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Posts Tagged ‘peace’


John 14:27: God’s Yardstick – The Law of Love – Part V

PeacemakersPermaculture & Peacemaking

Saturday, January 21, 2023

We continue to see God’s yardstick in the New Testament.

To understand how the Beatitudes form a ladder of love and gratitude that brings us purity of heart, we began at the first rungs: Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek. We moved to the next rungs: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and those who show mercy. From here we move into serenity.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” St. Paul tells us that we are God’s adopted sons and daughters. It is our brother, Jesus the Christ, who shows us this ladder of beatitudes so that we might attain our inheritance. We need only move to the uppermost rung where we see the inversion and paradox of living a Christian life.

planet and hands“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This may feel nonsensical. It may seem to be the opposite of what we seek and what we believe to be true. This new Law of Love may seem to be the opposite of the Old Testament Covenant where the good are rewarded and the bad reviled. But here Jesus pauses on his road to Jerusalem to preach this sermon to thousands as they recline on a hillside to tell them – and us today as we look for order and sanity – that there is a new order to things. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you falsely on my account.” With the Beatitudes, Jesus calls us to spiritual maturity. He asks us to be faithful in a new way. Jesus asks us to step through the narrow gate with him, to tend to the marginalized, to stand and speak when he asks us to speak, to be silent when he asks for our silence, to preserve what is holy rather than to give it to dogs. And so he gives us these final words: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Tomorrow, blessing.


To learn about willful blindness and how one person’s determination to speak up can change the world, watch Margaret Heffernan’s Ted Talk at: https://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_the_dangers_of_willful_blindness?language=en 

Images from: https://www.santacruzsentinel.com/?returnUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.santacruzsentinel.com%2F2015%2F03%2F26%2Fon-gardening-more-interesting-than-dirt%2F%3FclearUserState%3Dtrue and https://www.barandrestaurant.com/operations/education-opportunity-how-bar-world-can-join-fight-equality

Adapted from a favorite written on January 5, 2007.

 

 

 

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James 3:7-10: Curses and Blessings

Sunday, November 6, 2022A_picture_is_worth_a_thousand_words

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

We have a constant choice to tear down or lift up. This forked path is open to us each day. It is for us to determine whether we choose The Way that leads to light.

God says: I give you a tongue so that you might create speech that bolsters and praises, heals and lifts up. I also give you a free will that allows you to curse or bless my creation. You are meant as a blessing to others yet from time to time you will be their curse. The times when you feel so low that you lash out against others are proof to you that I am not trying to control your destiny. You are free to lift up or pull down. The times when you feel forgiveness are proof of my love for you. You are free to accept or reject me. The times you praise and thank me are proof that union with me is possible. You are free to come to me or leave me. When I offer you the choice of curses or blessings I also offer you hope, and peace and joy.

God touches each of us with a healing embrace. Jesus shows us how to convert our curses to blessings. The Spirit heals us in our struggle to choose life over death.

Enter the word speech in the blog search bar and reflect on the words we use, and the possibility of changing our curses to blessings. 


Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_picture_is_worth_a_thousand_words

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James 1-4: A Prayer to Resolve Turmoil

Wednesday, October 19, 2022peace-key-703x201

No matter the constraint, no matter the barriers to resolution, there is always a path to find peace when we live in Christ, James tells us. We have seen, in the last few days as we have spent time with the opening chapters of James’ letter, the steps for resolution are not complicated when we live in the Spirit. We see today when we reflect on all that James has shared with us, there is always a way forward with God. And so we pray.

Faith and works together will bring us wisdom . . . good and gracious God, bring us your wisdom. Remind us to rely on what we learn from you rather than our intelligence.

Good works bear good fruit . . . generous and faithful God, bring us your grace. Remind us that apples do not grow on vines and berries do not grow on trees.

Wars and quarrels are of our own making and not God’s . . . peaceful and sustaining God, bring us your serenity. Remind us that with you all things are possible.

God’s love is persistent, patient, strong and at the same time gentle . . . loving and courageous God, bring us your meekness. Remind us that humility can achieve more than all earthly power, fame and glory.

No matter the problem, there is always a solution . . . life-giving and eternal God, bring us your fortitude. Remind us that your love for us will never die.

