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Posts Tagged ‘peace’


Ephesians 2:7-10: A Shower of Grace and Kindness

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

In faith, we abide with God, as God abides with us.

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.

In hope, we trust in God, as God trusts in us.

Saving is all God’s idea, and all God’s work. All we do is trust God enough to let God do it. 

In love, we live in God, as God lives in us.

It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing!

In faith, through hope, by love, we are images of God’s passion in a world longing for transformation.

We neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving.

In faith, through hope, by love, we are Christ’s hands and feet in the world looking for kindness.

God creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join God in the work God does, the good work God has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

In faith, through hope, by love, we are the Spirit’s healing presence among people who yearn for peace.

When we compare translations of these verses and open ourselves to God’s kindness, we encounter the transforming power of God’s grace.

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John 21:1-14: Throwing Our Nets Yet Again

Friday, April 28, 2017jesus-beach

In this second week of Eastertide, we spend time with the Gospels of the Easter Octave, the eight days comprising the celebration of Easter. On day six, Easter Friday, we hear John’s familiar story of Jesus appearing at the Sea of Galilee. The details in the story open doors of Easter joy and hope for us.

First, we choose a translation that speaks to us most clearly. Then we reflect. If we want to hear an audio version of today’s verses, visit the USCCB site. We may find other versions by using the scripture link and drop-down menus.

In the MESSAGE translation, we see again that the disciples do not recognize Jesus when they first see him. Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn’t recognize him.

We reflect on the number of times Christ has stood before us, and our eyes have not seen. The unwanted visitor. The neighbor who challenges us. The colleague who asks a question we do not want to answer.

Jesus asks the disciples to expect something new when he asks them to do something they have been doing for hours. Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.

We reflect on the number of times Christ has asked us to once more open ourselves to optimism when we have already given up on hope. The task we have already completed. The cause we believe to be dead. The optimism we see as pointless.

Jesus prepares a meal for his friends, and then he says, “Breakfast is ready.” Not one of the disciples dared ask, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Master.

We reflect on the number of times Christ has waited on us, served us, healed us and loved us. We recall the worries and anxieties that too often govern us. We remember the doubts and fears that too frequently control us. We remember the Easter promise of healing and transformation. And we look toward the end of John’s Gospel when he tells us, There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books. (John 21:25)

And we ask ourselves . . . can we recognize the Christ moments in our lives? Are we willing to muster the courage to throw our nets another time where we have already thrown them endlessly? Are we prepared to welcome the joy and peace of Easter? And are we willing to witness to these life-giving encounters with Christ so that others might live and believe?

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Psalm 112: Rising in the Darkness

Monday, February 13, 2017candles

Whether we know it or, once we commit to loving God as we see God in others, we begin to generate light in the darkness.

Those who love the LORD rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.

We may be unaware that others are watching us but they are. When we say that are committed to Christ, do our actions betray or support our words?

It is well with those who deal generously and lend, who conduct their affairs with justice.

If we hope to make a mark in human history, all we need do is follow Christ. In this way we will find ourselves in the story of hope and generosity rather than the story of fear and exclusion.

For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever.

Once we begin to think and move in Christ, all fear falls away for we know that we are not in charge and that the long arc of human history is moving toward the light of Christ.

They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.

lightWhen we feel ourselves moving in that great tide of humanity that yearns for universal justice, impartial freedom and eternal peace, we will know that all is well.

Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

The honor we seek is not the reward of this life; it is the quiet, humble, everlasting honor that Christ bestows when we follow after him.

They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever; they are exalted in honor.

We cannot think that our progress is smooth for the way of discipleship is difficult in the best of circumstances.

The wicked see it and are angry; they gnash their teeth and melt away; the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.

And we must remember that in our gladness of living and loving in Christ, we are called to invite all those who weary from their journey of opposition, mistrust, and manipulation to join in this great generation of life and light and love.

Those who love the LORD rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.

candles-burningWe give thanks for the times when are the light. We ask forgiveness for the times we have brought darkness to others and ourselves. And we remember to look for the face of Christ in every soul that passes our way.

When we spend time with various translations of this psalm, we find that our hearts are lighter, our path more easily seen and trod, and our journey more full of peace.

 

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Isaiah 58:7-10: A Prayer for Dissenters

Sunday, February 12, 2017dissent

Isaiah’s words might be spoken to one who teaches the very young.

