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Posts Tagged ‘Spirit’


Monday, May 24, 2021

Sunset-Sunrise-Clouds-Landscapes-Sun-1800x28801 John 2

Ideal and Real – Part IV: The New Commandment

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.

We look for new inspiration. We believe that if we had one more resource all would be well. We look to off-load our worries when all we need do is put them in God’s hands.

The old commandment is the word that you have heard. And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

All will be well if we can just get a raise. Everything will be fine if we can just someone to do what we want. We believe we will have no more worries if we can just arrange life as we want it while all the while abundant gifts are given us daily.

Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.

Our work environment would improve if cranky and controlling co-workers would go elsewhere. Family get-togethers would be so much better but for that person with whom we struggle.  Our worship community would be perfect if only the cranky believers would worship somewhere else . . . and all the while Christ walks among us. All the while the Spirit abides and calls us.  All the while we are children of the same creator who asks us to live in peaceful unity.

This is the new commandment the Apostle John relays to us. This is the new commandment Christ brings to us. This is the new commandment that unites the real and ideal.

Tomorrow, uniting day and night in prayer.


Image from: http://www.all-wallpapers.net/wallpaper/sunset-sunrise-clouds-landscapes-sun/

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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

holy_spirit-hahlbohm_l__73391_zoom

Danny Hahlbolm: The Holy Spirit

Matthew 13:15

Prayer for a Willingness to Listen

Jesus says: For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.  (Matthew 13:15)

These words alone ought to prepare us to listen for God’s healing voice; and yet we resist. Let us take seven minutes of our busy day to listen to words from Julian Treasure delivered at a TED talk in Oxford, England in July of 2010. Find Shh! Sound health in 8 steps” at the link below.  When we listen to Julian, we find new readiness and new energy . . . to listen . . . and to pray . . .

https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_shh_sound_health_in_8_steps

Creator of ears and sound, help us to hear the music of your creation. 

Christ of human voice and compassion, help us to listen to the Word you have brought us.

Spirit of God’s mercy and care, help us to perceive the Word that lives in us.

God of words and voices, help us to nurture our willingness to hear your Spirit’s wisdom.

Amen.

Today’s Gospel is Matthew 17:1-9. What do the disciples see and hear? How do we see and hear God who transfigures our lives?


Image from: http://shop.jesusartusa.com/products/Holy-Spirit.html

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Monday, March 15, 2021

Amos 3-6

Words and Woes

Amos conveys the words of God in his prophecy. Put away black-and-white thinking. Step away from corruption and nepotism. Be open to transformation and redemption. Jesus arrives as the teacher who leads us away from dualism. He points out exploitation and favoritism.  He rescues and changes.

Amos shares the woes he sees. The ease with which violence creeps into our lives. The mourning that threatens to drag us into darkness. The worship of little gods and the turning away from the Living God. The Spirit comes to abide with us, easing the pain of loss, comforting those who are crushed, gathering the remnant into the Body of Christ.

Amos tells us that there is much more to life than ease and comfort, power and fame. Amos reminds us that our real life lies in how we treat one another and not in the accumulation of wealth or titles. Amos asks us to move out of the darkness and into the light.

Christ comes to teach us how to live The Way. Christ steps out to lead us, taking on corrupt structures and power bases. Christ lives in each of us, renewing, recalling, and patiently ministering to our fears, wants and anxieties.

These are the Words of God conveyed by Amos. Jesus lives as the Word of God, walking and healing as he moves among us.

These are the Woes of the world as seen by Amos. Jesus comes to live among us and to remind us that trust in God alone prevails over the deepest and worst violence.

As we continue to move through Lent, let us pause to consider if or how we trust the healing hands of Christ.

Tomorrow, a Lenten prayer for understanding.


For a fresh view of Amos’ prophecy visit: http://jasonsoroski.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/unqualifed-the-story-of-amos/

Image from: http://www.artnet.com/artists/james-smetham/the-call-of-the-prophet-amos-o79LEkNxDOXiMmVWrrBNCQ2 

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Third Sunday of Easter. April 26, 2020

Sacred-Breath_Humanity-Healing[1]Matthew 9:27-34: Healing

In this passage Jesus cures three people.  This compassion brings him into confrontation with the authorities who question the source of his power to heal.  Despite the accusation from the Pharisees that his energy comes from the dark world of the prince of demons Jesus persists, knowing that his actions rise from the goodness of God within.  We also have the opportunity to enter into this goodness, into this God-ness, when we enter into Christ.

From ALL WILL BE WELL by Julian of Norwich: “Because of God’s great love for humanity, he does not make a distinction in love between Christ and the least creature.  It is easy enough to believe that the blessed spirit of Christ is high in the glorious Godhead; but, as I have seen, where the blessed spirit of Christ dwells, there dwell in him the spirits of all who will be saved.  So let us rejoice greatly that God dwells within us.  Let us rejoice even further that we dwell within God.  For our spirits are made to be God’s resting place, and our spirits’ rest is in God who is unmade.  Great it is to know in our hearts that God, who is our Maker, rests in our spirits.  But far greater is it to know in our hearts, our spirits, which are made, rest in God.  Buy that substance, we are who we are!  I beheld no difference between God and our substance.  All was God, as it were.  Yet, I knew that our substance is in God.  In other words, God is God, and we are creatures in God”.

