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Posts Tagged ‘promise’


Thursday, February 11, 2021

imagesCAJ3N3X3Psalm 119:169-176

Taw

Let my cry come before you, Lord; in keeping with your word give me discernment. Let my prayer come before you; rescue me according to your promise.

In this last stanza the psalmist finally leads us to the understanding that our cry becomes a prayer when we call out to God; the Law becomes a beautiful unfolding of God’s promise of rescue.  The Law of Love, once we take it into our lives to enact it fully, imprints on our hearts and minds and souls the mark of God’s own creation.

God says: So do you now see that my laws bring you to me when you see them as expressions of my love?  Do you understand that when you regard my precepts, testimonies and statutes as commandments to confine and categorize yourself and others you miss the meaning of my message? All of my decrees ask you to intercede for those who have harmed you. Each of the many rules you have created are as dust before me if they close you in revenge and anger. I do not ask for burnt sacrifices; I ask for an open heart and mind. Once you open your heart to me you begin to understand; and the sweet gift of discernment is yours. So ponder what you have heard . . . and prepare to receive the full impact of my Word.

God gives us a joyful invitation in Psalm 119. It is an invitation to accept the gifts of freedom, grace and peace. It is an invitation we may accept or turn down. It is an invitation we will want to consider with care.

One of the scribes . . . asked [Jesus], “Which is the first of all commandments?”  Jesus replied, “The first is this, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)


To understand more about the letter Taw and how it represents the seal of creation, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/tav.htm

Image from: http://www.osfphila.org/about/tau

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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Psalm 119:129-136

Pe

The revelation of your words sheds light,
gives understanding to the simple. Steady my feet in accord with your promise
. . .

God is revealed to us in the person of Christ, in the written word of
inspired scripture, and in us, God’s creatures fashioned in God’s own image.

God says: You struggle so much to find me and
yet I am with you always. You wear yourselves out seeking my wisdom and yet you
are filled with my Spirit of counsel and understanding. You work so hard at
imitating me yet all you must do is read my word each day to allow it to become
part of your sinew and bone. You ask for stability, predictability and
authenticity yet each of you carries within my promise fulfilled. So plant your
feet on the rock of my promise, armor yourselves with the truth of my word, and
restore yourselves with the renewal found in my promise that I have planted in
each of you.

Once we give ourselves over into God’s capable hands we experience a sense
of relief. Once we surrender to God’s great plan and time we have a sensation
of belonging. Once we allow ourselves to believe in God’s promise we find our
proper role as Children of God  . . . and we find that God has revealed
himself to us most honestly and generously.

Jesus says: I give you praise, Father, Lord
of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise
and learned you have revealed them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, such
has been your gracious will.
  (Luke 10:21)

Tomorrow, Sadhe.


For more on how Pe speaks to us of God’s word to us, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/pei.htm

 

 

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Friday, January 29, 2021

MemPsalm 119:97-104

Mem

Your command makes me wiser than my foes, for it is always with me . . . I have more understanding than all my teachers, because I ponder your decrees . . . I have more insight than my elders, because I observe your precepts . . . From your edicts I do not turn, for you have taught them to me . . . How sweet to my tongue is your promise . . . through your precepts I gain insight.

God’s commands, decrees, precepts and edicts are often seen as roadblocks because they are too often presented to us by those who think in an either-or, black-white, dual way. In reality God’s law is the Law of Love bringing us wisdom, understanding, insight, sweetness and promise.

God says: If you worship with others who see me full of wrath and revenge, remember that they and I are in a conversation in which I am bringing them to my Law of Love. If you worship with others who see me as a passive force of kindness only, have patience with them as well and remember that they are afraid to see the injustices that surround them. If you find yourself impatient with my plan and its timing, remember that you and I are also in conversation and that you see only a small portion of the universe.  In the end, I make my promise to each of you, I live in union with all of you even when you turn away. Remember that I love you dearly and well. Remember my promise to you. Remember . . .

How do we struggle against our foes? How do we gain wisdom greater than our teachers and insights greater than our elders? How do we taste the sweetness of God’s promise? We rest in God daily, turn to God in every hour, live in God each moment. We read and ponder God’s Word, reflect and meditate on God’s message, enact and carry out God’s Law of Love.

The Lord’s Law of Love is pure, enduring forever.  The statutes of the law are true; all of them just; more desirable than gold, sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb.  (Psalm 19:10-11)

Tomorrow, Nun.


