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Posts Tagged ‘redemption’


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Jeremiah_33_3[1]Jeremiah 33

Promise

We visit the book of Jeremiah often in our Noontime reflections; it is a rich and complex prophecy. Jeremiah is so frank, honest, and open about his suffering. Chapter 33 is particularly lovely and holds much promise about healing after punishment.

This prophecy might prove difficult for those among us who are addicted to turmoil and conflict or to the control of others and our surroundings. Jeremiah speaks of reliance on God who loves dearly and intensely, tenderly and passionately. Through Jeremiah, God announces a desire for our own personal freedom so that we might freely choose to be in relationship with God. Whether we suffer or celebrate, God wants to dance in intimacy with us.

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. This quiet instruction from God speaks of the closeness and confidence of our relationship. We have only to ask. God will answer. Like the faithful spouse.

Verse 9: Then Jerusalem shall be my joy, my praise, my glory, before all the nations of the earth, as they hear of all the good I will do among them.  They shall be in fear and trembling over all the peaceful benefits I will give her. The prophecy of Jeremiah is not only a faithful prediction of what will happen to King Zedekiah, to the city of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Israel, it is a foretelling of the Christ story and it is the story of our own ransom and redemption.

God wants only freedom for us so that we might have the option to choose to love and follow. Christ arrives to bring us this freedom from slavery and darkness. The Holy Spirit abides with us constantly, whispering this promise to us repeatedly.

When we seek freedom from all that haunts us, we only need turn to a forgiving and loving God. This is where real and lasting love lies. This is where eternal sustenance and strength lie. And this is where the undying and sure promise of God’s presence and movement in our lives will always lie. This is the freedom God willingly gives. God’s promise to us is this great. God’s love for us is this persistent and ever-lasting.


Adapted from reflections written on January 1, 2007 and April 28, 2010.

Image from: http://pastorblog.cumcdebary.org/?m=201208

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Gray-Red-Broken-heart-broken-hearts-21417978-300-300[1]Psalms 19:15

Words and Thoughts

Let the words of my mouth meet with your favor, keep the thoughts of my heart before you, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

We speak an immeasurable number of words in our lifetimes yet how many of these words are exchanged with God? We ponder infinite chains of ideas; yet how many of these thoughts are intertwined with the word of God? With God as our source and God as our daily sustenance, all that we think and all that we do will spring from God’s goodness.

God says: I understand how easy it is to be caught up in gossip and in the minutiae of life; and this is why I ask you to begin and end each day with me. When we share time together the small and petty problems melt away. I also understand that complicated and overwhelming issues crowd your television screens, fill newspapers and leap out of radios to frighten you; and that is why I ask you to pause during each day even if only for a moment to let me know your worries and anxieties. I want to give you strength. I want to carry you above the danger. I want to give you peace of heart and mind and soul. Let us begin with simple words exchanged between us. Your worries come to me; my peace comes to you.

We cannot resolve all of the huge and complex problems of our world . . . but we can raise our petitions to God. We cannot fix the many niggling worries that plague us . . . but we can bring these troubles to God. We cannot reconcile all damaged relationships . . . but we can ask God to mend our broken ways and broken hearts. We cannot ease all troubled minds . . . but we can make our distress known to God.

Let us call on God’s mercy and goodness. Let us keep our words and thoughts focused on God. And let us keep our hearts and minds centered in God. For in God lies our strength and our redemption.

Tomorrow, we begin a journey with Wisdom.


A re-post from August 26, 2013.

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Hosea 3: Triumph of Love

Saturday, December 14, 2019

“Hosea was instructed to take Gomer back, redeeming her from her paramours.  On condition of her amendment, she will be restored to her former position of wife.  This in turn signifies God’s enduring love for his people.  He will put the people through a period of trial – the dissolution of the kingdom – in order that they may return to him wholeheartedly”.  (Senior 1111)

So he bought her for fifteen pieces of silver and about ten and a half bushels of barley.  Then he said to her . . . “I in turn will wait for you”.

It is only a fully good and gracious God who can take back one who has sunk so low as to have given herself to swine.

It is only a faithful and patient God who can take back one who has scoffed and scorned a love fully and freely given.

It is only a hopeful and healing God who can redeem and restore one who has sinned so egregiously.

We shall come trembling to the Lord and to his bounty . . .

We shall be like grains of sand of the sea, which can neither be measured or counted . . .

We shall be called “Children of the Living God” . . .

We shall be gathered together . . .

We shall become Jezreel, or “God sows” . . .

We shall say to our sisters and brothers, Ammi,” or “my people” . . .

We shall say to our sisters, “Ruhama,” or “she is pitied” . . .

We shall experience the triumph of love . . . and we shall be restored. 