Teilhard de Chardin, a 20th century French paleontologist, priest and philosopher wrote frequently that we human beings persist in thinking that we are bodies walking around with a spirit when really we are spirits moving around in bodies.  The physical world we see and move in is unreal, it is an illusion; it is the mysterious, intangible, spiritual world that is real and eternal.  Perhaps this is why we find the story of Christ so baffling and sometimes unbelievable.  We have things upside down.

Our spirit is made to be God’s resting place.  It is for this reason that Jesus has the power to dispose of any illness or affliction that assails us.  God is the creator of all.

Our spirit is made to be God’s resting place.  It is for this reason that God tends to us and calls us constantly to goodness.  We are made in God’s image.

Our spirit is made to be God’s resting place.  It is for this reason that the Holy Spirit abides within to comfort our anxious minds.  We are precious in the eyes of God.

Our spirit is made to be God’s resting place.  God makes no distinction between Christ and the least soul.  Imagine the good we might do, the sorrow we might heal, the transformation we might find, when we live with this mantra in mind.

Our spirit is made to be God’s resting place.  So let us open our thoughts, our hearts, and our souls to Christ . . . and to the work he has in mind for us today.  To whom might we restore sight?  To whom might we give voice?  When we find ourselves confronting the Pharisees of our day, let us remember our mantra so that we might step forward untroubled to pick up the work of God’s hands.


Kirvan, John. All Will Be Well: Julian of Norwich. 2008. Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 2005. Print.

Written on August 18, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://humanityhealing.net/2011/09/sacred-breath/

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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Acts 4:23-31: With Boldness  

aaa[2]There is something for each of us to learn as we watch this fledgling spiritual community find a way to maneuver the overt threats to the community’s existence.  There is something for each of us to learn as we struggle to speak the word of God in a culture that does not want to hear truth about itself.  In today’s Noontime we see – if we look – a road map for traversing a tricky patch of the path we call life.  When brambles arise, when authorities menace, when we are filled with doubt . . . we must pluck up our courage and move forward with boldness. 

They went back to their own people . . . we must always surround ourselves with spiritual pilgrims who seek truth and authenticity.

They raised their voices to God with one accord . . . we must always petition God in solidarity with others who seek justice and mercy.

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit . . . we must always keep ready our dwelling place so that it is realizes the presence of God.

They continued to speak the word of God with boldness . . . we must always move forward in God rather than at God.

It is easy to look back over the difficult parts of our lives to assess our actions and non-actions and yet when we do, we find reward.  We see that when we cannot muster strength, God provides it.  When we cannot summon courage, Jesus brings it.  And we find that when we look for love, the Spirit instills it.

They continued to speak the word of God with boldness . . . The apostles moved forward through their fear by gathering together with boldness.  They decided that the fear of negative consequences would be outweighed by the boldness they brought together.  When we cower before a menacing threat let us remember the lesson we learn today: Return to what you know to be truth, find solidarity with those of like mind, be receptive to the in-dwelling of the Spirit . . . and continue to speak with boldness,

There is nothing to fear.  There is nothing to lose.  There is everything to gain.


For another blogger’s perspective on Boldness, click on the image above or go to: http://ladycougs.blogspot.com/2012/01/boldness-acts-1342-52.html

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Sirach 30:14-25: Health of Body and Soul

Saturday, November 23, 2019

There are so many ways to be joyful, and the list which Jesus Ben Sirach imparts to us today is worthy of our time.  I like the way the writer juxtaposes bitterness with joy, cheerfulness with brooding, courage with resentment, good health with a wasted frame.  Verse 20 is particularly interesting as we may know people who are determined to be sad.  Verse 25 is also fun – especially when we look ahead at 31:12-31 and 32:1-13, table etiquette.

Cheerful hospitality is a hallmark of Gospel living.  Offering of hearth and family are a sign of our willingness to be open and vulnerable to God through those whom he sends to enter our homes and our sacred places of the heart.  For the hearth of the family and the heart of the individual – these are the places where God dwells, where the Holy Spirit abides . . . and it is for this reason that we must seek composure of the heart.

Contentment of spirit, writes Sirach, better this than precious coral.

God wants us to be happy and to revel in our happiness.  God wishes us well, urges us to live cheerfully, to let him take on our worries and anxieties.  Through discipline, through doing well and doing right, through acting with mercy and justice . . . this is how we reach true contentment, true softening . . . and composure of the heart. 

The words of Sirach remind us well of this.


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

Image from: http://moochuk.com/index.php?showimage=328

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Psalm 30:6: At night there are tears, but joy comes with the dawn.  

The darkness of night seems to magnify our fears; demons multiply when shadows fall.  The morning light dispels our aches, pains and fears.  If only we might live constantly in those moments of first light.

