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Archive for August 22nd, 2014

 

I gave blood today and every donor has to ask a string of questions to assure the purity of the donor’s blood.  There is more than one question about intravenous drug use, AIDS and homosexual contact.  So if taking drugs and homosexuality are so “okay” or right, then how can such ‘normal’ activities spread disease leading to death?  There is not one question to the effect:  Have you made love to your wife/husband in the last year?  There won’t be, or need to be such, because fidelity in marriage will not lead to tainted blood, but sleeping around will and same sex genitals do not fit into each other is basic biology and causes problems physical as well as spiritual.  The Lord has a plan for our life!  The Red Cross wants your “gift of life” to be clean, and bad blood not to be shared.  Finally and fully, the Red Cross can not clean our blood, but by the Cross, Jesus has.

In the Harry Potter novels and movies, muggles are magic folks with a non-magic blood. In one of the books, there was a movement amongst the nasty magic folks for pure bloods.  My wife reminded me after reading this article that the muggles were also called by the ‘pure’ magic folks the highly derogatory “mudbloods”, so I changed the article’s title. Even in non-fictional life, “mudblood” sounds nasty.   It is in life. Yes, it is self-evident that we can do a lot to insure our blood is pure by NOT doing certain activities as indicated in the Red Cross questions, but once we think our blood is pure from, or by  birth then we are heading towards racialist and racist tyranny.  Then we think we’re pretty good, but the Lord is clear in His Word, the Bible we are not good. The point is our blood is not pure, as the hymn’s lyric nails it: 

For He alone, whose blood was shed,
can cure the fever in our blood

We are all mudbloods, that is, born in original sin (Psalm 51:5;  Genesis 6:5Jeremiah 17:9Romans 3: 9-20).  We are born with bad blood and it can get worse, but not so bad that the blood of Christ shed for sinners can not cleanse us (Hebrews 13:12) from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9) and has and does (Matthew 26:28).

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Many times I have been moved when I have witnessed, or as pastor led prayers in military ceremonies.  I have seen many a parade at the Virginia Military Institute and for all their rote marching, nevertheless, it is a solemn celebration that captivates.  I have led prayers at Navy retirements and once at a Navy commissioning of a “mustang“.  I have been moved at the simple eloquence of uniformed military presenting the colors on Memorial Day.  Given the gravity of the work our nation’s soldiers and sailors do on a daily basis protecting the Constitution and our nation, and what they are trained to do in war if needed, is reflected in a military ceremony which  portrays dignity of that purpose and vocation to that purpose.

I was struck by Pr. Gerhard’s meditation title, “The Dignity of the Church”, especially when I remembered this picture from a few years ago of bishops with clown noses.  Now I have been complicit in some of this nonsense over the years, such as,  I promoted a balloon release in a sanctuary for Ascension Thursday. It was all fairly silly…and lacking in dignity We have done many, too many silly things in Church, all with the purpose of being “relevant” and “reaching out to people”, as a way to be ‘joyful’.  Flippancy and joy are not the same.  As the noted 19th Century Baptist preacher said, and rather prophetically:  

Christians are being martyred as I write and you read this, not for wearing clown noses but for proclaiming Jesus as Lord.  They are not about public relations, but the Lord who sent His Son to die for a public weighted in death and despotism.  I think worship services lacking in dignity are an invitation to eventual apostasy.  We are called and baptized to a serious purpose, defending,yes, but also proclaiming the Lord.  Our vocations as parents, children, pastors, workers etc. is as the Lord’s, the salt of the earth.  The Church’s dignity is reflected in the liturgy of the Church which portrays the dignity of that purpose and vocation to that purpose, so the Lord captivates us in His freeing Word. Liturgy  is done by “rote”,  to show Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow (cf. Hebrews 13:8). Our vocations, the Lord’s call to Himself is for joy,”the serious business of heaven” (C. S. Lewis), not to be flip and forget about life, but joyful in the Life of all the living who finds us and saves us, and remember.  “Dignity” is from the Latin, “dignus”: worth.  The Lord has made us worthy, let us not do unworthy things.  From Pr. Gerhard’s meditation, The Dignity of the Church, for our encouragement:

Meditate, O devout soul, upon the worthiness of the Church, and take heed lest thou do anything unworthy of her.  The Church is thy spiritual mother; take care that thou despise not her voice as she speaks to thee. She is thy mother, and through word and sacraments thou oughtest draw all thy spiritual nourishment from her. The church is as a chaste virgin ; if thou then wouldst be true to her, abstain from the embraces of the world ; thou belongest to her, see then that thou dishonor not thyself nor her by any unholy alliances with the devil. The Church is the bride of Christ, and so is every godly soul ; let it take heed then not to cling to Satan in an unholy union. Thou, 0 my soul, art the bride of Christ; see to it that thou lose not the earnest of the Holy Spirit which hath been given unto thee; thou art the bride of Christ, pray unceasingly, that thy heavenly Bridegroom may hasten to lead thee unto the marriage feast above. Thy Bridegroom may come in the quiet and security of the midnight hour (Matt. xxv. 6); watch therefore, that when He cometh He may not find thee sleeping, and shut the door of eternal salvation upon thee. Let thy lamp be filled with the oil of faith and be brightly burning, lest at the coming, of thy heavenly Spouse thou shouldst seek in vain for oil for thy lamp (Matt. xxv.).