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1111. Print.   

Written on October 27, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite.

To read more about Gomer and her children – and her remarkable marriage to the prophet Hosea – click on the image above or go to: http://www.netplaces.com/women-of-the-bible/temptresses-harlots-and-sinful-women/gomer.htm

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Henry Hillier: Harvest Time, Lambourne, Berks

2 Corinthians 9:6Brothers and sisters: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.    

God says: I know that there are days when you feel as though I ask too much of you.  I understand that there are times when you are too exhausted to take another step in your journey.  This is why I have asked you to cast your troubles on my shoulders – for my burden is light and I am ready to carry your worries for you. I see how the world draws you in and I am here to accompany you each day.  You have only to call on me.      

At times it seems as if the only harvest we reap is anxiety and sadness and we find it difficult to believe the promise of the resurrection. Yet God abides with us in our apprehension.  This is the message he wishes to give us – that despite our fears, we are saved.  Despite our dread we are redeemed.  And despite our wretchedness we are loved.  This is the miracle of God’s love.  Let us sow the love God gives to us . . . that we might in turn reap God’s love with the harvest.

Enter the word promise in the blog search box and continue to reflect on the promises God intends to keep.


A re-post from August 14, 2012.

Image from: http://www.topart168.com/oil_paintings/Harvest_Time,_Lambourne,_Berks_1481_painting.html

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Psalm 71:17-20: Deep Places

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Psalm 71:17-20You have shown me great troubles and adversities; but you will restore my life and bring me up again from the deep places of the earth.

The deep places are dark and lonely.  Jeremiah speaks of the terror of the miry cistern.  Many are lost in the dark places; yet that is precisely where many are found.

God says: I understand the terror you feel when darkness pulls you down.  Jeremiah speaks my words to you when he says, “Obey the Lord and all will go well with you, your life will be spared”.  It may appear that obedience to me is a capitulation of self but it is rather a coming to fullness, a burgeoning into fruit which is good.  Your troubles and worries will melt away when you bring them to me.  They are too great for you to carry.  Bring your burdens to me, and I will give you rest.

Let us give our yoke to God today . . . nothing is too heavy for God to bear.

Investigate and reflect on the prophecy of Jeremiah on the Jeremiah – Person and Message page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/jeremiah-person-and-message/


Image from: http://risingmoonastrology.blogspot.com/2012/03/moon-into-scorpio-deep-places.html

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1 Samuel 24Escape

Monday, November 19, 2018

Rembrandt: Saul and David

Several weeks ago, we reflected on celebrating escape from something or someone who would have brought us great ruin or harm.  Yesterday’s Gospel gave us the opportunity to examine how Jesus is able to escape the traps laid for him by those who hated him.  Today we take a look at a small portion of the story of David, the young man who is designated as King of Israel by Samuel but who waits his turn as leader of God’s chosen people by resisting the temptation to fight against Saul.  David does not deny that he has been chosen King, nor does he murder Saul in order to take what is his; rather, he abides in God’s will and God’s time . . . and he takes the routes of escape that God offers while he actively waits on the fulfillment of God’s plan.

Today we read the story of how God saved his imperfect yet faithful servant and we are no less than David.

Today we read the story of how David relied on his God’s constancy . . . and he did not allow fear to turn him toward revenge or cowardice.

In yesterday’s Gospel (Matthew 22:15-21) we read the story of how Jesus confronted prejudice and hatred and we do well to follow his example.

In yesterday’s Gospel we were given a road map for how to escape manipulation and scheming.  We must rely on God always, remain faithful to the covenant God shares with us, and always act in love and for love of God.  In this way we will always know escape from anything danger or evil that hopes to overtake us.

And so we pray . . .

When the call to do God’s work pulls us into alien and dangerous territory, we must rely on God’s wisdom and not our own.

When the hand of God heals us and then sends us out to do God’s work, we must rely on God’s fidelity and nurture our own.

When the voice of God urges us to work in fields are that unfamiliar to us and that sap our energy, we must rely on God’s strength and conserve our own.

When the heart of God sends us to work with those who would do us harm, we must rely on God’s love and hope for redemption.   Amen.


A re-post from October 17, 2011. 

Images from: http://www.aaroneberline.com/blog/tag/david/ and http://www.artbible.info/art/large/378.html

 

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Genesis 3God Has a Plan

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Written on March 5 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Yesterday we reflected on the idea that God sets a sign before us; he comes to live among us in the person of Jesus.  Today we reflect on the reality that God has a plan in mind; he does not come to humanity as an afterthought.  It has always been his idea to be born of woman as a redeemer of his own creation.  God’s plan is to create us and to give us a choice of eternal life or death in the world.  God’s plan is to come to us as a saver and protector who will lead us out of the physical and into the spiritual world.  God’s plan is to abide with us as a comforter and lover who brings us wisdom, forgiveness and compassion.  God’s plan is to lay before us life and death.  God’s plan is that we choose life . . . but he allows us to choose death.