God says: I understand why you fear the darkness; it is where the wicked spend their time.  I appreciate how much you love the light and how hard you work to bring light into the darkness.  Jesus comes to you each day in both obvious and subtle ways to replenish and nourish the energy that drains as you struggle with your dark hours.  My Spirit abides with you endlessly to lift you when you are down, to animate you when you are discouraged.  I defend, protect, call and unite you.  The darkness is empty and hollow . . . and has no power over you. Live in me and you will have the light with you always.  With me joy abides. In me the Spirit lives.  For me Jesus saves.  Come . . . and remain in me.

It is possible to live in the light even though we are surrounded by darkness.

For more reflections about dispelling the dark, type the word Light in the blog search box and see where the light leads you.  Click on the image above to read a story about two brothers and the lesson that the “first light” brought to them. 


A re-post from August 30, 2012.

Image from: http://nandini-j.blogspot.com/2012/01/two-brothers-chinese-story-on-respect.html

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Friday, September 20, 2019

1 Corinthians 2:10: The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.

When a political, social or religious structure prohibits us from asking questions we need to be wary.

When friends, relatives or colleagues tell us to keep secrets we must not go along with the group.

When we are tempted to conceal truth, to fog reality or look the other way we are obliged to seek clarity and advocate for openness.

God says: Do not be afraid to scrutinize your surroundings; honest questions bring you to the truth.  Many will attempt to keep you far from me and away from the light but I can and do permeate all space.  I am present in all times.  I penetrate closed doors and I enter hard hearts. I soften stiff necks and I convert the most twisted sinner.  So do not fear inquiry; it becomes you.  Do not be afraid to allow your doubts to generate questions that will free you from fear.  I am open to each of you.  I have told you who I am and how I am.  I know all about you for I have created you in my image.  Scrutinize everything, even me.  I long to hold you within my own heart.

For more reflections, type the word Ask God or Asking God into the blog search box to see where the Spirit leads you.


A re-post from August 28, 2012.

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2 Maccabees 1 and 2: The Ark Hidden During Captivity

Second Sunday of Easter, April 28, 2019

The Ark of the Covenant

Written on July 19, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

The HARPERCOLLINS COMMENTARY gives a wonderful exegesis of all four books of the Maccabees, but today we look at just these first 2 chapters of 2 Maccabees which the Douay Version refers to as the incident of the hidden temple fire or as “The Hidden Ark during the Captivity”.  All of this sets me to thinking about the wonder of our creation, about the mystery of our personal and collective evolution, and about how and when we go into captivity . . . how and when we return from exile.

We all experience captivity.  Some say that life here on earth is nothing more than that – an exile, a place of suffering and pain.  Optimists see life as a series of experiences, gifts, blessings and celebrations.  Still others see life as a combination of many opposites, dichotomies, bifurcations and amalgamations.  From any of these perspectives, when we look honestly and carefully, we see that each life has its own Captivity with its own Ark in which reposes the Fire of the Spirit.  This fire is the very breath of God at our creation, the mission for which we are destined, the karma for which we are to live, the potential gift God offers to the world as an act of love.  And when we are led away into captivity, all of this is held hidden for a time to be called forth at a precise moment.

Recently I have come to understand that Captivity is not all bad.  It can be a time of suffering and separateness, and it can also be a time of forced retreat, a time of letting go and giving over to God, a time of healing and restoration.  Taken this way, we understand that exile is a time to be hidden, to be held confined for a time away from something we have thought we desired, to be held safely just long enough that we reach the precise point in our pilgrimage where we see something clearly for the first time.  Captivity of the Spirit endures long enough for us to cease thrashing against the world and against ourselves.  It lasts to the precise tipping point at which we jettison all that has pained us . . . because there is nothing else to do.

And all the while that we have been apart and away, the spark of our creation has burned as brightly as ever even though it appears – as we read today in Maccabees – to be mud and water.  Nothing has diminished; rather, all has been clarified, magnified.  All that was captive and hidden now glorifies God more than before.  Imagine our surprise when we, like the Jews who rededicated their temple, lay the tinder to offer holocausts to our God and we realize that we have ignited the offering with the mud from the hidden place of our exile.  Suddenly we see our captivity as gift rather than punishment.

There is a need from time to time to go into exile, to find the place that is to remain unknown and to hide away in this secret place the tent and tabernacle, the altar of incense and fire, and the ark.  We are meant to block this place off and to seal it up so that the hidden spirit and temple fire might be rediscovered when God calls it forth.  And this tabernacle, with its sacred fire appearing as mud, is meant to be reopened and rededicated.

We have learned to fear captivity and the restriction it symbolizes.  How much better we will be when we come to see it as a quiet time in which the living fire of our soul learns to rekindle in God.  Like the people in today’s reading, once we begin to look for resurrection in loss, we will be amazed that the fire of our spirit comes forth from the mud and we will see as gift what we thought to be punishment.  We will marvel that God again resides in the Ark of our lives and we will finally come to understand . . . that he was never truly gone.


A re-post from Easter Week 2012.

Image from: http://www.mishkanministries.org/theark.php

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

Tomorrow we will reflect on Captivity Ended

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