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Posts Tagged ‘resurrection’


Acts 2: Raising His Voice

Monday, May 1, 2017

peter-preaching-masolino

Tommaso Masolino da Panicale: Peter Preaching

If we want to have more context around Peter’s first sermon, we will want to begin our Noontime reading at verse 1 of Chapter 2, Acts. With the opening words of this story, the miracle of Pentecost opens before us like the beginning scene of a film. A rushing, violent wind. Startled disciples speaking languages they cannot comprehend. We might at first doubt the truth of this scene but then while some bystanders marvel, others proclaim, “They are filled with new wine”.

We register our own viewpoint as we take this story in. Are these disciples of Jesus actually filled by the Spirit, or are we watching drunken men stagger into the street? We wonder how we would have viewed this scene had we been present so today we take the opportunity to reflect on Peter’s words and courage. And we imagine that we are truly there.

Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd.

We hear Peter’s crisp words describe the story of Jesus’ life, passion, and death. We hear the miracle of resurrection and the coming of the Messiah as predicted by David. How does the crowd respond?

Luke describes their response simply: They were cut to the heart . . . Those who welcomed Peter’s message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

As we reflect on this story, we also consider our own reaction to Peter’s first sermon, and we ask ourselves: Do we remain faithful to The Way that Christ teaches us? How do we witness to this story of hope and love? And do we raise our own voices with Peter so that a world waiting for salvation might hear this good news?

The verses cited above are from THE NRSV. To compare these words with those in other translations, use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to witness Peter’s courage as he raises his voice to deliver his message of a Living Hope.

Tomorrow, Peter’s second sermon following Pentecost.

 

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Luke 24:13-35: The Road to Emmaus – Part V

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Helge Boe: On the Road to Emmaus

They urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.”

We journey toward our Easter resurrection, carrying our doubts and fears, measuring, and even judging, ourselves and those who walk with us. We hope to avoid obstacles, not realizing that they provide us with opportunities for transformation. We see ourselves in a race against time, not understanding that God’s time is eternal. We perceive ourselves as small entities in competition with the billions of earth’s citizens, not comprehending that we are all the living stones of the temple that is God’s kingdom.

They urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.”

A humble yet confident, vulnerable yet strong young man joins us on our journey. He speaks words that both comfort and challenge. He listens well. Asks thoughtful questions. We can feel the compassion and empathy coming from his eyes; his whole body exudes an essence we want to capture so that we might carry it along with us. Yet we need not. We try to possess what we already own. We try to control what we are already promised.

This man’s words are wisdom. His actions are mercy. He embodies hope, he enacts fidelity, he is love. Do we invite him to linger with us, or are we too busy tending to our pains and worries, monitoring our timelines and space?

They urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.”

Hendrick Terbrugghen: Supper at Emmaus

Christ walks with us today as surely as he walked with these disciples in the journey to Emmaus. He breaks bread with us today just as he did at the supper table in Emmaus. Let us set aside the time and space to share our uncertainties with him. Let us dedicate the time and place to share our joy. And let us allow The Teacher to open our hearts to the enormity of God’s love and promise as we journey toward the Easter promise.

They urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.”

For more on the Emmaus experience, click on the image of the Boe painting, or visit: http://www.jesus-story.net/emmaus.htm 

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Job 29:18-20The Phoenix

Thursday, March 30, 2017

We have looked at Job frequently during our Noontimes, and this is good . . . because this book holds so much wisdom.  Today we reflect on the opportunity we have each day to rise like a mythical phoenix from the ashes of yesterday.

During this time when we anticipate the celebration of Resurrection, New Hope, and New Life, it is also a time to celebrate the quality of mercy which creates new life from old.  We learn so much more deeply when we are strained to a limit.  We remember the lesson so much better when we have felt the panic of knowing that we have skated too close to the edge of the ice.  We know, feel and can give compassion with so much more integrity when we have received it from someone.  When we have been at the end of a rope or at the bottom of a pit and we have received a healing and helping hand. This is when our character is forged.  This is how we draw close to who we can be.  This is how we become genuine.