Amen.


For reflections on how to find peace in today’s world, click on the image above or visit: http://www.peacepoint.com/find-peace

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James 2:5-7: The Down-and-Out

Friday, October 7, 2022peace-in-christ

When we listen to the Gospel closely we know that for God all things are possible. When read the familiar histories of the Old Testament with care we know that with God all harm is turned to good. When we live in the truth of God as James calls us to do we know that in God life is always lived as inversion. James speaks to us again today.

Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently?

When we rest in God we do not fear the unknown.

He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God.

When we play in God we do not shrink from trouble.

And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn’t it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind?

When we pray with God we will always find our way home in peace.

Jesus-Comforting-Large-650x280Aren’t they the ones who scorn the new name—“Christian”—used in your baptisms?

When we live in the Spirit we will act as God acts – always offering peace for war, always raising prayer for hatred and always remembering to love in the face of evil. When we live in Christ we will always live in inversion.


Image from: http://pastorgeorgeramblings.blogspot.com/2014/02/may-peace-of-christ-be-with-you.html

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Ezekiel 37: From Dry Bones to Restoration – Part IV

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Perhaps the reason we do not find serenity is that we do not ask for restoration. Today St. Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, reminds us that reunion with God is only a petition away. He is a follower of Christ because he answered God’s invitation to follow.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not find peace is that we do not ask for strength.

I am grateful to him who has strengthened me . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not find solace is that we do not ask forgiveness.

I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not experience love is that we have not shown mercy.

I have been mercifully treated . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not experience transformation is that we do not believe in restoration.

The grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Jesus Christ . . .

Today we spend time with the opening chapter of Paul’s first letter to Timothy and we ponder what our lives might be like if and when we seek strength, forgiveness and mercy. We reflect on the possibility of new life rising from the arid bones of our sorrow.

Tomorrow, finding faith . . . 


Use the scripture link to explore varying editions of 1 Timothy 1.

Image from: https://www.christianity.com/wiki/bible/what-is-the-significance-of-the-valley-of-dry-bones-in-ezekiel.html

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John 13:1-20: Glory, Part I – Washing Our Feet

Monday, July 18, 2022

Dirck Van Baburen: Christ Washing the Apostles' Feet

Dirck Van Baburen: Christ Washing the Apostles’ Feet

Over the next few days we will explore the mystery of Christ’s power found in humility, his love encountered in emptiness, and his leadership seen in his service. John, The Beloved Apostle, faithfully recorded Jesus’ last words and actions for his loyal and frightened followers. John leaves this recording for us that we might discover Christ’s presence among us today, Christ’s glory that lives with us still . . . even after two millennia.

Today’s lesson on Glory: We best find Jesus in the simple rather than the complex, in the overt, loving gesture, and in generous, self-serving love. 

Why do we always forget that Jesus is constantly at our side and that he is constantly washing our feet? Perhaps because he is no longer with us in a physical, three-dimensional form which we perceive with human eyes. Perhaps we must trust our senses more.

What do we do to find our spiritual eyes? Perhaps we better sense Christ in the touch, the word, the gesture of our fellow travelers, and in the presence of the miracles he is constantly performing among us. Perhaps we must listen for the whispered messages he delivers when we are confused and anxious.

What do we do when we long to touch Jesus in a very real way? Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that all of creation cries out as the sustaining presence of Christ and that no matter when we are, God’s loving presence surrounds us.

In today’s Noontime we hear Jesus say to us, his disciples: What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later. These words are so true . . . and we hear them so frequently when we take our problems to that quiet spot within where the voice speaks.

When we find the place where Christ speaks and we consider what we see and hear and touch. We consider that we need not understand the complexities of God’s plan. And so we pray,

Compassionate God, hear our petitions, abide with us, wash our feet, our hearts, our minds. You promised us your peace. Send it to us today and all days as we take in the beauty of your creation, and as we learn to serve others without complaining. We ask this in your name. Amen.

