About Steve Macias

http://www.stevemacias.com

Steve Macias is a lay churchman with a spirit of catholicity pursuing Holy Orders. Steve, his wife Sarah, and their son Athanasius are members of Incarnation Anglican Mission in Roseville, California.

Posts by Steve Macias:

A Short Eulogy for Spock – Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

On February 27, 2015 at the age of 83, Leonard Nimoy died in his Bel Air home.

In his memory, the next three sections will serve to honor his legacy, comfort his friends, and to draw from Nimoy’s life the glory of our Lord.

Leonard Nimoy Eulogy Mr. Spock Star Trek

The Legacy of Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

Most notably, we remember Nimoy for his character Mr. Spock from the television series, “Star Trek” and for the phrase, “Live long and prosper” with its equally notable hand gesture. A gesture that pointed back to his roots as a Ukrainian Jew. His childhood in the synagogue had imprinted upon him the priestly blessing of Numbers that would become his famous Vulcan salutation. As a cultural icon and phenomenon, Spock’s influence on Star Trek has been a noted force against anti-Semitism and Nimoy’s success further evidences the potential for immigrants to define American culture. For people of faith, he demonstrated that ancient truths would continue to be relevant to the future to come and despite our advances in technology. Spock’s character remains a testimony that the traditional and intellectual were concepts to be paired together.

For his Family and Friends

Our faith teaches us to pray for Nimoy like this, “Grant rest, O Lord, to Thy servant Leonard.” In his eternal memory, join me in that short prayer. While most of us did not personally know Leonard Nimoy or even have to the opportunity to meet him, there is in his public work a friendship with his personality. Thus we mourn over his death and as St. Paul instructs us, “weep with them who weep.” As we reminisce upon our fondest memories of the half-Vulcan as death has now gripped him, may we be comforted by his long and prosperous life. We can find comfort in knowing that his persona has been indelibly preserved on our memories and on digital media, and because of this, he will never really be gone.

A few days before his death, Nimoy shared this on his Twitter: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP”

To Boldly Go…

Like Nimoy’s life, the Star Trek series is rife with allusions and pictures of love and redemption. Each episode began with an opening narration that spoke of the mission of the USS Enterprise to, “boldly go where no man has gone before.” As a Christian, I cannot help but think upon this mission and see it in that of Christ’s incarnation.

As we come together this day to mourn, we see our own mortality, we understand that it is appointed once for all men to die. Over the next few weeks, there will be those murmuring about Nimoy’s eternal state and others pointing to his smoking and other habits in relation to his death, don’t join them. Instead think upon our own condition and how our High Priest so greatly condescended to be with us. Christ boldly took on human flesh and was born from the virgin Mary so as to live and dwell among the people He loved. Through his fleshly incarnation he is able to sympathize with our condition and testifies to the pain of death.

In the Gospels, we see Jesus weep over the death of his friend Lazarus. Even today, I expect that Jesus joins us in weeping over Leonard’s death. Yet, through the pain of death we are afforded the oppurtunity to express our love for one another as we mourn together. In weeping, we imitate Christ who sympathized with man to the point of his own death, where he was offered up as the solution to the sting of mortality. Through the crucifixion, death itself loses all power over us. The blood that poured down from a jew upon a roman cross represents Christ’s pity for our human condition. By suffering a human death, he shows us how He can share in all our sorrows.

Imagine with me the raised hands of Christ, palms forward and fingers separated in a Vulcan salute for the world.  Now see him as soldiers drive nails through those same hands. Now imagine after his anguish and death, Christ boldly going where no man has gone before: to death and back. In the resurrection, Christ again salutes his disciples and with outstretch arms, “Put your finger here, and see my hands… Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

Leonard Nemoy Eulogy Mr. Spock Star Trek

For our friend Leonard, Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

Please feel free to leave your own prayers for Leonard in the comments below.

