Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘serenity’


Romans 14:17-19: Righteousness, Peace and Joy

Thursday, March 9, 2017

gavel

We worry about what we are to wear, where we are to go, how we are to act. Jesus reminds us that these are not the concerns of one who rests beside the cornerstone. Righteousness, peace and joy. These are the concerns of those who unite in kingdom building.

For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (NRSV)

The cares of the world are not the cares of God’s kingdom. Those on the margin, the abandoned, the abused, and the neglected, these are the citizens who populate Christ’s kingdom.

The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. (NRSV)

Healing, consolation, solace and generosity. These are the transformative gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit.

Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. (NRSV)

joyRighteousness, peace and joy. Harmony, reconciliation and delight. How do we serve God’s justice in our world? How do we follow Christ in reunion? How do we share gladness in the Spirit of the LORD?

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore these verses, we take the opportunity to examine our own lives.

Read Full Post »


Acts 17: Uproar – Part I

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul causes uproar wherever he goes in the name of Christ.  He ruffles feathers.  He points out inconsistencies.  He speaks convincingly and with authority as one who has been on both sides of the argument. He inspires faith, hope and charity in some, jealousy in others.  As with the story of David, another of God’s imperfect leaders, we understand that those who serve as God’s vessels will always be envied.  This knowledge can discourage us from continuing in God’s service, or it can make us even more strongly bound to God.  The choice is always ours to make.

These readings continue the theme. Numbers 11:25-29, James 5:1-6, and Mark 9:38-48.

We are further advised that if resentment is a constant companion in our lives, we will never understand the mercy God wants to show us in this world and the next. Therefore, we will want to learn to live without bitterness. It is not the treasure we want to set aside: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth but rather, store up treasures in heaven. And heaven’s treasures are mercy, kindness and love. Matthew 6:19-20 and 1 Peter 1:17-19.

Each gesture and each word we enact in the world is our definitive representation of God.  When we speak, or fail to speak, when we act, or fail to act, we bring God into our homes, our work and prayer places and our communities.  What do our words and gestures say about who we are?

And so we consider . . . Rather than foment division, we want to add to the world’s serenity. But what about the kind of uproar that Paul causes? How does this fit into God’s design?

Today and tomorrow we reflect on an idea proposed by biologist E.O. Wilson and consider how his proposals affront or enact God’s kingdom. Visit the Smithsonian magazine to read, Can the world really set aside half the planet for Wildlife?

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/can-world-really-set-aside-half-planet-wildlife-180952379/?no-ist

Tomorrow, God’s uproar.

Adapted from a favorite written in September 28, 2009.

 

Read Full Post »


John 6:41-42: Recognizing Jesus

Tuesday, April 26, 2016bread of life

Jesus has walked on the surface of the water to save those who love him from wilds winds and high seas. His followers were terrified and so he brings the boat immediately to the point on the shore where they had been aiming – despite the fact that the fishermen had rowed three or four miles from the coast. Just so are we terrified when tossed by life. Just so are we brought to our goal. Just so are we loved by Christ.

Jesus pauses to dialog with the enormous crowd that follows him – despite the fact that they do not believe him. Just so do we seek Jesus. Just so do we find him. Just so we doubt the very love that has rescued us.

Today we see how those who have struggled to follow and those who have argued still do not understand the beautiful gift Jesus hands them, the gift of bread that feeds eternally, the gift of bread from heaven. Just so do they take Jesus literally. Just so do they doubt the miracle before them. Just do we look past the evidence of healing and love that stands before us. Just so . . .

At this, because Jesus said, “I am the Bread that came down from heaven,” the Jews started arguing over him: “Isn’t this the son of Joseph? Don’t we know his father? Don’t we know his mother? How can he now say, ‘I came down out of heaven’ and expect anyone to believe him?”

We have watched Jesus walking on water toward us. Do we still doubt?

We have raced after Jesus, doing all we can to capture this essence of peace and serenity. Do we still persist?

We have found Jesus in the most unsuspecting places – with the homeless, with the poor, among the refugees, the abandoned and alone. Do we still fail to recognize God among us?

Enter the words Bread of Life into the blog search bar and reflect on our own doubt and persistence, understanding and peace.

Tomorrow, bickering.

Read Full Post »


Matthew 7:7-12: Ask, Seek, Knock

Friday, February 19, 2016ask_seek_knock_importunity

We read the familiar words from Matthew and hope they are true.

Ask, and you will receive . . .

We explore these same verses in other translations.

Don’t bargain with God. Be direct.

We repeat the familiar words from Matthew to take them in as our mantra of faith.

Seek, and you will find . . .  

We hunger and thirst for serenity, a serenity we already have but cannot fully experience.

Ask for what you need.

