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Posts Tagged ‘truth’


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Epiphany: Feast of the Three Kings

Jan de Bray: The Adoration of the Magi

Jan de Bray: The Adoration of the Magi

Matthew 2:1-12

Radiant

Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Gold for the king of kings. Frankincense for the priest of priests. Myrrh for the death that is life, for the child who brings life eternal. This is our proof of God’s love. Knowing this truth, we live confidently now and forever. Living this truth, we become radiant in Christ.

This is the gift of being Christmas people.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.  Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.  (Isaiah 60:5-6)


the-magi[1]Click on Midian, Ephah and Sheba to learn more about these places. 

Images from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jan_de_Bray_-_Adoration_of_the_Magi_-_WGA3114.jpg and http://bishoysblog.com/2011/01/08/the-magi/

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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

1 John 3:19-23

confidenceConfidence in God

Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn, for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. Beloved, if [our] hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God and receive from God whatever we ask, because we keep God’s commandments and do what pleases God.

Where we condemn, God forgives. Where we exclude, God embraces. Where we shun, God loves. Let us remain in the truth God brings to us, live by the commandment of love Christ has shown to us, and live in the confidence the spirit has bestowed on us.

On this twelfth day of Christmas, enter the word Confidence into the blog search bar and consider how we might be confident in God as Christmas people.  


http://woman-with-a-mission.blogspot.com/2010/04/encouragement.html

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Saturday, January 2, 2021

The Ninth Day of Christmas

imagesCATHI3OG1 John 2:21-25

Because We Know the Truth

I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do . . . Let what you have heard from the beginning remain in you . . . then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.   

What we have heard we know to be true. What we have seen we know to be authentic. What we have witnessed we know to be God’s gift of light and hope and peace and joy to the world.

On this ninth day of Christmas, enter the word truth into the blog search bar and consider how the truth John writes about is essential to us as Christmas people.


Image from: http://www.idemandthetruth.com/about-the-movement/

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Friday, November 27, 2020

Judges 13-16

Light Overcomes the Darkness

We know the story of Samson and Delilah well. He the child whose birth an angel announces to a barren woman and who is reared with devotion. She a Philistine woman with the power to bewitch and who uses any means to achieve her goal. When we read this familiar story slowly, we will find many twists and turns left out of the abbreviated version we usually hear, and these turnings will give us the opportunity to reflect on the parts of our own lives that might mirror the fortunes and failures of this complicated story.

We see Samson as the clever solver of riddles who visits harlots, a warrior of incredible strength who wishes to marry outside of his tribe. We see him rise to fame and power and we also see him stumble and fall into a mockery of his former self.

We watch Delilah enter into Samson’s confidence to exact his secret for a price, using any trick or deception to gain the tightly held information. In her campaign to learn about his power, Delilah says to Samson, How can you say that you love me when you do not confide in me?  She chooses her words well because Samson took her completely into his confidence and told her. 

There is a part in each of us that identifies with both Samson and Delilah.  There is betrayal, deception, anger and revenge. And there is also a strength and light that persists despite the darkness.

As we approach the Advent season, a time of year when we celebrate the arrival of a new light into a world of darkness, we will want to prepare ourselves for the gift of truth and openness that Christ brings. With the dawning of this great awakening, let us examine our way of living and resolve to put away any darkness that leads us away from God, and let us welcome the light that is Christ.

Let us petition God for greater fidelity to our covenant promise to walk with Christ.

Let us petition God for deeper courage to remain steadfast in Christ.

Let us petition God for Samson-like strength to choose life that unites and enlightens rather than death that divides and scatters.

Let us petition God for the light that we know will overcome all darkness, no matter how deep, no matter how intense.

And let us remain in this light of Christ always, for it is the only power that overcomes the dark.   


Adapted from a reflection written on November 25, 2009.

Image from: https://www.wga.hu/html_m/s/stom/samson.html

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Saturday, November 14, 2020

noara_lambMarch3_12[1]2 Samuel 11 and 12

A Prayer for Sin and Parable

The rich man had herds and flocks in great numbers.  But the poor man had nothing at all except one little ewe lamb that he had bought. 