How the Julie Andrews Oscar Tribute Identified the Biggest Problem with “Christian” Movies

Lady Gaga Tribute to Julie Andrews & “The Sound of Music”

 

In likely one of her most beautiful and memorable performances, pop-star Lady Gaga revisited the 1965 Classic, “The Sound of Music” with an outstanding tribute to Julie Andrews and her musical contributions to the film.

Lady Gaga Tribute to Julie Andrews & “The Sound of Music”

It is worth noting that Gaga is not known for being a ‘lady’ and a great deal of her notoriety is based upon some of the most un-lady-like behavior. Yet here, Lady Gaga offers an elegant and skillful performance that may exceed the artist whom she was paying tribute to. There is nothing in Gaga’s Billboard hit collection that would suggest that she was capable of such a performance and her peculiar stage personality has been eclipsed by the beauty of the original music. Despite a five decade span between the theatrical release and now, this performance refused to enjoin the modern progress of musical artistry.

Can we think of many styles from 1965 that would enjoy such a powerful reception? How is it possible that the “Sound of Music” can remain ‘good art’ even today without adapting to the changing ethos of American artistic expression?

Julie Andrews on Great Music

Following Lady Gaga’s performance she was joined on stage by the original Maria. Julie Andrews thanked Gaga for her beautiful tribute and gave the most eloquent and poignant remarks of the entire night. In her short speech, I believe that Andrews also identified the fundamental problem plaguing a Christian view of the arts.

“Great music does more than enhance a film,” says Andrews “it cements our memories in the film-going experience. I mean, imagine the “Godfather” without its iconic theme… or the wondrous themes in the music of John Williams in “Star Wars.”

The Imagination and Christian Movies

675116-a9f9182e-a8c8-11e4-b4a3-9d4f296075c1I would posit that while classics like the, “Sound of Music” will be respected as time-tested art, much of the Christian material today will be remembered as well as Julie Andrew’s contemporaries like the Brady Bunch. Our dated, irrelevant, and artistically flat modern “chick tract” style Christian movies are destined for the same shelf as the story of a lovely lady and her family in a nine-frame box.

As Christians, we are called to embrace the majesty of God’s creation in its fullness and to use the arts in our attempt to express what is truly great and beautiful. All of art, and especially the cinema for our age, is a call to experience the pleasure of Christ’s goodness and to stretch and renew our mind’s imagination. Art in this sense is not merely an extra, but essential to what it means to give glory to God.

I want to see a generation of filmmakers less concerned about how actors dress, and passionate about how a film’s score is as powerful a testimony of the greatness of God as the script.

As Martin Luther said, “I feel strongly that all the arts, and particularly music, should be placed in the service of Him who has created and given them.”

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Brother Martin of Erfurt

The Morning Prayer Commemoration from the Mission of St. Clare included this wonderful biographical sketch of Martin Luther by James Kiefer.

martin luther monkBrother Martin

I once heard a priest say: “Sometimes in a sermon, I have occasion to quote some comment by Martin Luther which bears on the point I want to make. But there are those in my congregation who would wonder what I was doing quoting a notorious Protestant. So I simply refer to him as Brother Martin of Erfurt, and they smile and nod. He said a lot of remarkably good things.”

German Peasant Stock…

Brother Martin of Erfurt, born in 1483 of German peasant stock, was a monk (more exactly, a regular canon) of the Order of Saint Augustine, and a Doctor of Theology. In his day, the Church was at a spiritual low. Church offices were openly sold to the highest bidder, and not nearly enough was being done to combat the notion that forgiveness of sins was likewise for sale. Indeed, many Christians, both clergy and laity, were most inadequately instructed in Christian doctrine. Startling as it seems to us today, there were then no seminaries for the education of the clergy. There were monastic schools, but they concentrated on the education of their own monks. Parish priests, ordinarily having no monastic background, were in need of instruction themselves, and in no way prepared to instruct their congregations. Brother Martin set out to remedy this. He wrote a simple catechism for the instruction of the laity which is still in use today, as is his translation of the Scriptures into the common tongue. His energy as a writer was prodigious. From 1517, when he first began to write for the public, until his death, he wrote on the average one book a fortnight.

