Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘The Temple’


Ezekiel 43: God’s Glory Returns

archway-roman-ruins-tyre-lebanon_12240_600x450

National Geographic: Ruins of Roman Archway in Tyre, Lebanon

Thursday, May 25, 2017

As a counterbalance to the description of the downfall of Tyre on which we have reflected before, today we have a description of the temple in the New Jerusalem. What we see described here is God living with all of the Israelites forever. The man leading the prophet through this beautiful scenario says: Describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider the plan, and if they are ashamed of all they have done, make known to them the design of the temple – its arrangements, its exits and entrances – its whole design and all its regulations and laws. Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations. This portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy is full of detailed descriptions of the place and the people who make up this new city where God dwells forever with his people. It was meant to both instruct and to bring comfort to those who lived in exile with this prophet. The footnotes in the NAB point out that in the new Israel the temple is free, even physically, from civil jurisdiction – moving away from the habit of corrupt kings like Ahaz and Manasseh who treated it as a private chapel for pagan rites.

Jerusalem _ Old City Walls _ Noam Chen_IMOT

Noam Chen: Old City of  Jerusalem

When Jesus arrived on the scene hundreds of years later as the true Messiah, he upset much of this separatist and purist thinking. It was for his openness and universality that he was hunted down, condemned and put to death.  Because his new Law of Love fulfilled and superseded the old Law of Moses, he and his apostles were hounded out of towns and executed. Even in the early Christian church we see the struggle with this idea of openness and universality with the first Council which convened in Jerusalem to determine the importance of circumcision as a requirement for church membership. After discussion, and when the dust settles, we read in Acts that circumcision was not determined necessary.  God’s church is open to Gentile and Jew, slave or free, woman or man – to all those who will be faithful to the Covenant first established with Adam and Eve.

This is how we see the New Temple and the New Jerusalem as revealed by Ezekiel millennia ago. This place of worship where God dwells is where we live even today . . . if we might only choose to open our eyes and ears to it. This prophet was painting a picture of radiance for his exiled peope, and they must have taken heart at the memories these words stirred of how it is to gather together as Yahweh’s faithful to repent, to petition, to give thanks, to worship.

As Easter people who believe in the Resurrected Jesus, we too, can relax into these images and make them our own. We can carry them into the world with us each day as we encounter and then counter the darkness that wishes to prevail. We can arm ourselves with these pictures of the universal gathering of all of God’s People . . . the Faithful to the Covenant . . . the Hopeful in all things hopeless . . . the Truthful in all relationships . . . the Struggling with the cares of this world . . . the Freed who have escaped the chains of doubt and anxiety. For we are Easter people who live the Resurrection even now. For God’s Glory has returned in us . . . in our willingness to serve . . . our willingness to be vulnerable . . . our willingness to witness . . . our willingness to be Christ and Light and Truth to a world struggling to be free of the darkness.

This is God’s Plan. This is God’s Design. This is God’s Law.

Amen.  Alleluia!

A Favorite from April 13, 2008.

For a Noontime reflection on Tyre, visit: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/09/18/tyre/ 

For more National Geographic images of Lebanon, click on the image above. 

Read Full Post »


Ezra 6: 19-23: Marvels – Part V

Monday, November 14, 2016

Dedication of the Temple

Dedication of the Temple

God had changed the mind of the king of Assyria to the Israelites in rebuilding The Temple of God, the God of Israel.

God says: My faithful celebrated when the Emperor of Syria released them from bondage, for they saw my hand in that marvel. My faithful returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple where they and I communed. Today I invite you to open hour own heart to me so that I might build my New Temple within.

Then the Israelites who had returned from exile, along with everyone who had removed themselves from the abuses of the nations to join them and seek God, the God of Israel, ate the Passover. With great joy they celebrated.

neither-is-new-wine-putGod says: My faithful returned from exile to celebrate with me in great joy for the marvel of their return. They believed that I lived only in their Temple but I have come to walk among you to reveal greater marvels than you even imagined. I come as one of you to live with you, to eat and drink with you, to pray and play with you. I have come to write a New Covenant with you and to write in on your heart. 

With joy they celebrated . . .

newcovenantGod says: I know that there are many days and many nights when my marvels and miracles fade from your memory but despite this dwindling, I urge you to remain in me. For I will always remain in you. Exchange your old wine skins for new ones so that I might live in you forever. 

