Rector's Words

Monday: Morning Prayer for Passiontide

 

O Lord, open our lips and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Let your ways be known upon earth, your saving help among the nations.

 

Christ became obedient unto death for us, even death upon a cross. He was pierced for our sins, bruised for no fault but ours His punishment has won our peace, and by his wounds we are healed. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, strength, honour, glory and praise. Amen.

 

Blessed be the holy and undivided Trinity, one God. Blessed be God for ever. 

Today’s Scripture Reading

 

Psalm 36:5-11


36:5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

36:6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O LORD.

36:7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

36:8 They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

36:9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

36:10 O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart!

36:11 Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me, or the hand of the wicked drive me away.

 

King Jesus comes, King Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah. Hail! King Jesus, King of all!

Recall the words of the Scriptures: “A great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!’”

In praise we adore you, King Jesus. Enter our hearts today as you entered Jerusalem long ago, and lead us by faith in the way everlasting. Amen.

 

 

Isaiah 42:1-9


42:1 Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

42:2 He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street;

42:3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.

42:4 He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

42:5 Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it:

42:6 I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,

42:7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

42:8 I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols.

42:9 See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.

 

John 12:1-4  (NIV)

Jesus Anointed at Bethany 

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy Name,
    thy kingdom come,
    thy will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
    for ever and ever. Amen.

 

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

 

Break through our troubled hearts, O loving Abba.

Let your Holy Spirit open our ears

to the comfort of your promises;

in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

 

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

 

Called to be ministers of reconciliation, welcome, compassion, and trust, let us pray for all in need, saying,

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For all life, that our thanks and praise to you, Creator and Guide,

can be seen in all we do.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For Earth and all its creatures:

sparrows and all birds,

lilies of the fields and grasses large and small,

waterways, mountain ridges, valleys filled with reeds,

fish and mammals and insects,

that each day we honor our dependence on your creation.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For the courage to live out your commandments

graciously and without reservation.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For those chosen to govern peoples and nations, that they rule with wisdom to promote the welfare of their people and the courage to work toward justice for everyone. We lift up especially the people of [name here nations currently in turmoil],

peacekeepers, and diplomats,

that where tensions threaten to destroy lives,

calm may prevail.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For those who suffer from any form of oppression,

that their tormentors learn to fear God’s will and follow God’s love.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For all who are sick,

those who are rebuilding after natural disasters,

those who have no work or are underemployed,

those who have lost hope,

and all who need comfort for any reason.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For those who have yearned to see God face to face,

that they may receive eternal rest.

We pray especially for families in mourning at this time

[specific people may be named].

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

Fill us with single-minded focus on you,

help us to see what is eternal in the present,

free us from worry so that we recognize your love;

we pray in the name of the one who is the light of the world,

Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

 

 

BLESSING

 

The Lord gives what is needed from day to day.

The Lord feeds you with light and bread.

The Lord comes into your midst whenever you call.

Move with joy into the coming days,

for Christ is with you. Amen.

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                                                                        Processional Hymn: 182 Ride On, Ride On In Majesty

 

 

                                                                        The Blessing of the Palms

 

                                                                         Minister: The Lord be with you.

                                                                          People: And also with you.

 

Minister: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People:  It is right to give our thanks and praise.

 

 

Minister: It is right to praise you, almighty God, for the acts of love by which you have redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The Hebrews acclaimed Jesus as Messiah and King, with palm branches in their hands, crying, Hosanna in the highest. May we also, carrying these emblems, go forth to meet Christ and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Palm Sunday Presentation 

Narrator:     Jesus and his disciples were entering Jerusalem and were close to the Mount of Olives when Jesus spoke and said to two of his disciples:

 

Jesus:        Go on ahead of us and you will find a colt which has never before been ridden. Untie it and bring it to me.

                   If anyone asks why you do this, say: The Lord needs it.

  

Narrator:     The disciples went and did as Jesus had said.   As they were doing so the owner  the colt asked:

 

Owner:         Why are you untying my colt?

 

Narrator:      And the disciples answered:

 

Disciples:     The Lord Needs It!

  

Narrator:     A great crowd had heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They went out

                     to meet him and spread their cloaks and palm  branches along the road.

     

 

They cried:  

 

People:        Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

                    Hosanna in the highest! 

 

Narrator:     When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city asked ‘Who is this?’ and the crowds answered:

 

People:         This is Jesus! This is the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee! 

 

Narrator:     The first day of the Feast of Passover  arrived and the disciples asked Jesus:

 

Disciples:    Where shall we eat the Passover?

 

Narrator:     Jesus answered, saying to Peter and John:

 

Jesus:        In the city you will see a  carrying a water jug. Follow him and say to the owner of the house he

                  enters, The Teacher says my time is near.   Where may I eat the Passover  with my disciples?

                  He will then show you a room.

 

Narrator:     And so there in the room, Jesus and his disciples reclined at a table. And here

                     Jesus took the bread and said:

 

Jesus:        Take this bread and eat it. This is my body which is given for you.

                   Do this in remembrance of me.

 

Narrator:     And after supper Jesus took the cup of  wine and offered it to them saying:

 

Jesus:        Drink this all of you. This is my blood which is shed for you for the  forgiveness of sins.

                  Whenever you drink it,  do this for the remembrance of me.

 

Narrator:     After supper, when Judas was gone, Jesus spoke to the disciples again and said:

     

Jesus:        My children, I will be with you only for a little longer. But I give you this new

                  command: Love one another as I have loved you. 

 

Narrator:     Peter said: 

 

Peter:         Lord, where are you going?

 

Narrator:     Jesus said:

 

Jesus:        Where I am going, you cannot follow now  but you will follow later.

 

Narrator:     Jesus went after to the Mount of Olives and his disciples went with him to an olive grove called                   

                    Gethsemene. He said:

Jesus:           I am full of sorrow. Stay here and keep watch with me.

 

Narrator:     So Jesus went a stone’s throw away and with his face on the ground said:

 

Jesus:           My Father, Abba, if you are willing, take this cup from me. But, even so, let your will be done.

 

Narrator:     Jesus turned then and found his disciples  sleeping. And he said to them:

 

Jesus:           Could you not keep watch with me for one hour? The spirit is willing but the body is weak.

 

Narrator:     Jesus was speaking when a crowd came and even though he knew what would  happen to him he said:

 

Jesus:        Who is it you want?

 

People:       Jesus of Nazareth!

 

 

Narrator:     And so the soldiers and the officials  took Jesus away. They took him to Caiaphas. The disciples waited.

                    A servant asked Peter, who was waiting near by:

 

Servant:     Aren’t you one of this man’s disciples?

 

Narrator:     And Peter replied:

 

Peter:         Woman, I don’t know him!

 

Narrator:     Peter would deny the Lord two more times. And Peter wept bitterly.  But the Lord loved Peter and trusted                        him and his strength. He had already said to Peter,at their Last Supper:

 

Jesus:           Peter, strengthen your brothers.

 

Narrator:     Then Jesus went before Pilate. But Pilate id:

 

Pilate:         Judge him by your own law!

 

Narrator:     Pilate argued with the officials but  finally spoke to Jesus and asked:

 

Pilate:         Are you the King of the Jews?

 

Narrator:     And Jesus said:

 

Jesus:        It is as you say.

 

 Narrator:     Jesus was taken after this to Herod who, after questioning Jesus and mocking him, dressed him in a robe                         and sent him back to Pilate.  It was the custom at festival time for the governor to release a prisoner                               chosen by the crowd. So when the crowd gathered, Pilate said: 

 

Pilate:           Which one do you want me to release to you? Barabbas or Jesus the Messiah?

 

People:         Barrabas!

 

Pilate:          What then should I do with Jesus?

  

People:        Crucify Him!

 

Narrator:     And so Jesus was led away. And as he was on the cross the leaders made fun of Jesus.

 

They said:

 

People:         He saved others! Let him save himself!

 

Narrator:     Next to Jesus on the cross were two robbers.

One said:

Robber 1:   Aren’t you Christ? Save yourself! And us!

 

Narrator:     But the other robber said:

 

Robber 2:   Jesus has done nothing wrong. Jesus remember me, when you come into your  kingdom.

 

Narrator:     And Jesus said: 

 

Jesus:        I tell you the truth! Today you will be with me in paradise.

 

Narrator:     And so our Lord Jesus died – and when the moment came he cried out

 

Jesus         It is finished.

 

Narrator:     At that moment the curtain of the temple  was torn in two from top to bottom.

 

Narrator:     And so, because the Sabbath was about to begin they  laid Jesus in the tomb of a

                     man called Joseph and rolled a big stone  against the entrance.

 

Narrator:     When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene and another named Mary went

                     to the Tomb to anoint Jesus’ body.  But then there was an earthquake and an angel rolled away the stone                        in front of the tomb.    The guards were terrified!

 

 

Guards:       What is that! The earth is shaking!

 

Narrator:     The angel spoke to the women: 

 

Angel:        Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth! But he is not here!

                   Come and see the empty tomb! He has risen! Run now and tell the disciples!

 

 Narrator:     On this Palm Sunday we remember  the entry of our Lord, in triumph,

                      into Jerusalem. The people called him King. And we will forever call him King, Lord, and Friend.

 

AMEN.