The goal of suffering well is to allow the conversion of our pain to a healing, compassionate response, and to offer this new-found empathy to those who follow.  We become the experienced ear, the honest voice, the curing hand.  And when we think about it, we realize that this is the only way that suffering can make any sense.

So today and all days, let us remember that each morning we are given an awesome gift as we open our eyes and rise to greet the new day. We are given again the opportunity to rise from our own ashes.

A Favorite from March 31, 2008.

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John 11: Healing Death

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Giotto di Bondone: The Raising of Lazarus

Giotto di Bondone: The Raising of Lazarus

John the Baptist was imprisoned and when he got wind of what Jesus was doing, he sent his own disciples to ask, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?” (MSG) This week we are given an opportunity to give our own testimony.

How willing are we to believe that Jesus has power even over death?

 Jesus announced, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I’m going to wake him up.” (MSG)

How willing are we to act as Jesus does to bring life out of death?

The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone to sleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.” Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap. (MSG)

How willing are we to tell the world the Good News that Jesus wants each of us to live in eternal space and time in unity with him?

“You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?” (MSG)

How willing are we to heal death as Jesus does?

“Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.” (MSG)

How willing are we to believe?

For more reflections on the raising of Lazarus, enter his name in the blog search bar and explore.

When we compare different translations of these verses we begin to see that God wants for each of us the eternal gift of life.

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Matthew 27:50-54: Breaking Open the Grave

Saturday, December 10, 2016temple-veil

This week we explore how to put our love on the line just as the Creator does by abiding with us, just as Jesus does as he shows us The Way, and just as the Spirit does as she comforts and remains in us.

Jesus brings us the ultimate example of laying one’s love on the line, and yet Jesus understands how difficult it is to follow him. Still, he continues to call.

But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last. (MSG)

Matthew recounts for us the moment the world understands that the Son of God has brought us to something completely new.

At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.) (MSG)

Matthew records the words of the Roman guard who opened his heart to the miracle of new life.

The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, “This has to be the Son of God!” (MSG)

Matthew brings us a story that will save us, if only we might be as open to conversion as this captain of the guard. If Only we might lay our love on the line.

When we explore various translations of these verses, we discover that when we put our love on the line, we allow Christ to open our own graves.

For an interesting read on the torn temple curtain, click on the image above or visit: http://thecripplegate.com/matthew-2751-54-understanding-a-difficult-text/ 

 

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John 11The Death of Lazarus

Wednesday, August 24, 2016Lazarus

A Favorite from August 28, 2009.

This is a bittersweet story if we believe in the resurrection.  Each time I read it, I linger over verse 35: Jesus wept.  As a child I believed that the Christ wept because his good friend had died.  As I grew older I believed he mourned the fact that he knew he was calling this friend back from a beatific place.  Now when I read this verse it seems to me that Christ cries out of his humanity; he cries at the tragedy of our human fragility.  As I continue to grow I am guessing that I will have other perspectives, other reasons for Jesus’ tears.  This is what is so wonderful about the message of the Messiah: each time we read it, we come away with something new, something surprising, something healing.  This is why, I believe, God came to walk among us . . . so that we might number our sorrows with his.  When we cry out to God, he can honestly tell us that he experiences our pain.

There is another point which always intrigues me about this story.  Hard on its heels arrives the story of the plot to kill Jesus.  I am always struck with the vigor of the jealousy and venom of his enemies.  Some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done.  So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council and said, “What are we to do?  This man is performing miracles, many signs.  If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the holy place and our nation”.  This narrative continues to verses 53 and 54: So from that day on they planned to put him to death.  Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews.  And this chapter ends with . . . Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should let them know, so that they might arrest him. 

When I put myself into this story, I wonder where I would fall.  Am I among the Pharisees, the priests, the followers who report Jesus?  Am I one who succumbs to jealousy and revenge?  Am I one who believes and follows?  Do I understand that the “death” of Lazarus is really the initiation rite of his new life?  Am I willing to enter into the hope God offers us when he frees us in the person of Jesus?  Do I comprehend the joy I might experience when I unite with the Holy Spirit to carry the message of freedom to others?  Am I willing to accept surprise in my life?  Am I willing to hand myself over to a belief in something I cannot see?  Am I ready to accept a new way of living?