To learn more about the letter Mem as a fountain of wisdom, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/mem.htm

 

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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Robin Anderson: Mary Holding Baby Jesus Looking Up Towards the Light

Robin Anderson: Mary Holding Baby Jesus Looking Up Towards the Light

A Prayer to Fulfill God’s Promise in Us

It is truly a paradox that God creates humans to fulfill the great promise of love. Let us consider our response to this call to promise.

It is a sign of God’s love that God chooses to come among us as a child.  Let us consider how we make room for others in our lives.

It is a further gift and promise from God that we are granted the free and open will to choose how we will respond to this loving call. Let us carefully consider our reply.

It is an honor to put aside our own ego in response to God’s open invitation to love. Let us prayerfully consider how we become selfless in service to others.

It is our return promise to God that we offer our thoughts, words, and deeds in the service of God’s good. Let us honestly consider how we best make this return promise of love.

Good and holy God, you are paradox, sign, gift, honor and promise. May we joyfully live in you. May we authentically live through you.  And may we lovingly live with you . . . in thought, word and deed.  Amen.


For more on the paradox, sign, gift, honor and promise of God’s love, explore the first three stanzas of Psalm 119 in last week’s Noontimes.

For more information on the painting above, click on the image or go to: http://robinandersonfineart.blogspot.com/2011/02/mary-holding-baby-jesus-looking-up.html 

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Luke 2:29-32

Compline

My eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations.

In the tradition of The Liturgy of the Hours the Canticle of Simeon is sung as part of Compline or Night Prayer.  For the entire prayer, go to the Bible Gateway site linked in the citation above and explore the various interpretations of these verses.  For the story of Simeon, read Luke 2:22-35.

God says: Simeon is a faithful servant who waited patiently for the fulfillment of my promise that he would see the messiah before death came to him.  Just as Mary and Joseph were presenting the child, Jesus, in the Temple, this loyal servant saw in this family what I see, a trinity of hope, love and faith, promise, mercy and constancy.  Simeon also saw that the lives of these three people would be full of deep sorrow and great joy.  Simeon spoke words that I hear in waves from the faithful as they prepare to retire for the night.  Join yourself with them as you prepare for bed.  It is such a short prayer that it will not tax you.  Turn away from the cares of the world for a brief time and pray these verses.  You sleep ever so much better for having joined Simeon to visit with me.

Another faithful servant waited patiently for the appearance of God Among Us.  Tomorrow, the story of Anna . . .


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aert_de_Gelder_-_Het_loflied_van_Simeon.jpg

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Zechariah, John, Elizabeth and Mary

Zechariah, John, Elizabeth and Mary

Luke 1:67-79

Benedictus

In the tradition of The Liturgy of the Hours this Canticle of Zechariah is sung as part of Lauds, or Morning Prayer or Prime, and although the verses are intoned by Zechariah on the birth of his son John the Baptist, they prophesy the coming of Jesus the Messiah, the Light of the World. Commentary tells us that their origin may have been an early Jewish Christian hymn that Luke adapted for his story. (Senior cf. 100) Today we examine these verses to see how we might bring full voice to our thanksgiving that God is not a remote and distant deity who merely observes the events that surround our lives, but a merciful and loving parent who chooses to live and move among us.

Zechariah begins by praising God for releasing us from all that binds and for delivering us from our enemies the prophets have promised. He reminds us of the covenant we have with God and all that it promises, and then he urges his child, John, to fulfill his role as herald of the Word. Describing the coming Messiah as the dawn from on high, Zechariah recalls for us the purpose of this light for the world: to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. 

In our world of immediate satisfaction and quick fulfillment, it is difficult to find our place in God’s plan that unfolds through the millennia to unite billions of souls, and it is both fitting and helpful that we rise each morning to intone these words of Zechariah as part of our morning prayer. When we pray the Benedictus we unite ourselves with all the faithful who greet each day with these same words of thanksgiving, remembrance and promise. So let us give thanks. Let us remember God’s promises.  And let us walk with our God in the way of peace.

When we look at the entire first Chapter of Luke we discover how God prepares the faithful for the coming of Emmanuel, the incarnation of God’s Word Among Us, Jesus the Christ. We also understand more fully how carefully God’s heart and hand entwine with each precious life.


Image from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/180214422562937316/

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.100. Print.

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Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 29, 2020

John 13:30: And It Was Night

Modern Jerusalem at Night

Modern Jerusalem at Nightfall

We have believed a promise pledged in total honesty.  We have believed in the integrity and authenticity of a vow given freely and openly.  We have relied on a belief to such an extent that we have become completely open ourselves, fearless and yet completely vulnerable.