 

 

Sermon on the Palms and the Passion

O Lord, enlighten our lives with your Spirit, that we may find our way,

hope, and salvation in your holy and liberating Word. Amen

 

God had told the prophets to transfer His message to people. The prophets did what God told them to do. God had told people ‘if you believe in me and do what I say, I will answer your call quickly, I will guide you constantly, I will give you strength, and you will overcome darkness; light will be your lead; and you will be able to rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities’(Isaiah  58:1-11).

A few people listened to God, most did not, and some forgot what they heard. God began a specific phase of his plan, to remind people of His promises. God sent His Son to in order to complete his divine plan.

Now, when Jesus came to the world, Judean people were already awaiting their Savior to come. Five hundred years before Jesus, Judean people had come back from exile and now they were living in their own land. But, Romans were ruling over Judean people, and because of this, Judean people never believed that they have really come back from exile. Religion, politics, and the coming of awaiting Savior were issues that Judean people had to deal with. Because of this, the people were divided into four different groups. One group had chosen a quite life in order to separate themselves from the impious and evil world and evil persons. They were living outside the city, inside the Jordan valley. They were waiting for God to come and do whatever he needs to do.

Second group, were compromisers. This group believed that compromising with the occupiers would lead them to a prosperous and peaceful life, and they would be able to keep their unique identity. Third group were revolutionaries. The revolutionaries believed that the answer to oppression and Rome occupation was sword and holy war. These people had good and bad memories of their revolutions.

The fourth group was ordinary people who were awaiting the Messiah to come in order to defeat Romans first, and then, establish his Kingdom in Jerusalem and rule over the world from there. Therefore, according to this people, Messiah would play the main role on the stage, and people would be the relaxed observers.

But, Jesus Christ was not after quite life; he was not a compromiser; he was not a kind of revolutionary who prescribes sword and holy war; and he was not a savior who seeks political power: Jesus was the only perfect image of God the Father and showed everybody the nature of God, the God who is love. Jesus knew his people and their expectations. This is the reason why acted the way we know about.

Hebrew people crossed the Jordan River in order to arrive in the Promised Land as a new and free people. Hebrew people were composed of 12 tribes. When they settled down in the Promised Land, they were a free people with 10 commandments as their guide. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River to show that a new Exodus has begun and also to show that he himself is the Israel, the Son of God. He chose his twelve apostles to show that a new and free people have been born, and by them the whole world would be free and made anew. Jesus gave the sermon of the mount, which includes nine commandments, to show people that the new people have entered a new era, and a new liberating process has begun. And when Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday, his is showing that he is the Messiah, and the King as well as showing his modesty to people. It is recorded that when Jesus was coming into Jerusalem,

“Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD;
 Hosanna in the highest!" When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, "Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee”.”

So, there are two groups of people, the crowd who are shouting “Hosanna in the highest”, and other people of the city who see Jesus face to face for the first time, but had already heard about Jesus. This is the reason why, when they hear from the crowd that ‘this man is Jesus’, they do not ask any other question. There are people who put their garment under Jesus feet, and the people who only love the excitement of Jesus’ coming and after visiting Jesus, they leave to do their everyday life.

In this holy week, let us pray to God almighty to help us to be a people who put  garments under Jesus feet,  welcome him  into our life with loud voice, get exited and gather around him and his people, and stay with him forever.

Amen.

  

Minister: Almighty and everliving God, in tender love for all our human race you sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ

                to take our flesh and suffer death upon a cruel cross. May we follow the example of his great humility, and                     share in the glory of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the                   Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Statement of Faith

 

One: Let us confess our faith, as we say,

All: believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

 

The Prayers of the People

(Please be seated or stand as is your custom for prayer)

 

One: We pray to you, Lord God: We pray for the people mentioned in today’s Anglican Cycle of Prayer:

In the Niagara Diocese: St. Paul, Fort Erie, The Reverend Daniel Bennett, Rector, the Reverend Deacon Roderick McDowell, Deacon, the Reverend Canon David Thomas, Honorary Assistant and the people of that parish

 

We pray for the sick of our parish and for our friends, family, and loved ones who are unwell:

 

We pray for the unemployed: Heavenly Father, we remember before you those who suffer want and anxiety from lack of work. May they find fulfilling employment and receive just payment for their labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

People: Loving Lord, hear our prayer;

 

One: We pray for our blessed country Canada and for the troubled places of the world. We pray for all of the members of our church and all of the ministries that they so faithfully perform; we pray for Linda our primate, Susan our bishop, and Bahman and Don our priests;

People: Liberating Lord, hear our prayer.

 

One: We pray for Elizabeth our Queen, for the leaders of the nations, and all in authority: that your people may lead quiet and peaceable lives. We pray for all who passionately follow Jesus Christ.

People: Almighty God, lover of humankind, giver of every spiritual gift, hear the prayers of your people and give us the will and the courage to serve you throughout the world. We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of this life.  We will exalt you, O God our king.  Amen.

 

 

Confession and Absolution

 

Minister: Sisters and brothers, God never forgets His promises. We are free to speak the truth about our lives because God’s faithfulness embraces us as we examine our hearts. Let us confess our sins to the One who searches us and knows us.

All: We confess that we have turned away from you and have not lived with upright hearts. Forgive us for failing to follow you. Guide our feet to walk in your ways and serve your world to the glory of your name. Amen.

 

Minister: Sisters and brothers, nothing we have done, nothing we will ever do, is enough to separate us from the love of God made known in Jesus Christ. The God of steadfast love is our refuge and Savior. In Christ, we who are broken are healed, forgiven, filled, and transformed. Amen.

 

The Exchange of the Peace

(Please Stand)

 

Minister: The peace of the Lord be always with you.

People: And also with you.

(The members of the community greet one another in the name of the Lord.)

 

The Celebration of the Eucharist

 

 Offertory Hymn: 184 My Song Is Love Unknown

 

The Prayer over the Gifts

 

Celebrant:  

Gracious God, the suffering and death of Jesus, your only Son, makes us pleasing in your sight. Alone we can do nothing, but through his sacrifice, may we receive your love and mercy. Amen.

The Great Thanksgiving

(Please be seated, kneel, or stand, as is your custom for Eucharistic prayer)

 

Celebrant:

Our Lord Jesus Christ says:

My peace I give to you. Do not be afraid. I call you my friend. Abide in my love. Follow me. I am the way for you. I am the life for you. I am the truth for you. You are my brother. You are my sister. I am hungry, give me food. I am in prison, come to me. I am thirsty give me drink. I am a stranger welcome me. I am sick, visit me. Abide in me and I will abide in you. Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth. Give and it will be given to you. Love others as I have loved you. The truth will make you free.  Feed my sheep. Watch and pray. I am with you always.

 

The Story of Last Supper

 

Celebrant:

Among friends, gathered round a table, Jesus took bread, and having blessed it, he broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying, “This is my body which is given for you”.

 

In the same way he took wine, and, having given thanks for it, he poured it out and gave the cup to his disciples, saying, “This cup is the new relationship with God, sealed with my blood. Take this and share it. I shall drink wine with you next in the coming Kingdom of God.

 

And now we gather at this table in response to his commandment to share the bread and cup of Christ's undying love, and to proclaim our faith.

 

Celebrant:

Therefore with all who serve you on earth and in heaven, we praise your wonderful name, as we sing (say),

All: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of Your glory, Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

 

Celebrant:

Gracious God, with this bread and wine we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, and we offer ourselves to you in him. Send your Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts, that we may know the presence of Jesus in the breaking of bread, and share in the life of the family of your children. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Celebrant:

Let us sing as we pray:

All: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen. Amen. Amen.

 

 The Breaking of the Bread

 

Celebrant:         God of promise, you prepare a banquet for us in your kingdom.

People:              Happy are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.

 

Celebrant:         The gifts of God for the people of God.

People:              Thanks be to God!

 

 Communion Hymns

 

The Prayer after Communion

 

Celebrant:

 

God our help and strength, you have satisfied our hunger with this Eucharistic food. Strengthen our faith, that through the death and resurrection of your Son, we may be led to salvation, for he is Lord now and for ever. Amen.

 

 The Doxology  (sung twice)

Celebrant: Let us now sing the doxology:  

  

All: Glory to God, whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever, for ever and ever.  Amen.

 

  

The Blessing 

 

The Dismissal

Leader: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord;

People: Thanks be to God.

 

Recessional Hymn: 181 All Glory, Laud, And Honour

Morning Prayer                                                                                                           Saturday, April 4

 

In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

 

O God, make speed to save us.

O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

 

The Invitatory

 

Sing for joy, heavens and earth;        

break forth, O mountains, into singing!

Our Creator has comforted the people

and will have compassion for the ones who are suffering.

Come out! The imprisoned shall have freedom.

Show yourselves! Those who live in darkness

will see the light of day.

God will feed you and protect you;

God will guide you and ease your way.

Glory be given to our Protector

because God will never forget us;

we are inscribed in the palm of God’s hands!

Sing for joy!

The Comforter has love and compassion for us.

Glory to God, Source of all being, eternal Word and Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now and will be for ever. Amen.

 

Blessed are you, Abba of our salvation,

to you be glory and praise for ever.

As we behold your Son, enthroned on the cross,

stir up in us the fire of your love,

so that we may be cleansed from all our sins

and walk with you in newness of life,

singing the praises of him who died

for us and for our salvation. 

 

Today’s Scripture Reading

Psalm: 57 (the Voice)

May Your mercy come to me, O God,
    for my soul is safe within You, the guardian of my life.
I will seek protection in the shade of Your wings
    until the destruction has passed.
I cry out to God, the Most High,
    to God who always does what is good for me.
Out of heaven my rescue comes.
    He dispatches His mercy and truth
And goes after whoever tries to run over me.

