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Posts Tagged ‘Trinity’


Friday, November 6, 2020

praise[2]Psalm 50

A Sacrifice of Praise

“The problem here is that a dead conscience lies behind the feverish ritual, reeking with sacrificial smoke, on the one side, and, on the other side, ignoring public morality. People think that ritual wraps its sacred mantle round them to hide the rotten morality of their lives. Ritual, however, is no alibi for sinning. The “wicked” addressed in v. 16 should probably be understood as none other than the “people” of v. 6, who are as eager to recite statutes as they are to offer sacrifices, tough without taking to heart the obligations of the covenant . . . It is also possible . . . that the criticism is also directed specifically at them [priests and leaders]. These leaders are afraid to condemn what the people are doing lest they lose their stipends (Deuteronomy 18:8). They even encourage sin to receive greater sin offerings and so “they feed off the sins of my people” (Hosea 4:8). Tolerating such deviousness, they give the impression that God is also deaf and blind to the situation. In concluding the entire psalm, vv. 22-23 echo phrases from the minor conclusion (vv. 14-15) and realistically warn once more against the sin of religious externalism”.  (Mays 413)

We might think about religious externalism, about wrapping ourselves in perfunctory or false ritual. We might also think about what drives us to engage in artificial ritual. We might think about our spiritual hunger.

We want to caution ourselves when we are thinking that perhaps God is deaf and blind to our circumstances. God knows and sees all. This we must trust. This we must believe. When we feel as though our petitions fall on deaf and uncaring ears, we will benefit from standing our sense of loss on its head: perhaps we yearn for God so much . . . perhaps we hunger so much for more of his healing presence in our lives . . . that we feel as though he does not listen . . . is not present . . . does not respond as we might wish. We might consider that our thirst for God is so great that we believe that God is not listening . . . when in fact he is. This might mean that our sense of hunger and thirst is not such a bad thing after all. Consider the words from Psalm 63: O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting.  My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water . . . For your love is better than life, in your name I will lift up my hands . . . On my bed I will remember you.  On you I muse through the night for you have been my help . . .

We long for God. We feel incomplete here on this plane with only God’s Spirit to accompany us, only God’s Son to walk with us. We want to feel the full impact of a constant interaction with the Trinity.  For this we hunger. For this we thirst. This is praise we are willing to offer to God. This is praise as sacrifice.


Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 413. Print.

Adapted from a reflection written on March 26, 2008.

Image from: http://delightabidelove.com/2013/02/

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Thursday, November 5, 2020

Abba[1]Psalm 69:35-37

Dwelling There

Let the heavens and earth sing praise, the seas and whatever moves in them! God will rescue Zion, rebuild the cities of Judah. God’s servants dwell in the land and possess it; it shall be the heritage of their descendants; those who love God’s name shall dwell there.

Each of us has a place, a person, a concept, or an idea that fills us with nostalgia to become our personal Zion. Each of us feels secure and safe in our private Judah. Each of us wants to feel firm ground beneath our feet; we want a horizon that promises good tomorrows; we want an interior quiet and a life of joy with friends and companions. These are the possessions we want to pass along to our children. We want to know where we stand and who stands with us. We want to know that our Zion and Judah will last forever. We want to know that we are dwelling there . . . with God . . . for all time. And we want our children to live securely in this place with us.

We purchase or rent homes and apartments. We hire architects and landscapers. We fashion dwelling places that suit our whims but these hand-made structures are not the dwelling places we will want to pass down to our children. These temporary houses do not last forever.

We are the faithful who long for Zion and Judah. We are the faithful who are the descendants of God’s loyal followers who have gone before us. We are the faithful who pass down our spiritual dwellings to our children. We are the faithful who long to live in God for an eternity. And so we pray.

Heavenly Creator, we know that we are made in your image. We hope to remain faithful to the divine potential you have planted in each of us.

Divine Brother, we are guided by you, our rescuer. We hope to listen keenly to the parables and stories you use as lesson plans for us.

Gracious Spirit, we are nurtured and comforted by you, our counselor. We hope to rest in God’s wisdom and grace as we prepare to dwell with you for an eternity.

Grant us this day your grace, your love, your joy.  Amen.


Image from: http://holyspiritrevolution.com/the-tabernacle-how-close-are-you-with-god/

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Monday, October 5, 2020

SCR038-G-02[1]2 Peter 1:2

Grace and Peace

May grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

This is so very simple. God makes a gift of grace and peace. Rather than strive to add cash to our accounts, square footage to our homes and friends to our social media, we will do well to focus on gaining knowledge of God. We increase this knowledge through the study of God’s word, through prayer and worship, and through conversations with others who are like seekers.

