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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Mount Carmel Today

Mount Carmel Today

Amos 1:2

The Lion’s Roar

The Lord will roar from Zion, and from Jerusalem raise his voice: the pastures of the shepherds will languish, and the summit of the Carmel wither.

As the sacred high place of Carmel withers and the simple shepherds suffer, God roars out a warning through the prophet Amos.  What is it that we hear?

God says: You ask for my wisdom and I give it to you; yet you pause for my words do not always match your desire. You ask for my consolation and I bestow it on you; yet you mourn for what you do not have. You ask for redemption and I breathe new life into you; yet you hesitate . . . for you struggle to cast off your old complaints. They have become too familiar and too comfortable to you.

Amos challenges us today to listen for the roar of the lion, to tend to the altar on Carmel, to restore the shepherds to their flocks and fields. Where in our own lives do crops waste away and the sacred places fall silent?


If we have no commentary to explore the opening verses of Amos, we might use one the the following online.

http://www.clarion-journal.com/clarion_journal_of_spirit/2011/02/amos-the-lion-roars-by-ron-dart.html

http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/amos-lbw.htm

http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=amos&qs_version=NIV

To learn more about Mount Carmel and why it still considered a scared place, visit: http://www.bibleplaces.com/mtcarmel.htm

Image from: https://www.britannica.com/place/Mount-Carmel-mountain-ridge-Israel

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Genesis 15 & 21: Do Not Fear – Part Ibigstock-christ-is-born-55349039-752x440

Christmas Monday, December 26, 2016

We are familiar with the conversation between Abram and “I AM” in which God promises not only a kingship and land but a son and as many descendants as there are stars in the sky. Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great (Genesis 15:1) God’s fidelity is echoed in Abram’s.

Later in this story, Hagar bears Abraham a son and her attitude toward Abraham’s wife Sarah changes. When Hagar and her child Ishmael are sent away to wander in the desert, the same God who promises so much sends a messenger to bring them tidings of peace. The angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. (Genesis 21:17Ishmael’s cry is heard by God.

Millennia later God perseveres in watching over the marginalized and invites shepherds as the first witnesses to the arrival of the Messiah in the world. Today we reflect on the gift of fidelity that Abraham, Sarah, Hagar and Ismael teach us. We reflect on the humility and joy of the shepherds who visit the child Jesus. And we reflect on the permanence of God’s love.

Jesus persists in serving as our shield. Today let us consider the fidelity we echo back to God.

To learn more about why and when Abram and Sarai’s names become Abraham and Sarah, visit: http://bibleblender.com/2011/bible-stories/old-testament/genesis/abraham-gets-a-new-name

Throughout Christmastide, we continue to explore the number of ways the Creator tells us that we need not be afraid.

 

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Luke 2: Christmas Dayjesusborn

Sunday, December 25, 2016

We have beheld God’s promise of creation. We have experienced the renewal of a new day. We have received the gift of Lord and Savior that we were promised in the child. Today is Christmas Day. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

When we read The Message translation of this favorite story, we discover a new perspective. We see, for example, that verses 8-12 give us a new angle on a very old tale.

An Event for Everyone: There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

When we find time today to explore the gift of this translation, we receive more than the gift of words. Behold, we receive Christ himself.

Tomorrow and throughout Christmastide, we will explore the number of ways the Creator tells us that we need not be afraid.

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Judges 17: As We Are – Part III

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 20, 2015

MAINO_Fray_Juan_Bautista_adoration_of_the_Shepherds

Fray Juan Bautista Maíno: Adoration of the Shepherds

In this time of Advent, as we expect the coming of light and truth, we reflect on the gift of life that comes to us in the innocence of a child.

As we are . . . We come to the crèche to adore as the lowly shepherds came. The poorest, the marginalized, the abandoned and neglected. We bring our worries and anxieties . . . just as we are.

