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Posts Tagged ‘restoration’


Friday, September 25, 2020

During Schumacher's expedition, a rare seal was found with the inscription: "To Shema slave of Jeroboam". This may be King Jeroboam II from 750BC.

During Gottlieb Schumacher’s expedition of Megiddo, a rare seal was found with the inscription: “To Shema slave of Jeroboam”. This may be King Jeroboam II from 750BC.

Amos 4

Impiety Rebuked . . . Restoration

Amos does not mince his words or couch them in easy metaphors; we can see why he was rejected. His message struck too quickly and too closely to the heart of those who by their actions did not live out the Mosaic Law of honoring the one true God. Amos lived during the reign of Jeroboam II (786-746 B.C.E.) and he pronounced his prophecy at the cult center of Bethel until the priest who was in charge of that royal sanctuary expelled him.

At this time, the northern kingdom of Israel had separated from the southern one of Judea and when we read closely we can see that the priests and the wealthy had succumbed to the lure of the power and control which their office as sacred ministers and leaders afforded them. Stated bluntly, they abused the gift and power given to them. They were more concerned about maintaining their control on the temple income derived from the people who brought their offerings as a part of their attempt to seek penance and union with God. The priests of Israel (the northern kingdom, also Samaria) had separated from Jerusalem (the southern seat of power and worship) and loved their position of wealth, plenty and power. Amos rebukes these fat, contented people just as Jesus did when he ejected the moneychangers from the temple.

Amos always understands that this perversion of the law is not permanent . . . as much as those in power may wish it to be. Amos knows that Yahweh will use this harm that the corrupt inflict on those over whom they have control . . . and he knows that Yahweh will turn this harm to good, just as he does with all things that are corrupting. Yahweh will use these stubborn acts of blindness and perversity to bring about restoration and ultimate union with God.

As with all prophets, Amos is reluctant to speak when called by God . . . yet speak he does . . . and oh, so beautifully. “His style is blunt and even offensive”. (Senior RG 362) He begins chapter 4 by calling the wealthy women cows, the wife of the priest, Amaziah, a harlot. “He is a prophet in the mold of Elijah, whose denunciations come close to cursing”. He saw himself as a poor shepherd and farmer with no influence and therefore saw no need to speak softly . . . as he did not expect to be heard. Amos pronounces doom on those who do not hear and those who are blind to their own actions, and then he goes back to his sheep and sycamores.

Amos’ offer of hope springs not from the idea that this doom and catastrophe for the controlling classes can be avoided, for it is clear that disaster is looming and in fact it does arrive in the form of the Assyrian invasion. No, the hope that Amos offers lies in the fallen hut of David, the Messiah who is to come . . . Jesus. Amos tells and foretells those who have ears to listen that we rebuke those who live in flagrant violation of the covenant and then we watch in hopeful waiting for the one who will come to deliver the justice that is so desperately needed. We wait in joyful expectation the kingdom where compassion and mercy merge with justice and righteousness, where we both rebuke and remain open to wonderful possibilities that can come only with tremendous hope.


For information about Gottlieb Schumacher’s Expedition and Report of Tell el-Mutesellim (Megiddo), visit: https://megiddoexpedition.wordpress.com/schumachers-expedition/

Adapted from a reflection written on December 22, 2007.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 362. Print.

To read more about Jeroboam II, click on the image above or go to: http://ramsesii-amaic.blogspot.com/2009/10/jeroboam-ii.html

For more on the Megiddo Seal above, go to: http://www.biblewalks.com/Sites/megiddo.html

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

head_29[1]Amos 9:14-15

Raising Up

I will bring about the restoration of my people Israel; they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities, plant vineyards and drink the wine, set out gardens and eat the fruits. I will plant them upon their own ground; never again shall they be plucked from the land I have given them, say I, the Lord, your God.

Evidence and judgment, words and woes, threats and promises, visions of locusts, fire, the plummet, and the fruit basket, condemnation of priests and leaders, prophecy against greed and corruption, the final vision before the altar and then the winnowing sieve. This prophecy is too much to bear yet just as we are about to put aside forever its dark images and frightening premonition of doom . . . Amos leads us to the place he was always leading us. Amos brings us to the Christ, the Messiah.

God says: You most often find me in the dark valleys of your life for it is the failures, the betrayals, and corruption that bring you swiftly to my side.  Just so does my prophet Amos warn you that my little ones must be shepherded.  My lambs must be tended, my sheep must be led.  Through the suffering, pain and sorrow I am with you.  I have created you and you are mine.  I have loved you and I will never leave you.  I have already rescued you and placed you within the protective walls of my vineyard. You have been planted upon your own ground and you will never again be plucked from the place I have given you. Yours is the place of honor in my own sacred heart.  This I have promised.  This is the raising up you have been seeking.  This is your raising up that is my gift to you this day.

