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Posts Tagged ‘union’


Ephesians 2: One in Christ

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

This month we have reflected on the names God gives to us so that we might call on God when we mourn and when we celebrate. We have also considered the names Jesus shares with us, Good Shepherd, the Gate, Bread of Life, the Way, Vine and Branches, the Truth, the Light, Life. These images give us tools to connect with the human Jesus; a link to our shared divinity in God’s creation.

We have recently reflected on the names Christ gives us as we work in God’s Kingdom: Children of God, Friends of Jesus, Salt, Light, and Yeast for the world, Temples of the Living God. With these appellations, we examine our fears and joys. With these definitions, we explore our motivations and inspirations. With these invitations, we determine our tasks as we work together in God’s glorious and great work of art. We celebrate our oneness in Christ, our unity in the Spirit, our beauty as creations of God’s marvelous hands.

In our union with Christ Jesus, [God] raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world. 

This is an offer we will want to accept.

God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus, [God] has created us for a life of good deeds, which [God] has already prepared for us to do.

This is work we will want to join.

So then, you . . . are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now citizens together with God’s people and members of the family of God. You, too, are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself. He is the one who holds the whole building together and makes it grow into a sacred temple dedicated to the Lord.

This is a truth we will want to affirm.

In union with [Christ], you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through the Spirit.

This is a story we will want to celebrate.

Remembering that we are one with Christ and  all of creation, we repeat verse 10 of Psalm 16 as an antiphon when we pray today: For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, nor let your devout one see the pit.


When we use the scripture link to compare other versions of THE GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION of Ephesians 2, we begin to more fully understand that we are God’s wondrous work of art. We are one with Christ and all of creation.

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1 Corinthians 6:19: Temples of the Spirit

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lebanon Cedar Forest

Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us: Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God. The faithful want to believe that Christ acts within where the Spirit animates the body and encourages the soul.

Jesus tells his followers: Tear down this Temple, and in three days I will build it again. (John 2:13-25) The faithful misunderstand his meaning, but still Jesus abides with them, nurturing the Spirit, sustaining the heart.

In 1 Kings Chapter 6, we find a description of Solomon’s Temple, built to replace the Ark of the Covenant the faithful carried through the desert on their journey to The Promised Land. The description of the building as the permanent Temple is full of detail. With the tall cedar timbers, the Temple would have smelled truly divine; the gold covered surfaces and sacred utensils would have dazzled the eye. It took seven years to build this temple, and it is written in verse 7 that there was no noise of iron striking stone because the masons brought the blocks ready-hewn. What a peace-filled space this must have been, even during the years of construction.

Inside the Jerusalem Temple

These readings have a connection that we reflect on today. With God’s loving providence and care, the desert Ark becomes the city Temple. With Christ’s compassionate mercy and burning justice, the Temple of stone becomes the living Temple within each of us. With the Spirit’s healing transformation and nurturing mercy, the Temple that Christ rebuilds in three days becomes our very essence and nature.

Paul tells the Corinthians and he tells us: Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God. The faithful want to believe that Christ acts within where the Spirit animates the body and encourages the soul. Let us determine to listen to this voice that calls us to union and wholeness.

Today we pray Psalm 84 and we repeat verse 2 as an antiphon. I long to be in the Lord‘s Temple.
With my whole being I sing for joy to the living God.

Tomorrow we conclude our reflections on the names God uses when calling us. 


Images from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lebanon_cedar_forest.jpg and http://padreperegrino.org/2017/05/26/ascension-2017/

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1 Peter 1:3-9: A Living Hope

Third Sunday of Easter, April 30, 2017

Peter Denies Christ
John 18

As we enter into the third week of Eastertide, we look to Peter, Jesus’ companion who denied knowing him (John 18); and who later pledged to the resurrected Christ that he would feed and love his sheep (John 21). We are those sheep and today we listen to Peter’s words.

What a God we have! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! 

As we move through our days and nights, this is good news. In our typically linear way of thinking, the past, present and future are separate entities that we cannot manipulate; yet Peter tells us that Jesus has changed the natural order of time. Past, present and future fuse into an eternal timelessness, an infinite oneness, an unending union. And we are invited to participate in this union.

The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime.

As we look at our lives and our surrounding circumstances, these are joyful words. In our consumption and status driven world, the powerful hold sway over the poor, sickness opposes good health, and death overcomes life; yet Peter reminds us of the many miracles that erase the demarcation between wholeness and weakness.

You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.

James Tissot: Feed My Lambs
John 21

As we anticipate the fulfillment of God’s promise, the serenity of Jesus’ Good News, and perfect union with and in the healing of the Spirit, we find Peter’s words reassuring. In the rush of our days, we pause to reflect on the healing power of Peter’s testimony. From one who once renounced the Living God, we hear the miracle of his conversion. And we turn from our anxieties and fears to the assurance of this Living Hope.

The verses cited above are from THE MESSAGE. To compare these words with those in other translations, use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to explore Peter’s message of A Living Hope to us.