This is so complicated. We do not want to leave behind our old agendas, our old goals and our old norms. We are comfortable with the world as we have arranged it and we do not want to shift perspective or viewpoint. We are content . . . for a time. And when life presents its catastrophes as it always will . . . then we will yearn for peace and grace.

We understand the peace is an uplifting serenity that calms and focuses our shattered thoughts. Peace is a state of tranquility and harmony with self and with our surrounding world. This is something to yearn for.  t is a quality worth struggling for. And what is grace?

bible-image[1]Grace is a freely offered gift from God that brings us full participation in the life of God. It is through Grace that we are pulled into intimacy with the Creator.  Grace is intended for the common good and so it frees us to collaborate with others as we grow in the Body of Christ. Grace is brought to us by the Spirit so that we might be healed and sanctified. And so, because Grace is a gift given freely by God the Creator, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, we understand that it surpasses the power of human intellect and will. We can see that it perfects the soul itself to live with God and to act by God’s love. It is this Grace in which we hope to be rooted. It is this Grace from which we hope to draw strength. It is through this Grace that we reach our full potential both individually and collectively. It is this Grace that shows itself in the many small miracles that mark our days. It is the gift of grace that brings us peace. It is this gift of grace that is God’s love for us.

This is complicated. This is simple. Let us add to our knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord so that the gift of grace and peace may be ours in abundance. In these troubles days, we will want to seek these gifts. We will want to hold these miracles.  


For a commentary on grace and peace as described by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians 1:2, click on the Bible image above or go to: http://vicsmediaroom.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/bible-commentary-grace-and-peace/

Citation image from: http://www.christianstatements.com/proddetail.php?prod=SCR038

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Monday, July 6, 2020

website_p5_B_Page_1-300x199[1]1 John 5:9-12

Testimony Within

If we accept human testimony, the testimony of God is surely greater.  Now the testimony of God is this, that he has testified on behalf of his Son.  Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within himself . . . And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son does not have life.

Although John describes God’s in-dwelling in an abstract manner, he does not mean to say that God is an idea. On the contrary, the presence of Christ in each of us is very real.  The Spirit abides and consoles while Jesus teaches and heals, and God protects and guides.  All three persons of the Trinity are constantly present to and in us.

God says: I understand that the idea of eternal life is both exhilarating and frightening but you need not fear.  It is a real as the pain you feel when you suffer and as real as the joy you feel when you celebrate.  Yet, my love is more than emotion or thought.  My love is substantial.  It cures.  It sustains.  It converts and transforms. It is constant and deep.  It is authentic and reliable.  My love is worthy of your trust.  My love is worthy of your love in return.

When we find that we insist on our own interpretation of scripture or we split hairs and parse words for explicit and implicit meaning . . . we have strayed from the love John explains to us.  When we rely on God’s goodness and the truth of John’s testimony . . . we acknowledge the gift of God’s testimony within each of us.

To reflect on how we might better comprehend God’s love for us, enter the word witness into the blog search bar and explore.

Search for a labyrinth near you and consider this form of prayer.  It may lead you to a meaningful conversation with God Within You. 


The images above shows a labyrinth, a centuries old device for contemplative or meditative prayer. https://www.wildspring.com/labyrinth.htm 

To learn how to use a labyrinth while praying, go to: http://www.emu.edu/seminary/labyrinth or https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/labyrinth-chartres-cathedral 

For information on ancient references to God Within, visit: https://quantumstones.com/embracing-the-god-within-us/

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follow-the-bread-of-life--title[1]Thursday, June 4, 2020

John 6

A Prayer for Exodus

I am the Bread of Life . . .

We are named by God, called by Christ and accompanied by the Holy Spirit in our journey here on earth.

In John 6 Jesus feeds thousands with a few pieces of food.  He mystifies his apostles, disciples and followers when he appears and disappears, walks on water, shows up, slides away, and explains the mystery of his mystical Body and the Eucharist.  Almost no one understands.  But there are those who believe, and perhaps this is all that we need do as well. Believe. Believe and enact this belief in the way we form relationships with others.  But this can be so difficult.

When we become surrounded by a relativistic society where people decide what is right and what is wrong relative to their own wishes rather than going to God in order to make their best decisions, do we still follow Christ?

When we find strained interactions with people with whom we formerly had comfortable and easy relationships, do we still rely on God to see us through the tough patches of our journey?

When we discover an ugly truth where we thought there had been beauty, do we still rely on the Spirit to bless and grace us with patience and perseverance?

When we realize that we have been too stubborn or too narrow-viewed, too backward-looking, too prideful or too self-centered in our relationships with others, where do we go for sustenance and exodus?

What will we do when Jesus offers us the manna that sustains?  How do we react when we see the door to a new and transforming exodus?  Why do we fear that the Spirit will abandon or disappoint us as some of our best-loved have done?

