I Dwell in the Word. I do it often. And I dwell in the same text for many weeks. I sometimes get to the point that I think I will never find anything new in this same old text. And then I dwell again, and find something brand new. How does this happen?
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First thing — full disclosure — I tend to not take stories of miracles that appear in scripture literally. I regard them as metaphors that still convey deep and profound truths. That said...
Today’s Gospel continues the story of a man, blind from birth, who has been given the gift of sight by Jesus, and promptly becomes a target of several fearful religious leaders (he does, however, manage to throw a little snark in their direction), is thrown under the bus by his own parents, and basically excommunicated from his faith community. Quite an afternoon!
I confess my heart is haughty; I am concerned with many things, large and small. The effort is to sort through all the matters, keep them straight, not get in a muddle. How? A retreat at Holy Cross Monastery, a day set aside for dreaded computer work, taking care of my physical body, saying prayers during commercials, finding how I can live a righteous life that works for me while engaged very much in the world. Owning my negative thoughts and most difficult of all, continually learning how to be constructively angry. If we are commanded to love one another, we must also include ourselves.
In John 9:3, Jesus performs a healing that defies explanation, even in our twenty first century world. Recently, one of my friends had a cataract procedure that failed, leaving her blinded. Luckily she was a candidate for a cornea transplant, and now she can see, and she is truly filled with joy and gratitude. Faithful believer that she is, she believes that the gift of medical science and the gifted hands of her surgeons are gifts from God. In that regard, her eyes are wide open.
Jeremiah 23: 1-8, Romans 8: 28-39, John 6: 52-59, Psalm 107
Romans 8: 28a and 39
“And we know that in all things God works for the good for all who love him,… neither height nor depth nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”
I love reading the Psalms and trying to translate them into their modern equivalents. While the Old Testament forbade wearing wool and linen together and ordered stoning as a punishment for cursing God or rebelling against parents, we have our modern-day equivalents of crime and punishment.
This is one of my favorite hangings in my church. I love the simplicity of it on first inspection, including the nails hanging as the “fringe” at the bottom and the piece of tree branch it hangs from. In the foreground the purple path is wider, and then it thins out as it gets closer to the cross in the distance.
Anyone in a 12-step program knows the steps are vital to overcoming one’s addiction. If you follow them faithfully you will come to the twelfth step and hopefully a spiritual awakening. The first three steps are when you are on your knees and indeed a “slave to the law of sin.”
Step one- “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Step two- “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”