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Armenian Orthodox church in Raqqa, Syria, now an ISIS office

The following article is copied from the Orthodox Christian Network and the photo is copied from an article in Rorate Coeli, “Archbishop of Mosul: “I have lost my Diocese to Islam – You in the West will also become the victims of Muslims”.Pr. Schroeder

(AINA) — Since taking over Mosul on June 10, ISIS has destroyed, occupied, converted to mosques, converted to ISIS headquarters or shuttered all 45 Christian institutions in Mosul.

The following is the complete list of the Christian institutions in Mosul, grouped by denomination.

Syriac Catholic Church:

  1. Syrian Catholic Diocese – Maidan Neighborhood, Mosul
  2. The Old Church of the Immaculate – Maidan Neighborhood, Mosul (The church goes back to the eighth century AD)
  3. The New Church of the Immaculate – Maidan Neighborhood
  4. Church of Mar (Saint) Toma – Khazraj Neighborhood
  5. Museum of Mar (Saint) Toma – Khazraj Neighborhood
  6. Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation – Muhandiseen Neighborhood
  7. Church of the Virgin of Fatima – Faisaliah Neighborhood
  8. Our Lady of Deliverance Chapel – Shifaa Neighborhood
  9. The House of the Young Sisters of Jesus – Ras Al-Kour Neighborhood
  10. Archbishop’s Palace Chapel – Dawasa Neighborhood

Syriac Orthodox Church:

  1. Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese – Shurta Neighborhood
  2. The Antiquarian Church of Saint Ahodeeni – Bab AlJadeed Neighborhood
  3. Mar (Saint) Toma Church and cemetery, (the old Bishopric) – Khazraj Neighborhood
  4. Church of The Immaculate (Castle) – Maidan Neighborhood
  5. Church of The Immaculate – Shifaa Neighborhood
  6. Mar (Saint) Aprim Church – Shurta Neighborhood
  7. St. Joseph Church – The New Mosul Neighborhood

Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East:

  1. Diocese of the Assyrian Church of the East – Noor Neighborhood
  2. Assyrian Church of the East, Dawasa Neighborhood
  3. Church of the Virgin Mary (old rite) – Wihda Neighborhood

Chaldean Church of Babylon:

  1. Chaldean Diocese – Shurta Neighborhood
  2. Miskinta Church – Mayassa Neighborhood
  3. The Antiquarian Church of Shimon alSafa – Mayassa Neighborhood
  4. Church of Mar (Saint) Buthyoon – Shahar AlSouq Neighborhood
  5. Church of St. Ephrem, Wady AlAin Neighborhood
  6. Church of St. Paul – Majmooaa AlThaqafiya District
  7. The Old Church of the Immaculate (with the bombed archdiocese)- Shifaa Neighborhood
  8. Church of the Holy Spirit – Bakir Neighborhood
  9. Church of the Virgin Mary – Drakziliya Neighborhood
  10. Ancient Church of Saint Isaiah and Cemetery – Ras AlKour Neighborhood
  11. Mother of Aid Church – Dawasa Neighborhood
  12. The Antiquarian Church of St. George- Khazraj Neighborhood
  13. St. George Monastery with Cemetery – Arab Neighborhood
  14. Monastery of AlNasir (Victory) – Arab Neighborhood
  15. Convent of the Chaldean Nuns – Mayassa Neighborhood
  16. Monastery of St. Michael – Hawi Church Neighborhood
  17. The Antiquarian Monastery of St. Elijah – Ghazlany Neighborhood

Armenian Orthodox Church:

  1. Armenian Church – Maidan Neighborhood
  2. The New Armenian Church – Wihda Neighborhood

Evangelical Presbyterian Church:

  1. Evangelical Presbyterian Church – Mayassa Neighborhood

Latin Church:

  1. Latin Church and Monastery of the Dominican Fathers and Convent of Katrina Siena Nuns – Sa’a Neighborhood
  2. Convent of the Dominican Sisters, – Mosul AlJadeed Neighborhood
  3. Convent of the Dominican Sisters (AlKilma Monastery) – Majmooaa AlThaqafiya District
  4. House of Qasada AlRasouliya (Apostolic Aim) (Institute of St. John the Beloved)

Cemeteries:

  1. Christian Cemetery in the Ekab Valley which contains a small chapel.

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