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Posts Tagged ‘sorrow and joy’


Psalm 126: We Thought We Were Dreaming

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

When the Lord brought us back to Jerusalem,
    it was like a dream!
How we laughed, how we sang for joy! (Psalm 126:1-2)

When we find ourselves delivered from captivity or exile, we might well believe we are dreaming. And then we remember the prophecy of Isaiah.

You will leave Babylon with joy;
    you will be led out of the city in peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into singing,
    and the trees will shout for joy. (Isaiah 55:10-12)

When we find ourselves recovering from loss or pain, we might well believe we are dreaming. And then we remember the prophecy of Jeremiah.

See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. (Jeremiah 31:8)

When we find ourselves delivered from loneliness or grief, we might well believe we are dreaming. And then we remember the prophecy of Ezekiel.

Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered.  I will bring them back from captivity and return them to Upper Egypt, the land of their ancestry. (Ezekiel 29:13-14)

When we find ourselves delivered from catastrophe or disaster, we might well believe we are dreaming. And then we remember the prophecy of Joel.

Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2:13)

When we find ourselves delivered from anger or fear, we might well believe we are dreaming. And then we remember the prophecy of Zechariah.

Therefore this is what the Lord says: “I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,” declares the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 1:16)

When we find ourselves delivered from hunger or thirst, we might well believe we are dreaming. And then we return to Psalm 126.

Those who wept as they went out carrying the seed
    will come back singing for joy,
    as they bring in the harvest. (Psalm 126:6)

When we find ourselves delivered through the goodness and grace of God, we might well believe we are dreaming. And then we return to Psalm 126.

When the Lord brought us back to Jerusalem,
    it was like a dream!
How we laughed, how we sang for joy! (Psalm 126:1-2)

 

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Luke 2:36-38: God’s Yardstick – Anna The Prophetess

Never Forsaken

Anna Meets Christ Face to Face

Anna Meets Christ Face to Face

Friday, January 15, 2016

In these opening days of a new year, we look for ways to better see God’s yardstick in our lives, and for ways to leave the world’s yardstick behind.

There was also a prophetess Anna, the daughter of the tribe of Asher.  She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until the age of eighty-four.  She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.  And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. 

Simeon is not the only holy voice who recognizes the Messiah in the infant Jesus.  Simeon and Anna are “Israel in miniature, poised in anticipation of the new”.  (Mays 932) Yet despite the celebration of the moment there is a recognition of the suffering that will also take place.

God says: I do not want to dampen your joy or bring you sorrow.  I send Anna because I know that in your journey pain will always accompany rejoicing; and I want Anna to remind you that even when you believe I have duped you . . . you will have consolation.  I will never abandon you even though the harsh times may cause you to think that I will not return.  I will never leave you even though you may believe I have.  I want you to know that I need not return to you . . . for I have never left.  I am with you always. 

Anna’s appearance after the words of Simeon remind us that “Jerusalem will reject [Jesus] and will instead follow a way that will lead to disaster (19:41-44).  They will seem forsaken by God, but Anna is a reminder that the disaster is not God’s last word: Jesus remains for Jerusalem a sign of hope”. (Barton 930)

Enter the word hope into the blog search bar and explore other reflections that remind us of God’s constant presence in his precious gift of Jesus to the world.

Barton, John, and John Muddiman. THE OXFORD BIBLE COMMENTARY. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001. 930. Print.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 932. Print.

This reflection was originally posted on 21 January 2013 and is re-posted today as a the last in a series of women who serve us as God’s yardstick. 

For another reflection on Anna, click on the image above or visit: https://pastorpilgrim.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/pilgrimage-to-bethlehem-anna/

 

 

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James 5: A Prayer for Harvesting Hope

Tuesday, November 3, 2015earth-from-space-day-night

We have prayed for union, we have prayed for boldness. Today we pray for a harvest of hope as we reprise a Christmas MiniNoontime from 2013 when we spent time with James’ words.

Modern humankind has established an outpost in space, giving us a perspective of our world that the ancients could only imagine.  Perhaps in our century we have strayed too far from the simple tasks of reaping God’s gift of bounty.  Perhaps we have taken too much for granted the miracle that is our world.  Perhaps we have learned to ignore the miracle of the Nativity.

