For those interested in knowing where the tradition of eliminating Alleluia came from, there's a good explanation here, and a cute explanation by Miss Mannerly on Page 2.
Happy Easter to all! He is Risen indeed!
If there’s one focus a Church should have, it’s on evangelism and missions. It’s almost a little redundant to separate those since missions, properly understood, is evangelism. If we’re truly doing the will of the Lord and making disciples of all nations, we can’t do that by giving people clean water without giving them the water of eternal life. We can’t give them bread to fill their stomachs without teaching about the bread from heaven who can fill their souls. We can’t provide shelter from the storm without telling the story of the One who has the power to calm the storms (and I’m talking about literal storms here, not “the storms of life”).Much of these concepts hearken back to the time when Christ used the loaves and fishes to feed a multitude. He understood that:
Am I saying we shouldn’t feed the poor, clothe the naked, or be philanthropic in our communities and abroad? Absolutely not! However, we must never sever these actions from evangelism. Evangelism is the only reason the Lord has left us here on earth. Seriously… think about it. What good are we if we take the light given to us and hide it under our beds?
"...it’s really difficult to pay attention to one’s soul if one’s stomach is growling. So, he filled their stomachs hoping—maybe even assuming---that once their stomachs were full, they’d realize just how empty their souls remained. But to do that, to realize how empty we may feel, is not so simple. There’s no definitive signal---like a growling stomach---to tell us we’re spiritually empty, that we need some spiritual nourishment. It takes awhile to figure it out.
And, apparently, it takes awhile to explain it as well. In John’s gospel, Jesus spends four Sundays trying to get his followers, those then and us now, to distinguish between physical and spiritual hunger. It’s annoying as we hear, again, again, again and AGAIN that the manna from Exodus and the multiplication of loaves and fishes in the gospels is nothing…NOTHING compared to The Bread of Life...the bread that is Jesus.That last quote is taken from a blog by a priest at an Episcopal Church in New York. The whole blog entry is quite interesting.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there; if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you (Psalm 139:7-12).Generally, panentheism is more of an Eastern belief than Western, but it has been found in some Christian sects. The idea of seeing God all around you is easy when you look into the face of a child, contemplate the beauty and complexity of the universe or the human body or helixes in DNA. We get to see glimpses of God in everyday things, and still only touch on a small part of the Divine, who is infinitely greater than we can understand.
And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.From the beginning, God provides for us - but we must still help teach the children. Come out and volunteer some Saturday!
We’re not supposed to judge; we’re not supposed to make a call on what is wrong OR right based on our own internal moral code. We’re supposed to discern, with the guidance of the Spirit, what God has already judged. To do otherwise is to say you believe you’re smarter than the creator of the universe. So give up your gavel to God and leave the judging up to Him, but don’t neglect discernment; those with the spirit can discern all things.Of course, the author's point was the judgment tends to push out the ability to feel compassion. This author believes that discernment and compassion can coexist without problem, if people practice a bit of common sense:
How do we balance compassion and caring for one another with the need to think critically, to question what is happening around us, and to discern? The only conclusion I have made in response is simply, I don't know .. but we HAVE to find a way.
When groups polarize … they stop listening to one another. They are not even willing to engage in the discussion BECAUSE the behaviour of the other group is seen as deplorable and sometimes even dangerous. It is very easy to dismiss the substance of important information based on reaction to behaviour.A Bible study on discernment lists quite a few verses to help us understand the difference between judgment and discernment.
According to legend the crocus is connected to Valentine's Day. Valentinus was a 3rd century Roman physician who administered natural remedies. He was also a practicing Christian priest and prayed for his patients' healing. Unfortunately, Christian practices were not permitted under the reign of Claudius II, and Valentine was arrested and sentenced to death.So as we remember and experience the fasting of this lenten season, remember that we too, will experience the feast of resurrection with the Son for whom we wait. Like the jailor's daughter, we will see His glory, and like the crocus, we will bloom under His sight. How do you plan to show that in your life?
The jailor's blind daughter was one of Valentine's patients. Just before his excecution, Valentine handed the jailor a note for the blind girl. In the note, he had wrapped a yellow crocus, the source of one of his healing herbs, saffron. As the jailor's blind daughter opened the note, her sight was restored and the first flower she saw was the yellow crocus which rivals the sun in its brightness. On the note, the physician had penned the following message:
~From your Valentine.~ It was the physician's last message and the world's first valentine. The day was February 14, 270 AD.