My heart is ready, O God;
    my heart is ready,
And I will sing!
    Yes, I will sing praise!
Wake up, my glory!
    Wake up, harp and lyre;
    I will stir the sleepy dawn with praise!
I will offer You my thanks, O Lord, before the nations of the world;
    I will sing of Your greatness no matter where I am.
For Your amazing mercy ascends far into the heavens;
    Your truth rises above the clouds.
O God, be lifted up above the heavens;
    may Your glory cover the earth.

 

Hebrews 9 (NIV) 

Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle

 

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

 

Matthew 6:5-6  (NKJV)

The Model Prayer

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

 

 

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

Break through our troubled hearts, O God.

Let your Holy Spirit open our ears

to the comfort of your promises;

in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

  

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

God of Love, our caring Abba

we come to you

because there is no better time or place

to give you our joys and our concerns

and to ask for your action

in changing the world around us.

We pray for those places in the world

that suffer for lack of water.

Give the world and its leaders

the wisdom they need and the resources they lack

so that no one suffers needlessly.

We pray for those who suffer

through natural or human-made disasters.

Let every one of us be part of a world embrace

so that, through prayer and possessions,

we may help to restore order and well-being.

We pray for those who lack a home

because of economic hardship or unjust forces.

Use us to build a better future for all.

You are merciful, O God, and you are just;

both your righteousness and justice imbue your love for your people.

So enable us to actively seek your love and justice

for all creatures of this earth.

All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ,

our Savior and Lord. Amen.

 

BLESSING 

May God who is our sure foundation

bless you now with strength and courage to be the children of God who set creation free. Amen.        

Morning Prayer                                                                                                      Friday, April 3rd, 2020

 

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all People And also with you.

 

The Invitatory

 

For all that you have given us,

we thank you, gracious God.

For day and night, evening and morning,

for land and sea, for fish and birds,

plants and animals, for humankind,

and for your Son, who came among us

with the gift of life abundant.

Let your Holy Spirit abide in our midst

and work through our gifts,

that all people may have joy and peace,

in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Today’s Scripture Reading 

Psalm 46 (The Voice Translation)

1 God is our shelter and our strength.
    When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help.
So why run and hide?
2 No fear, no pacing, no biting fingernails.
    When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless.
    When mountains crumble and the waters run wild, we are sure and fearless.
3 Even in heavy winds and huge waves,
    or as mountains shake, we are sure and fearless.

4 A pure stream flows—never to be cut off—
    bringing joy to the city where God makes His home,
    the sacred site where the Most High chooses to live.
5 The True God never sleeps and always resides in the city of joy;
    He makes it unstoppable, unshakable.
    When it awakes at dawn, the True God has already been at work.
6 Trouble is on the horizon for the outside nations, not long until kingdoms will fall;
    God’s voice thunders and the earth shakes.
7 You know the Eternal, the Commander of heavenly armies, surrounds us and protects us;
    the True God of Jacob is our shelter, close to His heart.

8 Come, gaze, fix your eyes on what the Eternal can do.
    Amazing, He has worked desolation here on this battlefield, earth.
9 God can stop wars anywhere in the world.
    He can make scrap of all weapons: snap bows, shatter spears,
    and burn shields.
10 “Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God.
    I am honored among all the nations.
    I am honored over all the earth.”
11 You know the Eternal, the Commander of heavenly armies, surrounds usand protects us;
    the True God of Jacob is our shelter, close to His heart.

 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

 

From the Paul’s Letter to the Romans 12 (The Voice Translation)

3 Devote your minds to sound judgment since God has assigned to each of us a measure of faith. 4 For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions;5 we, too—the many—are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. 6 Since our gifts vary depending on the grace poured out on each of us, it is important that we exercise the gifts we have been given. If prophecy is your gift, then speak as a prophet according to your proportion of faith. 7 If service is your gift, then serve well. If teaching is your gift, then teach well. 8 If you have been given a voice of encouragement, then use it often. If giving is your gift, then be generous. If leading, then be eager to get started. If sharing God’s mercy, then be cheerful in sharing it.

9 Love others well, and don’t hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil; pursue what is good as if your life depends on it. 10 Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. 11 Do not slack in your faithfulness and hard work. Let your spirit be on fire, bubbling up and boiling over, as you serve the Lord. 12 Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. 13 Share what you have with the saints, so they lack nothing; take every opportunity to open your life and home to others.

 

From the Gospel of Luke 21 

The Widow’s Offering 

As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy Name,
    thy kingdom come,
    thy will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
    for ever and ever. Amen.

 

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

 

Break through our troubled hearts, O God.

Let your Holy Spirit open our ears

to the comfort of your promises;

in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

 

Called to be ministers of reconciliation, welcome, compassion,

and trust, let us pray for all in need, saying,

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

For all life, that our thanks and praise to you, Creator and Guide,

can be seen in all we do.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For Earth and all its creatures:

sparrows and all birds,

lilies of the fields and grasses large and small,

waterways, mountain ridges, valleys filled with reeds,

fish and mammals, insects and microbes,

that each day we honor our dependence on your creation.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For the courage to live out your commandments

graciously and without reservation.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For those chosen to govern peoples and nations,

that they rule with wisdom to promote the welfare of their people

and the courage to work toward justice for everyone.

We lift up especially the people of [name here nations currently in

turmoil], peacekeepers, and diplomats,

that where tensions threaten to destroy lives,

calm may prevail.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For those who suffer from any form of oppression,

that their tormentors learn to fear God’s will and follow God’s love.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For all who are sick,

those who are rebuilding after natural disasters,

those who have no work or are underemployed,

those who have lost hope,

and all who need comfort for any reason.

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

For those who have yearned to see God face to face,

that they may receive eternal rest.

We pray especially for families in mourning at this time

[specific people may be named].

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

 

Fill us with single-minded focus on you,

help us to see what is eternal in the present,

free us from worry so that we recognize your love;

we pray in the name of the one who is the light of the world,

Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

 

HOUSEHOLD PRAYER

God of the living,

from whom all blessings flow,

I welcome a new day with thanksgiving

because you have cared for me

through the night.

Wherever you send me today,

whomsoever I meet,

be in my going

and my meeting.

Grant me wisdom to cherish

what you give me

and generosity to share what I receive.

Fill me with the Spirit

so that I may show courage, kindness, and a sense of humor

in the face of the day’s hardships.

In Christ’s peace,

may I withhold harsh judgment

against those who would do me harm.

Show me ways that I may serve you

throughout the day

and into the night

so that, waking or sleeping,

I live for you;

in the name of the Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

BLESSING

The Lord gives what is needed from day to day.

The Lord feeds you with light and bread.

The Lord comes into your midst whenever you call.

Move with joy into the coming days,

for Christ is with you.

Matins                                                                                      Thursday April 2nd, 2020

 

In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

 

O God, make speed to save us.

O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

 

The Invitatory

 

Holiness, Word, Power,

you reveal yourself

as one God in three persons,

a mighty, creative, life-generating dancer

who invites your creation to join you.

Catch us up in your love

and lead us into your world

to call others to follow you

with singing and rejoicing. Amen.

 

 

Today’s Scripture Reading

Psalm 43

1 Plead for me; clear my name, O God. Prove me innocent
    before immoral people;
Save me from their lies,
    their unjust thoughts and deeds.
2 You are the True God—my shelter, my protector, the one whom I lean on.
    Why have You turned away from me? Rejected me?
Why must I go around, overwrought, mourning,
    suffering under the weight of my enemies?

3 O my God, shine Your light and truth
    to help me see clearly,
To lead me to Your holy mountain, to Your home.
4 Then I will go to God’s altar with nothing to hide.
    I will go to God, my rapture;
I will sing praises to You and play my strings,
    unloading my cares, unleashing my joys, to You, God, my God.

5 O my soul, why are you so overwrought?
    Why are you so disturbed?
Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will hope in God again.
    I will believe and praise the One
    who saves me and is my life,
My Savior and my God.

 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

 

 

From St. Paul Letter to the Romans Chapter 8

 

26 A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. 27 Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? 28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. 29-30 From the distant past, His eternal love reached into the future. You see, He knew those who would be His one day, and He chose them beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of a new family of believers, all brothers and sisters. As for those He chose beforehand, He called them to a different destiny so that they would experience what it means to be made right with God and share in His glory. (The Voice Translation)

 

The Gospel of Luke 19

1Jesus enters Jericho and seems only to be passing through. 2 Living in Jericho is a man named Zaccheus. He’s the head tax collector and is very rich.3 He is also very short. He wants to see Jesus as He passes through the center of town, but he can’t get a glimpse because the crowd blocks his view. 4 So he runs ahead of the crowd and climbs up into a sycamore tree so he can see Jesus when He passes beneath him.

5 Jesus comes along and looks up into the tree[, and there He sees Zaccheus].

Jesus: Zaccheus, hurry down from that tree because I need to stay at your housetonight.

6 Zaccheus scrambles down and joyfully brings Jesus back to his house. 7 Now the crowd sees this, and they’re upset.

Crowd (grumbling): Jesus has become the houseguest of this fellow who is a notorious sinner.

Zaccheus: 8 Lord, I am giving half of my goods to the poor, and whomever I have cheated I will pay back four times what I took.