Share your food . . .

Isaiah’s words might be heard in a meeting of those who sponsor refugees.

Open your home . . .

Isaiah’s words might be spoken in a classroom where tomorrow’s adults are formed.

Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear . . .

17320284-abstract-word-cloud-for-understanding-with-related-tags-and-terms-stock-photoIsaiah’s words might be heard in a workshop offered on how to embody scripture.

Do not refuse to help your own relatives . . .

Isaiah’s words might be brought to life by anyone who hopes to incarnate The Word, to follow The Word, to live, breathe and be The Word among us.

Put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt . . . 

Isaiah’s words might be spoken on a picket line.

Put an end to every evil word . . .

Isaiah’s words are a rubric to measure our actions, a template to codify life, a handbook for those who yearn to walk in the land of the living.

If you satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon.

And so we pray with Isaiah.

history-lessonsGood, and holy and generous God, guide us as we struggle with our fears of darkness and evil. Direct us as we look for the best way to become your Word. Remain with us as we gather in dissent against the tactics of bullies who hope to divide us. Walk with us as we navigate the thin line between resistance and violence. Abide with us in our struggle for clarity, compassion and peace. For we wish to do your will. We wish to be light to the world. We wish to bring hope to the marginalized. We wish to be the eyes and ears, the voice and heart, the hands and feet of Christ for you. We ask this in Jesus’ name, together with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

When we compare varying versions of these words, we find patience, clarity, and the beginnings of peace for a troubled heart.

For ten lessons history teaches us about leadership with exemplars like Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln, click on the image of the clasped hands, or visit: http://www.andysowards.com/blog/2016/10-lessons-history-teaches-us-about-leadership/

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Ephesians 3:2-6: Do Not Fear – Part XIV

Monday, January 9, 2017

file-saint_paul_writing_his_epistles-_by_valentin_de_boulogne

Valentin de Boulogne: Saint Paul Writing his Epistles

Although we have closed Christmastide we pause to spend a few moments with some of Paul’s words to the Ephesians about the secret plan of God, the mystery of Christ, the Word who arrives to live among us. These words remind us why we have nothing to fear.

The following verses are from THE MESSAGE translation. When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to compare other versions, God’s plan begins to clarify for us.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and us – that he is imprisoned because of his belief in Christ; yet he appears to have no fear of his impending punishment.

This is why I, Paul, am in jail for Christ, having taken up the cause of you outsiders, so-called. I take it that you’re familiar with the part I was given in God’s plan for including everybody. I got the inside story on this from God himself, as I just wrote you in brief.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and us – that he is confined because of his belief in Christ; yet he appears to have no fear of his approaching trial.

As you read over what I have written to you, you’ll be able to see for yourselves into the mystery of Christ. None of our ancestors understood this. Only in our time has it been made clear by God’s Spirit through his holy apostles and prophets of this new order.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and us – because of his belief in Christ, that he has nothing to fear in this world.

The mystery is that people who have never heard of God and those who have heard of him all their lives (what I’ve been calling outsiders and insiders) stand on the same ground before God. They get the same offer, same help, same promises in Christ Jesus. The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board.

Paul tells the Ephesians – and he tells us – that because of our belief in Christ, we have nothing to fear in this world. Paul tells us that we need only step into the Christmas gift of grace, peace, joy and hope. And he tells us that when we witness to this gift, we begin to act with and in Christ in our world.

Wishing each of you in the Noontime circle a New Year filled with Christ’s grace and peace, joy and hope.

Tomorrow, recognizing Christ.

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Numbers 6:22-27: Do Not Fear – Part XIII

Saturday, January 7, 2017numbers-blessing

Tomorrow is the official close of Christmastide with the observation of the Epiphany of the Lord when we celebrate the true arrival of the Christ in our lives.

We might best prepare ourselves for the discovery and acceptance of this amazing gift by remembering Aaron’s blessing to the tribes. With this reception of God’s grace, and with all that we have encountered in this season of Christmas, we are hopeful that we will remember . . . we have nothing to fear.

May the Lord bless you and take care of you;

And may we remember that the Christmas gift of Jesus lives and breathes and moves in each of us . . . even our enemies.