And then . . . it was night.

We have acted in full confidence of words we took as truth.  We have followed one who cured and healed and called us out of ourselves.  We have stood up, we have owned problems, we have held off naysayers, we have remained faithful through narrow gates.

And then . . . it was night.

We have followed the one who spoke truth.  We have forsworn easy living and have taken the road less travelled.  We have emptied ourselves, built bridges, entered into the work of the kingdom; we have stood at the foot of the cross.

And then . . . it was night.

img0486-2[1]All that we once held closely and shared openly as eternal truth appears to have vanished so easily and so quickly.  What did we miss?  How did we arrive at this darkness?

The black emptiness that grips the heart feels everlasting and we are frozen in this spot and time, waiting for the night to lift, hoping that the promise has not faded.  And yet each time we draw aside the curtain to catch a glimpse of the world as it is we see only the night.

Karl Heinrich Bloch: The Burial of Christ

Karl Heinrich Bloch: The Burial of Christ

Our bodies somehow function yet our thoughts freeze with incomprehension; we feel strangely locked in time as we follow the quiet, little procession to the waiting tomb where we will bury the last of our hopes.  How can something we thought so immense become so small?  Why can we so easily carry this body to its resting place?  Where is the shoulder that bears the heavy yoke?

How is it that this night can be so dark?

It is night yet tucked inside us we feel the fluttering of something that will not give up; some small memory of a healing touch and word persists.  The night feels heavy, intense and infinite and yet we know that there is the promise of the moon below the horizon.  We light candles and hang lanterns in imitation of the stars we know spangle the night sky that is veiled from our view by low-slung clouds.

This night is so intense.

jersalem wall at nightAnd yet as we scan the darkness again we feel the small fluttering of the promise take wing for a passing moment.  Perhaps the intensity of our waiting has opened some small door to the light.  Perhaps the words and touch given in pledge still hold their truth.  Perhaps the light beyond the lowering clouds will at last break through.  Perhaps . . . but for now we roll the stone across the entrance to the tomb and we wait in the darkness.  Perhaps . . . but for now . . . it is the night.


A re-post from March 29, 2013. 

To reflect with the poem Dark Night of the Soul by the 16th Century Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross, go to: http://josvg.home.xs4all.nl/cits/lm/stjohn01.html

Images from: http://www.imb.org/main/downloads/page.asp?StoryID=9460&LanguageID=1709 and http://www.khaces.com/jerusalen-de-noche/1143388 and https://fineartamerica.com/featured/burial-of-jesus-christ-carl-heinrich-bloch.html?product=shower-curtain and http://velvl.blogspot.com/

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Isaiah 36-39: Crucial Link

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Climbing Snap Link

Climbing Snap Link

Commentary informs us that although these few chapters may appear to be a tangential appendix to the prophecy of Isaiah, they in fact turn out to be “a crucial link for the survival of the Isaiah tradition and its extraordinary development”.  This portion of Isaiah binds the prophecy to the original Deuteronomic Tradition – an interpretation developed in the north rather than in Jerusalem – and it focuses more on the Mosaic covenant than the Davidic dynasty and promise.  We can see how this split in thinking might have accompanied the physical rift between the northern and southern tribes.  Judah and Israel had their differences; they focused on separate symbols, developed divergent theories, and went their separate ways.  This small, apparently insignificant addition to Isaiah, which at first glance might be overlooked, does in fact give us a message we will want to hear: Salvation is universal, salvation pertains to the Gentile peoples as well as to the Jews, salvation is ours.  (Senior RG 294)

We have centuries of theory, worship and belief to mine when we open scripture and today is no exception.  In today’s Noontime we are called to look at not just a crucial link in tradition but in ourselves as well.  We are asked: What do we know?  How do we know it?  What do we believe?  Why do we believe it? What do we do to enact our belief?  How do we retain our own crucial link?

Once we begin to examine our traditions and the relationships we value, we will need to further examine what feeds and sustains us.  How do we nourish our spiritual selves?  Where do we look for sturdy places to attach our hearts to something safe and secure?  Whom do we trust as we develop our value set? 