Jesus: 9 Today liberation has come to this house, since even Zaccheus is living as a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to liberate the lost.

Reflection

Prayer is an act of love; words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.

(Saint Teresa of Avila- 16th Century Spanish Mystic)

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God,

the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.

 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy Name,
    thy kingdom come,
    thy will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
    for ever and ever. Amen.

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

Sing into our ears, O Spirit, the holy word of life.

Tell us who we are and to whom we belong

so that we may live with gratitude for all that

you have done. Amen.

 

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

 

In accord with God’s command that we hold

dominion over creation,                                        

let us pray for the church, the world, and all

for whom we are called to be stewards, saying,

God of all goodness, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks, O God, for our world, which you

made and renewed

in the power of Jesus’ resurrection.

Make us wise and careful of your gifts as we live on Earth.

God of all goodness, hear our prayer.

We pray that the love which passes ceaselessly

between the Father and the Son in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

may renew and deepen the life of each Christian

and draw us all into your unending life.

God of all goodness, hear our prayer.

 

For the leaders of the church:

for Protestants, Roman Catholics, and the Orthodox;

for Sunday school children and youth;

for the elderly whose wise counsel is sorely needed in all ages;

and for all ecumenical endeavors

that seek to bring us closer to each other and to you.

God of all goodness, hear our prayer.

 

For Earth and all creatures and plants;

for healthy water and air and soil;

for policies and laws that regard our home in God’s universe

as a precious gift.

God of all goodness, hear our prayer.

 

For our families, our households, and our communities,

that your life together—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—

may show us the like importance of each of us,

and so strengthen us in your grace and truth.

God of all goodness, hear our prayer.

 

For the sick and those who suffer in any way;

for those who struggle to pay rent or a mortgage;

for those who have no home;

for those who are neglected and abused in our communities;

for people who long for family and are instead alone;

for children who do not have a good guide to raise them up;

and for whatever else you see that we need.

God of all goodness, hear our prayer.

 

For all those needs still unnamed but placed before you now,

either silently or aloud . . .

God of all goodness, hear our prayer.

 

Into your hands we entrust all that is of concern this day,

sure that you hear our pleas,

grateful that your will be done on earth as in heaven.

We pray this in the name of the Savior, Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

Blessing

 

Through baptism, you are one with Christ.

He will be with you always.

Through baptism, you have received the Holy Spirit.

She breathes into you new life.

Through baptism, you are sealed in the love of God,

who will keep you forever.  Amen.

Today's service is in the form of a Taize Service                                                                   April 1, 2020

Unfortunately we are unable to attach the music associated with this service


At the beginning of the service, you are invited to light a candle – to affirm a personal vow, to pray for someone or a particular situation, to invite the light of Christ to shed light on your path, and to receive illumination.

 

 

Silence (for two minutes)

 

 

Now we are going to sing The Kingdom of God (Please click on the first attachment)

All: The Kingdom of God is justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Come, Lord, and open in us the gates of your kingdom.

 

Let us now read Psalm 139:

 

Lord, you have searched me out and known me; you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You trace my journeys and my resting-places and are acquainted with all my ways.

Indeed, there is not a word on my lips, but you, O Lord, know it altogether.

You press upon me behind and before and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain to it.

Where can I go then from your Spirit? where can I flee from your presence?

If I climb up to heaven, you are there; If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there your hand will lead me and your right hand hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me, and the light around me turn to night,”

Darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day;

darkness and light to you are both alike.

 

 Now we are going to sing In the Lord (Please click on the second attachment)

All: In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful, in the Lord I will rejoice! Look to God, do not be afraid; Lift up your voices, the Lord is near; Lift up your voices, the Lord is near.

 

Reading   A Reading form St. John’s first letter (1 John 1:1-4)

We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes, and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that

he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.

Holy Word, Holy Wisdom.

 

 

Reflection 

 

We are covenant people. Our faith and civil life are on the basis of covenants. Marriage is a covenant, a binding agreement between two parties. And the rings are the sign of this covenant.

 

In Christian faith, a covenant is a binding agreement between God and us.

Sometimes the covenant is between God and a community. Sometimes it is between God and an individual. There have been covenants between God and Noah, God and Abraham, God and Moses, God and the Israelites, and God and King David.

 

The new covenant is about Jesus Christ. The new covenant is about a binding agreement between God and us. This agreement says that when we come to believe in Jesus, that means believing in his everlasting presence, his teachings, and his Gospel,

 

>  our hearts will be refreshed,

> our attitudes will be positively changed,

>  our bodies will gain re-energized strength,

>  and our minds will become purposefully-oriented.

 

This process will bring us, as a community, to the Kingdom of God. And the signs of this new covenant are Baptism and Eucharist.

 

This is what we read in the Gospel of John:

“The Word became human, and made his home among us. He is full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  We have seen his glory. From his abundance we have received, one gracious blessing, after another. The law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ”.

 

This new covenant, this unfailing love and faithfulness through Jesus Christ, has brought us an opportunity: Now, we may establish our own individual covenants with Jesus.

 

By a personal covenant with Jesus, we will have sure confidence and stronger faith, and we will overcome the obstacles with which we are confronted, every now and then.

Today, we may make resolutions to make a positive change in our lives. As followers of Jesus, we can also establish a communal covenant with Jesus as well as personal covenants with him in order to bring renewal to all aspects of our lives. 

Today can be a time for reflection and self-examination, but it is also a time to look forward with joy to the possibilities that lie before us. It is a time for growth as individuals, in our church community, and in the wider community around us. A covenant with Jesus Christ will grant each and every one of us a unique strength to enter this holy state with Joy.

 

 

Silence (for two minutes)

 

 

Let us now sing God is Forgiveness: Please Click on the third attachment.

All: God is forgiveness. Dare to forgive and God will be with you. God is forgiveness. Love and do not fear.

 

 

Prayers

 

Now let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea. We thank you, Lord. 

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ, We thank you, Lord.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends, We thank you, Lord.

For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve, We thank you, Lord. 

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play, We thank you, Lord. 

For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity, We thank you, Lord.

For all fearless seekers after truth, liberty, and justice, We thank you, Lord.

For the communion of saints, in all times and places, We thank you, Lord.

 

 

Silence (for two minutes)

 

 

The Lord's Prayer

 

And now, as our Saviour Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

 

 Let us now sing Jesus, Remember me: Please Click on the fourth attachment.

All: Jesus remember me, when you come into your Kingdom.

Sermon on Healing Bartimaeus                             March 22,2020

 

I would like to speak today about three points regarding our faith.

 

1.     There is no veil between the loving God and the worshiper anymore.

 

2.     The divine spark exists in the souls and hearts and minds of Human beings. But, human souls, minds, and hearts have been stained.

 

3.     Spirit of God, through the grace of our Lord, will remove the stain form human hearts, minds, and souls in order to free humans form the darkness once and for all.

 

Now, we may apply these ideas to Bartimaeus' faith that is recorded in the Gospel of Mark (Mark 10:46-52). There are similarities between Bartimaeus and the blind man in today’s gospel reading.

 

A blind beggar, Bartimaeus, hears that Jesus is nearby walking along the road. Bartimaeus screams and says to Jesus: Son of David, have mercy on me! The people nearby order Bartimaeus to be silent. But Bartimaeus screams louder and says: Son of David, have mercy on me!

 

In those days, beggars used to live in the street and they were dependent on peoples’ mercy. They did not have any possessions or any kind of hopeful future. They considered themselves fortunate to receive a piece of bread for survival. This is what we read in much of ancient literature and history.

 

Bartimaeus is described in the gospel as a blind beggar – being blind would have made his life even more difficult. His life is limited to sitting and begging for food. But, his financial problem does not stop him from being different.

 

Bartimaeus is alert and awake. In spite of his blindness, he is totally aware of what is happening around him. And, because he has no attachments, he has a free spirit.

 

He is not afraid of anything: losing face, shyness, or acquiring a bad reputation. He has already heard of Jesus. By hearing about Jesus, Bartimaeus has come to believe that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah.

 

This is the reason why Bartimaeus with no hesitation screams and says to Jesus: Son of David, have mercy on me!

 

In this plea, Bartimaeus is saying three things to Jesus:

 

1.     You are the Messiah

 

2.     You are able to do wonderful things

 

3.     I know that you are going to listen to me despite the interference and negative attitudes towards me.  

 

The second time that Bartimaeus screams, Jesus asks him: What do you want me to do for you?   

 

Bartimaeus’ answer is exceptional. He does not say to Jesus:

Son of David, make me rich, feed me, clothe me, make me your special disciple, let me share in your glory, help me to feel important and respectful.

 

Bartimaeus says something different, he says: My master, I want to see.

 

First, he accepts Jesus as his master. This means that he is the freest man in the world. He is a man without attachment whose master is Jesus Christ.

 

Then, he says that he wants to see.

 

He wants to see in order to obtain a new life. He is telling Jesus, let me see, and I will take care of the rest. Bartimaeus wants to experience a new life with open eyes and Jesus heals him.

 

 

There is no gate or veil between God and the worshiper anymore through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

When Bartimaeus screams, the people try to put a gate and veil between Bartimaeus and Jesus and prevent them from communicating. In Bartimaeus’ case, this negativity comes from outside, other people. But sometimes negativity comes from inside, from our own pessimism, negativity, and lack of faith.

 

Bartimaeus, in spite of all kinds of barriers, screams louder, and Jesus does whatever Bartimaeus asks.