With joy they celebrated the marvels their God had done for them.

For more on Darius, the King of Assyria, click on the Temple image above, or visit: http://bibleencyclopedia.com/pictures/Ezra_6_Dedication_of_the_temple.htm

Read Full Post »


1 & 2 Chronicles: Our Sacred History – Part II

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cornelis de Vos: KIng David handing the Scepter to Solomon

Cornelis de Vos: King David handing the Scepter to Solomon

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done . . . 

As we move from childhood to maturity, we take on commitments and we either fulfill or turn away from promises. As we seize control of as many facets of our lives as possible, we also strive for success as the world around us identifies it. And somewhere in the blur of activity and struggle, they is always the chance that we might move away from the core of who and what we are.

In the story of David and Solomon we find two men, and the women who surround them, scrabble to come out on top and in front, surrounded by security, relaxing into comfort. The details of David’s anointing and rise, his battles with both his enemies and King Saul he has pledged to serve, are all benchmarks in David’s life. So are his interactions with Michal and Bathsheba, and the prophet Nathan. David’s son Solomon must also struggle against heavy odds to survive into adulthood and to assume his father’s seat of power; but later he succumbs to the wishes of others and the lure of success and fame. Details of a temple are laid out and even include specifics about music, vessels and decorations. Life at court attracts both those who support and those who tear down what once was full of hope.

How do we arrive at the peak of power in our lives? What do we store up for the journey ahead and what do we jettison? What do we tend to and what do we ignore? Does our relationship with God grow or diminish? Have we found wisdom that nourishes and serenity that heals . . . and do these gifts from God even matter to us?

Today we take time to examine our lives to see how or if we have followed God’s lead in the living of our hours on earth, and to examine the kind of kingdom we have been building. We consider what we have set aside as having great value and what we have cast off as holding us down. And we discover, in the many relationships and encounters we have experienced, that both our storehouse and the debris we leave behind reveal a great deal about who and what we have become.

The two books of Chronicles have four major portions: a genealogy of our leaders beginning with Abraham (1 Chronicles 1-9), a description of the monarchy under David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 9 – 2 Chronicles 9), the divided kingdom (2 Chronicles 10-18), and the period from Hezekiah to the Babylonian exile (2 Chronicles 19-36). This story of divine promise interwoven with human commitment and infidelity tell a story that we might see reflected in our own personal sacred history. This story is worthy of our time over the next few days.

Read Full Post »


Psalm 27: Fearless Trust

ark

A rendering of the Ark of the Covenant

Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 17, 2016

The followers of Yahweh erected a tent to house the ark they created to hold their tangible remnants of their relationship with the Lord: stone tablets holding God’s ten pronouncements of the Mosaic Law, manna provided by the Lord during the Hebrews’ desert wanderings, and the staff that Aaron used to mystify Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt whom the enslaved people of God escaped. The Israelites replaced the tent with a glorious Temple to house the ark, sacred scrolls of God’s word to them. More than once this Temple was overrun, brought down, and reduced to rubble and a single, solemn wall of prayer. Today followers of Christ carry this tent, this Temple within; and it is in this sacred interior space that we find courage, hope, strength, faith, persistence, peace and joy. As we move through Eastertide, we bolster ourselves for the journey ahead as we continue our pilgrimage.

The New American Bible gives a wonderful title to these verses: A Psalm of Fearless Trust in God. We might benefit from the grace of this special prayer if we reflect carefully on its words as we pray them.

moses tabernacle

A depiction of the Moses Tent


When we are anxious or troubled, we recall . . .

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    I will fear no one.
The Lord protects me from all danger;
    I will never be afraid.

When we are overwhelmed and distraught, we remind one another . . .  

Even if a whole army surrounds me,
    I will not be afraid;
even if enemies attack me,
    I will still trust God.

When we are lost or abandoned, we remember . . .

I have asked the Lord for one thing;
    one thing only do I want:
to live in the Lord’s house all my life,
    to marvel there at his goodness,
    and to ask for his guidance.

????????????????????????????????????

A model of the Jerusalem Temple

When all seems lost and dark, we remind one another . . .

In times of trouble God will shelter me;
    God will keep me safe in the Lord’s Temple
    and make me secure on a high rock.

