Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Beautiful Passage in the Bible

Here is an incredibly beautiful and powerful passage in the Bible. What are your feelings? It is from Revelation 12.

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. 

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down---that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. 

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

"Now have come the salvation and the power and
the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short."

When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring---those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea.

Friday, April 23, 2010

True Ecumenism

Fr. Hans Kung (I know that he is very controversial) wrote a book called The Council, Reform, and Reunion where he discussed ecumenism in light of the Second Vatican Council. To me, he really understands the meaning of true ecumenism. Below is a great passage from his book:

Pope John himself spoke of an approach to reunion by degrees: approach, then coming together, and finally perfect unity. There are two things to be noted here.
The "approach" takes place on the basis of what we hold strongly in common. Our separated brethren are already brethren. There is already a deep communion, koinonia, between them and us; it is founded on one baptism, faith in one Lord, and love for him; and it is stronger and more important than anything that separates us. We are Christians, and they are Christians. "They too bear the name of Christ upon their foreheads, they read his holy and blessed Gospel, and they are not unreceptive to the stirrings of religious devotion and of active, beneficent love for their neighbor." What we need for reunion is that this communion which already exists should grow. What we need is that both sides should create more and more common ground between us, until at last what separates us becomes insignificant and full unity is a reality.
This "perfect unity" will not be uniformity. As Pope John has said, it will be unity in essentials, freedom in all else. It is quite unthinkable that after centuries of separation we could be reduced not only to a common denominator but to a single numerator. What we can have is unity in the sense of the living koinonia of the Scriptures, which is unity in diversity, unity in a variety of rites, languages, customs, modes of thought and action and prayer. Such unity is more perfect than uniformity. 

The passage above truly reflects my views on ecumenism. In all religions of the world there are conflicts. The Orthodox and the Reformed Jews don't get along. Nor do Sunni and Shiite Muslims. What makes us any different? I am pleasantly aware that there has been more dialogue amongst Christians in recent years, but Christians still seem to be caught up in finding theological faults in each other. Christians must unite. Jesus wanted it to be so. But unity does not come about through hatred and misunderstanding. All Christians will never go to the same church, but they may see each other as valid Christians and join with them in standing up for what other people in secular society ignore like the unborn. Traditionally, Baptists and Catholics have not gotten along, but both groups are pro-life. Both sides must acknowledge this, and join together to stand up for the unborn. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)
We are all Christians. God bless you all!!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tragedy in Poland

As you all probably already know, two days ago the Polish president and 96 others perished in a plane crash. Let's all pray for their families and the country as a whole as it mourns the loss of such important people.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Christ is Risen Indeed!!

I was reading about Elijah and Elisha in 1 and 2 Kings and I was astonished at what I found. Jesus did in fact come to fulfill Jewish scripture.


A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain.
"Give it to the people to eat," Elisha said.
"How can I set this before a hundred men?" his servant asked.
But Elisha answered, "Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: 'They will eat and have some left over.' "
Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord. (2 Kings 4:42-44)

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him.
"This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
But he answered, "You give them something to eat."
They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"
"How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see."
When they found out, they said, "Five---and two fish."
Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand. (Mark 6:34-44)

With God all things are possible. I can't help but think about one of Jesus' most famous lines: "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!" (Luke 12:27-28)

There is nothing to worry about because God is there with and in you. Christ is risen indeed! Let us never forget the Easter promise.