Posts Tagged ‘seeking’

2 Maccabees 12:38-46: Battle – Part VI

Ernest William Tristram: Reconstruction of Medieval Mural Painting, Battle of Judas Maccabeus with Timotheus and the Fall of Maspha – Parliamentary Art Collection, UK

Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 11, 2018

It is the endurance of the Maccabees we seek through our intense hope in the promises of God.  It is the fidelity of the Maccabees we seek through our deep faith in the goodness of God.  It is the devotion of the Maccabees we seek through our passionate love for the ways of God. 

We engage in battle with the world; we struggle with circumstances beyond our control. We look for peace where there is only strife. Anxiety builds as we look for serenity; and fear overtakes us too often. When we examine our journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter, we know that we cannot escape our battles. When we remember the story of the Maccabeus family, we also know that it is our battles that transform us. And so we continue to search.

The way of the Seeker has been demonstrated to us by Christ for if God so loved the world that he sent his only son (John 3:16), and if this son dies in expiation for the sins of all, how can we not forgive all and ask to be forgiven in all?  How can we not enter into this sacrifice and petition to God to redeem all those who have fallen away? How can we refuse to move forward trusting in God and exercising compassion for ourselves and others?

In our Lenten journey as we anticipate the promise of Easter when we celebrate the resurrection of the dead, we find ourselves called to the sheepfold by the love of the Great Shepherd.  If we seek to know this shepherd most intimately, we will imitate Christ in all ways possible, and we will offer all that we suffer for the saving of those who struggle to enter the fold. And so we pray.

Good and strong and gentle God, entering into Christ’s sacrifice with our fellow seekers, we offer our pain willingly.  We lift joyful hearts and songs of praise because by the mercy and surrender of Christ, we are released from the fear and pain that enslaves us.  We ask that our hearts of stone be made warm by the Holy Spirit’s love, that our necks stiffened in pride be made humble in God’s mercy, and that our straying from the sheepfold be redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice. Amen.    

Adapted from a Favorite written on April 25, 2009.

Find image at http://www.artuk.org/artworks/reconstruction-of-medieval-mural-painting-battle-of-judas-maccabeus-with-timotheus-and-the-fall-of-maspha-214242

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013 – Hosea 10:1-10 – Captivity Endured

4handcuffs_Sergey_Venyavsky[1]We are a captive people . . . longing to be free.

We are a searching people . . . longing to be fulfilled.

We are a hopeful people . . . longing to be restored.

False altars will crumble.  Safe harbors will silt in.  Wooden idols will disintegrate into dust.  Sacred pillars will fall.

Since they do not fear the Lord, what can the king do for them?  Nothing but make promises, swear false oaths, and make alliances, while justice grows wild like wormwood in a plowed field! 

If we are able to take the time today to read these verses slowly we might be able to see our own lives through the prism Hosea hands to us.  God loves his creatures so dearly that he prunes their wild vines and disciplines them in their way of walking the path. He also promises restoration.  And God always keeps his promises.

We know what we seek; yet we sometimes are our own false prophets.

We know that there is the choice of light and dark always before us; yet we sometimes we linger in the shadows.

We know how to transform pain; yet we sometimes act as though we have not heard or seen the message.

God prunes in order to produce fruit in abundance.

God endures through evil and invites us to participate in turning it to good.

God restores in order that we learn to live in outrageous hope.

God loves in order that we turn and return to him.

God is.  And we are his captive people . . . we are a seeking people . . . we are a hopeful people . . . longing to be free . . . longing to be fulfilled . . . longing to be restored. 

In this Lenten time we know that God accompanies us in our Jerusalem journey.  We know that God abides with us.  We know that God calls each one of us by name from eons before our birth.  We know that God is.  Come, let us follow The Way.   

First written during the Christmas octave in December 2008. revised and posted today as  a Favorite.

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Sunday, September 30, 2012 – Ezekiel 39:25-29 – Restoration After Hiatus

Govert Flink: Issac Blessing Jacob

When we look at the life of Jacob we might be tempted to look at the story of his deeds or accomplishments: his early toying with deceit, his growing ability to focus persistently on a goal, his fathering of twelve sons who lead the Twelve Tribes of Israel.  When we look more closely we see that rather than a rising and falling arc of “doings” what we really find is a string of actions that are separated by pauses.  What Jacob has mastered is not so much the “doing” of life but the thoughtful hiatus.

In the story of Jacob we see that are many periods of hiatus in which he is separated from all he loves by either his own actions or the events that swirl around him.  When we reflect a bit more on Jacob, we might also see how and if and whether we experience hiatus in our own lives.  Today’s Noontime calls us to reflect on the goal we all have in mind when we are in a state of hiatus.  We yearn for the reunion, the curing, the re-construction, the bridging, the healing . . . the restoration.

We know that the lands and fortunes of the tribes of Jacob are indeed restored . . . and then lost again.  The people wander away from the lesson they thought they had learned during exile.  Their hubris and their lack of willingness to listen to and for the voice within gets in their way, they become easily distracted, and wander into the wilderness again to lose what they had regained.  Fortunately for humans, God forgives endlessly.  The prophet Ezekiel reminds us of this.

When we experience hiatus well we have the opportunity to learn much about ourselves.

We come to know that the Lord is our God, before whom no other god may stand.  These other gods may be our desire for wealth, looks, fashion, friends, prestige, life style, addiction – anything which separates us from God.

We experience the New Law of Love, the Law of the Beatitudes which Jesus brought us on the Mount (Matthew) and on the Plain (Luke).

We become people who do not fear poverty, illness or rejection suffered as the result of Kingdom Building and Kingdom Living.

We become light and salt and yeast to the world.  We are to be brothers and sisters together shouting with joy that God is good.

We become to be harvesters who go forth weeping to return singing.

We become people who are Jesus in a world which is not.

We become people who wait for, and hope for, and work for Restoration.

And this is the Restoration which awaited the tribes of Jacob.  It is the same restoration which comes to all those who wait actively, seek patiently, and witness persistently.

This is a Way worth following.  It is a Life worth living.


To explore how hiatus figures in Jacob’s life and in our own, go to the A Journey Hiatus in the Journeys of Transformation page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/a-journey-of-transformation/a-journey-hiatus/

To learn more about Rebecca. Issac, Esau and Jacob, and to see their story in art, click on the image above or go to: http://www.bible-topten.com/Rebecca.htm

First written on October 6, 2008.  Re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

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Sunday, July 22, 2008 – Mark 16 – The Magdalene

Van der Weyden: Mary Magdalene

The Evangelists tell us that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene.  July 22 is her feast day.  I think that we are meant to pause and reflect on this singular woman.  What must she have been truly like?  What was she thinking as she stooped to look into the tomb as John tells us in his Gospel?  What is her real story?

St. Gregory the Great tells us something of her character.  From MAGNIFICAT: It is true that she had already seen that the sepulcher was empty, and had already reported that the Lord had been taken away.  Why did she stoop down again, why did she long again to see?  It is not enough for a lover to have looked once, because the force of love intensifies the effort of the search.  She sought a first time and found nothing; she persevered in seeking, and so it happened that she found him.  It came about that her unfulfilled desires increased, and as they increased they took possession of what they found.

From the Mass readings:  The Bride says: on my bed at night I sought him whom my heart loves – I sought him but I did not find him.  I will rise then and go about the city; in the streets and crossings I will seek him whom my heart loves.  I sought him but I did not find him.  The watchmen came upon me, as they made their rounds of the city: Have you seen him whom my heart loves?  I had hardly left them when I found him whom my heart loves.  (Song of Songs 3:1-4b)

O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.  ( Psalm 63)

What is her real story?  Why does she come with the other women, worrying about who will move away the stone, carrying the spices for embalming?  Why does she return, bending to look another time when she knows the tomb to be empty?

Henryk Siemiradzki: The First Meeting of Christ and Mary Magdalene

The Magdalene believes.  She trusts.  She hopes.  She endures.  She perseveres.  She will not be turned away.  She loves.

Any one of us who has truly loved understands this force of love about which St. Gregory writes.

Any one of us who has sought that which has been lost has felt this sorrow.

Any one of us who has persisted in our search has found this joy.

And so I wonder . . . what is the Magdalene’s real story?

Written on July 23, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation.” MAGNIFICAT. 7.23 (2008). Print.  

For more on some of the many portraits and statues of Mary Magdalene, click on the images above or go to: http://www.bible-topten.com/MaryMagdalene.htm

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