 

The divine spark exists in the souls, minds, and hearts of Human beings.

 

When we come to believe in God’s presence in our soul, minds, and hearts, then it is not hard to obtain new life.

 

Bartimaeus is aware of the divine spark within him. But, Batimaeus needs the Saviour to enkindle the divine spark, activating his human potential. This is the reason why he keeps screaming until he gets what he has asked for.

Bartimaeus acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah, and he persists in communicating with Jesus.

 

Bartimaeus’ approach teaches us three lessons about communicating with God:

 

  • We should have a deep and strong faith in Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah

 

  • We should be positive, joyful, and eager when we are speaking with Jesus Christ

 

  • And, we should not be afraid, spiritually, to scream loudly to remove all barriers and veils until we receive the appropriate response.

 

 

Let us pray:
 

Lord Jesus, we praise your name and we shout out with joy for your presence in our lives, and for the anointing power of Your Holy Spirit, which is helping us to go deeper in your truths. We turn our eyes to the heavens, anticipating new wisdom and deeper insights into your sacred teachings. Amen.

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Sermon on “Samaritan Woman at the Well”, John 4:5-42   March 15, 2020

O Lord, enlighten our lives with your Spirit, that we may find our way,

hope, and salvation in your holy and liberating Word. Amen

 

We read in today’s Gospel about Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob. Jesus is tired. He sits down by Jacob’s well. His disciples have already gone to buy some food. While Jesus is taking a rest, a Samaritan woman arrives to draw water from the well. Jesus begins a conversation with this Samaritan woman.

There are many points and messages in this passage. One main point relates to the unique character of the Samaritan woman. She is a unique character, because of what she has done and who she is. What the Samaritan woman did in one day, took others years to do: she introduced Christianity to her community.  We read in the Gospel that numerous Samaritans from this town came to believe in Jesus, because of what the Samaritan woman said to them.

Some books and commentaries take the point of view that the Samaritan woman has led an immoral life.  Often they say that because the Samaritan woman comes to draw water from the well around noon, because she has married five times, and because she now lives with a man who is not her husband, that she is an immoral character. But, if we look at the life-style of that time in the Middle East, we may come to a different conclusion.

The lifestyle of farmers in the Middle Eastern world was very different from those in the Roman world. The Middle East has semi-arid weather and includes mountains, lakes, and rivers in addition to wilderness.  Farmers and shepherds in the Middle East would wake early to prepare themselves for the work they had to do.  By 6am, bread is ready, and water has been drawn from the well, spring or river.  Throughout the workday, the water would be used up.  And, whatever was left at noon, in jugs or jars, was warm.  It was not uncommon for women to go out around noon to bring fresh, cool water for the main meal of the day: lunch.  Therefore, it seems unfair that the Samaritan woman has been called immoral because she goes to the well at noon.

In Jesus’ time, women had no right to seek a divorce.  Men, however, did have this right.  Men could divorce their wives without any legitimate reason.  A man simply had to prepare the divorce paper, send his wife away, and say: you are no longer my wife. And, if a man was rich enough, he could have more than one wife.  We might ask, what would happen to a woman after a divorce in the time of Jesus?  Life for these women was very hard. Without any additional support, they would have to live in the streets and beg for food.

This is why Jesus says:

“31 It has been said that a man who divorces his wife, must write out divorce papers for her. 32 But I tell you, not to divorce your wife, unless she has committed some terrible sexual sin”. (Matthew 5:31-32)

By this command, Jesus obliged men to take care of their wives and act towards them with respect, commitment, and equality.  At the same time Jesus was shedding light on women’s hearts and minds in order to teach them that they are not second class citizens.

The Samaritan woman married five times. She had no right to divorce her husbands. It was her husbands who divorced her, gave her the divorce papers, and sent her away. But, the Samaritan woman did not want to live in the streets and beg for living. Now, she lives with somebody. And this somebody could be her grandpa, her cousin, her uncle, her brother, or her best friend. And now, the Savior of the world has come to have a talk with her.

When Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman about her life, the Samaritan woman does not hide anything, but confirms what Jesus says about her. She tells Jesus that she believes in the Messiah and is waiting for him to come. And when Jesus tells her that he is the Messiah, the Samaritan woman comes to believe in him immediately and “leaves the water jar and runs back into town.” She says to the people, ‘come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! Could he be the Messiah? Then, everyone in town goes out to see Jesus.

Is it a coincidence, then, that the Samaritan woman is the one who proclaims Jesus’ presence to her community? She is a unique member of her community, a woman whose life has not been easy, but who speaks to Jesus with openness and honesty, and proves herself willing to carry Jesus’ life-changing message.

This passage, I believe, teaches us that, like Samaritan woman, we should be prepared to welcome Jesus at any time, expected or unexpected, in our life. When Jesus whispers in our hearts, we should confess to him with modesty and openness of heart, who we are and what we believe in. Then, we should contemplate on the message he transfers to us, and carry the message to our community. In this Lenten season, let us pray for this.  Amen.

ASH WEDNESDAY

We are dust, and to dust we shall return.

 Yes, without God’s breath, without God’s Spirit, and without God’s Son we are ashes and we will definitely return to ashes.

 

Without God, we are lost in this mysterious universe; without our Heavenly Father, the Abba, we will be Satan’s bait. Satan is the Abba’s main adversary. The Abba has defeated Satan in many dominions through the ministry of his Son and the active presence of his Spirit in human lives. But, Satan has not yet completely given up.

 

Now, Satan has one main strategy: Satan does his best to steal us from the Abba! In order to do this, Satan needs to force us to believe in a few doctrines: these are Satan’s doctrines:

 

 We, as human beings, are all alone; we only need to care about ourselves; love is not real; eternal life is a joke; asking for forgiveness or trying to forgive is futile and ineffective; we are doomed to live our own predetermined destiny; freedom of choice or freewill is an illusion, a comforting lie.

 

In short, Satan, through this brainwashing process, forces us to become self-centered.

 

How then   can we become strong and wise enough to challenge Satan’s plans and ruin his establishment? Only by and through Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus adopts us as his children and transforms us into a new kind of human beings, the human beings who receive God’s spirit. Then, Jesus’ liberating ministry begins.

 

Jesus Christ begins to free the energy that has been imprisoned in our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls; the energy which recreates us as a brand new people. But, this happens on one condition: We need to regard Jesus as the King of Kings, as the only authority to whom we bow our heads with pleasure, with love, and with our own free will. This seems easy to do.

 

Some prominent and powerful Christians have claimed over the centuries that they have bowed their heads to Jesus Christ; but, later incidents in their lives have proved that they only bowed their heads to their own whims and caprices.

 

This is not an easy task to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the King of Kings; because every so often, Satan targets our egos. Satan encourages us to feed some strange and alien desires in ourselves: to be on the top, to be praised all the time, or to be superior; these desires give rise to self-centeredness that prevents us from acknowledging Christ as the King of Kings.

 

We might ask, what is wrong with being self-centered? 

The problem is that self-centeredness always involves somebody else. Self-centeredness means that we have already fallen into the trap of competition and jealousy. There is somebody who has become the subject of our jealousy, and a hidden force pushes us to compete with him.

 

All our energy and efforts and time are spent in dealing with that person. This other person has become the meaning of our life, this other person has become a shadow who follows us everywhere, this other person has become a negative authority figure in our lives. And because of this, we become defensive, as if we are under attack at all times.

 

This whole scenario, being selfish, jealous, and competitive, robs us of   our true identity; we do not know who we are or what we are doing. We have no idea about our potential, or our abilities; there is no joy in our lives.

 

These are the reasons why we need to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the King of kings, the one who is on the top of the mountain, the one who is the best companion and advocate, the one who is superior, the one to whom we must and need to submit.

 

Christian experience has proved to us that by submitting to Jesus Christ, by regarding him as the sole power in our lives, we set free the imprisoned energy inside us, the energy that moves in our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls.

This divine energy will reveal to us who we are, for what purpose we are here on earth, what gifts and talents we own, how to embrace joy from its source, and how to learn to regard other humans as brothers and sisters. In the New Testament, this divine energy, this liberating energy, is called the Holy Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit is the one who brings renewal and healing to all creation every day. This will continue until peace, love, equality, and joyfulness overcome the whole world.  

 

Ash Wednesday is about reminding ourselves that we are made of two main components: dust and God’s breath: we are the masterpiece of God’s creation, without God’s breath we are only dust moving around for a short while, but with God we are God’s children whose lives will be eternal.

 

Therefore let us pray to our loving Abba and say:  Renew in us the hope which never fails, kindle in us the love which holds strong through all things, and lift up our eyes to the things, which are unseen and eternal, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Three Kings

Written By: The Reverend Bahman Kalantari

 

           Advent is a time of preparation, a holy period during which Christians prepare themselves spiritually, mentally, and physically for the Son of God’s coming on earth.

 

We proclaim His coming to other peoples and nations, and we pay homage to Him as the King of Kings. It is this that the Magi (the Wise Men) did and, consequently, some Eastern Christians believe that the Advent tradition was established on the basis of the Gospel of Matthew 2: 1-12.

        

The Magi are also referred to as the Wise Men or the Three Kings.  And, those who know something of the origin of the word Magi often point out how incorrect these other titles are. But, when we carefully consider the word Magi, we realize that all three titles are, in fact, right and proper.  

