Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘purity’


Psalm 24Universal God

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Commentary will tell us that this psalm was likely written to accompany a procession with the Ark around the Temple precinct, or even through the city or countryside.  When we look at these verses closely, we see that they contain a list of qualities that describe God’s people: the clean of hand, the pure of heart, those who are not devoted to idols and who do not lie.  God’s power and goodness are affirmed; God is seen as the designer and initiator of creation.  With this song the people celebrate the glory of God and the goodness that resides in his creation . . . the earth.  They also confirm the values God’s faithful will want to espouse: purity and integrity. 

Scripture begins with the creation story we have heard so often that we may move through it too quickly.  When Genesis 1 is read with care, and when it is compared to other creation stories, we will want to join in the singing of this hymn to God who is so much different and so much more wonderful than any other god.

Ancient Mesopotamia was rife with creation stories and many of them elevated a particular god to supremacy over other gods.  This would be done in order to establish superiority of a god’s followers or cult; it would also give prestige to a particular temple, city or town.  These myths frequently gave simple explications for the complexity of nature.  A god generally called a mound of earth out of darkness and water, set up rites and rituals and often deified elements of nature such as the moon, sun or the earth itself.  Some stories describe epic battles between various gods, and humans lack any dignity or purpose other than to serve as a kind of slave.  So we might want to look at what makes the Judeo-Christian creation story different from the rest.  “The Genesis account rejects the central motif of pagan religion: the deification of nature.  Interestingly, it does not seek to elevate Yahweh over other gods.  Indeed, in the seven day creation account (Gen 1:1-2:3) Yahweh is not named . . . Even Genesis 2-3 provides no sense that Yahweh needed to establish his supremacy over other deities.  There is no conquest of other gods or monsters, and no shrine or city is said to be the place from which God began the creation process.  No sacred object is mentioned.  The God of Genesis 1 is indeed the universal God”.  (ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE 5)

The God of Genesis 1 is our compassionate God who calls order out of chaos, goodness out of evil, light out of the dark.  This universal God wants to celebrate with us and about us. This universal God wants to heal us, transform us, save and redeem us.  This God calls us to purity and honesty, integrity and truth.  This God created the earth and all her goodness for us.  This God does not enslave us but suffers and dies for us.  This God is one we call Father, Brother and Spirit of Love . . . for this God loves us beyond all measure.

Let us join in this hymn of praise to God . . .

The earth is the Lord’s and all it holds, the world and those who live there . . .

ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 5. Print.


We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on July 7, 2011.

Read Full Post »


Wisdom 7:22-30: Seek Splendor

Melanie Rogers: Portrait of Lady Wisdom

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Do we know women and men who exemplify Wisdom?

Intelligent, holy, unique. Manifold, subtle, agile. Clear, unstained, certain.

Are we able to allow Wisdom to operate in us?

Not baneful, loving the good, keen. Unhampered, beneficent, kindly. Firm, secure, tranquil.

Do we see Wisdom waiting by our gate each day when we step out of the door?

All-powerful, all-seeing, pervading all spirits. Mobile beyond all motion. Penetrating, pervading all things.

Do we touch base with Wisdom as we go through our day?

An aura of the might of God. A pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty.

Do we give thanks for Wisdom each evening when we retire?

Nought that is sullied enters into her. She is the refulgence of eternal light.

Do we believe that Wisdom is with us every moment of every day, in every space and in every time? If not, we might spend time with Wisdom today.

When we compare versions of these verses, we find that we encounter the splendor we seek.

Read Full Post »


1 Timothy: Community

Friday, July 14, 2017

We share these reflections from Holy Week of 2007 while I am away from electronics. Keeping all of you in prayer each day at noon.

Use those words [of prophecy] as weapons in order to fight well, and keep your faith and a clear conscience. (Verses 18-19)

Once we have examined ourselves and become vulnerable to God, we will allow ourselves to form a true community, one with the hallmarks of Humility, Purity, Family, Justice and Mercy.

Paul’s advice to Timothy – and to us – reminds us that we rest in the Old Testament as we enact the New.

When we use the scripture link and commentary to explore this letter, we find words that bring new energy to old worries, new healing to old wounds, and new life to old communities. 

 

Read Full Post »


1 Peter 4:1-11: A Prayer for Mutual Charity

Monday, May 8, 2017

St_Peter_Besenzi

Paolo Emilio Besenzi: Saint Peter

Peter exhorts the early Christians to regard their persecution as a blessing, and today’s Noontime reading describes how those in community bear with one another, how they celebrate their diverse gifts, and how they are to stand on God’s authority rather than their own.  Peter calls his flock to mutual understanding, forbearance, purity and love.  And he also calls us today.