When we are alone or bereft, we call out . . .

So I will triumph over my enemies around me.

    With shouts of joy I will offer sacrifices in his Temple;
    I will sing, I will praise the Lord.

Hear me, Lord, when I call to you!
    Be merciful and answer me!

When we falter, we encourage one another . . .

When you said, “Come worship me,”
I answered, “I will come, Lord.”

The Wailing Wall, Jerusalme today

The Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem today (The Wailing Wall)

When the world closes in and we find no exit from sorrow, we pray . . .

 Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do,
    and lead me along a safe path,
    because I have many enemies.

Don’t abandon me to my enemies,
    who attack me with lies and threats.

 When we are rescued, we rejoice . . .

I know that I will live to see

      the Lord‘s goodness in this present life.

Trust in the Lord.
    Have faith, do not despair.
Trust in the Lord.

woman-praying-darkWhen this present life seems as though there is no evidence of God’s presence, let us remember Christ’s temple of light and peace that we carry within.

Psalm 27, one of my favorites, has been set to music by many. As we pray today we might listen to the Shane and Shane rendition at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndZsEDuCVAQ or a version by James Block: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJDF6z2EuPQ

If there is time in the next several hours, enter the word TEMPLE into the blog search bar and consider how God’s plan has brought us from enslavement through the desert to a solid place where we rejoice . . . and yet remains with us when great loss or great sorrow overtake us. It is God’s abiding love that brings us this fearless trust in the temple of God that remains within. When we reflect on these images or listen to these or other audios as we pray, we allow this fearless trust in God to rest in us today. Wishing all of you peace and joy on this day and all days.

Read Full Post »


Ezekiel 48:35: The Lord is Here – Part II

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tablets of Jewish Exiles

Tablets of Jewish Exiles

We know that when the prophet Ezekiel was deported, he was taken to a small village on a canal near the banks of the river Chebar. Scholars believe that around the year 597 B.C.E. he trekked with others from Israel to Syria, then south through modern Iraq. He may even have volunteered to accompany an early wave of deportees before the collapse of Israel in 593 B.C.E.  In any case, he was called by the Spirit to speak, and to write down the oracles sent to him.  And he obeyed.  An essay in the CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE tells us that despite the fact that he uses the pronoun “I” so frequently, he “showed little initiative and remained completely obedient to God, like clay in the hands of the potter.  He never questioned God’s complete control”.  (Senior RG 337-338)

Ezekiel was a strong influence in his community and kept before the exiled the central importance of the temple and the presence of the Lord – even though the temple had been defiled, and the faithful could no longer visit its sacred precincts. It is likely that through priests like Ezekiel, the Jewish community was able to cling to Yahweh through the excruciating trial of separation, and so we can look to him as an exemplar of how to best live when we are physically separated from something we hold dear.  We must allow the healing waters of the Spirit to flow through our temple – because the Lord is Here.  He is in the suffering, he is in the healing, and he is in the rejoicing.

When we are faced with deep disappointment or separation from all we love, how do we respond? Today we consider this question as we remember that God is especially with us when we suffer.

The River Chebar today

The River Chebar today

From the CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE (NAB) Readers’ Guide page 337: The last chapters of Ezekiel describe the new temple in the New Jerusalem and the description “offers a vision of fresh water, flowing from the altar, down the Kidron Valley, into the Dead Sea.  It is part of a biblical tradition, symbolically declaring that all life flows from God, enthroned at the Temple . . .  The long passage in Sirach 24 transforms this stream into the four rivers of paradise, awaiting the wise person and true worshipper.  The Temple accordingly becomes a symbol of the messianic era and mirrors God’s true and everlasting home in heaven. . .  The passage from Ezekiel, especially its opening words [in 47:1-12], has inspired the ancient paschal hymn, in Latin Vidi aquam, ‘I saw water.’  Water became an important feature in the Easter liturgy.  The Book of Ezekiel ends fittingly with the new name for Jerusalem, The Lord is here’.”

When we spend time with this prophecy today, we have the opportunity to feel the presence of God as we remember and reflect . . . we are Easter People . . . cleansed by Easter water . . . and the Lord is among us.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 337. Print.   

Adapted from a Favorite written on September 15, 2007.