May the Lord be kind and gracious to you;

And may we remember that the Christmas grace of the Christ moves and acts and witnesses to each of us . . . even when we have separated ourselves from God.

May the Lord look on you with favor and give you peace;

And may we remember that despite what we se, despite what we hear, despite what we feel . . . we have nothing to fear.

Amen.

blessing-handsWishing each of you Christmas peace and joy throughout the year.

To compare other translations of this blessing, use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to explore.

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Micah 1:3: Behold the Lord

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Michelangelo: The Prophet Micah

Michelangelo: The Prophet Micah

In this final week of Advent, let us decide to make our hopes tangible, our dreams a prayer for our reality, our faith unwavering and our love secure. Let us cleave to the Creator, follow the Redeemer and rest in the Spirit. This week let us give one another the gift of preparing for the very real promise of eternity.

The prophets tell us that the Lord is about to move among us.

For lo, the Lord is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. (NRSV)

The prophecy describes how God wants to be one of us.

The Lord is coming from his holy place; he will come down and walk on the tops of the mountains. (GNT)

These verses remind us that we receive the gift of holiness through God’s invitation of unity in our diversity.

For — look! —Adonai is coming out of his place, coming down to tread on the high places of the land. (CJB)

micah-6-8The prophets call us to rejoice in our gladness by acting in meekness and integrity, and by living in love.

Look, here he comes! God, from his place!
    He comes down and strides across mountains and hills.
Mountains sink under his feet,
    valleys split apart;
The rock mountains crumble into gravel,
    the river valleys leak like sieves. (MSG)

Behold, the Lord comes to walk among us with peace and joy. The Lord calls us to humility, justice and love.

When we explore other translations of this prophecy, we discover the gift of love we already hold.

 

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Romans 5:1-8: Develop Patience

Friday, December 2, 2016patience-trust-faith

Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (NSRV)

Avoiding sorrow, we forfeit an opportunity to grow in God’s love.

Rejecting obstacles, we lose our intimacy with Christ.

Refusing to see that goodness overcomes harm, we reject the healing touch of the Spirit.

Surviving through faith, we receive hope.

Living in Christ, we experience peace and grace.

Handing ourselves over to God’s offer of love, we grow in endurance.

Resting in grief, we blossom in grace to develop patience that carries us home.

When we use the scripture link and the drop-down menus, we come to see that adversity trains us in the development of patience, a patience that will serve us in our journey home. For another reflection on Patienceclick on the image above or visit: https://www.worldslastchance.com/biblical-christian-beliefs/patience-of-the-saints.html 

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1 Maccabees 8: Pax Romana

Sunday, October 9, 2016pax

Adapted from a favorite written on February 15, 2009.

Stories of the Maccabees family are interwoven with those of various powers vying for control of the eastern bowl of the Mediterranean Sea.  The dreams of Daniel long ago foretold the series of empires that would rule the land of God’s people.  Today we see them reach out to the mighty Roman Empire to strike a treaty in an attempt to throw off their Greek rulers.  The Jewish nation seeks to restore the protection it lost at the fall of its own empire.  The Jewish people want to shelter under the umbrella of the Pax Romana, the Roman Peace.  They look for political stability, for predictability, for an end to oppression and enslavement.  We know how this story evolves. Within the century the Jewish people groan under the control shared by the Roman Emperor and their own puppet Kings, Herod the Great from 73 B.C.E. to 4 C.E. and Herod Antipas from 4 to 39 C.E.  What do they really gain when they enter into this earthly Pax?  What do they forfeit?

Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nzai regime

Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime

We fool ourselves when we seek peace at all costs, for the price of some bargains can be too dear.  The only force we ought to seek is that of the Spirit, the Spirit that resides with the Father and Son, the Spirit that counsels, guides and saves.

Too many times we have heard the phrases: I just wanted to keep the peace, I didn’t want to get into it with him, I didn’t want to upset her, I didn’t want to rock the boat, I did not have the energy to speak, I just went along, I don’t think I can make a difference. We know the outcome of those stories and the results are always the same when we settle. The cost is great. Greater than we will want to pay in the end.

To learn more about the Pax Romana, click on the image above or visit: https://wilsonancientrome.wikispaces.com/Pax+Romana

Read Martin Niemöller’s poem by clicking on his image or visiting: https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392

Tomorrow, God’s peace.

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