There is much newness to think about as we read this old story.  What appears to be death might actually be life.  What seems to the end of a story, may actually be the beginning.  What is apparently a handing over of self in obedience can be a surprising release into a full liberty of expression.  We will only know when we choose to follow.

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Isaiah 13:11-22The Desolation of Babylon

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ruins of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Ruins of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

These are dreadful words and even more dreadful images yet the message is an important one.  We might do well to remember that the dreaded Babylonians who swept down from the north were later swept away by the Assyrians, who were taken over by the Persians, who were displaced by the Romans.  This is the message of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the story of Daniel.  A series of invaders will take political control over the land of the faithful . . . and the faithful must persevere despite the outward appearance that God is not among them.

We must remind ourselves as Resurrection people that God walks among us, lives among us, suffers with us and loves with us.  The outward appearance of loss and destruction cannot matter.  What appears to be desolation is in truth a path to restoration.

If we are truly a resurrection people, we must remember this.

We will want to read other versions of these verses as we consider this Old Testament God who appears to send destruction and ruin to those who have wandered too far from the shepherd’s loving care. As resurrection people . . .  How do we reconcile these verses with words from the prophet Hosea? Do these words reflect the kingdom Jesus describes and enacts? And what kind of response do these reflections engender in us? 

A Favorite from April 6, 2008. Click on the image above to learn more about the ruins of Babylon, or visit: http://www.biblebasics.co.uk/arch/arch12.htm

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John 20:1-10: The Impossible as Reality

Thursday, April 28, 2016Abundant-Life

 A Favorite from May 5, 2008.

 For some reason this chapter has popped up at Noontime several times.  Today, as always when this happens, we can look more closely at this reading . . . and this is what comes to me.

Today’s morning scripture reading is from Hebrews.

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.  Because of it the ancients were well attested.  11:1-2

I have often tried to imagine the rainbow of emotions which swept through Mary, Peter and John when they saw the empty tomb.  There were so many explanations of what might have happened.

This is the time of year in which we always re-live the Resurrection story.  Two thousand years after the fact, we are still experiencing the mix of doubt, fear, hope and joy which swept through the early apostolic band.  They had been accompanied by Jesus in life . . . now they would be accompanied by him and the Spirit . . . for eternity.

We are surprised by the absence of something we thought existed . . . someone who once was a foundation . . . some idea that gave us meaning.  We see, hear and feel the emptiness and sorrow of that loss.  Slowly, and painfully, we explore the possibilities.  Little by little we come to the realization that our existence is paradox.  We are divine, we are human . . . we are human, we are divine.

jesus is risenWe are slow to believe . . . we see the empty tomb . . . we know that our eyes do not deceive . . . we can imagine the possibilities . . . and we dare to hope . . . we dare to dream . . . we dare to live in a way we have never lived before.  The impossible becomes reality.

 

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Acts 5:17-42: Obeying God

Wednesday, April 13, 2016obeygodnotman

And the Apostles said in reply: We must obey God rather than men . . .

Do we see Jesus’ Apostles as only the twelve who followed him? Do we believe that Jesus’ followers were men alone? Can we stretch beyond any narrowness to believe that we number among Jesus’ Apostles today? Are we willing to stand during difficult times to say . . . we must obey God rather than men . . .?

When we read these verses in their varying translations, how do they speak to us of Jesus’ remarkable gift of resurrection? What do they reveal to us about God’s generous promises? And why do they call us – or perhaps not call us – to become one with the Spirit that wants to heal a troubled world? When we use the scripture link to explore this story of the Apostles who carry out miracles in Jesus’ name well after his death, we find new life and new energy to carry out the Gospel in all we say and do. When we allow God’s goodness to settle into our bones, we find new courage and new patience to smile in the face of adversity.

A video presentation of Acts 5:17-42 may be of interest. While we may not be in accord with all the speaker tells us, we are invited to reflect on this story of the importance of obeying God. Click on the image above or go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MiSr5yx9nA

 

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