When we search for resolution of strife we become too focused on ourselves and we miss the wonderful gift we receive each day: Christ calls faithfully and waits endlessly for our reply; Christ offers not only his experience as a fellow exile but himself in body to us . . . the new manna . . . Eucharist.

Too often we hesitate as we watch many of those around us move away from the Light and Truth which Christ brings. What will we do today, tomorrow and every day when the Christ asks each of us: Do you also wish to go away?  Will we slip into the shadows?  Or will we respond as Peter does, saying: Where else do we go?  You have the words of everlasting life.

And so we pray . . .

May we understand that we are all in Exodus, from darkness to light, from sin to reconciliation, from separation to unity, from selfishness to selflessness, from fleeting pleasure to sustaining joy, from the old to the new, from slavery to freedom. 

May we come to fully comprehend that Christ is this new freedom from slavery, this new light to the darkened world, this new manna in the desert, this new communion of bread and wine, this new voice and body of love among us. 

May we fully express our understanding that when we join Christ in exodus, when we form solidarity as the early apostles did, and when partake of the manna that is Christ, we become one with Christ. We are that Christ.

Lord, grant us the faith to believe you, the wisdom to know you, the hope to endure with you, the love to abide with you, and the courage to join you in Exodus.   Amen.


Image rfom: http://www.begrace.org/media/follow-bread-life

Adapted from a reflection written on January 25, 2008.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

tr-corpus-christi-tabgha[1]John 21: 11

Spiritual Stamina

We spent Easter Week reflecting on the 21st Chapter of John’s Gospel and the implications it has for our modern lives.  The Resurrected Christ appears to the disheartened apostles who have returned to their nets and the sea in their confusion after the events in Jerusalem during their Passover time.  Christ had returned to the Upper Room where they had all shared that last meal before Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, and Jesus’ faithful followers – much like us – rejoiced with Christ’s revelation of himself.  Now they feel a bit empty and flat when little in their lives appears to have changed significantly or for the better in any way at all.  And so they go back to what they know . . . and their world changes irreparably when Christ appears again on the shore of the sea.

The apostles sling their nets over the water another time as the man on the shore asks and although they have been casting for hours and have caught nothing . . . the nets come up full to bursting.  And miraculously even though there were so many fish, the net does not break. 

During Eastertide we have explored the burdens and rewards of discipleship.  We have examined the costs and the benefits of following Christ.  We have evaluated the requirements and gifts of living as disciples and we have sometimes found that we have no stomach and little energy to persist in the journey.  We hunger, we thirst, we ache, we tire, we stagger and flag under our perceived burden and yet . . . we return each morning to our Sisyphean task.  Despite our exhaustion, deep within we know that Christ continues to sustain.  We know that he fills our nets daily.  And we see that the nets have not torn.  This is, indeed, a marvelous God.

Paul understands this condition of amazed exhaustion when he writes to the Romans – and to us: We even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance proven character, and proven character hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.  (Romans 5:3-5)

Today, as we celebrate the real presence of Christ among us we turn to this intimate friend and brother who knows us so well, and we place all our worries and delights, all our anxieties and joys, all our fears and celebrations in his able arms.  We fall into this threefold God who protects, saves and sustains, and we pray . . .

Dearest and most precious God present in us,

Although we tire we are not beaten, so living in the life of Christ, we rejoice in our exhaustion.  You have filled our nets again and we know that we cannot pull them from the sea without you.

Although we lack so much we are not lost, so living in the life of the Spirit, we celebrate our poverty.  You have given us all the resources we will ever need and we know that we cannot discern them without you.

Although we have no stamina we find ourselves rising to new mornings, and living in the goodness of God, and so we praise you.  We find ourselves each day with grateful hearts and we know that we cannot live without you.

Remind us that although our nets are full . . . they will never tear.  Although our limbs are weary . . . they will never fail.  Although our hearts are broken . . . they will never be empty.  Amen.


A re-post from June 2, 2013. 

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Monday, June 1, 2020

296345-46014-43[1]Proverbs 23:1-25

Goodness Within

We have been reflecting on the Trinity this past week and have concluded that the goodness and compassion lives within each of us even though it may be difficult to discern.  Today we consider the goodness that lives within each of us – the well-behaved along with those who intend destruction.  And in Proverbs we find sound advice that blooms when read through the lens of the New Testament and the covenant of the new Law of Love.

Toil not to gain wealth; cease to be concerned about it; while your glance flits to it, it is gone! . . .

Remove not the ancient landmark, nor invade the fields of orphans; for their redeemer is strong; he will defend their cause against you . . .

Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge . . .

Get the truth and sell it not – wisdom, instruction and understanding . . .

Let your father and mother have joy; let her who bore you exult . . .

