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Posts Tagged ‘The Word’


Friday, September 18, 2020

scribe2[1]

Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age?

1 Corinthians 1:20-25

Wisdom, Signs and Debates

As we read these words of Saint Paul we might think we are listening to political commentary on recent world and local events. Crisis brings out the worst and the best in us. Questions are asked but the answers are often not heard. Let us put a little time aside today to listen for God’s wisdom, to see God’s signs and to allow God to bring all debate into union with The Word.

Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age?

We cling to political views without considering how or even if they reflect the Gospel.

Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?

We wage wars and neglect the poor without seeing the chaos that these actions add to an already fractured world.

The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

We continue to rely on our own small powers more than God’s limitless ones without hearing these words in the context of today’s world.

And so we pray . . .

Patient and loving God, send us your wisdom and teach us how to replace our own human folly with your Word. 

Good and forgiving God, continue to bless us with your many signs and open our eyes and ears and hearts to your voice and your touch.

Mighty and all-encompassing God, support us as we search blindly for you; protect us as we struggle to follow you, and guide us as we stumble beside you.

We ask this through your son Jesus the Christ together with the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


To better understand the value of scribes in the biblical world, visit: https://bible.org/seriespage/scribes

Image from: http://harmonhistory.com/apwh.html

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Wednesday, September 1, 2020

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth . . .

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth . . .

Proverbs 3:19-35

Adornment

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, established the heavens by understanding; by God’s knowledge the depths break open, and the clouds drop down dew. My child, let not these counsels slip out of your sight: keep advice and counsel in view; so will they be life to your soul, and an adornment for your neck. Then you may securely go your way; your foot never stumble; when you lie down, you need not be afraid; when you rest, your sleep will be sweet. Honor is the possession of wise ones, but fools inherit shame.

We purchase and wear jewelry. We match the perfect tie with the shirt and suit. We drive automobiles that bespeak our status. We live in neighborhoods that reflect our values. What sort of wisdom adorns our necks? With what activity do we nurture our souls? Where do we store God’s counsel and advice? Nearby . . . or well out of view?

God says: The advice I lend to you ought not weigh you down; my counsel is meant to lift you from your troubles. My knowledge ought not burden you; my understanding is meant to open doors for you. My words ought not frighten or alienate you: My Word comes to rescue you and to make you secure. My Wisdom keeps your foot from stumbling along The Narrow Way. Friendship with me brings you honor. Shame does not touch those who remain faithful to me. Wear me in a place where you can touch me often. Carry me with you everywhere and at all times. Hold me close to you . . . for I hold you ever close to me.  Sleep well this night and all nights . . . for I am with you.

Enter the word fools in the blog search bar and ponder the value of adorning ourselves with God’s Wisdom.


Image from: https://www.pngfind.com/mpng/womJxx_earth-in-our-hands-hd-png-download/

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

wisdom-2[1]Proverbs 1

The Value of Wisdom

In the first chapter of Proverbs we find many references to knowledge as the source of wisdom and of how fools turn away from knowledge.  The last verses even describe God as one who mocks the foolish. In truth we know that we mock ourselves, we mock our creation as a Child of God, we mock the very image of God when we turn away from knowledge and understanding.

For as Isaiah reminds us (55:11), God’s word does not return empty.  My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will.  Jesus shows us this in his every act and word.

I am thinking about the hope that we hold and enact each time we step into our work day, each time we discipline ourselves, each time we enact the word we hear each morning on our rising from our creator.

In Proverbs 1 we see: words of intelligence, just and honest, knowledge and discretion, hearing and learning, wisdom and instruction . . . this is God’s Word to us.

In Proverbs 1:13 and 15 . . . All kinds of precious wealth shall we gain, we shall fill our houses with booty . . . My child, walk not in the way with them . . .

In verses 20 to 33 Wisdom warns us of the danger of rejecting her works. As we read these words we are reminded of the Gospels where we see Jesus, God’s Wisdom, rejected so many times because he did not conform to the culture of the corrupt hierarchy, because he called the comfortable to make room for the poor, because he turned the contemporary society on its head. He still turns us on our own heads today.  Each time we feel uncomfortable we know that we are called to take a look at ourselves, to listen to Wisdom, to live patiently and hopefully, to follow the Way Christ shows us. We are called to be Christ to others. We are called to express God’s Word to others to the best of our potential. We are called to share and enact the hope God has planted  in us.