For more on the Babylonian exile of the Israelites, visit the Encyclopedia Britannica at: http://www.britannica.com/event/Babylonian-Exile 

 

Read Full Post »


John 2:13-25: Cleansing the Temple 

El Greco: Christ Cleasning the Temple

El Greco: Christ Cleansing the Temple

Third Sunday of Lent, March 8, 2015

In today’s Gospel we hear that Jesus made a whip out of cords and then used it to drive moneychangers out of a sacred place of worship. As we read Jesus’ words, we might consider how we have cluttered our hearts with sacrifices that mean little or with the bargains we hope to exact from a loving God.

Take these [doves] out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.

As we read Jesus’ words we might consider our willingness to give over the false temples we have constructed to the cleansing, healing hands of Christ.

Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.

As we read John’s words we might consider God’s great generosity and mercy.

Many began to believe in [Jesus’] name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.

As we read John’s words we might consider how we might begin to cleanse our hearts and minds, and how we might willingly offer them up for destruction.

Learn about Regina at the Women for Women site

Learn about Regina at the Women for Women site

Study El Greco’s rendering of Christ Cleansing the Temple above, then explore the sites below and determine if there is an appropriate action we might take toward removing the marketplace from our temples and releasing the captive doves.

Women for Women: http://www.womenforwomen.org/

Women in Black: http://womeninblack.org/

Read about Las madres de la Plaza de Mayo documentary at: http://www.nytimes.com/movies/movie/227561/Las-Madres-The-Mothers-of-Plaza-de-Mayo/overview

Watch the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo documentary trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jTxfPz3_rw

 

 

Read Full Post »


joyWednesday, November 12, 2014

1 Chronicles

Joy and the LORD

We move forward in our journey as we visit with scripture looking for stories about joy that will amaze us in a number of ways. To explore other stories in which joy surprises us, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today our stories are from 1 Chronicles.

In the books of Chronicles we find an historical perspective of all that we read in the previous books of the Old Testament and when we search these chapters and verses for references to joy we are not surprised to find stories like these . . .

Chapter 12: Warriors join David in Hebron, many of them banished by Saul in his angry jealousy over David’s talent and popularity. When we think of escaping a wretched leader, or when we think of breaking long and enduring relationships we may be surprised to find joy as a possibility in such dark scenarios . . . yet here it is. As always, resting in the presence of the LORD who is always abiding with the broken-hearted.

Philistines_cow_pulling_arkChapter 16: David and his warriors arrive in Jerusalem bearing the Ark of the Covenant, the ancient chest containing the Mosaic commandment tablets, Aaron’s blossoming rod, and manna from the desert. This physical presence of the LORD among them, brings the faithful great joy. When we think of celebrating our good fortune and happiness we might be surprised to discover that God is just as joyful as we are . . . yet, here God is. As always, rejoicing in goodness and blessing.

Chapter 29: David and his followers amass gifts to build a new temple in which to house the presence of the LORD. When we think of preparing a temple for the indwelling of the Spirit we may reflect more on what is lacking rather than what is present, what is imperfect rather than what is perfect . . . yet here the Spirit is. As always, joyfully healing and sustaining us with God’s abundant grace.

arkVisit 1 Chronicles to read more and look for the stories above in 12:40, 16:27, 16:33, 29:17 and 29:22. Visit the scripture link above and compare the different versions of these verses found in the drop down menus. Explore these events and reflect on the surprise of God’s joy in our own lives.

For a fun audio version of what happened to the Ark when captured by the Philistines, and how the Ark finally came to Jerusalem, click on the image of the oxen pulling the cart above or visit: http://psalmbird.net/pages/DavidandArk.htm

For more about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/ 

Read Full Post »


joyTuesday, November 11, 2014

1 Kings 8

Joy and Goodness

We continue our journey as we visit with scripture looking for stories about joy that will surprise us in a number of ways. To explore other stories in which joy astounds us, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today our story is again from the Book of Kings.

Verse 1: Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.

King Solomon, known for his desire to know God’s wisdom, builds the great temple to house the Ark of the Covenant. Later in the New Testament Jesus declares that this Temple will fall and be raised in three days.

Verses 14-17: Then the king turned around and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel stood. He said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to my father David, saying, ‘Since the day that I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city from any of the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.’ 