Tomorrow, the first of Peter’s sermons following Pentecost.

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Hebrews 12:14-17Peace and Holiness

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hendrick ter Brugghen: Esau Selling his Birthright

Hendrick ter Brugghen: Esau Selling his Birthright

As we continue to consider the quality of peace in our lives, we reflect on this Favorite written on August 23, 2007. How do we find peace in our families? How do peace and holiness abide in times of deception and deceit? 

Strive for peace and holiness by avoiding bitterness, and by seeking reconciliation and unity through repentance and reparation.  Seeking blessing through tears does not work unless it is accompanied by true repentance and a true desire for intimacy and union.  The example of Esau is clear.  He deserved his inheritance yet he was cheated out of it by his own mother and brother.  We go back to rethink the story and we find something new.

In a homily more than a year ago, the homilist pointed out the following in regards to the stealing of Esau’s birthright by his brother Jacob: When we look at Jacob’s life, we see that he manipulated God’s plan in order to receive something which he thought he deserved.  He angled for his brother’s inheritance by clear and overt deception and betrayal. Yet in the end, his life was one of a series of losses of family members and of separation from loved ones.  The homilist pointed out that no matter how we try, we humans cannot out-maneuver God.

We reflect on how Esau was so often absent from the family, doing what he pleased while hunting and fishing.  He was a member of his family but had moved himself away from the intimacy of the precious circle of love.  Perhaps if he had been more engaged, more interactive, more truly present, less passive resistant or even passive aggressive, his brother would not have thought it possible to steal an inheritance.  Esau neglected something important that had been given to him: the gifts of his intimate family members.  He was cavalier in his attitude about them and in Chapter 25 of Genesis he sells his right for a single bowl of stew.  Later when he cries, he does not repent.  So Esau goes off to join the Ishmaelites and to begin his own tribe which thrives in opposition to the tribes of his brother Jacob.

And so as we reflect, we pray.

God in Heaven, keep us from neglecting those whom we love so dearly.  Do not let us stray so far that my loved ones believe me gone.  For those whom we love who stand away from us, let us always be open to the newness of the Spirit, always present to the impossible possibility that a new beginning is waiting to bloom.  For those to whom we have an aversion, for those we hold at arm’s length, keep us aware that you work wonders – even in the lives and plans of those who mean to do harm.  Keep us prudent but open to the possibility that hearts may be softened, walls taken down.  Keep us from being part of the wall.  Allow us to trust you to be our shield and protection.  Keep us holy and in peace.  We pray this in Jesus’ name as we abide with you in the same Spirit who guided Jacob and Esau. 

Amen.

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1 & 2 Chronicles: Our Sacred History – Part V

Tuesday, May 24, 2016finger paint heart

Sharing the story of God’s love

When we recover from cataclysm and struggle to establish a new balance, there is always the temptation to withdrawn from a world that has disappointed or damaged us; but rather than listen to those who encourage a life of bitter regret, we hear the call to light and truth. The call to union, healing and love. What do we do with this invitation?

God says: The stories my chronicler has captured are lessons of my love for you. The ups and downs, the joys and disappointments of these ancient people are modern stories of my fidelity in remaining with you. I never tire of bringing you back to me. The verses my servant records are words of hope and healing for you. The pain and celebration of these long ago women and men are the same emotions experienced by you today. I am never wearied by the healing actions I take on your behalf. The words of the figures in these books are templates that you might use in your modern life. The curses and praises are songs of lament and delight that you might also sing. I will never give up on the plans I have in mind for you – plans for your good and not your woe. Remember this as you move through your obstacles, as you rely on me, as you spend time with me in your thoughts, actions and prayers.

StoryMattersOur shared history has stories we will want to hide because they bring us pain, and stories we will want to shout from the rooftop because they bring us reality and hope. Our collective narrative tells both the ugly and the beautiful because it describes the broad cloth of all humanity. Our mutual chronicle tells of a people who in their search for the Living God find this living, sacred person within, calling all civilization to union, serenity and love. Are we willing to share this most amazing of stories? Are we ready to tell the world this wonderful story of love?

The two books of Chronicles have four major portions that show us very human leaders; they illustrate the rise and fall of a people and nation. These verses tell us how division and exile can lead to forgiveness and return. Our sacred history shows us how we will want to learn to replace pride with humility. Our shared story guides us in moving from fear to love. These holy stories are treasures we will want to share with the world.

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Job 19Suffering and Rejoicing Well

Eberhar Waechter: Grieving Job and his friends

Eberhar Waechter: Grieving Job and his friends

Thursday, November 26, 2015: Thanksgivng Day in the USA

As we consider terrorist events that flood before us, and as we celebrate a day of Thanksgiving in the USA, let us re-visit this Favorite post and consider how we might suffer and rejoice well.