Criticisms and Conflict

Today, his criticisms of the laxness and frequent abuses of his day are generally recognized on all sides as a response to very real problems. It was perhaps inevitable, however, that they should arouse resentment in his own day (Brother Martin, and for that matter many of his opponents, had controversial manners that my high school speech teacher and debate coach would never have tolerated!), and he spent much of his life in conflict with the ecclesiastical authorities. The disputes were complicated by extraneous political considerations on both sides, and, as one of his admirers has observed, each side was at its best when proclaiming what the other side, well considered and in a cool hour, did not really deny.

Salvation as a free gift

Brother Martin, for example, was most ardent in maintaining that salvation was a free gift of God, and that all attempts to earn or deserve it are worse than useless. But he was not alone in holding this. When his followers met in 1540 with Cardinal Contarini, the Papal delegate, in an effort to arrive at an understanding, there was complete agreement on this point. The Cardinal, by a study of the Epistle to the Romans, had arrived in 1511 at the same position as Brother Martin in 1517. So had Cardinal Pole, the Archbishop of Canterbury (who had, ironically, been appointed to combat Brother Martin’s influence). So had the Archbishop of Cologne, and so had many other highly placed Church officials.

Rudiments of the Faith

In Brother Martin’s own judgement, his greatest achievement was his catechism, by the use of which all Christians without exception might be instructed in at least the rudiments of the Faith. Some of his admirers, however, would insist that his greatest achievement was the Council of Trent, which he did not live to see, but which he was arguably the greatest single factor in bringing about. While the Council’s doctrinal pronouncements were not all that Brother Martin would have wished, it did take very much to heart his strictures on financial abuses, and undertook considerable reforms in those areas It banned the sale of indulgences and of church offices, and took steps to provide for the systematic education of the clergy. Putting it another way, if I were arguing with an adherent of the Pope, and I wanted to point out to him that many Popes have been, even by ordinary grading-on-a-curve standards, wicked men, cynically exploiting their office for personal gain, I would have no difficulty in finding examples from the three centuries immediately preceding Brother Martin and the Council of Trent. If I were restricted to the centuries afterward, I should have more of a problem. And this is, under God, due in some measure to Brother Martin’s making himself a nuisance. Thanks be to God for an occasional nuisance at the right time and place.

Behold, Lord
An empty vessel that needs
To be filled.

My Lord, fill it
I am weak in the faith;
Strengthen me.
I am cold in love;
Warm me and make me fervent,
That my love may go out

To my neighbor…
O Lord, help me.
Strengthen my faith and

Trust in you…
With me, there is an

Abundance of sin;
In You is the fullness of

Righteousness.
Therefore I will remain

With You,
O whom I can receive,
But to Whom I may not give.

-Brother Martin Luther of Erfurt (1483-1546)

Follow the Morning and Evening Prayer Cycle at the Mission of St. Clare website or get the iPhone / Android app.mobilпродвижение сайтов эффективно

Poetry and Potency

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Discourse on Intercourse

The poem is an exercise of animation. A poem is the vivification of words and through laying one word against another, each line upon line, a new idea is given flesh. Poetry is the elevation of mere words to glorified speech. The same words used to fill the instructions for operating a microwave oven are rearranged in a unique Sutra that has the power to penetrate the human pysche and be born anew. Allegorically, poetry serves its purpose in preserving the humanness of speech in discourse. In poetry, words preserve the humanness of speech through intercourse. The most glorious poetry bears new fruit each time the reader sits down to read it.

Literary Intimacy

I am tempted to compare poetry to sex for two reasons; the first is because it is how we receive poetry from God. Whether it is looking toward the Song of Solomon, the Psalms of David, or the poetry that Christ himself would use to compare himself to His beautiful bride, God uses poetry to properly express both a sexual and erotic love. Secondly, I believe that poetry naturally demands virility. As XJ Kennedy points out, “poetry appeals to the mind and arouses feelings,” and demands intimacy beyond any other form of literature. Poetry demands potency.

Many theologians have pointed out that the Song of Solomon is an allegory to the love that God has for humankind, that He chooses sexuality in the marital relationship as the expression of His love. At the same time and significantly, He uses the form of poetry to express this love. Even the language used for the Holy Sacrament of His Body and Blood are described as Holy Communion because they represent the most intimate relationship between two people. In marriage and communion, two become one.

Passion, Prose & Poems

Here we have passion coupled with prose, sex coupled with poem – manliness tied to the form of literature in a way that our modern culture would find foreign. Although the virility of a man is tied to the nature of a poem. For any that consent to be swooned, the poem can ravish them in ways that other words, other pictures, other gestures, will always fail. The poem penetrates our inner being and each interaction with that set of lines brings us closer to their author and yearning to drawn more from our interaction. Our intimacy is intensified with slower, labored readings and subsequent encounters increase our growing appetites.

Virility finds purpose in creation or rather procreation as the idea bears new ideas. The seeds of thought are spoken into newness born, carried, and delivered through love. The potency of masculinity is revealed as the giver finds an ear for his gift. Poetry and reader are complementary like husband and wife: the two interlock in the only way to create new life. Love and intimacy grow in the same way in marriage and poetry, so that the one is no longer room enough to contain it. The two that became one burst like old wineskins and create again. This is poetry.сайты интернет магазинов

C.S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and the Evils of Statism

David J. Theroux, founder and president of The Independent Institute and the C.S. Lewis Society of California, discusses the writings of C.S. Lewis and Lewis’s views on liberty, natural law and statism.

The presentation was the keynote talk at the first annual conference of Christians for Liberty, that was held at St. Edwards University in San Antonio, TX, August 2, 2014.

The talks starts out with:

For decades, many Christians and non-Christians, both “conservative” and “liberal,” have unfortunately embraced an ill-conceived, “progressive” (i.e., authoritarian) vision to wield intrusive government powers as an unquestionable and even sanctified calling for both domestic and international matters, abandoning the Judeo-Christian, natural-law tradition in moral ethics and economics. In contrast, the Oxford/Cambridge scholar and best-selling author C. S. Lewis did not suffer such delusions, despite the gigantic and deeply disturbing advances and conflicts of total war, the total state, and genocides that developed during his lifetime.

Lewis’s aversion to government was clearly revealed in 1951 when Winston Churchill, within weeks after he regained office as prime minister of Great Britain, wrote to Lewis offering to have him knighted as “Commander of the Order of the British Empire.” Lewis flatly declined the honor because he, unlike the “progressives,” was never interested in politics and was deeply skeptical of government power and politicians, as expressed in the first two lines of his poem “Lines during a General Election”: “Their threats are terrible enough, but we could bear / All that; it is their promises that bring despair.”

Lewis had held this view for many years. In 1940, he had written in a letter to his brother Warren, “Could one start a Stagnation Party—which at General Elections would boast that during its term of office no event of the least importance had taken place?” He further stated, “I was by nature ‘against Government.’

See the video here:

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New Book from Rich Lusk: “I Belong to God: A Catechism for Covenant Children”

Our friends at Athanasius Press have announced the publication of an exciting new catechism for our covenant children. Athanasius Press describes the new book as:

“The real heart of catechesis is to form in our children a covenantal identity, a sense of belonging to God and to the church. Our children need to be taught who they are in Christ so they can live faithfully in the church, family, and world. We must train our children in such a way that their whole lives will be a grand Amen to their baptisms.”

While many children’s catechismal tools exist, Lusk’s work is certainly of a wider, more “catholic” breadth, while remaining digestible for our youngest children. Notably, Pastor Lusk emphasizes a clear presuppositional message: “God has saved you; now be loyal to him.”

Pastor Lusk adds, “When we tell our children that God is their Father and that Jesus died for their sins, we are telling them something true and helping them internalize their covenant identity.”

Rich Lusk is the father of four and the Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama.  He is the author of Paedofaith: A Primer on the Mystery of Infant Salvation and a Handbook for Covenant Parents, as well as a contributing author to The Church Friendly FamilyThe Federal Vision, and The Case for Covenant Communion.

Buy the book from Athanasius Press for just $5 – Click here.

I Belong to God: A Catechism for Covenant Children by Rich Lusk

I Belong to God: A Catechism for Covenant Children
by Rich Lusk

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St. Ambrose: The Proto-Kuyperian

December 7th is the day set aside on the Church Calendar to remember St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.

Ambrose of Milan

st-ambrose-1While men like St. Athanasius defended the faith at the Council of Nicaea, the real work restoring orthodoxy throughout the empire required local hands. While the Church had clearly spoken and declared that arianism was heresy, many of the bishops installed around the world remained loyal to arianism. As Rev. Steve Wilkins often says, “heretics don’t listen to church councils.” The labors of the council would be for not if Christ did not raise up men in local jurisdictions to protect the word and church. One such man who would serve as a protector of the church against all such heresies was St. Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan.

Contemporary with the fourth century councils, St. Ambrose rose to the rank of Roman governor over the region of Liguria and Emelia. Titled the “Consular Prefect” Ambrose was headquartered in Milan, the functional capital of the western Roman empire. In such an influential seat, Ambrose had the attention and recognition of the emperors.

St. Ambrose the Proto-Kuyperian

The cornerstone of the Kuyperian worldview is the principle of sphere sovereignty, the idea that God has ordained the institutions around us (e.g. Church, State, Family) and given them limited authority and responsibilities. These spheres work together like cogwheels as God expresses his will through the created order. Ambrose himself set many of the sphere boundaries that will later be embraced by Kuyperian systems.

During Ambrose’s tenure as governor, Milan’s episcopal seat was maintained by an Arian Bishop. When he died, both factions of the Church sought to place their own man in the vacant seat. Recognizing that his place was a servant of the public, not a member of the clergy, Ambrose refused to take a side. Instead he made a plea for peace between the two parties and urged the people of Milan to choose a new bishop without violence. While Ambrose could have easily called down the power of the state to squash Arianism, he recognized that such an act would have been outside his office’s legitimate authority and purpose.

The people of Milan then did the unthinkable – they demanded the unbaptized Roman governor as their new Bishop. Ambrose fled to plead with the Emperor for any excuse out from under the miter. Having no imperial sympathies, Ambrose was baptized and finally succumbed to episcopal consecration on this day (December 7) in 375 AD.

Continuing in the proto-kuyperian theme, Ambrose recognized that in this new sphere of the state, his worldly titles and wealth would be an hindrance to the proper function as the overseer of Milan. Ambrose disposed of his worldly wealth by giving it to the poor and the church. All his silver and gold, his lands and estates were given away as he sought to focus himself on the ministry. Overnight, the once powerful Roman governor becomes Victor Hugo’s “Monseigneur Bienvenu.” His consistency alone is worthy of our admiration.

Bishop Ambrose vs the Emperors

As bishop, Ambrose was at liberty to take on the arian heresy and his efforts proved quite successful. They were, however, noticed as the Arian empress Justina maneuvered the child regent Valentinian II against his efforts. The emperor began to make laws showing lenience toward the arians and ordered Ambrose to give up two of his churches in Milan for arian use. Ambrose refused and upon being summoned to Valentian’s court was able to successfully defend his position.

Milan is then absorbed into Theodosius’s empire as he defends Valentinian II against the conquest of Magnus Maximus. Valentinian II continues to pressure Ambrose to provide for the arians and demands the Portian basilica. Ambrose responds by having his parishioners barricade themselves inside the basillica until the order is rescinded. Ambrose continues to maintain sovereignty of the church refusing to bow to the state’s demands of religious tolerance.

Ambrose’s civil disobedience is most famous in his excommunication of Emperor Theodosius, who oversaw the brutal massacre of 7,000 people in the city of Thessalonica. Ambrose refused the emperor access to the Lord’s table and demanded repentance. Ambrose is said to have met Theodosius at the door of the Church and said,

“It seems, sir, that you do not yet rightly apprehend the enormity of the massacre lately committed. Let not the splendour of your purple robes hinder you from being acquainted with the infirmities of that body which they cover. You are of the same mould with those subjects which you govern; and there is one common Lord and Emperor of the world. With what eyes will you behold his temple? With what feet will you tread his sanctuary? How will you lift up to him in prayer those hands which are still stained with blood unjustly spilt? Depart, therefore, and attempt not, by a second offence, to aggravate your former crime; but quietly take the yoke upon you which the Lord has appointed for you. It is sharp, but it is medicinal and conducive to your health.”  (Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume XII: December. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.)

Ambrose gives the emperor eight months of penance, which he submits to from his palace.

The Legacy of St. Ambrose

St. Ambrose’s ministry serves to solidify the victory of trinitarian orthodoxy and serves as an example of what the proper relationship between church and state looks like. He was influential among emperors and loved by his people. In addition to his contributions as a bishop, he went on to write hymns and is traditionally credited with the hymn Te Deum, which is said to have been composed when he baptized St. Augustine. Ambrose is a champion of the faith and a worthy name to add to your family’s baby names list.

For more on St. Ambrose of Milan: click here for a lecture from Rev. Steve Wilkins of Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church.

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A Vision for Our Daughters

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A Father Pleads with Jesus

In the Gospel of St. Mark our Lord is approached by a father named Jairus. He is one of the rulers in the synagogue and pleads with Jesus to rescue his dying daughter. St. Mark tells us that this father literally, “fell at his feet” on behalf of his 12-year-old child. He asks that Jesus might come and lay his healing hands on his daughter. While this father is leading Jesus back to his home, a servant from his house comes bearing a grave message. Jairus’s daughter has died.

Soon we will see the faith of the father save his daughter, but at this point the father seems to have acquiesced all hope. For if Christ is like any other physician, He is now too late.

Jesus turns to the distraught father and says, “fear not, only believe.” Only is the incarnate God, who has a human heart, able to show such tender sympathy for a father’s broken heart.

Little girl…

Christ then goes to Jairus’s daughter and calls to her, “Talitha cumi,” or “Little girl, I say to you arise.” As I read this I imagine being Jairus watching the scene unfolding – seeing his dead daughter, hearing the wailing and cries of his family, and then right there in the middle watching as Jesus calls outs, “Talitha cumi.”

I imagine a flashback with Jairus and his daughter as a toddler. He stands at one side of the room and looks toward his beautiful little girl as she struggles to take a step on shaky toddler ankles. “Talitha Cumi,” says Jarius with an ear-to-ear grin and outstretched arms, “come on, walk to daddy.”

Now back in the presence of this man who claims to be the Messiah, Jairus sees his daughter awakened from death. His little girl rises from the dead.

Fathers like Jairus

As fathers, we have much to learn from Jairus. Like him, we will fail and fall into despair. Perhaps we will put too much faith into a certain parenting system or too little effort into developing our relationship with our children, but undoubtedly we will need to bow down to Jesus as Jairus did. Even as I write this I want to ask Jesus for more grace – for the ways I have already failed my family and to help me in the future.

Even now Jesus offers contrite fathers, “fear not, only believe.”

This ruler in the synagogue had hoped that the touch of Jesus would heal his daughter, but despaired with the conditions around him, yet through his daughter’s death – Jairus saw the very words of Jesus give her new life.

A Vision for Our Daughters

Today, our children, and especially our daughters, are under attack. Our little girls are bombarded by a culture seeking to kill their innocence and turn them away from their parents. Many fathers come to Jesus too late. Having missed the opportunity to be the words of Jesus, their daughters are afflicted and destroyed by the empty promises of the world.

Our children need more of us and more than us.