King Solomon blesses the people and thanks Yahweh for the fulfillment of promises. In Jesus, we find God’s ultimate promise: healing, transformation, resurrection.

King Solomon

King Solomon

Verses 22 & 23: Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. He said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart . . .”

King Solomon dedicates both the Temple and the people to Yahweh. In Jesus, we find God’s ultimate manifestation: compassion, justice, deep and abiding love.

Verses 62: Then the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord. 

King Solomon offers sacrifices in the name of the people. Jesus offers himself as sacrifice to bring the faithful to eternal life.

Verses 65 & 66: So Solomon held the festival at that time, and all Israel with him—a great assembly, people from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi of Egypt—before the Lord our God, seven days.  On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to their tents, joyful and in good spirits because of all the goodness that the Lord had shown to his servant David and to his people Israel.

King Solomon delights in celebrating with the people and in sending them rejoicing to their tents. Jesus delights in celebrating with and within us, in rejoicing in our willingness to open our hearts to him, and in rejoicing in the goodness of God in each of us.

Visit 1 Kings to read more of this story. Visit the scripture link above and compare the different versions found in the drop down menus. Explore this story and reflect on the joy of God’s goodness in our own lives as he visits our tents and our hearts.

For more about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/ 

Read Full Post »


Tissot: Chief Priests Talking Together

Tissot: Chief Priests Talking Together

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mark 12:18-27

Resurrection – Part I: Watching

You are greatly misled.

In today’s citation Jesus attempts to instruct the Sadducees about resurrected life, telling them that they have missed the Mosaic message and promise. The Sadducees were members of a priestly family descended from one of David’s high priests, Zadok.  King Solomon gave this group supreme control over the Temple and they came to form one of the ruling parties of Judaism from the time of the Hasmonean Dynasty around 146 BCE to the destruction of the Temple in 70 ACE.  They stood on the religious authority presented in the first five books of the Bible, The Torah, and were highly conservative; yet despite this leaning, the Sadducees were open to the Greek culture and may have been willing to sacrifice their beliefs for wealth and power.  They took special exception to the belief in the existence of angels, resurrection, and life after death, beliefs held by the Pharisees, a religious reform movement that began in the century before Christ’s birth emphasizing fidelity to Jewish law through an elaborate system of oral laws that bolster the written Mosaic Law.  This movement found its base in the local synagogue where scriptures and traditions were studied, and a strong sense of piety was nurtured.  It is into this world of closely held ideas and tightly fought intellectual battles that Jesus comes to the poor and disenfranchised to turn the world order on its head.

For more on the similarities between the Pharisees and Sadducees, visit the Jewish Virtual Library at: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/sadducees_pharisees_essenes.html

St. Paul was a Pharisee who zealously defended the Jewish faith before becoming the feet of Christ to take the message of spiritual freedom into the world.  Both the Pharisees and Sadducees jealously guarded the influence they had with the occupiers of their land; but we see without much effort the dichotomy between priestly sect and lay people, between temple and synagogue, between strict conservatism that sees the path to God through the temple sacrifice conducted by priests and the lay movement seeking to invigorate faith through instruction and fidelity to the Law.  Both groups saw Jesus as a threat . . . for he came to set the faithful free from narrow constraints and corrupt hierarchies. Jesus reminds us repeatedly that there is indeed, a true path to God, but it is open to all.  It charges no Temple tax and it requires only that its followers work in God’s vineyard to build God’s kingdom. The Temple is now Christ who lives in each of us. The Law of Moses is now fulfilled by the Law of Love that Jesus brings. The only tax we need pay is our allegiance to a loving God who welcomes all to the feast. And we will miss all of this if we are not watching for the resurrection that lives with and for and in us each day. When we focus on self, we become protective of all that we have built up like the Sadducees who question Jesus. We miss the truth that God uses each of us in God’s way to build The Kingdom that heals and saves. We miss the truth that Christ reveal to and in each of us . . . and we find that we have become easily and greatly misled.

Tomorrow, waiting for the resurrection . . .

For insights into Luke’s story of how Jesus interacted with his accusers, click on the image above or go to: https://www.lds.org/manual/print/new-testament-student-manual/introduction-to-the-gospel-according-to-st-luke/chapter-20-luke-23-24?lang=eng 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.Glossary 433 and 436. Print.   

Adapted from a reflection written on November 22, 2008.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: