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Posts Tagged ‘turmoil’


James: Lessons in Love512px-Bible_paper

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

We have spent several weeks reflecting on James’s letter to the people of his day and to us in our own day. We have spent a number of weeks exploring his themes and sifting through his lessons. Some of our encounters with James make us uncomfortable. We are not always willing to step out of comfort zones and into a newness that tempts but does not guarantee. We are too often content with our harvest of the obvious before us and too often afraid to imagine the harvest of hope that God asks us to undertake.

epistle-of-james-project-590x382Other encounters with James bring a quiet understanding of God’s voice we hear in the precision and honesty of James’ words. We have felt Christ’s presence in the strength of James’ verses. We have been visited by the Spirit as we dwell in the wisdom of these Lessons in Love. Today we take time to gather these teachings and pledge to make them an active influence in our lives.

When we choose a Lesson in Love and decide to live it for the next month in our lives, what new possibility will open for us?

Chapter 1: The Value of Obstacles – the barriers we encounter are lessons in finding our inner strength in God.

Chapter 2: The Value of Balance – the extremes we experience are lessons in learning to balance God’s joy with the difficulties of the world.

JamesChapter 3: The Value of Living Wisely, Justly and Well – our words and actions indicate the quality of our discipleship in Christ.

Chapter 4: The Value of Turmoil – the storms and upheaval we meet are lessons in faith and hope in Christ.

Chapter 5: The Value of Patience – our common practices and plain speech are lessons in love and life in Christ.

And so we pray . . . Wise, Gentle, Balanced, Patient and Loving Jesus, continue to shepherd us as we take on your lessons in love. Speak to us clearly through the words of your servant James. Live in us daily through the power of your redeeming Spirit. Amen. 

james-1We might bookmark and re-visit this post when we are ready to enact another Lesson in Love as shown to us by James.

Tomorrow, our abundant helper . . . 

 

 

For notes on this letter, visit: http://www.usccb.org/bible/james/0

Images from: http://www.readthespirit.com/bookstore/books/ian-flemings-seven-deadlier-sins/more/c1/the-book-of-james-new-testament/ and http://bibledude.net/epistle-of-james-project-wordles/ and http://michaeljkruger.com/why-we-need-the-book-of-james-in-the-new-testament-canon/ and https://www.youracc.org/sermons/faith-perseveres-james-a-faith-to-live-by-11-18/

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A papyrus of John 1:1-14

A papyrus of John 1:1-14

Monday, January 3, 2022

Joy and Completion

John’s Letters

The New Testament Letters bring us the good news that the risen Christ still walks with us each day. Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude remind the faithful that although much has been asked of Christ’s followers, much is also given. With them, we remember that there is always hope when we are overcome by doubt, always light that will pierce the darkness, and always joy, even in days of deep and unrelenting grief. Today John reminds us that without Christ, not only is there no opportunity for lasting joy, but what joy we have will always be incomplete.

John’s first letter was written toward the end of the first century and its purpose was to deepen the spiritual and social awareness of the Christian community. (Senior 387) Today we reflect on John’s words as we near the end of this present year.

1 John 1: 4: We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.

God says: I will never abandon you, never leave you without a guide, never allow you to fall into the darkness that you fear. I have great joy in mind for you.

John’s second letter is quite brief and scholars believe that its length was restricted to what might be contained on one piece of papyrus; yet, its brevity expands rather than restricts the possibilities for great joy. Today we reflect on John’s words as we prepare to enter into the new year. (Senior 393)

2 John 1:12: Although I have much to write to you, I do not intend to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and to speak face to face so that our joy may be complete.

God says: I am with you every instant of every day. I never leave your side although you sometimes believe that I am far away and uncaring. When you call on me, I bring you great joy and completion. Did I not come to live as one of you millennia ago in the town of Bethlehem? I am with you still. Did I not rescue you on Calvary in order that you might live in eternal joy? I rescue you each day. Did I not enter fully into the apostles in Jerusalem so that they might carry my word and my joy to those who had no means of knowing it? I dwell within you still. 

John’s third letter is addressed to Gaius and is less theological in content and purpose. Although we know little about the details in the lives of these early Christians, we understand from this letter that there was much division and turmoil in the early church. John writes to Gaius and he writes to us to remind us that we ought not fear conflict. He reminds us that despite the divisions we create, God brings us together in an authentic, relentless and all-forgiving unity. Today we reflect on John’s words as we enter into a newness of life, love and joy. (Senior 394-395)

3 John 1:4: Nothing gives me greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

joyGod says: My Spirit is in the tiniest fiber of your being. It is also in the immensity of creation. This creation is one with you and you are one with my creation. All of my works – and these include each of you – demonstrate my great love and my great joy. Open you mind and ears and heart to this joy today. Choose to live and walk, work, play and pray in and with me. In this way, you bring great joy to yourself and to others. In this way your everlasting joy is made complete.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.387 & 393-395. Print.   

