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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 139’


2 Chronicles 25: With A Whole Heart

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Commentary points out to us that king Amaziah is faithful to Yahweh and wins a campaign against Edom because of his fidelity; later he is the victim of assassination.  The Chronicler feels compelled to explain this good king’s reversal of fortune and explains it this way in verse two: He did what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord, though not wholeheartedly. 

We can never know the truth of the detail in the story of Amaziah; however, what we can do is to take to heart the warning of the writer that in all things we must be faithful . . . with a full and open heart.  Because God has created us and knows us so well, there is no point in trying to skirt issues or in attempting to hide parts of our history.  God knows all.

Psalm 139 is often cited as one in which the Psalmist expresses this idea of intimacy with God.

Lord, you have probed me, you know me; you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.

Nothing escapes God, not even our inmost thoughts.

My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar.

Nothing escapes God, not even the experiences we try to keep secret.

Even when a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it all.

Nothing escapes God, not even any hidden meaning behind our words.

If I ascend to the heavens you are there; if I lie down in Sheol you are there, too. 

Nothing escapes God, not even our dreams and fears.

If I fly with the wings of dawn and light beyond the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast.

Nothing escapes God, not even our attempts to strike out on our own when we have planned our flight to the last detail.

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.

Nothing escapes God, not the origin of our faults, not the origin of our gifts.

And perhaps this is why God loves us so.  God knows us as well as he  knows himself.  And we are created in God’s image to abide with him in eternity for eternity.   Is it possible to be so well loved?

A conspiracy forms against Amaziah; he flees but is pursued and hunted down.   How does his story speak to us today?   The Chronicler tells us that Amaziah’s heart is not true.  The Psalmist tells us that God reads our inmost being.  When we feel compelled to run, it is better to stay and remain in the Lord.  When we feel too ashamed to face a new day, we must rise and turn to the Lord.  When we feel too frightened to step into the world, we must take courage and trust the Lord.  When we feel too discouraged to open a new door, we must stay and hope in the Lord.  When we feel too angry to interact with those around us, we must stay and love the Lord . . . with a heart that is open, and honest, and full . . . and true.

Amen.


A re-post from May 8, 2012.

Images from: https://pastorcarolmora.wordpress.com/category/1/page/2/ and http://www.robstill.com/a-wholehearted-worshiping-community/

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1 Corinthians 1:10-17: Groups and Slogans

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Church in Corinth must have been a cantankerous lot.  In this citation we hear Paul’s words of exhortation that we all follow Christ rather than divide ourselves into petty groups.  I like Jesus’ admonition to us in the Gospel of Matthew: When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.  And your father who sees in secret will repay you.  In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them.  Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  (6:6-8)

We have the false idea that we may do anything in order to save ourselves . . .  when the inverse is actually true . . . we can do nothing to save ourselves . . . and we best become selves by emptying out the self to make room for God . . . the all.

We believe erroneously that our secret thoughts have no effect on the world . . . but they do, because our thoughts form our actions.

We must allow ourselves to be searched by God, as the psalmist sings in Psalm 139: Oh God, you search me and you know me, you know my resting and my rising, you discern my purpose from afar.

Temple of Apollo in Corinth

Paul wrote to the contentious group in Corinth, telling them that the Spirit moves best when there is a diversity of voices and obedience to the Law of Love.  We too might remember this as we go about our work and our play with those who would follow those other than Christ.

And so we pray:  Help us to listen to one another, to help one another, to witness to your Oneness in us.  Help us to see one another, to empathize with one another, to act as Christ in all circumstances.  Help us to be guided by one another, to find union with one another, to see that only when we bridge differences will we truly be the One you seek.  Amen. 


A re-post from December 8, 2011. 

Images from: http://www.tourismnewsinfo.com/corinth-famous-city-in-greece-with-amazing-view-of-coastal-archaeological-site-and-village-of-ancient-corinth/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrocorinth

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Matthew 28Wonderfully Made

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The truly wonderful part of the resurrection story is that we are a part of it.  This event is not only something that happened two thousand and some years ago.  This story is really about conversion . . . and conversion takes place constantly not only within our own hearts, but it also happens all around us.  For this reason we can sing Psalm 139 that was part of today’s Mass readings: We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

Jesus’ resurrection is not only his own returning to the Father, it is also our return to the Father (John 17), and so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

The guards at the tomb are entirely astonished, not knowing how Jesus’ body was removed from under their noses; but we know . . . and so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary discover the empty tomb and believe that the Lord’s body has been stolen.  The angel tells them: Do not be afraid and so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

They run away quickly, fearful yet overjoyed . . . as are we and so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

Jesus meets them as they return with the other disciples and they all fall to their knees . . .  as do we . . . and so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

The disciples gather in fear and joy in Galilee.  They worship him, but still they doubt.  Somewhere deep inside we see ourselves in Christ and worry that we may be lacking; yet still we find the courage to say . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made.