This is a story with a familiar ending. Those who have much use their influence and power to take from the poor what little they have. The poor man gathers money, plans how he will finally gather around him the small beginning of self-sufficiency and the momentous ending of oppression.

He nourished her, and she grew up with him and his children. She shared the little food he had and drank from his cup and slept in his bosom. She was like a daughter to him. 

The poor man empties all that he has and all that he is into this precious possession that promises not only a ladder out of misery but a new feeling of comfort, compassion and love. The little ewe sheep comes to symbolize much more than the object she is. She becomes a unique sign of peace and stability.

Now the rich man received a visitor, but he would not take from his own flocks and herds to prepare a meal for the wayfarer who had come to visit him.  Instead, he took the ewe lamb . . .

The two-headed monster of envy and greed raises itself from the shadows and David’s sin is revealed.

David grew very angry . . . then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned . . .”

When we feel anger rise at the honest observation offered by a friend we must turn as David does. And so we pray . . .

Dear and gracious God, it is so difficult to hear our secrets revealed when we believe we have them well-hidden away. Help us to return to you.

Honest and kind God, we are so weak and vulnerable in the harsh light of our own judgment. Send us your persistence and power.

Good and noble God, we need your encouragement and wisdom to lead us to the light of truth. Remind us that truth always reveals itself in your time.

Mighty and compassionate God, we ask for your strength and grace to willingly reveal all that we have concealed. Recount for us all the times you have saved us.

Sweet and loving God, speak to us in parables that enlighten us when we cannot bear the burden of the truth. Help us to understand that secrets only fester in the darkness of guilt.

Forgiving and understanding God, speak to us plainly in words that call us to you. Bring us the simplicity of your peace and love.

We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


To read posts from a shepherd’s blog, click on the image above or go to: http://hillshepherd.blogspot.com/2012/03/nora-had-ewe-lamb-last-night.html

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Word of God

The Word of God

1 John 1:1-4

The Word of Life

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of Life – for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us – what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too many have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.

We are a visual, tactile people.  We look for data. We rely on evidence.  We want facts.  We seek reason over emotion and the Apostle John understands this – as does God.

God says: I know that you want cold, hard proof that I am with you and yet you have it each day at your rising to a new sun and a new beginning.  Did I not awaken you this morning? I understand that you rest on science and law and that you measure your life with scientific and legal standards.  Do I not show you my justice and mercy every minute of every hour each day as you go through your work and play? I comprehend that you have fears and anxieties that rattle you and shake your confidence.  Will I abandon you when you lay your head to rest this night to gather strength for a new day?  You can rely on the testimony of the Beloved Apostle who recounts his experiences to you.  Learn to trust his word . . . for it is mine. 

When doubt assails us we waver.  When obstacles obstruct our path we stumble.  When opposing arguments clatter around us we shrink and hesitate.  John tells us today that these doubts, obstacles and arguments are as nothing before the profound truth that supports and protects us. John speaks to us with passion so that we too might believe.  When we spend time with John 1:1-5, we explore our fears and joys about the message we hear.


A re-post from July 1, 2013.

Image from: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=156989&picture=smoke-13

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Munizÿaba Cave, Entrance PitThe Subtle Slide into Darkness

Psalm 1:1-2

Blessed is the one who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the way of sinners,

Nor sit in the company of scoffers.

Our first steps into darkness are so often imperceptible; the first encounters are brief and even tangential to our lives; later we find ourselves standing around the office water cooler or coffee pot; and finally we become a member of the group who gossip, criticize and deceive.

Rather, the faithful delight is in the law of the Lord, and on that law they meditate day and night. 

When we remain in God and filter all of our actions and words through the Law of Love incarnated in Jesus, we see the subtle slide from its beginning.

God says: I know how much you like to be a part of the crowd; I too, like to be in the company of others. I also know how gentle is the beginning slope of the slide into darkness . . . and how steep is this same slope once the light begins to wane.  Abide with me, re-read the words spoken by Jesus, allow the Spirit to dwell in you . . . and you will see where these secret slides are hidden. 