Amazingly, even though we may make poor choices, God is still willing to allow us to atone and in fact God rejoices when we reverse course to turn back to him.  God knows that Satan patrols the world as we have examined in Job 1:7.  God knows it is Satan who has tempted Adam and Eve to think that he holds the mystery of eternal life when it is God who actually does.   And God knows how and why we will choose between self-serving pride and life-sustaining humility at the hinge points of our lives.  And through all of this, God abides.  This is God’s plan.

Satan tempts Jesus in the desert and when he does, these are Jesus’ responses.

Scripture says: Human beings live not on bread alone.

You must do homage to the Lord your God, him alone must you serve.

Do not put your Lord your God to the test. 

At the end of this passage, the Gospel remarks: Having exhausted every way of putting [Jesus] to the test, the devil left him, until the opportune moment. 

And so when Satan approaches to test us and to draw us away from God, as he does so often, let us stick to God’s plan and let us pray the words Jesus uses when tempted by Satan in the desert – the words of God come to walk among us on earth.

Dear Lord, deliver us and remind us that we do not live on bread alone.

Dear Lord, protect us and remind us that it is you alone we serve.

Dear Lord, love us and deliver us from this test. 

Dear Lord, do not allow us to become blind by the light of adversaries who seek to dazzle us with their moments of opportunity

Dear Lord, abide with us always. 

We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


A re-post from August 19, 2011.

Image from: http://www.i-church.org/gatehouse/index.php?page=25 

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Isaiah 28 and 29: The Fate of Samaria – Part III

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Samarian Ruins

When we experience the bleakness Isaiah described, we will want to remember that light will follow this darkness. Isaiah tells us of the coming cornerstone that will lie in Zion, in Jerusalem, the city he describes as destroyed in Chapter 29.  This prophet cautions, warns, exhorts, and pleads with the people to avoid pacts with foreign, pagan tribes.  He cries out against overconfidence in human help – either the help of others or our own over-valued talents.  He foretells thunder, the whirlwind, the storm and the consuming flame.  He describes blindness and perversity, fear and terror. When our circumstances are the most dire, we must remember that our lives in Christ promise a redemption that always accompanies suffering.

And so, we pray with Isaiah.

But a very little while, and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard shall be regarded as a forest!

Make of us forests of your love, O Lord of hosts.

The deaf shall hear the words of a book; and out of the gloom the eyes of the blind shall see.

Make of us light to shine in all the dark corners, O Lord of hosts.

Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction.

Make of us your wisdom, O Lord of hosts.

For the tyrant will be no more and the arrogant will have gone; all who are alert to do evil will be cut off . . .

Make of us your justice, O Lord of hosts.

When [Jacob’s] . . . children see the work of my hands in his midst . . .

Make of us your Holy Ones, O Lord of hosts.

They shall keep my name holy . . .

Make of us your mystical body, O Lord of Hosts.

Amen.

A reflection written on January 30, 2008.

Getty image from: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/the-ruins-of-the-samaria-ancient-city-palestine-circa-1960-news-photo/545281899#/the-ruins-of-the-samaria-ancient-city-palestine-circa-1960-picture-id545281899 

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Esther: Sincere Repentance

Filippo Lippi: Esther at the Palace Gate

Friday, February 23, 2018

Before we leave the story of Esther, we re-visit a Favorite from May 29, 2007. Today we consider the nature of our repentance as we move further into the season of Lent; and we commit to enacting the fidelity, hope, and love we profess.  

From the introduction in the New American Bible, “The book was intended as a consolation for Israel, a reminder that God’s providence continually watches over sincere repentance.” We have been hearing about sincerity versus insincerity in recent weeks. And again we see it today.

Yesterday’s first reading is from Sirach 17:24: “But the Lord will allow those who repent to return to him. He always gives encouragement to those who are losing hope.” And yesterday’s morning Psalm was 130: “My soul is waiting for the Lord, I count on his word. . . Because with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption, Israel indeed he will redeem from all its iniquity”.

There is hope for all; yet, how do we show our gratitude for redemption? By being doers of the word and not hearers or sayers only. We show our sincerity before the Lord by not deluding ourselves.

This morning’s reading is one of my favorites from James, “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)

May we be hearers, sayers, and doers of the Word. May we persevere in our doing. And may we, like Esther, live up to our potential in order that we too may save nations.

The book of Esther, with all of its additions and amendments, is a wonderful story. We must read it when we can.

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