Andromeda, Far Off 012913
Today’s Scriptures Click the following links to read today’s scriptures or scroll to the very bottom of this blog post for those scriptures also. Lectionary Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/
2 Corinthians 7:2-12 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%207:2-12&version=MSG
Andromeda, Far Off 012913
Earlier this evening, I saw a picture of the galaxy Andromeda. The caotion noted that the galaxy has about 1 billion stars, and this galaxy is only one of a trillion galaxies we can see, and apparently they go on forever!
But for us to night, it all is very close, because the skies have opened and finally we have some very good rain. It could be the start of enough rain for us to recover two hard years or more of drought. We’re praying that the entire world gets the rain it needs, but not too much!
This gentle mix of the finite and the infinite leads me, a very small speck in all of this to wonder—what is God doing in all this?
Sometimes when I’m half asleep, or half awake, I wonder if God didn’t create all of this as a sort of infinite training camp, where humans, and maybe all life forms could earn, fail to learn, try and not succeed, in learning how to be God-like. Maybe all the spoiling of our planet, the killing and waste of ourselves, our children and every living and inanimate thing may not make a difference. Maybe the living things on several distant planets are learning better how to live in the love and light of God; maybe our failure is part of an infinite learning plan, a set of lessons with which we are not doing so well.
One’s delight in all this is that what you and I do to love God and to accept the love of God is not enough, yet in this small thing we know in our hearts we’re doing this part well. The daily love from God and Jesus tells us this.
And as Andromeda shines, our soul somehow keeps shining also. Maybe we’re otherwise getting it all wrong, maybe this love is all we can do that’s right.
Prayer for all our peace,
Prayer List: Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).
Pray with us!
We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net
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2 Corinthians 7:2-12
The Message (MSG)
89-96 What you say goes, God,
and stays, as permanent as the heavens.
Your truth never goes out of fashion;
it’s as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up.
Your Word and truth are dependable as ever;
that’s what you ordered—you set the earth going.
If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so,
I would have given up when the hard times came.
But I’ll never forget the advice you gave me;
you saved my life with those wise words.
Save me! I’m all yours.
I look high and low for your words of wisdom.
The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me,
but I’m only concerned with your plans for me.
I see the limits to everything human,
but the horizons can’t contain your commands!
The Message (MSG)
11-12 The moment Micaiah the son of Gemariah heard what was being read from the scroll—God’s Message!—he went straight to the palace and to the chambers of the secretary of state where all the government officials were holding a meeting: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other government officials.
14 Immediately they dispatched Jehudi son of Nethaniah, son of Semaiah, son of Cushi, to Baruch, ordering him, “Take the scroll that you have read to the people and bring it here.” So Baruch went and retrieved the scroll.
20-21 The officials went to the court of the palace to report to the king, having put the scroll for safekeeping in the office of Elishama the secretary of state. The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. He brought it from the office of Elishama the secretary. Jehudi then read it to the king and the officials who were in the king’s service.
22-23 It was December. The king was sitting in his winter quarters in front of a charcoal fire. After Jehudi would read three or four columns, the king would cut them off the scroll with his pocketknife and throw them in the fire. He continued in this way until the entire scroll had been burned up in the fire.
24-26 Neither the king nor any of his officials showed the slightest twinge of conscience as they listened to the messages read. Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah tried to convince the king not to burn the scroll, but he brushed them off. He just plowed ahead and ordered Prince Jerahameel, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Jeremiah the prophet and his secretary Baruch. But God had hidden them away.
2 Corinthians 7:2-13
The Message (MSG)
2-4 Trust us. We’ve never hurt a soul, never exploited or taken advantage of anyone. Don’t think I’m finding fault with you. I told you earlier that I’m with you all the way, no matter what. I have, in fact, the greatest confidence in you. If only you knew how proud I am of you! I am overwhelmed with joy despite all our troubles.
5-7 When we arrived in Macedonia province, we couldn’t settle down. The fights in the church and the fears in our hearts kept us on pins and needles. We couldn’t relax because we didn’t know how it would turn out. Then the God who lifts up the downcast lifted our heads and our hearts with the arrival of Titus. We were glad just to see him, but the true reassurance came in what he told us about you: how much you cared, how much you grieved, how concerned you were for me. I went from worry to tranquility in no time!
8-9 I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while. Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss.
10 Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.
11-13 And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart. And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter. My primary concern was not for the one who did the wrong or even the one wronged, but for you—that you would realize and act upon the deep, deep ties between us before God. That’s what happened—and we felt just great.
- Photos: Andromeda’s Colorful Rings (abcnews.go.com)
- Milky Way to inevitably merge with Andromeda Nebula – NASA (ktrmurali.wordpress.com)
- The Coolest Photos of Andromeda, Shot by Herschel in Infrared – Gallery (news.softpedia.com)
- Two Great New Looks At The Andromeda Galaxy From The Herschel Space Observatory (geekosystem.com)
- See the Andromeda Galaxy in a Cool New Light (news.discovery.com)
- ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory Snaps New Images of Andromeda Galaxy (guardianlv.com)
- New Andromeda galaxy image captures formation of new stars (nzherald.co.nz)
- Andromeda mon amour (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- Andromeda Galaxy Seen In A New Way, Nearest Galaxy To The Milky Way Imaged By Herschel Space Telescope (planetsave.com)
- Andromeda Galaxy Viewed in New Light Spectrum (scienceworldreport.com)