Find time today to write out Jesus’ words on a slip of paper: What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later. Put this paper in your pocket and take a walk outdoors to drink in God’s message. If the weather is unpleasant, find a window with a wide view that captures at least a small portion of God’s creation for you.  Later today, spend time with the image above – or another image of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet that you prefer – and make plans to take care of yourself in some special way within the next few days, if only for a half hour. And let us remember to let Christ wash our tired and dusty feet every night before we go to bed as he so longs to do, for it is in this way that we begin to experience Christ’s glory.

Tomorrow, finding God’s glory in disappointment. 


Image from: https://shadowlilies.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/christ-washing-peters-feet/

Adapted from a reflection written on June 1, 2007.

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2 Corinthians 13:11-13: Prayer for Openingholding-hands-peace-planet-earth-painted

Sunday, July 17, 2022

As we close our reflections on 2 Corinthians this week we determine to open ourselves to the message Paul delivers to his church in Corinth and to us wherever we find ourselves.

Finally, rejoice . . .

No matter our circumstance we can thank God for the gift of today.

Mend your ways . . .

No matter our situation we can find ways to improve.

Encourage one another . . .

No matter our state of mind we can say and do some act of kindness today.

Live in peace . . .

No matter our state of being we can forgive those who have harmed us.

Greet one another with a holy kiss . . .

No matter our condition we must find a way to meet all with the kiss of peace.

May the grace of the lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you . . .

No matter what, we care called. This is our opening to a new way of life. No matter what, we must respond in peace.

Amen.


Image from: http://www.thethoughtvox.com/?p=9446

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denarius

The Roman Denarius

Mark 12:13-17: The Mystery of Rendering

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

These words seem oh so simple . . . and yet they contain such a depth of wisdom that a lifetime of reflection will not uncover all that Jesus wishes to tell us.

God says: When you are perplexed by the world, remember that your confusion comes from believing that there are two worlds you want to reconcile. There is only one world and one life. That world and life are me. Render your confusion to me. You will reap clarity and wisdom. When you are disappointed in the relationships you have forged, remember that no one’s opinion but mine matters. Others who pose and cajole you are speaking only on their own behalf. Truth comes from love and love comes from me. Render your lives to me. You will reap life eternal. When you are hurt and damaged by the hypocrisy around you, remember that integrity is the hallmark of my discipleship. I will deal with the lies and deceptions. Stay away from deceit and it will not ensnare you. Render your fidelity, hope and love to me. You will reap peace and serenity.

Spend time with these verses today. Use the scripture link to compare differing phrases and lexicon. Determine what it is that Jesus is saying when he answers a question with his own question. Decide what it is that Jesus is asking us to give over. And then consider what it is we gain by this rendering.


 Image from http://www.beastcoins.com/RomanImperial/RIC.htm

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Ephesians 4:3-6: The Mystery of the Spiritwhat_is_the_holy_spirit_cover

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Strive to preserve the mystery of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and father of all, who is over all and through and in all.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explains that the pagan gods of the Greek and Roman societies are indifferent, distant, and selfish; and they operate in a manner that runs counter to the Law of Love that Jesus describes for us.

God says: With these verses, my servant delivers a plea for unity. In your disparate lives you will too often move away from one another and away from yourselves for it is in the encounter with others that you best discover yourself. This is the mystery of my Spirit. She dwells within each of you, whispering words of comfort, healing physical and psychological pain. Yet she also dwells as a binding, calling voice to all of you. No one is left aside. No one is abandoned or left alone. All are welcome. All are loved. This is the great mystery of my love and of your life. Do not struggle against it; rather, lean into it. This love that wants to heal and transform is all you need to save you from turmoil and sorrow. When you live in me, you will constantly be surprised by my presence in unusual places. When you live through me you will consistently find the strength you will need as you work for me. My Spirit is in each. My Spirit is in all. My Spirit cannot be extinguished. My Spirit cannot be resisted. Allow the miracle and mystery of my love to live in and through you. Bring my presence to the world.

When we believe that one small action on the part of one person cannot make a difference, we have separated ourselves from the mystery and possibility of God’s love. Explore the work of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, an organization that works with the homeless to bring to fruition in a surprising way the healing and unifying work of the Spirit. We may also want to explore organizations that bring the most hope to those with homes who may experience hopelessness. Visit: https://impactful.ninja/best-charities-for-helping-homeless-people/


Image from: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/holy-spirit/

 

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