And so we pray . . .

Dearest Lord, when you send us your wisdom, also send us your infinite patience for we humans are impatient. When you extend your hand, we wish to take it. Make your hand visible to us for we humans have eyes but we do not see. When you call to us, make our hearts open to your voice for we humans have ears but do not hear. When you send us Your Holy Spirit, also send the courage and fortitude that we will need to enact your Word each day. For we humans love you dearly and wish to do your will. We wish to send your Word back to you rather than allow it to return to you empty. We ask all of this in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 


Adapted from a reflection written on November 29, 2007.

Image from: http://jasonmin.wordpress.com/

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Chaff flying in the wind . . .

Chaff flying in the wind . . .

Chaff in the Wind

Psalm 1:3-4

The faithful one is like a tree planted near streams of water, which bears fruit in its season, and whose leaves never wither.  In the same way, everything the faithful one does will prosper.  This is not true of the wicked, for they are like chaff that the wind blows away. 

We have been counseled to remain apart from those who delight in evil; we have been urged to maintain a close relationship with God.  Jesus, the Word Among Us, reminds us that we must do more than love those who love us; we must pray for those who wish us harm.

God says: I know that evil frightens you and this is as it should be.  But will you do more than avoid evil for me?  Will you pray for those planted in dry places?  Will you intercede for those who wither and die?  Will you think of them and pray for them as they fly like chaff in the wind?  Will you call them back to me?

Jesus tells us that much is expected of those who have been given much.  (Luke 12:48)  He says the same to us.  Jesus asks the man he cured of demons to return home and tell how much God has done for him.  (Luke 8:39He asks the same of us.  The resurrected Christ reminds Peter to feed the flock.  (John 21:15-25He also reminds us.


Type the word chaff in the blog search bar and examine how we might be chaff that flies before the wind or the word of God with Christ. 

Image from: http://www.new-ag.info/en/focus/focusItem.php?a=293 

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Mark 4:26-29: God’s Harvest of Love

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Gospel of Mark is beautiful in its simplicity.  Because of its brevity, we may think of it as less weighty; yet here today we have an example of the depth of Mark.  His is the only Gospel which holds this simple parable.

In the Biblia de América, the footnotes tell us that the purpose of this allegory is to give emphasis to the important work of humanity, the grains of wheat.  The faithful are to proclaim the Word of God . . . while the success of this work depends solely on God.

This gives fresh importance to our mission.  We are seed.  We are planted.  To the best of our ability and as best we are able in our environment, we are to draw from our roots in order that we might send forth a blade . . . which in turn yields a grain.  In due season, this grain will ripen for the harvest.

This cannot be more simple.  It cannot be more clear.  It cannot be more important.

This mode of living – of becoming what we are meant to become while living closely with other blades that give forth grain in their own due season – requires obedience, perseverance and patience.  It also requires close communion with our creator, the master harvester.

We must exercise faith – in trusting that we will survive life among a variety of blades until the harvest time.

We must engender hope – in believing that we will produce grain in abundance.

We must enact love – in making room for all to reach the sun and to soak up whatever rain may fall.

Perhaps what makes this Gospel so intense is that it is likely the first written after the Resurrection, when the flame of the Pentecost and the inspiration of the Ascension were still fresh.  Perhaps its concise language and simplicity render its meaning unmistakable.  Mark delivers five parables in rapid succession in this chapter, and he succinctly describes the important work of the faithful sandwiched between other stories which are more familiar.  We might miss it unless we look for it; and yet here it is.  Millennia after they are written, these straightforward words have the power to fill us with wonder at how the direct message of love might change the human experience.  We are loved.  We are love.  All we need do is proclaim this story.

Harvesting in the Himalayas

In reading Mark, we are drawn into his passion.  It is the same passion with which we are created.  It is a simple, clear, uncomplicated story.  God yearns for companionship and he creates a race of people in his image.  These people are wooed, forgiven, blessed, sustained, forgiven again, and loved powerfully.  What are we asked to do in return?  To proclaim this love abroad, to transform the sunshine and the rain into a grain of wheat which the master will harvest, and to render to the creator his harvest of love.


LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.

Written on November 7, 2008, re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

Images from: http://www.frankossen.com/Barefoot%20amid%20the%20Himalayas.htm and http://jp.123rf.com/photo_14000685_wheat-blade-on-wooden-table.html and http://www.foodsubs.com/GrainWheat.html

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Proverbs 26Foolishness

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Hals: Jester With a Lute

Written on January 20, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Drinking violence, tying a stone in a sling, cutting off our own feet: these are all actions we can easily see as foolish.

Seizing a dog by the ears is the same as meddling in an argument not our own.   Gossip descends to our inmost parts.  These are sayings we have heard and believe.

Fervent lips with an evil heart are a freezing glaze on earthenware.  This is an image that might escape us.

We fall into our own pits.  The rocks we hurl come hurling back at us.  These are consequences we might not anticipate . . . yet they are results that we might foresee as students of the Word.

In Numbers, Balaam curses his donkey for making a fool of him (Numbers 22).  Samson bemoans the fact that Delilah makes him a fool (Judges 16).  Saul admits he acted foolishly (1 Samuel 26).   These are all stories we have heard.

The Psalmist writes that a fool says there is no God (Psalms 14 and 53).  The wisdom books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes have too many sayings on fools to enumerate here.  We can recite the clever sayings from heart.

Isaiah (32:6), Jeremiah (17:11), and Hosea (9:7) describe foolish ways as ones which lead us away from God.  They warn us away from falling to our own pride.

In Matthew (5:22) and Luke (12:20) Jesus tells us that we are fools when we forget that God may call on us at any moment for an accounting.   We repeat his words to others.

Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3 and 2 Corinthians 11:1) that he will become foolish in the eyes of the world in order to become wise in God’s.  We find it difficult to live a life of inversion.

Scripture gives us able tools to see foolishness in ourselves and in others; yet we continue to ignore the lessons open to us each day.  When we persist in our own foolish behavior we fool no one but ourselves.

Just this morning a friend and I were discussing how we humans can be so imprudent so consistently.  We fuss over the sawdust in another’s eyes while refusing to remove the plank from our own.  (Matthew 7:3 and Luke 6:41)  Only God has the solution to this predicament . . . it is foolish to turn away from this saving force.

And so we might pray . . . Dear Lord, keep us from the world’s foolishness . . . imbue us with your wisdom . . . guide us in your ways . . . for these are the ways which heal and restore.  We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 


A re-post from February 2, 2012.

Image from: http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/Gowing/Gowing.html

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John 1:1-14: Logos

The Second Day of Christmas, December 26, 2017

Many of us are familiar with the old Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and we may also be aware of varying theories about the derivation of the lyrics and tune. A number of resources report – some correctly and some incorrectly – the reason for the song’s origins, but in this holiday season we will put argument aside and enjoy celebrating the symbols we find.

The first gift is a partridge in a pear tree, and is symbolic of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The mother bird of this species will feign injury to lure predators away from her young, and some say that it reflects Jesus’s words when he laments in Luke 13:34: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets, you stone the messengers God has sent you! How many times I wanted to put my arms around all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me!” (Snopes) Yesterday we reflected on Christ as our savior or Messiah and we recognize his willingness to endanger himself in order to save the faithful.

Two turtle doves in St. George Island, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Coale)

On this second day of Christmas, we celebrate the presence of Christ as Logos in both the Old and New Testaments. Footnotes tell us that here that John the Evangelist lays out the themes that develop as his Gospel continues: life, light, truth, the world, testimony, the pre-existence of Jesus, the incarnate Logos who is God’s revelation and his expression of his love for us.  When we think of the stories we hear and read in this Gospel, we know for certain that God is calling us to be diverse, to tend to that diversity and to place our hope in this diversity – because it is in this diversity that the Spirit manifests itself best.

God, most especially in the person of Jesus, calls us to intimacy. God asks us to commune with one another in a way we think is impossible. God asks much of us, both also gifts us with much. In this Christmas season, let us consider the gift of Logos, God’s Word, to all of creation brought to us in the sacred scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

“The Twelve Days of Christmas.” snopes.com, 17 Dec. 2017, www.snopes.com.

