfection God asks of us lies not in our living a life without mishap; rather, it lies in our persistence to return to the Law of Love no matter how far we stray. The kingdom Jesus describes is not in some distant future when all God’s children have suddenly seen and corrected the errors in their lives.  The kingdom of God is here and it is now.  God’s forgiveness and mercy are here and now.  God’s healing and presence are here and now. God’s compassion and love are here and now. Let us take strength from the one who created us, take heart from the one who accompanies us, and peace from the one who dwells within us. Amen.


To learn more about the stories shared in this prayer, click on the images above or go to: http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/17/world/europe/ukraine-protests/, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25677297, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/14/us-thailand-protest-idUSBREA0B03C20140114, http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news/international/Activists_say_five_Venezuela_protesters_injured_by_gunshots.html?cid=37945644, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140116-chemical-valley-west-virginia-chemical-spill-coal/ 

For another Noontime reflection on these verses, enter the word Vengeance into the blog search bar and explore.

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Second Sunday in Lent, February 28, 2021

Psalm 94psalm-94-18-19[1]

Our Interior Law – Part IV

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We ask for wisdom so that we might discern your law that lives within each of us.

Blessed the one whom you instruct, O Lord, whom by your law you teach, giving them rest from evil days. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for peace in our turbulent days so that we must rest with you as we move through our days.

For the Lord will not cast off God’s people, nor abandon God’s inheritance; but judgment will be with justice, and all the upright of heart will follow it. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for integrity and uprightness so that we might live out the Gospel as Jesus teaches us.

When I say, “My foot is slipping,” your mercy, O Lord, sustains me; when cares abound within me, your comfort gladdens my soul. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for compassion and forgiveness so that we might live the love the Spirit inspires in each of us.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We tap into our interior law, knowing that it always leads us in the best direction, understanding that it flourishes at the best of God’s time, and believing that it nourishes and sustains each of us and all of us.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

Jesus says, “Do you not yet understand or comprehend?  Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”  They answered him, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”  (Mark 8:17-21)

God’s love is far greater than we can imagine and far more durable than we can believe.  And this is God’s law of love.  There is always love in abundance . . . forever. Blessed are those who see and hear. Blessed are those who allow God to soften hearts. Blessed are those who believe that God’s law lives within.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.


Image from: http://shareaverse.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/comfort-3/psalm-94-18-19/ 

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