Posts Tagged ‘Phyllis Tickle’

Sirach 4:20-31: Lest the Stones Cry Out

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A re-post from April 2019 . . .

Refrain not from speaking at the proper time . . .

A verse from the Luke reading (19:40) in the Morning Prayer (Phyllis Tickle’s DIVINE HOURS: Prayers for Springtime, 326) leapt out at me as I read this morning.  Jesus’ followers have welcomed him into Jerusalem with palms, praise and high jubilation.  They know that one has come who has freed them from a bondage they are weary of carrying.  In subsequent verses Jesus will cleanse the Temple area of moneychangers and his authority will be challenged by the church leadership.  Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, knowing that she rejects the peace he brings.  The people cry out: Blessed is he who is coming as King in the name of the Lord!  Some Pharisees rebuke him saying, “Master, reprove your disciples”.  Jesus replies: I tell you, if these keep silence, the stones will cry out.  This is the same message we hear in today’s Noontime. We are reminded that discipleship is not for the weak or unwilling.

In capsule form, here is what Jesus Ben Sirach tells us today in this brief citation.

Guard yourself against evil.

Show no favoritism.

Let no one intimidate you.

Speak at the proper time.

Bring your wisdom into the light.

Tell the truth always and even fight for the truth . . . even to the death.

Go with the flow when it is clear that the opposition is overwhelming . . . let God be in charge.

Throw no pearls before swine . . . even when the swine are the power structure.

Keep you speech pleasant, not surly; wisdom becomes known through speech.

Refrain from laziness; do your work.

Be gentle at home and honest at work.

Stay away from conspiracy theories . . . especially in the workplace.

Give generously.

Receive graciously.

Take only what is your due.

Today is Holy Monday and as we begin our preparation for the great gift of light, and life and peace which Jesus bring to us with his suffering, death and resurrection; we are called to examine the role we take in this drama that plays out before us daily.  When we look at these elements from Sirach above, we discover an apt description of the life of one who follows Christ.  In it we see the same message Christ speaks to the crowd that has gathered at the Temple: Christians must speak out at the proper time.  Christians must be the justice they wish to receive.  Christians must enact the sincerity they wish to find.  And they must speak at the proper time . . . lest the very stones cry out in the silence.

Our question for today is this . . . Are we willing to break the deafening silence of injustice and deceit?

For a Lenten reflection on the goodness of silence, click on the image above or go to: http://ypguybrit.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/lent-the-discipline-of-silence/

Tickle, Phyllis.  THE DIVINE HOURS: PRAYERS FOR SPRINGTIME. New York: Doubleday, 2001. Print.

Image from: http://ypguybrit.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/lent-the-discipline-of-silence/

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Judges 9: Abimelech

James Tissot: Abimelech Slays his Seventy Brothers

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

“The fable, one of two examples of that genre in the Bible (see also 2 Kings 14:9; 2 Chronicles 25:18), is strongly antimonarchical.  It illustrates both the folly of kingship (only the worst and least qualified aspire to it) and its dangers (it destroys those who place their reliance on it).  The bramble offers scant shade but is a prime cause of fire (v. 15).  A monarchy founded on murder can come to no good and inevitably will destroy those who support it.  Jotham’s call for the mutual destruction of Abimelech and the Shechemite leaders (v. 20) anticipates their fate”.  (Mays 232)

The Old Testament is full of brutal stories and in nearly all of them – if we can be patient and read far enough – we watch the antagonist implode on him or herself.  In God’s plan and in God’s way the faithful will always be vindicated.  Suffering will take place, violence will happen, but a remnant will remain and goodness will always rise from evil.  Our task is to keep our eyes on Christ who will lead us home.  Our work is to live in the Spirit, for in the Spirit we will struggle, but we will never fail.

James Tissot: Jotham is Saved

This week in Phyllis Tickle’s THE DIVINE HOURS: Prayers for Springtime, this is the prayer we read three times a day.  It is apt for today’s Noontime as we ask God to keep us safe from harm in our brutal and confusing world.  She writes in the first person singular, but when we change to the plural, we might pray it together. (Tickle 599)

Almighty and merciful God, in your goodness keep us, we pray, from all things that may hurt us, that we, being ready both in mind and body, may accomplish with a free heart those things which belong to your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who live and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.  

Tickle, Phyllis.  THE DIVINE HOURS: PRAYERS FOR SPRINGTIME. New York: Doubleday, 2001. Print.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 232. Print.

A Noontime from May 17, 2011.


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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

6508036-md[1]Luke 2:8-12

Keeping the Night Watch

Now there were shepherds in that region, living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.

We become so weary with the daily earning of our bread that we are too exhausted to keep the night watch.  Our blessing is that the Good Shepherd never flags and he endures when we falter.  And this Good Shepherd who keeps a constant watch will awaken us so that we might rise to hear the words of Good News that bring healing, peace and light to the world.

Murillo: Adoration of the Shepherds

Murillo: Adoration of the Shepherds

God says: Do not stretch yourselves beyond your strength.  Rely on me for power that is eternal.  Do not ask too much of your mind.  Ask me for wisdom that has always been and always will be.  Do not tax your spirit more than it can endure.  Call on my Spirit to dwell in you and to bring you peace. If you are able, keep the Night Watch with me.  When darkness falls and you have lost your way, settle into the night with the sheep you are tending . . . and know that I am with you.  If you are too tired to stay awake, ask for my help . . . and I will keep the Watch.  And I will awaken you with the Good News that you will want to share with others.

When we spend energy that we do not have we endanger not only the body and mind but the soul as well.  When we find that we falter and cannot stand, we need only call on the one who always endures.

For beautiful prayers at night that strengthen the body, mind and soul when we find ourselves wakeful and uneasy, dip into Phyllis Tickle’s NIGHT OFFICES: PRAYERS FOR THE HOURS FROM SUNSET TO SUNRISE, Oxford University Press, 2006.  

For a Goodreads review, go to: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/613100.The_Night_Offices

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