The Book of Job is the first in the wisdom portion of scripture and it may be one of our favorites for its honesty and persistence with which this innocent man speaks.  Job has been wronged by Satan, yet retains faith and hope in God.  He asks the questions we all ask; he makes the observations we all make: why do the wicked seem to skate through life without suffering, and why do the innocent suffer?  Each of us has endured hardship as Job does at one time or another; and for this reason his words are so valuable.  Job sinks into the lowest of depths with his despair . . . yet he soars with great hope and divine love.  This is the gift of his story . . . that he both suffers and rejoices well.

How long will you vex my soul?  At times the suffering is too great, too heavy.

I cry for help; there is no redress.  In our own lives, and in the lives of others, there are moments that ask too much of human strength and endurance.

My brethren have withdrawn from me, and my friends are wholly estranged.  At times we are utterly alone, with no sheltering place, no healing balm.

All my intimate friends hold me in horror; those whom I love have turned against me!  In the human experience, there is no greater punishment than isolation.

Why do you hound me as though you were divine, and insatiably prey on me?  At times we are so low that we descend into pits we did not know existed . . . and this is when we know that something new is arriving.

But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust; whom I myself shall see: my own eyes, not another’s shall behold him.  Job understands that it is impossible for us to comprehend the depth, the width, the height or the timelessness of God.  Job – although not content with the mystery of his innocent suffering – accepts that from where he stands he cannot see or know the limitlessness of God or the complexity of his plan.  Job reminds us that each of us suffers.  Each of us stands accused at times when we are innocent.  Since this is so . . . the rest of his story is also true . . . we will be vindicated.

From today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation about the Blessed Mother and her willingness to suffer as an innocent for the good of God’s economy: She neither regretted the past nor wished for the future – she accepted wholeheartedly the magnificent present.  She had found one beautiful pearl, and all she had she gave in order to buy it.  (Mother Marie des Douleurs)

So let us follow the example of Job and the example of Mary.  They understood that they, by entering into the mystery of suffering, were sharing in a sacred gift offered by the God who loves us so much . . . that he offers us his own divinity.

Let us enter into today without looking back in anger or looking forward in despair.

Let us gather all that we have and all that we are to make this one purchase . . . the gift of transformative union where . . . through suffering, we enter into the world of God’s joy.

A favorite from March 25, 2009. 

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 25.3 (2009). Print.  

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joyFriday, November 14, 2014

Ezra 3

Joy and Worship

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.

scroll_610x300Can 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?

scroll-mAs 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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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cows of Bashan and Mount Hermon

Cows of Bashan and Mount Hermon

Amos 4

Second Word

Amos delivers God’s word to the priests in Bethel for a year and when he is rejected he returns to his shepherding work. He speaks to the Israel nation about their lack of fidelity. And he reminds us of how we can turn back to God and the covenant once we discover that we have again fallen under the spell of the pagan gods of fame, money, influence and power. Amos reminds us that there is always redemption. Restoration is always possible.

God says: In this time of Lent I call you to examine your conscience and you perform this scrutiny well. You are aware of all that you do when you allow yourself to be honest.  You know where and how to return to me when you allow yourself a bit of quiet and a dose of truth.  So put your worries and fears aside for your renovation already lies within you.  Your recovery from all that plagues you is already in your body, mind and soul.  All that needs happen is that you note what you do, that you put aside your pagan gods, and that you turn and return to me.  Uprightness lives in you through me.  Do what you must to nourish the integrity that dwells in you.  This is the Second Word that comes from me through my prophet Amos.

In our modern society we are not much different from our ancient ancestors despite our science and technology; the very real temptation to become Cows of Bashan is as keen and alluring today as it was millennia ago; yet we know that life is more than we see before us.  And so we still yearn for union.  We still seek wisdom and peace.  We are still vessels of the Spirit that creates us. God still dwells within . . . waiting to transform and rescue us.

Tomorrow, Third Word.

For information about Bashan, click on the image above or go to: http://www.bibleplaces.com/golanheights.htm

For a Noontime reflection on Amos 4:1-2 and The Cows of Bashan see the September 20, 2013 post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/09/20/cows-of-bashan/

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

NunPsalm 119:105-112

Nun

Your word is a lamp for me feet, a light for my path . . . I make a solemn vow to keep your just edicts.

When we live superficially we give lip service to God’s call.  When we live authentically we think, say and act in accordance with God’s Law of Love.

God says: My joy is endless when you finally decide to act in my love with the same or even greater intensity as you think and speak about my love.  Allow the happiness of knowing your own divinity to serve as a beacon to others.  Call out to others as I call out to you and tell the world of your delight in becoming one with me.  Then . . .  come to me so that we might celebrate this union of your gift with my eternal goodness.

The simplest way to demonstrate your love for the Law of Love Jesus brings to us is to allow our joy to serve as a lamp to others, our delight in knowing God to serve as a light on the path of life.

Jesus says: You are the light of the world.  A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and then out it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand where it gives light to all in the house.  Just so your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.  (Matthew 5:14-16)

To learn more about the letter Nun as a symbol of the Messiah, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/nun.htm or http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/3_nun.html

Tomorrow, Samekh.

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