We are also told to beat our boys with a rod so that they do not die.  Of course when we consider the context of this advice we understand the wisdom of the era; today we know that brutality only begets more brutality, brings on depression and initiates waves of violence.

The Book of Proverbs has much to say to us.  It is best taken in parts and considered in light of its era.  When allowed to rest in our hearts for a time, it nurtures the seeds of wisdom planted within by the Maker, redeemed and transformed by the Savior, and cherished and graced by the Spirit.  We have only to open our hearts and ears; we have only to meditate on the Word . . .  to know that goodness created us . . . and longs to live within us.

Tomorrow, finding the stamina to survive . . .


Image from: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/trinity-celtic-symbol.html

Adapted from a reflection written on September 30, 2010.

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Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020

3431916072_4ff4bd224e[1]Micah 2:12

Believing the Promise

I will gather you . . . each and every one, I will assemble all the remnant of Israel; I will group them like a flock in the fold, like a herd in the midst of the corral; they shall not be thrown into panic by men. 

If only we might live as if we believe this promise, we would not insist on our own agendas.

If only we might live as if we believe this promise, we would not allow fear to rise in our throats.

If only we might live as if we believe this promise, we would be more open to reconciliation.

If only we might live as if we believe this promise, we would be more willing to intercede for our enemies.

I will gather you . . . We are sheep lost in the folds of the mountainside knowing that the scorching heat of summer and the freezing rains of winter will surely kill us off unless God the creator protects us.

If only we might live as if we believe this promise, we will eagerly follow the plans God has laid out.

Each and every one . . . We cannot judge our companions on life’s road because we are not in charge and we do not have the right to countermand Christ’s universal call.

If only we might live as if we believe this promise, we will willingly be more accepting of those whose idiosyncrasies drive us wild.

I will assemble all the remnant . . . We need to practice the art of persevering patiently knowing that those who persist will reap the harvest with the Spirit.

If only we might live as if we believe this promise, we will find the courage and strength to endure in love as we are asked to do.

Like a herd in the midst of the corral . . . We must see that we are not left out in the wild as we believe but rather we are always in the loving care of the Father who made us, the Son who redeemed us and the Spirit who guides us.

If only we might live as if we believe this promise, we will put our fears to rest; our anxieties will not take hold of us and we will be led to a place of peace that knows no limits.

They shall not be thrown into panic . . . We must remember that terror is of human making and does not come from God; dread has no power over us unless we bow to its influence.

If only we might live as if we believe this promise, we will be less quick to criticize our own and one another’s weaknesses.

I will gather you . . . each and every one, I will assemble all the remnant of Israel; I will group them like a flock in the fold, like a herd in the midst of the corral; they shall not be thrown into panic by men. 

If only we might live as if we believe this promise, we will be better able to live as Christ does . . . in patience . . . while persevering . . . with the Spirit . . . always trying to act in accord with God’s plan . . . in love.

Amen.


First written on June 9, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite.

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Saturday, May 30, 20206701251.jpgIsaiah 41Fear Not

Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God.  I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice.  (Verse 10)

These words are so like the ones we hear from Jesus in John 14:1: Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You have faith in God; have faith also in me. 

Jesus consoles not only his followers but also us today with the words: Do not let your hearts be troubled.  These are words that bolster us at times of great difficulty and stress.  What do we most want to hear when we feel crushed by people and events beyond our control influence?  We want to know where we ought to focus our eyes, how to engage ourselves, why we ought to feel positive about what is taking place around us.  We want to know where to put our feet.  We want to hope that all will be well . . . despite our dire circumstances.  We want to know who and what and how to trust.  We want to know that evil will not reign and goodness will return.  We want to believe that light overcomes darkness.  We want to hope that prayers are answered.  We want to be unafraid to love intimately.

Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed . . . I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice . . . Do not let your hearts be troubled . . . have faith . . . in me. 

We want something solid to touch before we hand over our souls.  We want to have facts and figures to compare, to jot down, and to check out.  We want everything spelled out.  We want no fine print to trip us up.  We want guarantees and yet . . .

We have all of this and more . . . in abundance . . . when we make ourselves empty to receive the Holy Spirit – the voice of God that lives and moves among us.

We have all that we need . . . in abundance . . . when we follow the model Christ has given to us.

We are loved truly and well . . . in abundance . . . when we rely on the creator who knows us better than anyone else.

Creator, Son and Holy Spirit, three in one, speak with us constantly but in our anxiety and haste we do not hear them say . . .

Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed . . . I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice . . . Do not let your hearts be troubled . . . have faith . . . in me. 

Tomorrow, believing the promise of the Trinity . . .


Image from: https://oshkoshdesigns.com/product/misc62/

Adapted from a reflection written on August 3, 2009.

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