 

         Magi is the plural form of the word Magus, a westernized version of the Persian word Mogh. The Moghs or the Magi were the clergymen of the Zoroastrian religion at the time of the infant Jesus. The Magi existed before Zoroaster (the Persian Prophet). They served a polytheistic religion in which the sun (Mithra) was worshiped along with other natural phenomena like water (Anahita) and fire (Agni). The Magi were theologians, astrologers, historians, and clerics. They formed a social caste whose duty it was to serve the Persian religion.  They taught other social castes, were consultants to the authorities, and maintained social solidarity. But, Zoroaster was a monotheistic prophet who believed that the Magi of his time were leading the people astray.

         During the time of Zoroaster, the Magi used to perform complicated and seemingly irrational rituals and ceremonies for every simple social act.  The worship of agricultural gods through simple feasts in their honour had been replaced by elaborate and costly rituals and ceremonies. The Magi easily exerted power over the ordinary people and authorities and exploited them.

         Zoroaster converted a powerful king and his vizier to the new religion. This King fought against the Magi and converted them to the Zoroastrian religion around 1700 B.C. In time, Zoroaster’s teachings enveloped ancient Iran (Persia) and the Magi, ever adaptable, became the servants of the Zoroastrian religion. They taught the people to worship the one God (Ahura Mazda), to fight Satan (Ahriman), and to celebrate God’s gifts.

         When Jesus Christ was born, the Parthians ruled ancient Iran. They were from Parth, the north-eastern province of ancient Iran. The Parthians established an autonomous system of government. Every province had its own provincial king (Shah), provincial dialect or language, provincial religion, provincial law, and occasionally a provincial currency. This whole empire was ruled by the Kings of Kings. Freedom of religion was an essential part of the ruling system. Before the Parthians came to power, their chieftains bore the title Kaavi, meaning king-priest. Consequently, the Magi flourished in the provinces as Kaavi.

         A few decades before Jesus’ birth, the Magi compiled their holy scriptures and called it the Avesta. There are chapters in this book that clearly make reference to the coming of the Savior of the World.  It was for this reason that the Magi, local kings and astrologers, followed the star in search of the infant Jesus, the Savior of the World.  They brought three gifts for Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh Gold was a royal symbol, a symbol of glory and power. In ancient Iran, local kings used to give gold to the King of Kings as a sign of obedience and homage.  They removed their crowns in front of him in a gesture meaning that the King of Kings was the real power in the kingdom. Frankincense and myrrh were used by different religious groups in the Parthian empire for anointing religious leaders, holy ones, and youth who had reached the age of puberty. The Magi were regional kings, but they did not travel with their wealth or courtiers when they set out to find Jesus.  They had, instead, a holy and specific destination, revealed to them by a star.  And they had three meaningful gifts to present to Jesus as the heavenly-ordained King of Kings and High Priest.

         In this season of Advent we begin our journey, unloading from ourselves unnecessary burdens and allowing ourselves to be directed by the light of the Holy Spirit.  We desire to visit Jesus, the Savior, to pay homage to Him as our King of Kings and our High Priest, to worship Him and follow Him.  Therefore, with faith and joy, let us, like the Magi, begin the journey. 

The Jacob Narrative (Gen. 25:19 – 36:43)

 

A redeeming story, I believe, possesses different layers of meaning. The Jacob narrative, as a redeeming story, displays both challenges within an individual and challenges between an individual and other individuals or a community. The Jacob narrative has occupied a very significant place in the middle of the book of Genesis. I believe that the character of Jacob symbolizes the human’s problems with regards to salvation, meaning, and liberation. This narrative portrays Jacob and Esau within every human being. But, the conflict between Jacob and Esau is not limited to the internal realm; it goes beyond individual and manifest itself in social realm as well. Every Jacob may be faced with an Esau in a community and vice versa. Dealing with his instinctive drives within himself and trying to channel and control them, the human learns how to manage his spiritual journey and to gain individual and social freedom.In my opinion, the human entity is built on the basis of a tension, a tension between two main tendencies. These tendencies are innate-spiritual tendencies versus instinctive-physical tendencies. The domination of the innate-spiritual tendency over the instinctive one, I believe, is the aim of human journey on the earth, which is regarded as healthy. But, being pulled towards the instinctive and neglecting the innate-spiritual one is regarded as unhealthy. The domination of the innate-spiritual tendencies bears freedom and salvation.The tension between the two opposite tendencies is manifested in the Redeeming Literature (the Bible stories). Jacob’s story displays human challenges, the ups and downs of the human’s spiritual journey, and the most significant one, the human’s yearn for freedom in an elaborated and illuminating way.  Jacob’s story reveals that freedom is gained through love, forgiveness, perseverance, and chivalry. I believe that Jacob’s story shows that freedom is a dynamic concept; freedom is gained and given at the same time.Deciphering the codes of the God’s message, the human being is able to become aware of his particular divine quality (innate-spiritual capabilities and tendencies) and activate them. There is a tension. The whole of human life displays the conflict between the blind forces of human’s instincts and the willful spiritual controllers.In my opinion, Jacob is one of the most significant characters in the book of Genesis and displays human everlasting problems better than any other character in the book of Genesis. Because of this reason, I have decided to contemplate on the Jacob story. In this essay, I will try to show how Jacob, as the typical human, grows in spirituality and gaining freedom. But, Jacob’s challenges never finish, but develop in the process of Liberation. This is a process of permanent transformation in individual and social realms.The birth and early rivalry of Esau and Jacob / 25: 19-34The two babies, Jacob and Esau jostle each other in Rebekah’s womb. I believe that Jacob and Esau and their jostling display the dichotomy of human tendencies that has always existed in the human’s collective unconscious (Rebekah’s womb). In my opinion, Jacob and Esau represent the spiritual and the instinctive constituent of the human’s entity.Esau is red. Red symbolizes sexual instinct, emotion (anger, shame), strength, ruthlessness, blood, naturalness. Esau’s body is like a hairy garment. His body has a veil. This may signify the lack of awareness: being one-dimensional and being unaware of spiritual qualities. Human instincts of the preservation of the species are blind and seek for limitless satisfaction if not controlled by the spiritual supervision; then, they will lead the human to self-destruction. Jacob is born while grasping Esau’s heel: This connotes that the human, who is conscious of his powerful instinctive tendencies (Esau), tries to control and exert power over them (Jacob’s grasping Esau’s heel) in order to regulate and sublimate them.Jacob is quite: it signifies contemplation, peace, spirituality, and consciousness. Jacob stays among the tents. Tent symbolizes self-spiritual preservation; the mechanism by which the psyche strives to protect itself from the destructive quality of the instinct and its waste of energy. The psyche does this in order to control and channel the instinctive tendency. Instinct functions blindly. When instinct acts freely and sees no barrier to its manifestation, it does not leave any room and energy for those drives, motives, incentive that function willfully. Anima /Animus:“A pair of related archetypes is the anima and animus. Each of us possesses biological and psychological qualities and characteristics of the other sex. On the biological level, each sex secretes hormones of the other sex; on the psychological level, each person may behave in masculine or feminine ways. In other words, the personality of a woman contains masculine components (the archetype animus) and the personality of a man contains feminine components (the archetype anima).”[1]Isaac loves Esau and Rebekah loves Jacob. Every human possesses both masculine and feminine qualities. A man has more masculine qualities and a woman has more feminine qualities. Man is hunter and shepherd. He kills games and wolves. Woman stays among the tents and performs domestic duties. She is gatherer as well. She does not kill but creates life. Masculine is more instinct-oriented and feminine is more spirit-oriented.Isaac is the supporter of Esau. Isaac symbolizes the blind force of the inbuilt-systematic instinctive pattern that tries to distribute the remained energy for complete instinctive satisfaction. This means that the weakened physical-sexual instinct tries once more to gain enough energy (Isaac’s supporting Esau) to receive pure and complete satisfaction instead of being trapped in the process of sublimation. Instinct is powerful and tries to find another channel in order to free itself from any kind of control and receive complete satisfaction.Rebekah is the supporter of Jacob. Rebekah symbolizes the superior spiritual entity (within humans) that is always in the state awareness; it acts like an inspector who oversees the movements of the instinctive part of the human entity. This spiritual entity strives to awaken the other spiritual entities in order to overcome the instinctive riot.  Jacob and Esau conversation on birthright: Jacob is cooking some stew. Esau asks for the stew. Jacob accepts to give him some stew on the condition that Esau sells his birthright to Jacob. The way that Esau reacts is noticeable:30: I am famished. (That is why he was also called Edom = red).32: Look, I am about to die. Esau said. What good is birthright to me?On the basis of the nomadic and patriarchal mentality and traditions, cooking is a feminine job. The spirit (Jacob) is providing energy (cooking stew). The instinct (Esau) is blind and impatient; it needs energy to become active and dominant. But, the spirit does not transmit energy to the instinct instantly. The spirit is exerting control and domination over the instinct. The spirit strives to postpone the instinct instant satisfaction. The spirit is taming and canalizing the wild instinct. In order to do this, the spirit has to play with time. When the strength of the instinct diminishes and it is on the verge of disappearance (I am about to die), the spirit gains control (birthright) over the distinct and transmit a limited portion of energy (some bread and some lentil stew). ‘So Esau despised his birthright’ may imply that the instinct becomes latent and inactive due to dissatisfaction; it might be in the process of sublimation.Isaac settles in Negev / 26: 1-35I believe that Isaac in this section signifies the transformation of sexual instinct into a productive-cultural-communal behavior. This process of sublimation becomes feasible through the awareness of the higher spiritual director: the Lord appears to Isaac and releases His message to him. This the first phase of the instinctive patterns’ awareness.After this, Isaac keeps digging wells (desire for sexual intercourse has been sublimated). He always receives water (the vital necessity for nomads to settle down in order to develop a culture to become more human i.e. spiritual and gain more freedom from the forces of nature). Water symbolizes the process of sublimation which bears life, peace, relief, relaxation to the instinctive pattern, including sexual appetite. When the wild-nomad human follows the divine within, the process of sublimation results in growth in spirituality and culture.Jacob steals Esau’s blessing / 27: 1 – 28: 9Isaac is old and his eyes are weak. The instinct has become weak. But, it does not mean that the instinct has given up. Esau is the extension of Isaac.The weakened physical-sexual instinct (Isaac) tries to dedicate energy to its extensions (Isaac’s supporting Esau) in order to receive pure and complete satisfaction without interruption and transformation. The spiritual inspector (Rebekah) keeps an eye on and checks the instinctive movement. Rebekah prepares same tasty food for Isaac. The spiritual inspector (Rebekah) does not want to waste the psychic energy totally only instinctive purposes; that much of energy that enable the instinct to become sublimated. She distributes the energy on the basis of basic needs. She manages to give Isaac an especial portion which is tasty (sublimated).“The energy by which the work of the personality is performed is called psychic energy. Jung also used the word libido for this form of energy, but it is not to be confused with Freud’s definition of libido. Jung did not restrict libido to sexual energy as Freud did. In fact, this is one of the essential state is appetite, according to Jung - the appetites of hunger, thirst, and sex, as well as emotions...Psychic energy...originates from the experiences that a person has. Just as food is consumed by the physical body and is converted into biological or life energy, so experiences are ‘consumed’ by the psyche and are converted into psychic energy.”[2]Jacob (the consciousness) believes that if he tricks his father (the instinct), he will bring curse (depression) on himself. The consciousness is in the state of ambivalence. On one hand, obeying the instinct’s commands brings pleasure. On the other hand, listening to the demands of the instinct and satisfying them without any control and supervision is weakening, harmful, and destructive. Rebekah (the superior spiritual entity within humans and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit within humans) has to intervene. When Rebekah tells Jacob ‘let the curse fall on me’ she means that she knows how to deal with the curse (depression). Rebekah knows when Jacob sees that the instinct (Isaac) is satisfied properly and the remainder of the psychic energy will be sublimated, he will experience a spiritual rejoicing, which in return will add to the psychic energy. So, seemingly oncoming depression does not occur.Rebekah covers Jacob with spiritual shields: perseverance (goatskin) and simplicity (Esau’s clothes). Perseverance in this case means that Jacob has to stay spirit-oriented and patient; and at the same time he must not be involved in the circle of complicated thoughts in order to escape the shaky situation (the ambivalence).The consciousness (under the disguise of simplicity and patience) lets the instinct emerges in its ultimate potency. There is no resistance on the behalf of the consciousness; it is in a ‘let it go’ situation. The consciousness shows a kind of acknowledgement and acceptance towards the power of the instinct as a necessary part of the consciousness’s life.Under the influence of the superior spiritual entity (Rebekah) and the consciousness’s (Jacob) cooperation, Isaac gives up and blesses (sanctifies) Jacob. I believe that Isaac’s sanctifying Jacob signify the appearance of a high level of awareness. The consciousness does not reject the existence, presence, and power of the instinct; instead it acknowledges that the instinct is a half of its own existence. This is how the consciousness deceives the instinctive pattern. As a matter of fact, the consciousness comes to realize that dealing with the instinct with patience, preparation and simplicity, grants awareness to the instinct. The human instinct becomes aware that it can find enough space and time to emerge. This is feasible only by sanctifying the consciousness and transferring its power to consciousness. Due to this, repression never occurs.(27:34-35) When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, ‘Bless me — me too, my father! But he said, ‘Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing’.   Esau’s loud and bitter cry signifies the harsh objection and the severe outflow of sexual appetite. This is the last cry of sexual appetite. The whole instinctive pattern has already given up and become obedient to the spiritual inspector and the consciousness; it has reached its second phase in the process of awareness. Isaac puts down Esau’s riot.27:37 Isaac answered Esau, “I have made him (the consciousness) lord over you (the sexual appetite) and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine.When the instinctive pattern is settled under the supervision of the consciousness (through the higher spiritual director’s intervention), individual and social life are fruitful. The spiritual human and the beginning of cultural work are the outcome of this illuminating-liberating process. Hartley writes, “Responding to Esau’s pleas, Isaac composed a blessing for him. He said that his dwelling would be away from the earth’s richness and the dew of heaven. These words indicated that Esau was to find his living in a dry land. This blessing would enable him to survive in such a harsh land and prosper to some extent. He would live by his sword and serve his brother. Esau would have the skill to protect himself from hostile groups. Then Isaac gave him the promise that in time he would throw his brother’s yoke from off his neck.”[3]Esau will dwell in twilight zone, in purgatory. The sexual appetite will keep its specific quality that is harshness. In spite of this, the sexual appetite will be under the control of the consciousness; this brings benefit (blessing) for the sexual appetite. Being under the control of the consciousness, the sexual appetite (instead of repression) will be satisfied in a sanctified way and a part of its energy will be sublimated as well. There is a subtlety in Isaac’s blessing Esau. First, the strength of the sexual appetite will be maintained no matter what. Second and more important, the sexual appetite may oppose the consciousness and find a way in order to seek for constant satisfaction without being under the control. This may end in extinction. Isaac (the instinctive pattern) tries to regain the freedom he has lost by blessing Esau.In spite of receiving a blessing, Esau holds grudge against Jacob. The sexual appetite (Esau) is under control but is not pleased at all; It tries to neutralize the dominance of the consciousness. Rebekah (the spiritual inspector) has to intervene again. She hears what Esau says to himself. The spiritual inspector oversees every constituent of human existence. Rebekah makes two decisions. First, she strives to hide Jacob from Esau. Second, she knows that Esau has received a blessing. But, she knows that Isaac’s blessing includes a promise. This promise suggests when Esau becomes restless, he will throw off Jacob’s yoke from off his neck. Because of this reason, Isaac has to bless Jacob again. Isaac promises Jacob a nation and a land, a new identity.We have seen Jacob’s spiritual growth and challenges till now. Jacob had to fight in two fronts.  