To learn about the earliest Bible papyri, click on the word Papyrus or go to: http://earlybible.com/ Click on the links to the left of the copy to view bits of the New Testament. To enlarge the writing, move the computer’s cursor over the sample.  Click on the papyrus image above to read John 1:14.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.

Image from: http://earlybible.com/manuscripts/p66.html

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joyMonday, November 15, 2021

Job

Joy and the Storm

The Books of Wisdom call us to fidelity; they give us a reason to come together in outrageous hope; and they call us to love as God loves, with compassion, patience and understanding. This sapiential literature offers us the miracle and wonder of joy. If today’s exploration of the Book of Job calls you to search for more surprises, 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 we find joy in times of turmoil, travail and turbulence.

If the story of Job is unfamiliar to us, we will want to spend time with notes and commentary. If the story is a familiar one, we will know where to look for the verses that bring hope to the hopeless and joy to the joyless. In either case, the verses offered below give us a door to the miracle of joy found in the tempest of life.

Verse 5:11: Yes, it is God who raises the humble and gives joy to all who mourn.

Ilya Yefimovich Repin: Job and His Friends

Ilya Yefimovich Repin: Job and His Friends

God says: My son Jesus tells you that I am always with the broken-hearted, the down-trodden, the oppressed and forsaken. He brings this promise to you daily. Jesus also shows you how humility and patience bring not woe but joy. Open the story of my servant Job and you will see how he persists in loving me even when he has nothing. Open your heart to the authority of Christ within you and you will experience joy in the stormy days of your life.

Verse 8:19: Yes, that’s all the joy evil people have; others now come and take their places.

God says: My Spirit cannot be contained or owned; yet she inhabits all there is and was and will be. The Spirit abides, consoles, heals and mends. The Spirit engenders joy even in the midst of the storm and the swirl of deceit. The Spirit fashions joy out of cruelty and dishonesty. The Spirit creates joy in the face of pride and haughtiness. Open your heart to the power of the Spirit within you and will find joy in the dark nights of your journey.

Verse 22:26: Then you will always trust in God and find that he is the source of your joy.

job (1)God says: I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the beginning and the end. I am the source and summit. I am the impetus and the goal. I am. And I am within you. Open your heart to the power of my love within you and unleash the joy that conquers all evil. Open your heart to the miracles I create for you and discover the full power of my presence. Like my servant Job, you will experience joy in the most dire of circumstances and the most horrific of situations. Examine his story today and look for the dawn that always follows the deep darkness of overpowering storms. 

Verse 38:7: In the dawn of the day of creation the stars sang together, and the heavenly beings shouted for joy.

Blake: Job's Tormentors

William Blake: Job’s Tormentors

Job suffers every kind of humiliation and pain at the hands of Satan; yet he survives and is fully restored as God’s wondrous creation. We too, are God’s creation and so today we ask for the gift of fidelity to God’s call, for the grace of God’s hope that brings us patience, and the presence of God’s love that is the miracle of joy we seek.


Images from:https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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Rembrandt: Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem

Jeremiah 39:15-18: A Gesture of Comfort

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Even among the twists and turns in the tangled web of intrigue which surround Jeremiah’s life, this prophet remains true to his God.  Both his words and actions reveal his total devotion to the Lord, and his life – like the flight of a well-aimed arrow – arcs through turbulent history to blaze a path as safe passageway for the faithful to follow.  No one, after reading this man’s story, can say that their burden is too weighty to carry.  Anyone can see – from Jeremiah’s story – that tragedy and loss are not always a bad thing.  We frequently find redemption in the ashes of failure.  But we must be open to the belief that all is possible through God.  We must demonstrate trust.

Today finds us at a point in Jeremiah’s story where he is rewarded by the invaders for maintaining his fidelity to God.  In the midst of horror comes a gesture of comfort.  Horrible events spin around Jeremiah.  The king and his sons have been captured by Nebuchadnezzar’s troops.  Zedekiah’s eyes have been put out, his sons have been executed.  The palace has been burned; the walls of the city are demolished; the deportation to Babylon has begun.  Jeremiah will be given permission to live where he likes – with the exiled or with the remnant.  A time of respite is upon him.

We do not know precisely where or how or when Jeremiah eventually dies; but one thing we know for certain is that he will remain as true to his God in his end days as we see him today.  Jeremiah will be rescued as he is always rescued.

Although there are times when we sit in the mud of the cistern of life, we too, are always rescued.  A word of comfort pierces the darkness.  A gesture of healing staunches a bleeding wound.  The sign of peace arrives at our door.  We know we are blessed.

In these graced moments amid life’s battles, we might pause to give thanks for such a healing and loving God.  All God asks in payment is our trust.


Written on October 20, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

For more on this prophet and his prophecy, see the Jeremiah – Person and Message page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-old-testament/the-prophets/jeremiah-person-and-message/

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