How does the prophet Amos speak to us today? What foreshadowing does he share? What hope does he bring? What is his promise of raising up for you? When we consider our world today, many will say that we need the words of Amos more than ever. When we contemplate our surroundings, many will say that it is time to heed the prophecy that  reminds us God is always raising us up.

Amos sheep


Use your own commentary or one of the links below to learn a bit more about his prophecy.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/21356/Amos

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112277/jewish/The-Prophet-Amos.htm

http://thisischurch.com/christian_teaching/sermon/amos.pdf


Images from: http://www.faithvillage.com/article/0531061aff6d4f0c81db56f7d5fc3f35/the_boldness_of_amos and http://www.liquidthinking.org/archive/2005_09_01_archive.htm

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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Biliverti: The Archangel Raphael Refusing Tobias' Gift

Giovanni Biliverti: The Archangel Raphael Refusing Tobias’ Gift

Tobit 12

Raphael Makes Himself Known

This beautiful story comes to us today to remind us that we need to make known the many small miracles we receive from God.  Each time God inverts a plot, we must share the story.  Each time God saves us from our own fears we must tell the good news.  Each time God heals a wounded heart we must make God’s goodness known.

We have read this story before but today we find something new.

Verse 6: Raphael called the two men aside privately and said to them: “Thank God! Give him the praise and glory.  Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things he has done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song.  Honor and praise God’s deeds and do not be slack in praising him”.

The healing hand of God manifests itself frequently in our lives through strangers.  When Tobit and Tobias wish to give a monetary reward to Tobias’ traveling companion for all the healing he has done in their lives, the Archangel Raphael reveals himself . . . and rather than take payment, asks them to praise God who has answered their cry for help and has rescued them.

Verse 10: But those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies.

We are reminded that when we sin, we are separating ourselves from God and hurting ourselves.  The first step toward healing is recognizing that we are human and imperfect . . . and acknowledging that God is all and that God alone is enough.

Verse 14: . . . and now the Lord has sent me to heal you.

We can heal one another and in so doing also heal ourselves . . . and act as co-redeemers of the human race with Christ.  For we are adopted daughters and sons of God.

Verses 17 and 18: And Raphael said to them: “No need to fear.  You are safe.  Thank God now and forever.  As for me, when I came to you it was not out of any favor on my part, but because it was God’s will.  So continue to thank him every day; praise him with song”. 

Fear not . . . these are the same healing words which Jesus speaks.

Verse 22: They kept thanking God and singing his praises; and they continued to acknowledge these marvelous deeds which he had done when the angel of God appeared to them.

Let us proclaim all God’s wonderful works for God has sent angels to minister to us even though we might not see them.  Let us tell everyone we know the stories of our own healing for these are miracles performed for us by a loving God.  And let us remember to thank God for all that God does to heal us of all that limits us.


For more about Raphael, Tobit or Tobias, enter their names in the blog search bar and reflect on the gift of this story.

Adapted from a reflection written on January 2, 2008.

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Biliverti

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Thursday, June 13, 2020

Jeremiah 12

Plots of Darkness

The prophecy of Jeremiah is a strong one and in chapter 12 we see the prophet exchanging frank words with the creator.  He enters into a dialog in which he tells God that he is unhappy because while he obeys God and abides in faithfulness the wicked prosper.  Jeremiah – the innocent lamb – works hard at doing as God asks yet he is surrounded and attacked by those who lay plots of darkness to bring about his end.  Jeremiah’s enemies, the people of Anathoth, are his own family and friends (Meeks 1136-1137) and the reason for their persecution of Jeremiah is unclear.  The point is that the prophet suffers at the hands of those who ought to be living in concord with him, and who ought to be joining him in performing good works to live in and with God.  We might find ourselves in similar situations today when those closest to us betray us, seek our end, and seem to prosper all the while.

Thomson: Anathoth

John Thomson: Anathoth

God’s response is typical of the Old Testament in that it has words of violence and revenge yet the seeds of optimism.  The New Testament, as we often remind ourselves during our Noontime reflections, is one of forgiveness and hope.  The idea of resurrection does not occur in Jewish sacred scripture until the second century before Christ in the book of Daniel, but here with Jeremiah’s second lament (the first is in chapter 11) we see the beginnings of Jesus’ message of freedom and restoration.  In verses 14 through 17 God speaks of having pity and of bringing back those who repent.  This is a clear indication that God’s hope and God’s power to restore know no bounds.  And it is a message to us today that we might try to strive for the same level of union with all . . . even those who have sought our end.