God says: In your rush to understand me you may lose me. Abide with me for you are Christmas people who bring the Good News to the world.  In your eagerness to explore my universe you may forget me.  Remember me for you are Christmas people who bring authenticity and honesty to the world.  In your haste to acquire and store up you may overlook me.  See me in those who have little for you are Christmas people who bring Christ himself to the world.  Behold and celebrate the importance of the Nativity.  Behold and share my generosity with others who have nearly nothing to sustain them. Behold and love those who suffer.  Behold . . . and be Christ in the world.

As we approach the Advent season when we will again celebrate Christ as the truth and light and hope of the world, we pray.

Open book with pages forming heart shape

Dear Lord, you have blessed us with more than we can fathom as each new day reveals. You have rescued us more often than we remember as each new dawn breaks up the darkness of night. Keep us always united with you as we move through our days and nights. Speak always so that we may hear your Word. Nudge us constantly so that we may act in your Word. Continue to call us every moment of our existence as we struggle to find our place in your immense universe. Continue to bring us your courage and energy so that we might harvest your outrageous hope and in turn might carry it to others. Abide with us in our struggle to follow in our labor of sowing and reaping, of loss and gain, of sorrow and joy, of anxiety and hope. Amen.

Revisit the Christmas 2013 Noontime post at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/12/25/behold/

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jeremiah and Psalms

biblePsalms-PuicIn the Evening, In the Morning, In the Noonday

Whether we are presently in a time of celebration or sadness, the words of the prophet Jeremiah speak to us. Although we live in joy, we remember a time of sadness. If we live in sorrow or fear, we remember a time of contentment. As we journey through Jeremiah, we may rely on insights presented in the psalms; the prophet’s message is at times so bleak that we may need a quiet oasis of time and space to process his words. So let us today spend a bit of God’s time with the psalms while we reflect on Jeremiah’s warnings and laments. We call on these sacred poems because they remind us that we may always rely on God in dire circumstances. If these citations do not speak to you, turn to the online Psalter to explore . . . and look for the emotions you experience in the evening, in the morning and at the noonday.

Though my flesh and heart should waste away, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

I love you, O Lord my strength, my crag, my haven. Psalm 18:1

If the Lord had not come to my help, I should soon have dwelt in the land of silence. As often as I said, “My foot has slipped”, your love, O Lord, upheld me. When many cares fill my mind, your consolations cheer my soul. Psalm 94:17-19

You are my helper and my deliverer; do not tarry, O my God. Psalm 40:17

The Lord is faithful in all his works and merciful in all his deeds. Psalm 145:14

I will call upon God, and the Lord will deliver me. In the evening, in the morning, in the noonday, I will complain and lament; and God will hear my voice. God will bring me safely back . . . God, who is enthroned of old, will hear me. Psalm 55:17-18

Use this link for online Bibles:

Find the online Psalter at: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalms+1-150&version=NASB;NRSV;DRA;MSG

For more on how the psalms may be used for prayer throughout the day and night, go The Liturgy of the Hours page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/liturgy-of-the-hours/

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Simon Vouet: The Apostle John

Simon Vouet: The Apostle John

1 John

Connection

“The purpose of this letter is to combat certain false ideas, especially about Jesus, and to deepen the spiritual and social awareness of the Christian community . . . The author affirms that authentic Christian love, ethics, and faith take place only within the historical revelation and sacrifice of Jesus Christ . . . The letter is of particular value for its declaration of the humanity and divinity of Christ as an apostolic teaching and for its development of the intrinsic connection between Christian moral conduct and Christine doctrine”. (Senior 387)

God comes to live among the created as one of their number. God wants to share our sorrows and our joys. Gods want to be numbered among us. God wants to number us as Children of God. The apostle John records not only his beautiful Gospel of love, he also leaves us his letters of assertion and encouragement.

What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with God and with the Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that your joy may be complete.

God says: I want you to make the connection that just as Jesus is both divine and human so are you. Just as my Spirit comforts and consoles so do you. Just as I myself save and guide . . . so do you. I send you this invitation to be one with and in me. If you turn me away today I return tomorrow . . . for this is how much I love you. My apostle John makes connections in his letter to you, and he asks that you connect what you do with what you believe . . . what you say with how you act.  Make that connection now, put aside all else . . . and come to me.

