Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the toll of death rings on...

John 12:27-36


Jesus Speaks about His Death
"Now my heart is troubled - and what shall I say? Shall I say, 'Father, do not let this hour come upon me'? But this is why I came - so that I might go through this hour of suffering. Father, bring glory to your name!"

Then a voice spoke from heaven, "I have brought glory to it, and I will do so again."

The crowd standing there heard the voice, and some of them said it was thunder, while others said, "An angel spoke to him!"

But Jesus said to them, "It was not for my sake that this voice spoke, but for yours. Now is the time for this world to be judged; now the ruler of this world will be overthrown. When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me." (In saying this he indicated the kind of death he was going to suffer.)

The crowd answered, "Out Law tells us that the Messiah will live forever. How, then, can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?

Jesus answered, "The light will be among you a little longer. Continue on your way while you have the light, so that the darkness will not come upon you; for the one who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Believe in the light, then, while you have it, so that you will be the people of the light."
Do I/we act as people of the light? Can others tell through the actions of our daily lives that we believe in the light? Or, do I/we walk in darkness? Can we believe without seeing? Is our faith strong enough? Would we have had the courage to believe if we lived when Jesus did? Would we have been confused and afraid? Would we have turned our back on the Messiah?

(Today's reflections apparently turned into a laundry list of questions! However, they seem like good questions to ponder during this season of Lent... Happy thinking!)

Happy St. Patrick's Day
to all you Irish folks.
(Isn't everybody at least a little Irish on St. Patrick's day?)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Romans 16:25-27

Concluding Prayer of Praise
Let us give glory to God! He is able to make you stand firm in your faith, according to the Good News I preach about Jesus Christ and according to the revelation of the secret truth which was hidden for long ages in the past. Now, however, that truth has been brought out into the open through the writings of the prophets; and by the command of the eternal God it is made known to all nations, so that all may believe and obey.

To the only God, who alone is all-wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever! Amen!
Hmm, I think that says everything... no more thoughts here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

V is for Victory

tonight's reading comes from Psalms 20:1-9

A Prayer for Victory
May the Lord answer you when you are in trouble!
May the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from his Temple and give you aid from Mount Zion.
May he accept all your offerings and be pleased with all your sacrifices.
May he give you what you desire and make all your plans succeed.
Then we will shout for joy over your victory and celebrate your triumph by praising our God.
May the Lord answer all your requests.

Now I know that the Lord fives victory to his chosen king;
he answers him from his holy heaven and by his power gives him great victories.
Some trust in their war chariots and others in their horses,
but we trust in the power of the Lord our God.
Such people will stumble and fall,
but we will rise and stand firm.

Give victory to the king, O Lord;
answer us when we call.
So, the one thing in particular that comes to mind as I read this is that God does answer all of our prayers. Those times when we think He isn't listening or hasn't heard us are the times when the answer to our prayers isn't quite what we think it should be. The answer to our prayers is not always a 'Yes'. Sometimes God has another plan for us. Although we may not see it or understand it at the time, His answer to our prayers is what is best for us in His plan for us which is far greater than any plan we may have for ourselves.

Friday, March 13, 2009

on the streets of Philadelphia...

Tonight's reading is from Revalations 3:7-13

The Message to Philadelphia
"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
"This is the message from the one who is holy and true. He has the key that belonged to David, and when he opens a door, no one can close it, and when he closes it, no one can open it. I know what you do; I know that you have a little power; you have followed my teaching and have been faithful to me. I have opened a door in front of you, which no one can close. Listen! As for that group that belongs to Satan, those liars who claim that they are Jews but are not, I will make them come and bow down at your feet. They will all know that I love you. Because you have kept my command to endure, I will also keep you safe from the time of trouble which is coming upon the world to test all the people on earth. I am coming soon. Keep safe what you have, so that no one will rob you of your victory prize. I will make those who are victorious pillars in the temple of my God, and they will never leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from my God. I will also write on them my new name.
"If you have ears, then, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches!"
Well, this one hits home quite literally (well, maybe a different continent). Anyway, perhaps more of us in Philadelphia should listen to what the churches have to say. Perhaps if more of us did, we'd have less violence on the streets and in our communities. Perhaps we would not have to bury six police officers in sixteen months! Perhaps we'd have more brotherly love in this "City of Brotherly Love."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

and the roulette continues...