We pray the familiar words from Matthew as we pledge to live them in love.

old-wooden-door-opening-light-shining-33999556Knock, and the door will be opened to you . . .

We share the Good News with the world, and announce that the Kingdom has come.

This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. 

We feel the power of the Spirit, the hope of Christ and the love of God move through our flesh and bones.

Ask, and you will receive . . . Seek, and you will find . . .  Knock, and the door will be opened to you . . .

This is our prayer, the prayer of the faithful. This is our hope, the hope of the hopeless. This is God’s love, the love of Christ.

ask_seek_knock_lukeDon’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. 

This is life, life eternal. Let us begin to live as if we believe in the Good News of Christ.

The dusky tan verses are from the GOOD NEWS translation and the Lenten purple are from THE MESSAGE. When we use the scripture link above to read more of these translations and to look for others, God’s Word begins to lighten the load of the day. Consider the Luke 11:9 version of Jesus’ words. How does it differ from Matthew’s? 

As we reflect, we remember . . . rather than thinking: “I am misunderstood,” I will think instead, “God is so understanding”.

Tomorrow, finding happiness.

Read Full Post »


Judges 11 and 12: Shibboleth

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Crack (Shibboleth): Doris Salcedo - The Tate Modern, London

The Crack (Shibboleth): Doris Salcedo – The Tate Modern, London, UK

From WIKIPEDIA: “In numerous cases of conflict between groups speaking different languages or dialects, one side used shibboleths . . . to discover hiding members of the opposing group . . . Today, in the English language, a shibboleth also has a wider meaning, referring to any ‘in-crowd’ word or phrase that can be used to distinguish members of a group from outsiders – even when not used by a hostile other group”.

As we read today’s Noontime, we see how the early tribes of Israel struggled to retain autonomy; we also see that they lived in a world which required people to evaluate loyalty . . . their daily survival depended on this.

In our own world, we will use our own shibboleths ­ – either consciously or unconsciously – and when we do, what are the results?  Do we find ourselves closer to God or more distant?  Are we moving toward serenity and union with God, or away from the eternal peace brought by Jesus?  Do our shibboleths introduce us to the freedom bought by Christ or do they sell us out to an imprisonment which stifles us?

The story of the chieftain Jephthah reads like the script of a television drama – full of twists, promises, ironies and secret shibboleths.  Loyalties are tested, wars are waged, outcomes are weighed; yet in the end it is the spirit of the Lord that prevails.  Jephthah makes a vow to the Lord and loses his beloved daughter Mizpah; he also conquers nations in the name of his God.  Much of this is difficult to understand; most of it is hard to take; all of it is – in some way or other – the way we live today.

Children peering into the shibboleth at the Tate Modern in London

Children peering into the shibboleth at the Tate Modern in London

As we move through our own cycle of coming and going, let us examine the vows we swear, the skirmishes in which we engage, and our manner of waiting on the spirit of the Lord.  And when we begin to winnow the valid from the false in order to survive, let us examine the shibboleths we choose.

A Favorite from Friday, February 12, 2010.

 As we approach Ash Wednesday, a time of inner reflection, we have another opportunity to explore God’s yardstick in our lives, and to put aside the false shibboleths that mislead us.

Read Full Post »


Proverbs 9:1-6: God’s Yardstick – Wisdom

Wisdom’s Feast

Jan Vermeyen: The Marriage Feast at Cana

Mary urges Jesus to step into his ministry.  Jan Vermeyen: The Marriage Feast at Cana

Sunday, January 17, 2016

In these opening weeks of a new year, we have looked at women in scripture who see and use God’s yardstick in their lives. We conclude our look at women today with a reflection on wisdom described as a woman who invites all to her feast. When we take time to consider the portraits of the special women we have seen over the past two weeks, we understand how their lives can serve as tangible yardsticks for us to use today. 

Anselm Feuerbah: Miriam The Prophetess waited along the banks of the Nile until her brother Moses was pulled from the reeds by Pharaoh's daughter.

Moses’ sister waits along the banks of the Nile until her baby brother is pulled from the reeds by Pharaoh’s daughter.  Anselm Feuerbah: Miriam

We pause to consider the spaces we inhabit at home, at work, at prayer and at play. Are  they sacred, serene dwellings that invite others to enter? Do these places bring us peace?

Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home;
    it’s supported by seven hewn timbers.
The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted,
    wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers.

Naomi shares wisdom with her daughter-in-law Ruth. Togther they find stability a nd peace.

Naomi shares wisdom with her daughter-in-law Ruth.

We pause to consider what we do with the peace we find. Do we hold it closely to ourselves? Do we share it with others?

Having dismissed her serving maids,

Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place, 

and invites everyone within sound of her voice: “Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?

We pause to consider how our serenity becomes evident to the world. Does it nurture us and others in our struggle to live the Beatitudes? Does it sustain us as we move into a world that measures with a yardstick that is often far different from God’s?