It is possible to find friends who enact God’s compassion, who critique with kindness and who speak truth gently.  Enter the word friend in the blog search bar and reflect on what our relationships say about our image of God.


Image from: http://thedailychapter.wordpress.com/page/22/

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Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 17, 2020

Sandro Botticelli: Judith Leaving the Tent of Holofernes

Judith 15:9-15

A Celebration of Deliverance

Today we reflect on joyful celebration after deliverance from disaster, and we pause to consider the sudden and surprising gifts of discipleship.

The book of Judith is a wonderful story about a woman who puts aside her widow’s weeds to save her nation. Her ability is doubted by the elders of her own community, and her enemy underestimates her by a wide margin. Judith succeeds in accomplishing the impossible. We watch her follow a dangerously treacherous and narrow path, listening for and then obeying God’s voice.  We see her unfold in beautiful discipleship.  During this Eastertide we have re-discovered the gifts of discipleship that bloom in our lives when we see our vulnerability to God as privilege; and we watch Judith as she trusts in God alone to deliver her people and herself from a deadly enemy.

Judith’s meekness brings her humility . . . an ability to listen for God’s word and to heed it.

Judith’s brokenheartedness brings her vulnerability . . . an ability to petition God for help.

Judith’s constancy brings her fidelity . . . an ability to rely on God alone.

Judith’s honesty brings her truth . . . an ability to see reality as God sees it.

Judith’s willingness brings her integrity . . . an ability to perceive and respond to God’s call authentically.

Judith’s steadfastness brings her persistence . . . an ability to follow God without flagging.

These are the gifts of discipleship with which God graced Judith . . . and these are the same gifts of discipleship that God gives to each of us today.

As we near Pentecost, let us consider these gifts that God freely gives.  And let us celebrate our own deliverance.


Image from: https://www.wikiart.org/en/sandro-botticelli/judith-leaving-the-tent-of-holofernes-1500

For more reflections about this amazing woman, type the word Judith in the blog search bar and explore.

Adapted from a Noontime reflection written on April 10, 2007.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Salomon de Bray: Joseph Receives His Father and Brother in Egypt

Salomon de Bray: Joseph Receives His Father and Brother in Egypt

Genesis 45:1-15

A Prayer for Truth Revealed

It was not really you but God who had me come here.

People, places and situations do not govern us. We do not even govern ourselves. God sees, knows and does all.  God pulls goodness out of harm.  God converts evil into something that we can use.  God transforms all suffering and sadness.  If we trust in God above all else and at all times, this truth will eventually dawn on us.  And we will be grateful for this dawning.  We will be grateful for this plan that at first seemed all wrong but which later comes into full focus as being better than any we might have devised on our own.

As St. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians: In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Jesus Christ.

As we suffer, as we undergo, as we bear all things, endure all things, we do well to do them for Christ and in Christ . . . because Christ does them with us.

As we strive to be faithful disciples, as we struggle and persevere, follow and persist, we do well to abide with and in the Spirit . . . because the Spirit dwells in us.

As we seek God, as we knock at God’s door, as we petition, question and dialog, we do well to turn to God first in all matters . . . because God awaits our turning with eager and open arms.

Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers and it is not until years later that the truth is revealed.  Joseph waited, worked, prayed, remained, dwelt, and loved in God.  Truth revealed.  Character honed.  Spirit strengthened.  Pain transformed.  Love born.  This is the gift of integrity and honesty.  It is the gift of discipleship.  It is the gift of life itself.

And so we pray . . .

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit,

We thank you for having created us.

We thank you for having saved us.

We thank you for dwelling in us.

May we always reach for the hope you place in us.

May we always remain faithful to your promise which rests in us.

May we always abide with one another as we undergo suffering.

May we be good and faithful remnants for you in all of the places and situations we find ourselves which feel so foreign.

And may we, as Joseph did when he heard your voice, listen for you . . . and spread open arms to welcome those who have harmed us.

We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salomon_de_Bray_-_Joseph_Receives_His_Father_and_Brothers_in_Egypt_-_WGA3146.jpg

First written on November 15, 2007. Re-written and posted today.

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