Tonight's page opens to: 1 Corinthians 7:1-16

Questions about Marriage
Now, to deal with the matters you wrote about. A man does well not to marry. But because there is so much immorality, every man should have his own wife, and every woman should have her own husband. A man should fulfill his duty as a husband, and a woman should fulfill her duty as a wife, and each should satisfy the other's needs. A wife is not the master of her own body, but her husband is; in the same way a husband is not the master of his own body, but his wife is. Do not deny yourselves to each other, unless you first agree to do so for a while in order to spend your time in prayer; but then resume normal marital relations. In this way you will be kept from giving in to Satan's temptation because of your lack of self-control.
I tell you this not as an order, but simply as a permission. Actually I would prefer that all of you were as I am; but each one has a special gift from God, one person this gift, another one that gift.
Now, to the unmarried and to the widows I say that it would be better for you to continue to live alone as I do. But if you cannot restrain your desires, go ahead and marry - it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
For married people I have a command which is not my own but the Lord's: a wife must not leave her husband; but if she does, she must remain single or else be reconciled to her husband; and a husband must not divorce his wife.
To the others I say (I, myself, not the Lord): if a Christian man has a wife who is an unbeliever and she agrees to go on living with him, he must not divorce her. And if a Christian woman is married to a man who is an unbeliever and he agrees to go on living with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made acceptable to God by being united to his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made acceptable to God by being united to her Christian husband. If this were not so, their children would be like pagan children; but as it is, they are acceptable to God. However, if the one who is not a believer wishes to leave the Christian partner, let it be so. In such cases the Christian partner, whether husband or wife, is free to act. God has called you to live in peace. How can you be sure, Christian wife, that you will not save your husband? Or how can you be sure, Christian husband, that you will not save your wife?
Wow, sounds like the Corinthians were having a tough time with the concept of marriage, perhaps particularly mixed-faith marriages. This reading is still very pertinent in our times. It seems that marriage is not taken as seriously now as it was in the past. Divorce seems to be the easy solution. How is it that we have come to a point where a lifetime commitment can be taken so lightly? (I like how St. Paul specifies what comes from him and what comes from God.)

The last paragraph of this reading brings me to an idea I have about "my marriage." (I'm pretty sure all girls think about what their marriage might be like one day... perhaps with the rare exception of those who know at an early age that they are being called to a religious vocation.) At any rate, I have always thought that the guy I marry must be Catholic... or be interested in RCIA. Why, you ask? welllll, I don't think that I could fully share my life with someone else who doesn't share in my values and beliefs. Don't get me wrong, there are many wonderful people in this world who share values and beliefs and they certainly aren't all Catholic. However, I feel that this is important in my life. When two people give their lives to eachother and become one, how does one choose which faith pathway to walk if they are not walking along the same pathway? Now, I'm certainly not saying that I would expect a potential marriage partner to be at the same point in their spiritual journey as each person's journey is very different. How can you share your lives if you don't share God?

Are you part of a mixed-faith marriage? Does it work for you? How do you make it work? (I know there is at least one person who reads this blog who might be able to share some insight... please do enlighten me!) Thanks!

While I have many more thoughts on this matter, perhaps I shall save them for another day and get some shut eye.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tonight's Reading...

1Corinthians 14:26-40


Order in the Church
This is what I mean, my friends. When you meet for worship, one person has a hymn, another a teaching, another a revelation from God, another a message in strange tongues, and still another the explanation of what is said. Everything must be of help to the church. If someone is going to speak in strange tongues, two or three at the most should speak, one after the other, and someone else must explain what is being said. But if no one is there who can explain, then the one who speaks in strange tongues must be quiet and speak only to himself and to God. Two or three who are given God's message should speak, while the others are to judge what they say. But if someone sitting in the meeting receives a message from God, the one who is speaking should stop. All of you may proclaim God's message, one by one, so that everyone will learn and be encouraged. The gift of proclaiming God's message should be under the speaker's control, because God does not want us to be in disorder but in harmony and peace.
As in all the churches of God's people, the women should keep quiet in the meetings. They are not allowed to speak; as the Jewish Law says, the must not be in charge. If they want to find out about something, they should ask their husbands at home. It is a disgraceful thing for a woman to speak in a church meeting.
Or could it be that the word of God came from you? Or are you the only ones to whom it came? If anyone supposes he is God's messenger or has a spiritual gift, he must realize that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. But if he does not pay attention to this, pay no attention to him.
So then, my friends, set you heart on proclaiming God's message, but do not forbid the speaking in strange tongues. Everything must be done in a proper and orderly way.

Well, that was quite the Bobby Flay throw-down for the ladies in tonight's reading! Perhaps I'll mull this one over a bit more before attempting to write any coherent thoughts about it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Testament Roulette

Here's a little thing I picked up this weekend so I thought I'd share it with you...

tonight's reading is...
drumroll...

Mark 10:22-34

Jesus Speaks a Third Time about His Death
Jesus and his disciples were now on the road going up to Jerusalem. Jesus was going ahead of the disciples, who were filled with alarm; the people who followed behind were afraid. Once again Jesus took the twelve disciples aside and spoke of the things that were going to happen to him. "Listen," he told them, "we are going up to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. They will condemn him to death and then hand him over to the Gentiles, who will make fun of him, spit on him, whip him, and kill him; but three days later he will rise to life."
How lent-ishly appropriate! How confused the disciples must have been hearing their teacher talk about his death again for a third time. I find it hard to imagine myself in their shoes. What would I have been thinking? What would I have done? Would I have been like Judas? or perhaps Peter? maybe like the women of Jerusalem who met him along his journey to Golgotha?