Tag Archives: faith

The mystery made known

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. Matthew 2:9b

Those who have made the trek, followed the star, and encountered the Christ teach me that the power and light of love can never be fully obscured. May their example renew my faith when it is clouded by pain, depression, or grief, and rekindle my hope when it is diminished by disappointment, disillusionment, or discouragement.

 

God’s in charge

John Everett Millais (1829-1896) Illustration of the Parable of the Unjust Judge from the New Testament Gospel of Luke (Luke 18:1-9) for The Parables of Our Lord (1863)

John Everett Millais (1829-1896)
Illustration of the Parable of the Unjust Judge from the New Testament Gospel of Luke (Luke 18:1-9) for The Parables of Our Lord (1863)

Do I have faith that God is in charge? That God has a vision of peace and love for the whole world? Do I have faith that when I practice kindness, forgiveness, respect, compassion, and nonviolence I am contributing to God’s vision?

If my faith is wavering, I need to be persistent in prayer, confiding my worries and fears and weaknesses to God and listening for God’s response.

[Jesus said,] “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:8b

 

Show, don’t tell

James Tissot (1836-1902) opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894 Brooklyn Museum

Rétire-toi, Satan
James Tissot (1836-1902)
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

“But who do you say that I am?” You ask me.

In faith, I would answer, ““You are the Christ.”

But am I welcoming people who are strangers to me? Am I providing shelter for those who are homeless? Am I sharing my food with those who are hungry? Am I forgiving those who have hurt me? Am I loving as You have loved me?

Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.”
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. James 2:18

God cares

James Tissot (1836-1902) Jésus enseigne le peuple près de la mer opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894 Brooklyn Museum

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Jésus enseigne le peuple près de la mer
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Our need for signs from the Lord speaks of our very human desire to be reassured that God is near and paying attention to us—that God cares. It speaks of our need to be fed with the bread of hope, of compassion, of unconditional love. It speaks of our thirst for conscious contact with the Lord.

Does God care? A wise friend told me: “Of course. That’s why Jesus came here.”

So [the crowd] said to Jesus, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” John 6:30-31

Pruned

Cixi_Vines_with_fruit

Empress Dowager Cixi, 1838-1908
Vines with fruit
ink and water color on silk, first half of 19th c.
Warsaw, National Museum
via Wikimedia Commons

If my heart remains open to and my mind stays focused on Jesus’ teaching to love God, my neighbor, and myself, I can count on being pruned.

Pride, arrogance, selfishness, self-centeredness, shame, low self-esteem, self-pity: these are traits God will prune in order that the fruit I bear in the world ripens into compassion, kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, peace, faith, and love.

[Jesus said to his disciples:] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” John 15:1-2

 

God Thoughts

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Matthew 16:21-27
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

[Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Matthew 16:23

When my thoughts flurry and squall, I hope God thinks calmly, without hurry, in an orderly and harmonious fashion.

When my thoughts descend into despair about the heartaches and violence in our world, I hope God thinks healing into the grief and peace into the unrest.

When my thoughts dwell on what’s wrong with me, I hope God thinks I’m loveable and precious and right where I’m supposed to be.

 

Proclaiming the Christ

The Good Shepherd

JESUS MAFA. The good shepherd, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48288 [retrieved August 24, 2014].

[Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16

My words, attitudes, behaviors, and actions are all that I have to proclaim Jesus as the Christ.

Does my way of being in the world proclaim  compassion? forgiveness? nonviolence? humility? healing? community?

To those I know and those I don’t know, am I a loving presence ? respectful? courteous? generous?

Do I speak words that encourage? lift up? give hope? inspire?

How will I proclaim Jesus the Christ today?