As Saint Paul reminds us in Ephesians 5:11: Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them.  And we might add . . . and let God handle them.  As we have reflected often, the hardest work for any of us is this . . . to pray for those who have damaged us.  God expects us to ask for the impossible and we delight God when we seek intervention on behalf of those who do us harm because God knows that the dark depths of evil plots are beyond our skill level.  God wants to help us and so we pray . . .

Dearest God whose love knows no bounds, you are willing to seek, to call, to forgive and to heal.  You want to mend each of us in order that we might unite ourselves with you and with one another.  Bring us the gift of humility, the grace of peace, the steadfastness of faith, the passion of hope and the touch of your love.  Allow us to express our fears and doubts and anger with you.  Let us speak about the plots of darkness that frighten us and then . . . call us back . . . calm our hearts . . . restore our spirit . . . and carry us home with you.  Amen. 


Adapted from a Noontime written on September 1, 2009.

Meeks, Wayne A., Gen. Ed. HARPERCOLLINS STUDY BIBLE (NRSV). New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1989. Print.

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Monday, May 11, 2020

restorejusticeimage[1]Philippians 1:27-30

Steadfastness in Faith

If ever we doubt that we are to be community and that we are called to find ways to bridge differences, we only need look as far as the Book of Acts and the Letters of the New Testament.

This is God’s doing.  I keep repeating these words to myself as I wend my way through the obstacles that present themselves to me each day. I have been planted in this time and place to bloom according to the gifts God sent with me. And so in accord with the covenant I share with God, I will continue to be steadfast, always hoping for the best outcome for all.

I share with you a quote which was sent to me several years ago.

Hope is all about the vision of what we believe our world can and should be . . . Hope enables us to believe that we can achieve some meaningful expression of justice, reconciliation and healing here and now even though the ultimate goal must always remain beyond our grasp.


John W. de Gruchy, Reconciliation: Restoring Justice

Hope, reconciliation, willingness, bridge-building, restoration, transformation.  These are only a few of the gifts we receive when we become disciples of Christ.

Tomorrow, steadfastness in love . . .


Image from: http://transitionalbany.org/

To learn more about restorative justice, go to: http://www.restorativejustice.org/articlesdb/articles/4385 and explore.

Adapted from a Noontime written on May 7, 2007.

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Saturday, April 11, 2020

John 21:15-19

PWmorningshorea1[1]Peter’s Return

A few brief weeks ago we spent time reflecting with Peter’s three-fold denial of Christ.  Today – putting this denial into the context of the Easter story – we spend time with Peter’s three-fold return.

Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?

The disciples have returned to their boats and nets, looking for a bit of stability after the resurrection of Jesus.  He had told them to return to Galilee to await him there and this they have done.

Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.

Seven of the Christ’s disciples have just spent a fruitless night of labor hauling up nets devoid of fish;  they are exhausted and frustrated.  What, they wonder, awaits them next?

Feed my lambs.

Then that voice had called out across the water suggesting that they cast their nets on the other side of the boat.

Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?

Peter had nodded them into action.  They had done as the stranger suggested and now . . . the net was so full it nearly burst as they heaved it into the boat.

Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.

It was John who keyed into it first.  “It is the Lord”, he had said quietly.

Tend my sheep.

Peter had jumped into the water while the rest of them pulled the laden boat onto the stony beach.

Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?

And now they sat around the brazier while Jesus prepared a breakfast to restore their weakened bodies and spirit.

Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.

Peter allows Jesus’ eyes to lock with his; he does not flinch or look away.  His gaze holds the Christ’s – or Christ holds his – as they both remember that night not long ago when Peter sat beside another fire and denied that he knew the man called Jesus.  Both Peter and Jesus know that the disciple is being invited to undo his denials.  Now distressed yet resolute, Peter can do nothing but say what is in his heart and on his mind.

Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you.

Peter, who denied knowing Jesus just as predicted now becomes the rock upon which the Lord has already begun to build his church.  Peter, who denied having traveled in the company of the Teacher has already learned that all things are possible in and through Christ.  Peter, who wept bitterly at his lack of courage, has learned that there is nothing to fear when we live in and with Christ.

Feed my sheep.

Each of us is given the opportunity to sit across from the Lord and connect with him above the fire of our denial.  Each of us is offered the opening of renewal in God.  Each of us is given the gift of rebirth and freedom from fear.

Follow me.

Each of us may tell anyone who will listen that we follow Jesus the Galilean. Each of us may remain silent when challenged by choices that are difficult to make. Each of us may turn and return to the Lord. Each of us may give our fear and anxiety over to the Christ. And each of us may decide to follow the Lord with open, contrite and eager hearts.


For another reflection on today’s Noontime reading, click on the image above or go to: http://villagegreendunwoody.com/day-40-saturday-feed-my-sheep

To visit the Noontime reflection about Peter’s denial, go to: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/03/16/

To reflect again on this portion of in John’s Gospel that we have been visiting in recent days, we may want to return to some of the sites we explored earlier this week. 