As we are . . . We come to the stable as the Magi came. The wise, the enlightened, the privileged and comfortable. We bring our hopes and our fears . . . just as we are.

As we are . . . We come to the Christ child as people for millennia have come. The troubled, the peaceful, the miserable, the joyful. We bring our dreams and plans . . . just as we are.

MAINO_Fray_Juan_Bautista_Adoration_of_the_Kings

Fray Juan Bautista Maíno: Adoration of the Magi

As we are . . . We come to Christ as our families and colleagues, our friends and enemies come. We come to Christ’s beauty and innocence and we are either closed or open. We come to life in Christ, and Christ accepts us . . . just as we are. We give thanks for God’s great generosity today.

To listen to the Radiolab podcast on Normalcy today to consider how the norms we adopt open or close us to hear God’s voice, visit: http://www.radiolab.org/story/91693-new-normal/

To reflect on how we come to the Christ child this Advent, click on the images above and study Maíno’s paintings in detail The Adoration of the Shepherds and The Adoration of the Magior visit: https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/adoration-of-the-shepherds/103e1807-2917-4906-87ce-71a3a027f37e?searchid=f9f31297-8ba6-6a71-c8f9-8e467d5eb988 and https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-adoration-of-the-magi/3f1f4d63-0476-4ac0-904f-776713defe78?searchid=9245f6a4-fab5-7ba0-23b9-1181d542b32c 

 

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Sunday, February 8, 2015heart

Jeremiah 3:12-16

Prayer for Return

Return, rebel, and I will not remain angry with you . . .

Thus says the Lord, and so might we also say to our enemies.

For I am merciful, I will not continue my wrath forever . . .

So says the Lord, and so might we also say to those who bring us anger.

Only know your guilt; how you rebelled against the Lord, your God . . .

Thus acts the Lord, and so might we also act with ourselves and others.

How you ran hither and yon to strangers and would not listen to my voice . . .

Just so does the Lord call us to forgive and listen.

Return . . . I will take you, one from the city, two from a clan . . .

Just so does the Lord gather us up, as we might gather up those who are scattered.

I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart who will shepherd you wisely and prudently . . .

The Lord our God has made plans to guide and protect us, plans that bring us into God’s heart.

When you multiply and become fruitful . . .

The Lord our God has made plans for all that will bring us joy.

Kailash Satyarthi: One of two Nobel Peace Prize 2014 Winners

Kailash Satyarthi: One of two Nobel Peace Prize 2014 Winners

Explore the Nobel site at: http://www.nobelprize.org/

Read about last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners and consider how they have brought Jeremiah’s prayer to life. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/

Explore Kailash Satyarthi’s profile on the BBC News at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29568634  

For a reflection on Jeremiah 3, go to the Sincere and Insincere Conversion page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2014/08/04/sincere-and-insincere-conversion/

 

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Jeremiah 23:1-4

promisesThe Messiah Promise

We become so occupied with news of the day and the obstacles we see in our lives that we struggle to find a half hour to be still with God. Sometimes we look for little pockets of silence in the tumult of schedules and appointments. When we arrive at the end of our day, we may sleep more easily if we set time aside to commune with the Lord. The book of Jeremiah still lies open before us. If we turn to Chapter 23 we see the gift of promise almost hidden in this prophecy of doom; we find hope in the darkest of places. Destructive pastors and restorative pastors. Which are we?

Each of us is called as “pastors over God’s sheep that they shall feed them,” and to the extent that we are able, we hope to shepherd those placed in our care with integrity, authenticity, truth, wisdom, fidelity, mercy and compassion. As much as we are able, we are likewise called to bring comfort to the troubled stranger, to offer peace to the enemy, to bring God’s presence everywhere we go and to all whom we meet.

In this way, may we all move toward forward in restoration in Christ. In this way . . . we become an integral part of the Messiah promise.

Enter the word promise into the blog search bar and explore ways in which we might bring hope to our troubled world.

Adapted from a reflection written on May 4, 2007.

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