God of Abraham, God of Peter, we say that we are willing to serve your purposes, the purposes for which you have designed us.  Help us to keep faith with your hope in us.  We know that we are wonderfully made, and that you have plans for us . . . plans for our joy and not our woe.

God of Abraham, God of Peter, we know that our fellow travelers are also wonderfully made.  We also know that when we walk together, you call on us to bring forth the best in one another.  Help us to be open to our fellow pilgrims as we journey toward you.  Help us to remember that in the life of the Spirit there is always an opportunity for a new beginning.

God of Abraham, God of Peter, bless us, hear our petitions, heal us, bind us together in you.  We pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Adapted from a Favorite written on July 31, 2007.

Read Full Post »


Ezekiel 48:35: The Lord is Here – Part III

Saturday, April 9, 2016Empty-Tomb

We have celebrated Easter Week, an eight-day celebration of the resurrection of the crucified Christ, and as we move forward through Eastertide, we continue to explore the doubt we might have about the resurrection miracle. We continue to ask the familiar question in the face of violence and tragedy: Where is God?  And Ezekiel, the prophet who lives in exile from the physical place in which he believes God resides, gives us a simple answer to this simple question: God resides everywhere. As Easter people who celebrate the miracle of Easter renewal, we see God best in the new temple of the Christ’s body.  We see God best when we all strive toward creating the New Jerusalem here among us, a place where differences are anticipated and respected, a place where every voice is heard, a place where reparations are made and accepted, a place of healing and restoration.  A place of ultimate and intense truth.  A place of purity and of fire and of healing.

The prophet Ezekiel tells us that God is a paradox.  He tells us that the Temple and God’s presence must be central to our lives.  He tells us that God is awesome – “reaching far beyond human relationships and human explanations”.  (Senior RG 339) He tells us that as individuals we are responsible for our own adherence to the Law and that no matter our ancestry or our misfortunes, we cannot scapegoat our circumstances.  “Each person lives or dies according to his or her wicked or virtuous way of life”.  (Senior RG 340) Ezekiel transforms the art of prophecy, bringing it to a new level and setting the stage for the entrance of the Messiah and the New Testament.  He also lays the foundation for the Second Coming – when the Lord returns and sends his angels among the living to separate the sheep from the goats.

Mikhail Nesterov: The Empty Tomb

Mikhail Nesterov: The Empty Tomb

All of this is too terrible, too wonderful, too much to believe – and yet there is nothing else to believe.  All other thought pales and hence the paradox.  What we first see and hear we want to believe but do not, thinking that this New Jerusalem is impossible.  Yet through living, suffering, hoping, believing and loving we arrive at no other spot. We have no choice but to believe that indeed, the Lord is Here. 

When we spend time with this prophecy today, we have the opportunity to feel the presence of God as we remember and reflect . . . we are Easter People . . . visited by the risen Christ . . . and so the Lord is among us.

Click on the image above of linens in the empty tomb to read “Rising Isn’t Optional,” a post by youth minster Lindsay Williams, visit: http://blogs.nd.edu/oblation/2012/11/29/rising-isnt-optional/ 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 337. Print.   

Adapted from a Favorite written on September 15, 2007.

 

Read Full Post »


John 8:1-11: Adultery

Sunday, March 13, 2016 Jesus_writing_in_sand

Again today we hear a story with familiar characters who give us an opportunity to learn something about ourselves. We are accustomed to thinking of adultery as an intimate relationship outside of marriage. In our Lenten journey, the Gospel invites us to consider what other ways we adulterate our lives. We might ask what impurity or weakness have we added to our actions or to our character that moves us away from the hope for the world that God created in us. When we use the scripture link to read other translations of this familiar story, we might listen for the newness that creeps into our understanding of ourselves, others, and of Jesus. Why is it that Jesus does not condemn this woman? Where is the man who accompanied her in this act? Where is the angry crowd? Is the woman guilty? What happens to her after her encounter with Jesus? And what happens to us when we consider all the times we have watered down the goodness and mercy planted in us? When and how have we adulterated our lives?

The religious scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

We ask ourselves. Whom do we most closely resemble, those in the crowd or the one who stands condemned? And can we see ourselves as the forgiving Jesus?

Does no one condemn you? Neither do I. Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.

To learn more about this story, use the scripture link to compare versions, click on the image above or visit: http://www.womeninthebible.net/2.7.Adulterous_woman.htm 

For Aicha el-Wafi and Phyllis Rodriguez’ Ted Talk on forgiveness, click on the image below or go to: https://www.ted.com/talks/9_11_healing_the_mothers_who_found_forgiveness_friendship

For more stories like these, visit The Forgivness Project at: http://theforgivenessproject.com/stories/  Consider becoming involved with this or a similar initiative to bring peace to our world and to stem the violence that adulterates our lives.

Phyllis Rodriguez and Aicha el-Wafi

Phyllis Rodriguez and Aicha el-Wafi

Today we begin this week’s Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “I will set all things right in God’s kingdom,” let us think instead, “I will strive each day to follow Jesus’ example of forgiveness, mercy and love”.

Tomorrow, missing God.

 

Read Full Post »


Philippians 4:1-9: Joy and Peace

Monday, December 28, 2015

Carl Marr: Adoration of the Christ Child (detail)

Carl Marr: Adoration of the Christ Child (detail)

Rejoice in the Lord always, I shall say it again: rejoice! 

St. Paul establishes this first community in Europe on his second missionary journey sometime around the year 50 and though his subsequent travels, he reminds the Philippians that . . .

Your kindness should be known to all, the Lord is near.

He sends the Philippians advice which we might take today . . .

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

While in Philippi, he converts a wealthy business woman, his jailer and the jailer’s family . . . and he later writes to this community to remind them of what is truly important . . .

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious . . .

This letter was written while Paul was imprisoned elsewhere, perhaps Rome, Caesarea or Corinth; but wherever the prison, he continues to exhort his fellow Christ followers in Philippi to . . .

Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.  Then the God of peace will be with you.

Marr: Adoration of the Christ Child

Marr: Adoration of the Christ Child

During this Christmastide, may you all know the Joy of Christ’s Hope . . . and may you all rest in his Serene Peace . . .

Rejoice in the Lord always, I shall say it again: rejoice! 

A favorite from December 26, 2007.

 

Read Full Post »


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pieter Lastman: David hands the Letter to Uriah

Pieter Lastman: David hands the Letter to Uriah

2 Samuel 11 and 12 and Psalm 51

Sin and Parable – Part II

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

The story is a famous one: David succumbs to human lust and he takes something which belongs to another.  When Bathsheba conceives, he tries to trick her husband Uriah into a scenario in which the king’s child can be passed off as Uriah’s.  When Uriah’s purity and faithfulness to Yahweh get in the way, David arranges the murder of this good and loyal man.  A terrible tale.  Nathan brings David the parable of a man who steals a beloved object from another.  David at first is angry, then admits his guilt and expresses regret and grief for the damage he has done.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Lust, Adultery, Murder.  These are all acts of selfishness, of obliqueness, of anger.  There is nothing direct here, nothing open or honest.  These acts take place in shadow and in deep places.  There is no light.  There is no truth.

Let us consider the sins we have committed either actively or by leaving undone an action we have been called to complete.  Let us consider how these commissions and omissions separate us from all that we are meant to be and do.   And let us consider what these sins have  to say about who we are.

Let us consider how many parables Jesus teaches us with his words.  Let us consider how many parables Jesus teaches us with his actions.  And let us consider how many parables our own lives teach.

Visit one of the Gospels and choose a parable that Jesus teaches us. Spend time with it today reflecting on how we might teach others through our actions rather than our words.

Adapted from a reflection written on February 13, 2008.

Read Full Post »


Thursday, October 3, 2013

purity_heart[1]1 Peter 1:22

Mutual Love

Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a [pure] heart.

Peter has led us along The Way with Christ.  He has described our gift and call.  He has explained the benefits of obedience and the look of true reverence.  Today he brings us to the heart of Christ – to mutual love.

God says: I am sometimes saddened by the way you look away when I speak of purity.  When I speak to you of this quality it is not cleanliness and spotlessness that I have in my mind.  This is a kind of perfection that causes you to think of yourself as flawed and imperfect – and these are words I do not use when I think of you.  Rather, the purity I plant in you is one which brings clarity to your world, one which engenders in you a simplicity of mind and purpose. The purity of which I speak does away with complications and convolutions.  You should not find yourself twisted as you aspire to purity for this simplicity of spirit is accompanied by ease and straightforwardness, by openness and directness, by honesty and mutual love.

In Luke’s Gospel we hear these well-known words from Jesus: If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  (Luke 6:32-36)

Let us take a few moments to listen to the words of Peter for he is one who travelled closely and well with Jesus.  He is one who understands the depth and breadth and height of mutual love.

Tomorrow, the imperishable seed of God’s Word.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: