Friday, May 21, 2010

Pentecost from the fathers

'And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit' (Acts 2:3-4). They partook of fire, not of burning but of saving fire; of fire which consumes the thorns of sins, but gives luster to the soul. This is now coming upon you also, and that to strip away and consume your sins which are like thorns, and to brighten yet more that precious possession of your souls, and to give you grace; for He gave it then to the Apostles. And He sat upon them in the form of fiery tongues, that they might crown themselves with new and spiritual diadems by fiery tongues upon their heads. A fiery sword barred of old the gates of Paradise; a fiery tongue which brought salvation restored the gift. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 17 no. 15)

a religion of peace?

Perhaps you may also wish to learn more about the discrimination inflicted by Muslims and the religion of peace on non-Muslims living in their midst. Consider what the Muslim response would be to the kidnapping and forced conversion of Muslim children who were then sent back to their countries of origin as occupying soldiers (cf. Janissaries) and other acts of persecution (cf. Witnesses for Christ: Orthodox Christian Neomartyrs of the Ottoman Period 1437-1860 [Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 2000] and New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke [Seattle, WA: St. Nectarios Press, 1985].) Consider, too, the fact that Islam was spread primarily by the sword and expanded in a given region due to the systematic discrimination inflicted on non-Muslims under Islamic rule. Self-evidently relevant, too, are the following observations:

The overwhelming majority of fault line conflicts [between 'civilizations'], have taken place along the boundary looping across Eurasia and Africa that separates Muslims from non-Muslims.

...In all these places, the relations between Muslims and peoples of other civilizations - Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Hindu, Chinese, Buddhist, Jewish - have been generally antagonistic; most of these relations have been violent at some point in the past; many have been violent in the 1990s. Wherever one looks along the perimeter of Islam, Muslims have problems living peaceably with their neighbors. The question naturally arises as to whether this pattern of late-twentieth-century conflict between Muslim and non-Muslim groups is equally true of relations between groups from other civilizations. In fact, it is not. Muslims make up about one-fifth of the world's population but in the 1990s they have been far more involved in intergroup violence than the people of any other civilization. The evidence is overwhelming.

...Three different compilations of data [provided in the original text - ed.] thus yield the same conclusion: In the early 1990s Muslims were engaged in more intergroup violence than were non-Muslims, and two-thirds to three-quarters of intercivilizational wars were between Muslims and non-Muslims. Islam's borders are bloody, and so are its innards.*

* [Huntington's note:] No single statement in my Foreign Affairs article attracted more critical comment than" "Islam has bloody borders." I made that judgment on the basis of a casual survey of intercivilizational conflicts. Quantitative evidence from every disinterested source conclusively demonstrates its validity.

- Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (Simon and Schuster, 1997), pp. 255-258.

That's a long way of saying that what feels like 'humiliation' has more to do with the unrealized, politico-religious expectation within Islamic theology that Muslims should, by decree of God, defeat and dominate all non-Muslims than it does with anything the other 4/5 of the world is doing to humiliate Muslims. We are not Satan because your lust for power and domination have not been met; you are being treated far better than your ancestors treated the Christians in their midst, in the main.

good advice from Pr. Harrison

“Ten rules for getting rid of the blues: Go out and do something for someone else - repeat it nine times”

Monday, May 17, 2010

Easter 7

+ Seventh Sunday of Easter +
May 16, 2010
That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent me.
John 17:21
Alleluia! Christ is risen! C: He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!

1. That they may all be one
a. Not based on what we like or don’t like – Jacob and his wives
b. A new kind of unity – what we have in common; sin and forgiveness, the same robe of righteousness

2. That they may also be in us
a. Not in our human arrangements – resist every tendency to direct power and control in the human organization
b. Only in the Eucharist will Christ’s prayer be answered (story of Dr. Nagel looking for Jesus in the corner of the classroom!)

3. So that the world may believe – just to be sure we stay on track
a. Given us His glory – the cross
b. Given us the love with which the Father loved Him. Believing is His business, not ours!

Friday, May 14, 2010

more ascension

This is the proper preface from Chemnitz' Braunschweig-Woelfenbuettel Church Order of 1569.

It is truly meet etc. through Christ our Lord, who after His resurrection, appeared openly to all his disciples, and in their sight was taken up into heaven, so He might grant us to be partakers of his divinity. And therefore with angels and archangels, with thrones and dominions, and with all the host of heaven we sing the hymn of Your glory, without end, saying:

Thursday, May 13, 2010


O loving Jesus, while You lived on earth
You were God inseparable from the Father,
and yet You truly shared our humanity.
Ascending in glory today from the Mount of olives,
through your great love You lifted up our fallen nature
and enthroned it with the Father on high.
-- Byzantine Vespers for Ascension

Monday, May 10, 2010

Best Information Before leaving Earth

+ Sixth Sunday of Easter +
May 9, 2010
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Alleluia! Christ is risen! C: He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!
1. Christ wants us to have peace as we follow Him
a. By meditating on the things He has said to us
b. What more powerful witness when there is no peace in the world
2. Christ warns us about tribulation in the world
a. Christ doesn’t want us to escape tribulation – that’s where the lost are
b. How else can God be our Provider, Healer, Banner, Shepherd, Mighty Fortress?
3. Christ wants us to be fellow-conquerors in Him
a. By his life of perfect obedience
b. By not letting the world set our agenda

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Holy Baptism

They are rather to be admonished often to view Baptism as the scriptures speak of it, namely that it is a work of the Holy Trinity, who is the real baptizer, through the mouth and the hand of the minister [diener]. And it is such an administration where God the Father through Baptism saves, Titus 3[5]; where God the Son through the washing in the word purifies, Eph. 5[26]; through which the Holy Spirit gives a man new birth and renewal, John 3[5]; Titus 3[5]. This is so because we are baptized into the death of Christ, Rom. 6[3], and into his resurrection, I Pet. 3[21], and in summary, because in Baptism Christ with all his merits is put on, Gal. 3[27]. And thus in Baptism the Holy Trinity makes with us a covenant of a good conscience for the sake of Christ, I Pet. 3[16] through the forgiveness of sins, Acts 2[38] and 22[16], unto eternal salvation, Mark 16[16].
-- Martin Chemnitz

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Just as tools without the workmen and the wokmen without tools are unable to do anyting, just so neither is faith without the fulfillment of the commandments, nor the fulfillment of the commandments without faith able to renew and recreate us, nor make us new men from the old. But, whenever we do possess both within a heart free of doubt, then we shall become the Master's vessels, be made fit for the reception of the spiritual myrrh. --Saint Symeon the New Theologian (+ 1022)

Monday, May 3, 2010

gift of repentance

Thus the threefold -- repentance, faith and new obedience -- are to be truthfully explained and taught. For where there is no repentance, there can be no upright faith. And where no good fruits follow, there is a certain indication that neither true repentance nor upright faith are present. But these three must be taught with due distinction regarding which precede, which follow, which are the office and characteristics of each, and especially, which is the means by which forgiveness of sins, earned and attained by Christ, is obtained, laid hold of, and received. -- Martin Chemnitz