Esau exists within Jacob and without him. From now on, I believe, his external challenges (including nature, other individuals, and social environment) become more colorful. It is not only Esau (the manifestation of Jacob’s internal and external challenges) whom he has to wrestle with, it is the whole surroundings.Jacob will be a patriarch, the father of a new emerging nation who will possess a land as well. Now the future patriarch, Jacob has to experience social challenges in order to be prepared for the divine-ordained duty, the leadership.Jacob’s dream at Bethel / 28:10-22Now, Jacob is on his way to Aram. He stops for the night. After all those challenges he has had within himself and with his family, now, he spends time in solitude. Hartley writes,“During the night Jacob had a dream. He saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending on it. Above it stood Yahweh, who identified himself to Jacob as Yahweh, the God of his father Abraham and the God of Isaac. God grounded this self-identification in relationship to those who had followed him, not in terms of this place’s being holy.”[4]   This is, I believe, the climax of the narrative. Jung believes that “dreams are the clearest expression of the unconscious mind. Dreams...are impartial, spontaneous products of the unconscious psyche...they show us the unvarnished truth...By reflecting on our dreams we are reflecting on our basic nature.”[5] The spiritual exercises have enabled Jacob to have a contact with Godhead by the dream he has at Bethel.Even before birth, Jacob is a chosen patriarch in her mother’s womb. God tells Jacob in the dream that ‘all peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring’. At the same time, God shows Jacob in the dream that his spiritual journey will be continued as it is pictured in the dream: There is a stairway from earth to heaven. First of all, there is no hell, abyss, or unfathomable void for Jacob the patriarch. The stairway connects earth to heaven. The spiritual journey is situated on a vertical route to heaven.  A stairway implies that there are ups and downs in a spiritual journey. We are not alone on this route. Angels of God accompany us; they tread on the same route in order to assist us constantly. Angels of God are internal devices and external assistance (that is manifested in other humans, angels of God, nature, and social environment). The point is that with every going up the human will experience Godhead and when s/he returns to earth, s/he is not the same person. Therefore, coming down, (returning to earth) is not necessarily falling.After the experience of dream, Jacob makes a house for God and a vow as well. Both making the house of God and making a vow are communal-oriented. The house of God will be the manifestation of communal cause and law. The vow has a communal function as well: to pay a tithe of what God gives the patriarch. These are patriarchal-supportive vow. The outcome of coming down from the stairway (after encountering Godhead) is communal vows, a community will take the benefit.Jacob Arrives at Leban’s house to Jacob departs Leban’s house / Chapters: 29:1 - 32: 21Jacob, as a young man, “travels to a distant place, stops as well, meets a girl, and draws water for her flock by overcoming some obstacle. The girl’s father invites the traveler to stay; eventually the young man marries the local girl.”[6]In comparison with Esau, Jacob has followed the commands till now. Esau without asking his parent’s permission has already married two Hittite (non-Hebrew) women. Esau feels free and decides independently. On the basic of nomadic-patriarchal communities this kind of behavior is a source of grief for parents, especially when a son breaks the links between himself and the community by marrying aliens. Jacob follows the rules and obeys the commands and demands of the elders and the community.Jacob has no freedom and liberty to decide independently; he has been a slave to the community. But, he is with his uncle Laban in Aram now. Jacob is not in his original community. He has received blessings, he has had a pivotal-transforming dream, and he has made a communal vow. Creating a community, Jacob has to be patient, peaceful, obedient, and contemplative; he is aimed at actualizing his divinely ordained purposes. He may sometimes object to communal laws verbally. But, he never tramples them and finally accepts them (marrying both Leah and Rachel). Objection to the communal law (even emotionally and internally) result in despair and sorrow: Rachel is barren, because Leah is not loved; and this is God’s command. In spite of this, God keeps the promise and gives Jacob lots of children through the maidservants, but not Jacob’s beloved and favorite wife Rachel.I believe that personal freedom means being aware of the controlling power of different kinds of (instinctive) drives, and striving to have control over them. The human gains control over the instinctive-physical tendencies only by activating divinely devised-innate-spiritual tendencies. As we have seen till now, this process (of activating) is not feasible only by the human’s strength and struggle. In this regard, God’s grace plays the most significant role. The Spirit works within and without us. As much as we yearn for individual and social freedom, we will have more access to the Spirit and gave It more space to act. The human is a social-communal creature. Individual freedom does not make sense outside the community. Actually, individual freedom is only achieved in the community.Jacob has sought for his freedom prior to his birth. He has tried to control his instinctive drives. He has channeled his instinctive drives (has sublimated them) into productive and positive attitudes: patience, preparation, receptiveness, simplicity, peacefulness, and obedience, altogether, result in spiritual awareness and wilful transformation.In order to fulfill his divine duties, Jacob leaves the supporting home to find his other half. He falls in love at first sight with the first woman he sees. I believe that the instinctive (sexual) desire is dominant here. The Esau part of Jacob is activated within him; and Jacob pays the price for such instinctive decision all of his life. Rivalry between two wives extends to their two groups of children. Jacob is a witness to this situation and he does nothing about it but, reinforce it.Despite of aforementioned problem, Jacob stays aware of his aims. Now, his individual freedom manifest in communal (social) freedom. He has an extended family the seed of creating a community, the first phase of the process of gaining communal (social) freedom. He realizes that the time has come to get rid of Leban’s dominance over his household. “Jacob tried to make Leban more inclined to accept what he would propose by stressing how hard he had worked for him and how greatly his master’s flocks had increased under his shepherding. He also pointed out that the extraordinary increase of Leban’s flocks was a result of Yahweh’s blessing on what his son-in-law was doing.”[7]  Jacob tries to have his own flock, the second phase of the process of gaining communal (social) freedom. Jacob uses his God-revealed talents to ‘grow exceedingly prosperous’. Finally he possesses ‘large flocks, maidservants, menservants, camels, and donkeys’.Jacob notices animosity towards him. God has to reveal Himself one more time, I believe, in order to prevent Jacob from falling into the instinctive trap, which might be war, hatred, and everlasting-destructive animosity. If this happens, the Esau part of Jacob will be dominant. The Lords ‘says to Jacob to go back to the land of his fathers and to his relatives, and He will be with him’.  There is no word or expression to show how and through which device the Lord contacts Jacob. I believe that the Rebekah (the superior spiritual entity) within Jacob is activated. When Jacob says ‘the God of my father has been with me’, he refers to his Rebekah within.Jacob will be the patriarch of a new and divine-oriented; even, his flock should be distinguished and in different in order to portray the birth of a new community. Because of this reason, God through his angel, in a dream, says to Jacob “how to breed the flocks so that the numbers in his flock would greatly increase.”[8] One more time God emphasizes that Jacob has to leave Leban’s territory and ‘go back to his native land’.Rachel and Leah (despite their rivalry) feel betrayed and exploited by their own father. Leban has treated them like ‘foreigners’ and slaves. If Leban had given his daughters’ shares, he would have lost his dominance and control over Jacob and, more important, over his daughters. Leban’s attitude towards his daughters, especially, displays Leban’s betraying nomadic-patriarchal norms and codes which encourage freedom from parental dominance to some extent. Leban’s lust for power and possession reminds us of Esau; both are manifestations of instinctive-physical tendencies. But, Leban symbolizes the complicated feature of instinctive-physical tendencies. I believe that, in Leban’s case, the instinct of sexual desire has transformed into the lust for power, dominance and exploitation. Because of this reason, I believe, the process of getting rid of Leban’s dominance is demonstrated through years of hard labor, resistance, hardship, patience, forgiveness, determination, and decisiveness.Jacob convinces his wives in a peaceful-wise way in order to run away from Leban. The daughters, as we saw, yearn for liberating from their father’s mistreats. Therefore, Jacob with his family and his possessions leave Leban’s territory. Before this Rachel steals her father’s household gods.  “Three days later, Leban was informed that Jacob had fled. Immediately he gathered his relatives and pursued Jacob…Leban caught up with Jacob in the hill country of Gilead…The night before Leban overtook Jacob, God warned Leban in a dream, restricting any hostile action he might be planning. Burning with anger, Leban was intent on pressing heavy charges against Jacob, but continued to protect Jacob, the heir of the promise, from Leban’s aggression.”[9]Leban, full of anger and animosity, is ready to destroy Jacob and everything around him. Leban has lost his gods (his identity, the symbols of dominance and exploitation). Jacob has fled as a new patriarch with a new community who can support itself financially. Jacob has broken the rules of nomadic community. But, this is the outcome of Leban’s trampling nomadic rules and codes many times. Leban has not left any other choice for Jacob. Hence, Jacob flee is not regarded as breaking the nomadic rules. This means that the process of liberation has proved to Leban that a new and young patriarch has taken his right and gained his freedom from Leban. Leban does not deserve to be a patriarch any more. He has lost the war: no gods, no dominance, no slave work, even, no family interests.Rachel ‘has taken the household gods and put them inside her camel’s saddle’. When Leban intends to search the camel, Rachel says to her father that she is having her period. Therefore, Leban cannot find the stolen gods of his. Therefore, Leban has unconsciously realized that he has lost his identity and his origin: the gods who are the representation of dominance, lust, and discrimination. The existence of household gods, supposedly justifies the community’s dominance over other communities.Now, Leban has found an empty space to receive the one true God of Jacob. Because of this reason, God (the one true God of Jacob) warns him not to harm Jacob.  Leban and Jacob encounter, with God’s intervention, results in making a covenant. Jacob’s patriarchal authority is acknowledged. Jacob peaceful, step by step, and progressive approach to liberation bears individual and communal freedom.Jacob has gained victory over the communal manifestation of instinctive tendencies, the complicated one. Now, the experienced, wise, and victorious Jacob prepares to meet Esau. Jacob has become conscious of the presence and existence of the omnipotence God. This new attitude enables him to meet angels of God. Jacob gains enough bravery to send a peaceful and loving message to his brother Esau. Then, he performs whatever is needed to be done. Now, he is able to pray to God in order to fulfill what he has in his heart: consolidation.Jacob wrestles with God / 32: 1-32Jacob has left everybody across the stream and he has left alone. Now, he wrestles with an angel (a manifestation of God). I believe that Jacob wrestles with his fears, unfaithfulness, weaknesses, and attachments in order to overcome the forces which try to entrap him in his own destructive instincts and the communal (social) manifestations of the destructive instincts. He comes out of the challenge victorious and blessed. The angel formalizes Jacob’s new position a new patriarch and calls him Israel that means ‘he struggles with God’. Jacob has struggled with his instinctive tendencies and finally has come to realize that trusting his inner voice (the voice of Spirit) bear the spiritual fruit he needs to lead a new nation through which all peoples will be blessed. Now, Jacob ‘has seen God face to face’. Now, he deserves to be the patriarch of God’s chosen people.  Everlasting peace is not attainable except through detachment from earthly-destructive desires. Jacob in all his challenges has had the attack of the blind-destructive forces (that manifest themselves in individual and community) in front of him. But, he has had the constructive forces as well. Jacob wholeheartedly believes that he shall ‘find favor in his brother’s eyes’. He gives away a portion of his possession upon which a new community can be built. Finally, he consolidates with his brother. Esau accepts Jacob’s gifts. Jacob has transformed all dark, blind, and destructive forces (around him and within him) into constructive and harmless forces; he has channeled them into narrow streams which can be used in order water dry lands and still keeps flowing.Jacob and his challenges do not finish here. He continues to have different challenges, the same ups and downs. But, he is always aware of the presence of the omnipotence God and His role in the human’s everyday life.

 

[1] Schultz, Duane. Growth Psychology. New York, 1977. P91.

[2] Hall, C.S. and Nordby V.J. A Primer of Jungian Psychology.  New York, 1973. P59.

[3] Hartley, John E. Genesis. Peabody, 2000. P251-2

.[4] Hartley, John E. Genesis. Peabody, 2000. P255.

[5] Hall, C.S. and Nordby V.J. A Primer of Jungian Psychology.  New York, 1973. P118

.[6] Hartley, John E. Genesis. Peabody, 2000. P259.

[7] Hartley, John E. Genesis. Peabody, 2000. P268.

[8] Hartley, John E. Genesis. Peabody, 2000. P272.

[9] Ibid, P274.

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