Uncertainty, anxiety, shame and fear.  Jesus recognizes all of these in us and still he chooses to suffer and die so that we might be with him.  If nothing else within us tells us that we are special, this story should.  If nothing else around us affirms our goodness and holiness, this story should.

Hope, joy, courage and patience.  Jesus recognizes all of these in us and for this reason he chooses to suffer and die because he wants to be with us.  If nothing else within us tells us that we are special, this story should.  If no one else around us affirms our worth and our purpose, this story should.

We are wonderfully made . . . we are made to love and be loved . . . we are in God’s image . . . we are sisters and brothers of the risen Lord.  We are fear-filled and awestruck at God’s power.  We are overjoyed and hopeful at God’s presence.  And so . . . We praise God, for we are wonderfully made . . . and wonderfully loved. 


We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on June 24, 2011.

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John 14:15-31: Glory, Part IV – The Advocate

Wednesday, July 22, 2015advocate

We have explored the mystery of Christ’s power that is found in humility, emptiness, and service. We have examined Jesus’ words as recorded by John, The Beloved Apostle. And we have carried God’s glory with us in our pockets, as our bookmarks, and as our bedtime reminders that Jesus is with us constantly. Knowing all of this, we look to find God’s glory in the Advocate that Jesus assures us is with us always.

Today’s lesson on Glory: There is no reason for us to look for glory in awards, in accolades, or in any external place in our lives. God’s glory – the glory that is eternal – comes to us and resides in us through the Advocate.

Jesus says: I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.

God says: Read Psalm 139 to remind yourself of how intimately I know you. Remember that I made you out of love to be loved.

Jesus says: In a while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.

God says: I have made you to be with me forever.

Jesus says: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.

God says: I have made plans for your joy, not your woe. Read the words of my prophet Jeremiah if you doubt me.

Jesus says: Not as the world gives do I give it to you.

God says: Do not expect to find my glory in the awards and power that the world can give you. Look for me in your humility. Look for me when you serve others. Look for me in the empty times in your life.

Jesus says: Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

God says: Look for me in your fears and disappointment. Know that my Advocate lives within you.

Jesus says: Get up, let us go.

God says: Once you have discovered that I have taken up residence in your heart . . . move out into the world to take me with you as you encounter others. Share this good news with all who have ears to hear. 

In today’s Noontime we hear words from Jesus that must be held and treasured. Keep them with you in writing. Carry them as mantras that will sustain you. Share them others who also look to find God’s glory.

And let us pray,

Holy and omniscient God, you have told us that you reside in us and this we struggle to believe. You have told us that we find our glory in unexpected places. You have told us that we need not fear anyone or anything. Help us with our fears and disappointments. Guide us in our search to know you intimately. We ask all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.  

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

GreedAmos 8:4-14

Against Greed

We find that it does not matter how much we humans advance in our understanding of our past, the science and nature that surround us, or the human condition in which we find ourselves . . . greed is our constant companion. We need only take a moment to look at ourselves, our families and friends to witness how greed works in a local way.  And we have only to look at the international stage to see how greed functions in a global way.

God says: You need not shove against one another to scoop up or hoard food, materials for shelter or even love.  These life essentials are yours in abundance.  When you begin to share you always find this is so. You need not cheat one another in the market place.  I see who swindles and who is fair.  You fool no one in the end for the truth always reveals herself.  You need not struggle to make yourself look better than others or to criticize others to make yourself look better.  I know each of intimately and so well that you can hide nothing from me. So put aside your fear. Put away your anxiety. Come to me openly and honestly. In the end, I am all there is. You need nothing more.

We ask ourselves these Lenten questions. In what way do I trample the needy and destroy the land of the poor? Do I use more than my share of natural resources?  Do I waste the food or shelter or love that God bestows on me? Am I fair and honest in my interchanges with others? Do I correct mistakes made when I under-pay or over-charge? Do I try to hide part of myself from God? Am I open and honest about who I am? Do I acknowledge my fears and disquiet?  Am I willing to believe that God is all I need?

Lord, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar. Even before a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it all. Behind and before you encircle me. Such knowledge is beyond me, far too lofty for me to reach. Psalm 139:1-4

Let us spend some time today with the rest of Psalm 139 to determine how and where we might stand Against Greed. 

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