Inevitably in each human life we come to a point of self-recognition.  Some of us manage to stay away from the bright mirror of ourselves as we journey.  Others of us seem to beat ourselves with every small flaw we glimpse in our reflection from the sharp glass of life. Inescapably – sooner or later – we are confronted with what we have forged.  We see what we have done with the gifts we have been given.  We understand that we are us and God is God . . . and that our link to God is crucial.  Our attachment to God must be full and final.  Our love of God must supersede all else . . . just as Christ’s love for us overcomes and overpowers all that would draw us into our narcissistic staring at our imagined self-image.

And so we make this our Christmas prayer today . . .

As New Testament people we believe that our salvation comes to us through Christ.  Isaiah predicts this guarantee.  Jesus fulfills this prediction.

As New Testament followers we understand that the darkness will always be pierced by the light.  Isaiah foretells this.  Christ fulfills this foretelling.

As New Testament disciples we know that the work of those who carry a belief in Jesus as savior will never be easy.  Isaiah forewarns us of this.  Jesus explains this to us.

As New Testament Children of God we cling to this crucial link who is Christ, God Among Us, Emmanuel, the Light in the Darkness, the Promise of all for all.  Isaiah tells us of the immense love which forms this crucial link.  Jesus comes to assure us of God’s love for each of his children.  Jesus binds us to himself and to the Father forever . . . so let us take hold of this crucial bond and clasp it to our hearts forever.  Amen.


Adapted from a reflection written on December 8, 2012. 

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Hebrews 8A Superior Covenant

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Written on February 1, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Yesterday we spent some time reflecting on God, the Lover.  Today we read about The Superior Covenant.  In Christ we have the offering of the only vow that really matters.  Jesus lives a life of integrity – which we see through the matching of his words and actions – that the promise of the Creator is true and valid.  God vows to protect, defend, forgive and love us.  This vow has an eternal life and cannot be broken.

We look for a reflection of this kind of constancy and authenticity in others and we are often disappointed.  Promises are given and broken.  Vows are spoken and then abandoned without much thinking of the distant consequences.  Immediate pleasures obtained take precedence over commitment and nurturing.  Too often we encounter – both in ourselves and in others – quick solutions that do not last, superficial thinking that takes the place of measured consideration, and artless worship that cannot stand the tests of life.  If we expect to weather storms, we must make preparations: take in stores, shore up our shelter, and make contingency and fall-back plans when events around us whirl out of control.

What are the resources we gather into our stockpile?  What are the edifices we build in which to shelter?  What are the plans we make to avoid pain?  Do we hoard what we find or do we share?  Do we hover in life with a narrow way of thinking and a small band of compatriots or do we seek to ever widen the circle by inviting in those we think are our enemies?  Do we see suffering as something to be evaded at all costs or do we see it as the portal to a life of transformed beauty?

What are the promises we make?  What are the promises we keep?  What are our expectations?

The answers to all these questions are more simple, more beautiful and more challenging than we can imagine; yet the rewards are abundant and the joy transcending.

The answers, the vows and the kept promises are all found in a life lived as the Christ asks.  When we rely on a stockpile of faith we have stored by acting in the belief that God is in charge, the supply is never-ending.  Our stores will never run dry – much like the widow in 2 Kings 4 who finds that the oil blessed by the prophet Elisha never reaches bottom.

When we become like the sparrow and the swallow in Psalm 84, we build nests and find protection when we nestle near and beneath the altar of our sacrifices to God, when we construct a temple for the in-dwelling of the Spirit.  Christ quickly steps into this temple which we build in ourselves, and it is this Christ – this presence of God – that we carry with us everywhere.  He is our constant companion and protection in our pilgrimage.

When we step into the discomfort of our pain to offer it for love of friends and enemies alike, we are transformed by this salvific love which redeems not only others but ourselves.

These are the promises we make.  These are the vows that we keep when we enter this Superior Covenant with our creator.  This is how we weather the storms of life.  This is how we find greatest joy . . . in the believing . . . in the hoping . . . in the knowing that this love is eternal, redemptive and beyond anything we might imagine.  This promise of presence and joy are not only awaited in the next life; they are present in the here and now.  We have only to step forward – into our discomfort and anxiety – at the call.

When we enter into this most excellent of promises . . . we enter into our life with Christ and his guarantee that he is constant, that he is transformative, and that his love is the peace we seek.

The promise here is not that life will be smooth or that problems will fall away from us quickly and without pain.  The promise of Christ is that when the storms present themselves, as they surely will, we will have the means, the vision and the strength . . . in Christ . . . to weather the tempest.


A re-post from January 27, 2012.

Image from: http://faithandheritage.com/2011/08/the-importance-of-lineage-in-god%E2%80%99s-covenant/ 

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