“1 John lends itself more readily to every time and place . . . It is amazingly positive and loving in tone. For Christians through the ages it has transcended its hard circumstances of origin to be considered one of the great spiritual witnesses of the New Testament”. (Senior RG 563)

In the coming days we will explore John’s message of love that nourishes the faithful throughout time, and we will explore ways to make connections to what John has seen and heard and touched.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.387 and RG563. Print.   

For another Noontime reflection on this letter, go to the 1 John – Testimony page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-new-testament-revising-our-suffering/1-john-testimony/

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

9-teth[1]Psalm 119:65-72

Teth

Teach me your wisdom and knowledge . . . It was good for me to be afflicted, in order to learn your laws . . .

In this ninth strophe we near the middle of Psalm 119 and here the psalmist reaches out to God, asking for wisdom and knowledge specifically, promising to adhere to the Law of loving one another that Yahweh has written on our hearts. The psalmist expresses a truth we all know but often do not want to admit: we learn life’s lessons best when we are under siege or overwhelmed, and it is from this suffering that God calls forth joy.

God says: I tell you frequently so of this you may be certain: I am with you always, I see your joys and sorrows, and I bring nothing but goodness out of the great harm that some of you plot.  So put away any plans of deception and come to the truth.  Honesty, authenticity, integrity and love will heal any rift.  In my plan and in my time, my love transforms even the darkest of hearts.  You may believe my goodness to be hidden . . . but it lives forever in your hearts.

Rather than curse our painful circumstances, let us enter into God’s plan of inversion and allow our sorrow to lead us to the one who can heal the deepest of wounds.  Let us allow God to love us infinitely and unconditionally.

When the Lord restored our fortunes we thought we were dreaming. Our mouths were filled with laughter; our tongues sang for joy . . . Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy. Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, with return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves.  (Psalm 126)

For more information on the letter Teth and how it represents inversion and concealed good, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/tet.htm or http://www.hebrewtoday.com/content/hebrew-alphabet-letter-tet-%D7%98

Tomorrow, the letter Yodh.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Prayer[1]Daniel 10:12

Visions

Fear not.  From the first day you made up your mind to acquire understanding and humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard. 

The prophecy of Daniel is full of metaphor, symbolism and mystery and yet it is in this prophecy that we see the coming of the Son of Man predicted. (Daniel 7:13 and 8:17) Today we reprise the mysterious vision that presages so much fear and so much hope.

God says: I see that you are determined to follow me and this brings me joy.  I also see the pitfalls and obstacles in your way and this brings me sorrow.  I abide with you as always.  I accompany you through fire, pain and death.  I raise you up when you are fallen.  I restore you when are spent.  I rescue you when fire consumes you.  Did I not save my servant Daniel?  Are you not as important as he?  Read this story of Daniel and humble yourself as Daniel does.  Trust in me as this young man does.  Acquire knowledge of me as this young prophet does for you are destined to be as significant as any prophet of mine in the days of old.  Each of you is precious in my eyes.  Each of you has the potential to prophesy for me.  Each of you is welcome to take refuge in the limitless safety of my most sacred heart.  When you shelter with me your smallness expands to the boundless horizons of my mind.  When you remain in me your fears and anxieties become the sinews of my protective arms.  When you act in me your tears and sorrows dissolve into mists that nourish the dry nights of the soul.  Read about Daniel’s visions today, bring me requests, and give yourself hope for many tomorrows.  Know that I hear every prayer you utter in the turmoil of the day, in the shadows of night, in the company for friends or in the solitary stillness of your heart. 

To further explore the visions of Daniel, enter his name in the blog search bar and choose another reflection.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Michelangelo: Creation

Michelangelo: Creation

Psalms 7 to 18

Life, Death, Divinity, Humanity

This reflection was written upon the death of a friend’s father and is shared today as a Favorite. 

Much of life is lived in a confusion of fear and thanksgiving and we find a jumble of these emotions in Psalms 7 though 18.  Looking at just the New American Bible titles of these poems gives us a series of jubilant prayers mixed with sorrow-filled ones.  It is in this way that these poems bring us a faultless reflection of life.