Includes notes from autumn of 2007.

To learn more about the status of turtle doves, click on the photograph of the dove pair, or visit: https://www.aol.co.uk/travel/2015/10/29/puffins-turtle-doves-facing-extinction/

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Ezra 3: Joy and Worship – A Reprise from November 2014

Thursday, October 5, 2017

We move further into scripture looking for stories of joy that continue to surprise us. To explore other stories, 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 taken from the Book of Ezra.

After the Babylonian captivity and exile, after the scattering of the twelve tribes to the corners of the known earth, after the loss of hope that those who go out weeping will return rejoicing . . . the faithful receive word that they are to return to Jerusalem.  Two leaders, Ezra and Nehemiah, the priest and the administrator, lead the faithful in a journey of reunion and transformation. As with all people who remain open to the power of the Spirit and the healing of God’s presence, these returning exiles gather to worship Yahweh once again. And they know great joy in abundance.

Ezra 3:12: Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.

James Tissot: Jesus Unrolls the Book in the Synagogue 

Can we imagine the sound of joy that might rise to the skies if we were to thank God for all that we have and all that we are? Can we fathom the power we already hold in our minds and hands if we give all our great and petty worries over to Christ? Can we picture the compassion and healing that we might experience and then share with the world if we open our hearts to the Spirit that already dwells within?

God says: You are rightly focused on the daily task of survival but imagine if you were to trust me more and your own resources less? Do you see how much you have already gained? Can you imagine how much you are yet to receive? My servant Paul reminds my followers in Corinth that “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”. (1 Corinthians 2:9) And this is so. Today you read about how the faithful returned to me and celebrated with liturgy. Do you know how much it means to me when you join my Son, our Spirit and me in beautiful liturgies of Word and Eucharist? Do you know that I have wonderful plans for you? Plans for joy and not for woe? When you doubt, open scripture to see how many times I have already rescued my people. Open your lives and remember how often I have already saved you. Will I not love you even more as our relationship deepens? Will I not bring you even more joy? Have I not already told you that all of this is so?

As we consider today’s Noontime, let us also consider how we might approach liturgies with a new energy. If we do not belong to a worship community, let us explore the possibility of finding or creating one. And if we long to find union that lasts, let us commit to entering fully into our worship community with a new expectation of finding great joy.

To learn more about Ezra and Nehemiah, spend time with the stories in these two books. Enter their names in the blog search bar and explore. Click on the images for other reflections. Or use the scripture link to compare different Bible versions of these verses. 

For a better understanding of these Books, go to: http://biblehub.com/dictionary/e/ezra-nehemiah.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/

 

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John 1: In the Beginning

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. (NRSV)

No matter how often we read these words they bring us new beauty.

Footnotes tell us that the writer lays out the themes that develop as the Gospel continues: life, light, truth, the world, testimony, the pre-existence of Jesus, the incarnate Logos who is God’s revelation and the expression of God’s love for us.  When we think of the stories we hear and read in this Gospel, we know for a certainty that God is calling us to be diverse, to tend to that diversity and to place our hope in this diversity – because it is in this diversity that the Spirit manifests itself best.

The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
    God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
    in readiness for God from day one. (MSG)

God calls us to intimacy, and Jesus calls out this same petition in his brief life.  God asks us to commune with one another in a way we think impossible, and we can only do this if we rely on Wisdom.  This morning’s first reading was from Wisdom 3:1-12, The Hidden Counsels of God on Suffering.  Looking at verse four of that reading we are reminded that our hope is what makes us immortal.  This hidden counsel of God manifests itself in Jesus, the world’s only true hope.

In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. (GNT)

Jesus, the Suffering Servant, comes to us to serve – not to be served.  And so must we serve rather than be served.  No one has ever seen God except through Jesus Christ, the apostle John tells us; yet God speaks to each of us through Jesus.  It is fitting that Jesus represents this hope of God. It is correct that we awake and rise each day to look to Jesus. It is right that we act and live in hope, for it is this hope that makes us immortal.

Adapted from a reflection written on September 20, 2007.

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