Judith acts to save her people.

Judith relies on the trust engendered by her long and faithful relationship with God, and acts to save her people.

“Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me!
I’ve prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread,
    roast lamb, carefully selected wines.
Leave your impoverished confusion and live!
    Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”

We pause to consider how the world reacts to Lady Wisdom. Do we give in to the pressures of the world, or do we move forward in our journey with God despite the obstacles?

We find strength in the gentle yet persistent heart of Lady Wisdom.

For more reflections on Wisdom, enter the word into the blog search bar and explore.

Read Full Post »


James 5:7-11: Patience – Part II

Thursday, October 30, 2015patience

Jesus gives us parables like these to better understand how patience acts in an unjust world.

The Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8) and the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)

God’s patience is seen through the way in which God persists in loving us even when we turn from away.  God wishes for each and all of us to be saved and to come to understand truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)  God is forbearing toward us and does not want us to perish.  (2 Peter 3:9 and Matthew 18:14)  We are to love one another even as God has loved us. (John 13:34, 1 John 3:4; and Luke 10:25-37)  (See CCC 2822)

Imagine the life we might lead if we were patient with one another as God is patient with us.

Imagine the world we might have if we might love one another as God loves us.

Indeed we are blessed who have persevered.  You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord . . . See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.  You too must be patient.  Make your hearts firm [and] do not complain. 

Red Heart BibleHumility, gentleness, understanding, persistence and seeking – these are the tools we employ to gain patience.  This is way to God’s loving heart.  This is the path to a serenity which conquers all anxiety.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. 2nd ed. Vatican: Libreria Editice Vaticana.  Print.

Tomorrow, a prayer for patience. 

A Favorite from January 9, 2010.

 

Read Full Post »


Ezekiel 37: From Dry Bones to Restoration – Part IV1 tim 1

Friday, September 18, 2015

Perhaps the reason we do not find serenity is that we do not ask for restoration. Today St. Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, reminds us that reunion with God is only a petition away. He is a follower of Christ because he answered God’s invitation to follow.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not find peace is that we do not ask for strength.

I am grateful to him who has strengthened me . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not find solace is that we do not ask forgiveness.

I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not experience love is that we have not shown mercy.

I have been mercifully treated . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not experience transformation is that we do not believe in restoration.

The grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Jesus Christ . . .

Today we spend time with the opening chapter of Paul’s first letter to Timothy and we ponder what our lives might be like if and when we seek strength, forgiveness and mercy. We reflect on the possibility of new life rising from the arid bones of our sorrow.

Use the scripture link to explore varying editions of 1 Timothy 1. 

Tomorrow, finding faith . . . 

 

Read Full Post »


Acts 2:1-11: Pentecostpentecost

May 24, 2015

All through Eastertide we have reflected on the gifts and treasures God so generously bestows on us. We have considered our role in God’s great plan. And we have remembered Jesus’ actions and words as he worked to build God’s kingdom on earth among God’s children. Today spend time with these verses and look for their impact in your own life.

When the time was fulfilled . . . frequently we hear these words in scripture. When we take these words in we understand that God’s work comes about in God’s time and space, and not ours.

They were all in one place . . . a number of times we hear God’s call to unity in the Spirit. When we come together in Jesus’ name our prayers are answered even though we might not believe this truth to be so.

The Spirit enabled them to proclaim . . . through both Old and New Testaments we are often told that the Spirit will tell us which way to walk, that a voice will speak to us to give us the words we will need to speak in God’s time and in God’s plan. When we relax into this knowledge we find new peace, a new skin, a new heart.

They were confused . . . so often in the Bible stories we read we understand that even those who are intimately involved with God are confused by the plan that lies before them. When we rest in the knowledge that God has nothing but our joy in mind, we can trust the Spirit to show us which path to take in labyrinth of life.

They were astounded and in amazement . . . repeatedly we hear this news in both Old and New Testaments that we humans are astonished at the depth and breadth and height of God’s goodness and love. When we allow ourselves to believe this good news, we find new peace, new life and new serenity.

We hear them speaking . . . we are constantly barraged by so many words and so many images. Today we open our hearts to the Spirit and focus on one or two of these phrases or words. Today we allow God to speak through us. Today we celebrate the enormous gift and presence of the Spirit in our lives. Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost.

mainslide-pentecostUse the scripture link and the drop-down menus to spend time with these Pentecost verses today . . . imagine the world we might create . . . let go of all small and petty plans . . . prepare to be amazed by God’s goodness . . . to be wrapped in Christ’s love . . . to be healed by the Spirit’s power to restore. Let us go out to all the nations in Christ so that all will hear us as if we were speaking in their own tongues . . . for it is in this way that we encounter the gentle compassion and eternal strength of Christ.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: