Posts Tagged ‘sowing and reaping’

Ezra 7 & 8The Hand of the Lord

Michelangelo: The Creation of Adam

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Because the hand of the Lord, his God, was upon him, the king granted him all that he requested.

A Favorite from May 2, 2011.

This is something for us to consider – particularly on a day when we come to grips with the death of Osama Bin Laden.   It is one of the most difficult lessons that scripture poses and I often return to certain lines from Exodus because they remind us that the process we initiate in our lives is likely the process with which we will finish.

In Exodus 8:15 and 8:32 we read that Pharaoh hardens his heart which seems to set the pattern for his life.  Later, in Exodus 9:12, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, and 14:8  we read that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heartfollowing this pattern the man had set in motion.  In 9:14 read that Pharaoh’s leaders have also hardened their hearts.  Finally, in 10:1 the Lord warns Moses that he has hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

All of this reminds us of Newton’s First Law: Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. Or as we read in the story of Job, what we plow and sow we also reap (Job 4:6).  St. Paul reinforces this idea with the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 9:6) and Galatians (Galatians 6:8-9).

Fortunately for nature there is Newton’s third law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  This is not so much the power of good against evil but rather, the power of God to convert evil into good.  Fortunately for us God loves us enough to pull goodness out of evil.

As we read Ezra’s story to see how he and Nehemiah nurture the return of the Jewish people, it becomes clear that he indeed has the hand of God upon him for together with his friend he brings order out of chaos.   There does not seem to be any other explanation of how these two men achieve so much against such heavy odds.

Psalm 95 encourages us to harden not our heartsIt is true that when we turn away from the Lord our world and our lives become colder each day while conversely when we turn to the Lord with our problems we increase in goodness and abundance.  This is what Christ tells us in the Gospel stories – Matthew 25:29, Mark 4:25, and Luke 19:26.  This is what Christ tells us today.  If we wish to have God’s hand upon us, we must act as though we believe it is so.

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Galatians 6:1-10: Doing Good

Wednesday, August 3, 2016galatians_6.9_kjv_wallpaper.

If we are to pay our taxes and tithes as Jesus tells us, if we are to allow Christ to transform the stones we want to throw into stepping stones that save us from drowning, we may want again review the rules for the road we journey with Christ.

My friends, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way . . . Keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too.

We listen to Jesus who brings us the fullness of the Law of Love.

Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.

We live the meekness of Christ to guard against the lure of pride.

If you think you are something when you really are nothing, you are only deceiving yourself.

We remember that God is the ultimate and only judge of our hearts.

You should each judge your own conduct. If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done.

We share the Good News humbly, gently and persistently.

If you are being taught the Christian message, you should share all the good things you have with your teacher.

We remember that God is in charge.

Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. You will reap exactly what you plant.

We believe that we reap what we sow.

If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life.

We understand that we become weary from our determined striving through Christ.

So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest.

We honor our relationship with God by doing good for and to others.

So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone.

We reflect today on these reminders of the Rules for the Road in our journey with Christ.


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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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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jeremiah 25:15-38

The Coming StormThe Storm Unleashed

As children we might see the Old Testament as a land of dichotomy where God speaks lovingly to the faithful and spews anger at those who fall away. As children we thrive in an atmosphere of absolute rules and clear boundaries. As adults, reality tells us another story in which we humans are rarely entirely honest and open as we struggle to balance our individual needs and hope with those of our broader society and even the world.  As adults we know that sometimes good people do bad things; too frequently the innocent suffer.

The fire and brimstone God we see today is far from the forgiving father in Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) . . . or perhaps we are seeing with our human eyes and feeling with our human heart rather than allowing our divinity to govern us. What if we were to allow the Spirit within to sing the song we read today?

God calls to each of us, urging us home to live a life of generosity and kindness.

phoenix haboobThe Lord roars from on high, from his holy dwelling he raises his voice; mightily he roars over the range, a shout like that of vintagers over the grapes.

God urges all of us to work in solidarity for those on the margins, asking us to include all rather than to exclude many.

To all who inhabit the earth to its very ends the uproar spreads; for the Lord has an indictment against the nations.

God warns us of the surety of our actions; we sow our own reaping, we gather as we sow.

God passes judgment upon all mankind: the godless shall be given to the sword, says the Lord.

God reminds us that as we forgive so are we forgiven and that the storm that appears to hover on the horizon is surely coming our way; our own actions cannot be denied in God’s reality.

Coming_Storm_by_SheriffMercury99A great storm is unleashed from the ends of the earth.

False shepherds find themselves in the barren desert of their own hearts that they have fed with the souls of the innocent.

Howl, you shepherds, and wail! Roll in the dust, leaders of the flock!

The goodness of God welcomes home those who fall away . . . if only they will turn to God. Those who determine to remain in their fallen way will understand that they bring about their own destruction.

The lion leaves his lair, and their land is made desolate by the sweeping sword . . . as a great storm is unleashed from the ends of the earth.

Murillo: The Return of the Prodigal Son

Murillo: The Return of the Prodigal Son

As children we are frightened by these images and we determine to be among the faithful who escape the storm. As adults we see that no one escapes and yet all escape. As adults we see that the great storm is already upon us . . . and yet quietly and persistently and lovingly . . . the forgiving father works among us, sheltering us from the lion, the sword and the storm.

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