For some interesting facts about the Sea of Galilee/Tiberias today, go to: http://www.this-is-galilee.com/sea-of-galilee.html or http://www.seetheholyland.net/sea-of-galilee-article-israeloutside-jerusalem/ or http://www.atlastours.net/holyland/sea_of_galilee.html or http://www.sacred-destinations.com/israel/jesus-boat

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Saturday, March 7, 2020

Hosea 11: Destruction Not for All

dew[1]As we near the half-way point in our Lenten journey we hear Yahweh’s word that he persists in loving the child Israel just as Hosea loves the wayward Gomer . . . he recalls that he raised her from a child and so cannot destroy her as he might be justified in doing.  This is the promise of restoration we long to hear.

I will resettle them in their homes, says the Lord.

This is all so simple, really.  There is nothing complex in truly loving someone.  At least this is the case if we love as God asks: justly, wisely, authentically.

To love justly is to act with mercy rather than leniency.

To love wisely is to be vulnerable to God through one another.

To love well is to amplify rather than obliterate, to persevere rather than control, to speak to truth and listen for authenticity rather than to mollify or pacify.

To love with integrity is to be honest with ourselves and to look for solutions within rather than from some outside source.

To love well is to follow the example of Christ . . . and this we are all called to do.

My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred. 

We look for peace.  We look for serenity.  We look for healing and restoration.  In order to find these things, we must fasten our eyes, our ears, our voices, our hands and our feet to God and not let go.  We must watch, we must wait, we must listen, we must speak, we must witness.  God always abides.

For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.

Hosea is constant.  Gomer is fickle.  We run to the high places to worship a new idol when we grow bored.  We seek out some old addiction when we grow tired.

new_easter_lilies[1]The more I called them, the farther they went from me . . . yet it was I who taught [them] . . . to walk . . . though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. 

We do not have to go off to far or exotic places to find this God we seek.  We need only tum and return to one another.

How could I give you up . . . or deliver you up?

My heart is overwhelmed . . .

I will resettle them in their homes, says the Lord.

Restoration is upon us.  The end of our exile is as far away as our own fingertips, our own lips, our own feet.  We must turn and return.  How much are we willing to risk?  How much are we willing to love?


Images from: http://restministries.com/2011/02/21/devotion-seeking-saturation-at-the-lords-feet-in-our-pain-not-just-getting-by/ and http://www.mydesignideas.com/images/Garden%20File/garden_gallery_dupe.html

First written on January 22, 2008. Revised and posted today as a Favorite.

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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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Nehemiah 1: A Vocation for Building

Friday, September 13, 2019

Jerusalem: Stones at the Temple South Wall

We have visited with this book several times during our Noontime reflections and we know that it, along with the book of Ezra, describes the restoration time of the Jewish nation.  We know that Nehemiah was the administrator who is credited with the rebuilding of the temple and walls while his friend Ezra, the priest, rebuilt the religious traditions of the Jewish people.  Together these men led their community to recovery through work, prayer and a close connection with their God.  

The survivors of the captivity there in the province are in great distress and under reproach.

We constantly bump into people who are in great distress and under reproach.  There are times when we ourselves are the victim of abuse of one kind or another, times when we too, suffer greatly in that we are separated from some one, some thing or some tradition which used to comfort us and bring us peace.  When we find ourselves in exile . . . and we yearn for reconciliation . . . the best remedy for this affliction is to do as Nehemiah did: I prayed: O Lord, God of heaven, great and awesome God, you who preserve your covenant of mercy towards those who love you and keep your commandments, may your ear be attentive, may your eyes be open, to heed the prayer which I, your servant, now offer in your presence day and night for your servants the Israelites, confessing the sins which we of Israel have committed against you, I and my father’s house included.

This was Nehemiah’s vocation, that he call together a buffeted and distracted people to bring them home to Yahweh where they might be healed and restored.  It is our vocation as well, for as Christians we too are called to help in the gathering, fishing and harvesting work of God’s kingdom.  To this we are called.  For this we are made.  Let us pray with Nehemiah . . .

O Lord, may your ear be attentive to my prayer and that of your willing servants who revere your name.  Grant success to your servant this day . . . and all days.

Our vocation is to build and rebuild, to restore, to bring unity out of chaos, to bring light into the darkness, to bring hope to the desperate.  And we are never alone in this work.  We are constantly accompanied by the one who is the light, the hope, the joy of the world.  We ask this in Jesus’, name.  Amen.


Written on September 12, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite. 

For more on Nehemiah and Ezra and the re-building of Jerusalem, go to: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/nehemiah%E2%80%93the-man-behind-the-wall/

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