The fusion of worlds present in the human made in the image of God is a dichotomy which we can either unite our id, ego and superego . . . or it can split us into child and adult separated by a chasm of fear.  Fear of what?  Fear of suffering.  Fear of humiliation.  Fear of loss.  Fear of abandonment.  Fear of loneliness.  Fear of knowing that we err.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of death.  And when I think of this litany of pain, I realize that each of these woes is accompanied by a restorative.  Joy in celebration.  Joy in exaltation.  Joy in gain.  Joy in companionship.  Joy in intimacy.  Joy in knowing that we are doing the right thing.  Joy in perfect, trust-filled union with another.  Joy in life.  Our fear-filled humanity struggles with our covenant-honoring divinity.

Psalm 8 brings us dichotomous images announced in the title: Divine Majesty and Human Dignity.  We find more in the psalm: earth and heaven, babes and foes, enemy and avenger.  The verses that tell all that we really need to know:  What are humans that you [God] are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them?  Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor.  You have given them rule over the works of your hands, put all things at their feet . . . O Lord, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth!

What a wonderful God we have who loves us to the extent that he creates us, visits with us, loves and comforts us, feeds, houses and clothes us, heals and tends to us, listens to us, blesses us . . . always . . . with constancy . . . with fidelity . . . with dignity . . . with patience . . . through eternity.

We often feel closer in death to the ones we love than we did when these dear ones were yet in this life.  These loved ones speak to us constantly now that the physical distances of this world no longer separate us.  They bring us the very real presence of the next world with their constant visitation.  We cannot see them because of the limiting time and space of this globe but still their existence is real.

Teilhard de Chardin 2We are human.  We are divine.  And we feel the constant struggle of reconciling these two worlds of self.  A human death brings us up short because we are forced to consider if we believe that we are created as gift.  We pause to think again about the Resurrection, the forgiveness of sin, life everlasting.  We cannot help but reflect on how we have treated this departed one: with the dignity deserved no matter the situation?  With the witness of divine majesty?  Did we salute the gift of this person while they were still in this life?  Did we honor this person while still with us as well as we will honor them in death?

The ones we love who have died linger among us.  We love that much.  They still laugh when we laugh, cry when we cry.  We cannot see them with the eyes of this world, or hear them with these ears.  But they are here with us nonetheless.  As we are with them.  They hold us close.  They have not disappeared.  Their presence is still felt . . . and it will be . . . forever and ever.  Amen.

Adapted from the May 31, 2008 Noontime.

For more information about Teilhard de Chardin, click on his image above or go to: http://teilharddechardin.org/

Follow this link for another Noontime reflection on God’s eternal love and our own human vulnerability.  (Posted on December 10, 2012.)

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Anna and Jesus

Anna and Jesus

Luke 2:36-38

Never Forsaken

There was also a prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until the age of eighty-four.  She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.  And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. 

Simeon is not the only holy voice who recognizes the Messiah in the infant Jesus.  Simeon and Anna are “Israel in miniature, poised in anticipation of the new”.  (Mays 932)  Yet despite the celebration of the moment there is a recognition of the suffering that will also take place.

God says: I do not want to dampen your joy or bring you sorrow.  I send Anna because I know that in your journey pain will always accompany rejoicing; and I want Anna to remind you that even when you believe I have duped you . . . you will have consolation.  I will never abandon you even though the harsh times may cause you to think that I will not return.  I will never leave you even though you may believe I have.  I want you  to know that I need not return to you . . . for I  have never left.  I am with you always. 

Anna’s appearance after the words of Simeon remind us that “Jerusalem will reject [Jesus] and will instead follow a way that will lead to disaster (19:41-44).  They will seem forsaken by God, but Anna is a reminder that the disaster is not God’s last word: Jesus remains for Jerusalem a sign of hope”. (Barton 930)

Enter the word hope into the blog search bar and explore other reflections that remind us of God’s constant presence in his precious gift of Jesus to the world.

Barton, John, and John Muddiman. THE OXFORD BIBLE COMMENTARY. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001. 930. Print.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 932. Print.

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