Our daughters need more “afternoon dates with daddy,” more fathers who sing in church, and more papas who are priests over their homes. They need fathers who are loyal to Christ’s Church and take their commitments to Christ’s body seriously. Our Children need fathers who serve mom with gentleness, grace, and love as a servant-leader of the household providing for its needs.

Like Jairus, our daughters need us to run to Jesus, to bow down to Him, and to plead for His help. They need us to lead Jesus to our homes and through obedience to our responsibilities as fathers, give them the very words of Jesus that they, “might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”


A New Resource for Fathers: Rev. Uri Brito’s The Trinitarian Father

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“Someone has said that most evangelicals have ignored the reality of the Trinity so thoroughly, that they are, for all practical purposes, Unitarians. That is sadly true. And that makes this essay all the more important for the twenty-first century Christian. If we are created after the image of the Triune God, then we must understand ourselves and our responsibilities in life in light of that glorious and amazing fact. Pastor Brito helps us to see what God’s nature implies for us and requires of us as fathers. His essay is an excellent beginning to getting us into Trinitarian shape.”

- Steve Wilkins, Pastor of Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana

Buy the book here from the Covenant Media Foundation.


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The Purple Christ at Advent

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The Incarnation of Color

Sunday was the first Sunday in the 2014 Advent season and the beginning of a new liturgical year. For many Christians, this was marked by advent candles, purple vestments, and hymns longing for the coming of our savior. In Advent, we remember that the God who created all things, descended down into our world and became one of us. Through the divine mystery of the incarnation, the Almighty communicates his transcendence through the physical world around us.

A long study can and has been made about the coordination of particular colors with the seasons of the year and nearly every historic branch of Christianity has embraced both a liturgical Calendar with symbolic colors to mark the days. As we look back to a time when the darkness of man was pierced by the advent of a new and great light – we should see the new redeemed world as the refracted beauty of Christ’s perfect light. It is not merely from darkness to light – but from the utter darkness to the light of lights. The light of God’s promise was once raised colorfully above Noah and is now is the light of the world and the light of life. Christ has moved the world from a dark and cold blackness into the warm spectrum of hope.

A Horse of a Different Color

St. John’s work uses color to invoke particular ideas to the mind of his readers. In Revelation, a white horse is not merely descriptive, but instead serves as a reminder of the holy victory of Christ to a people nearing a time of great persecution. White becomes more than a color and embodies a feeling or encapsulates an idea. For this same reason, white continues to invoke the queenly idea of purity and beauty as a bride wears her dress down the aisle. To the first century Jewish reader, white is the Diamond of Naphtali and the clear Jasper of the New Jerusalem and this beauty of the kingdom is conveyed through a color.

Dr. Peter Leithart describes this phenomenon in relation to the essence of who our God is, “God is a communicative being. He doesn’t just use words; He is the Word. He made us in His image and likeness, as communicative beings. Even if we keep our mouths firmly shut, we cannot avoid saying something; we cannot not communicate. ”

The Calendar and the tone of the Gospel

Christ’s Church, through the use of vestments and paraments, has employed liturgical colors in accordance with the church calendar to focus our devotion on particular themes and tones of the Gospel.

In the Advent season, the color purple is used to symbolize the coming of a royal Messiah, our King Jesus. It is the beginning of the church year, just as the birth of Christ is the start of the gospel. In Advent we prepare for our Lord’s coming in three ways: celebrating his incarnation at Christmas, remembering his coming into our hearts, and anticipating his coming again to judge the quick and the dead. During Advent we recall Israel penitently waiting before the Messiah appeared. As the prophet Isaiah said,

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

The color purple should always remind you of this Scripture. During Advent we should place both this scripture and the color purple before the eyes of the people.

The Purple Christ at Advent

aachaliceThe wine our Lord chooses to demonstrate his real presence is purple and Melchizedek teaches us that wine itself is a kingly substance. Wine is symbolically identified with the blessings of the kingdom throughout the Scripture. This is what James B. Jordan calls “the eschatological Messianic kingdom feast.” The promised land in the Old Testament and the kingdom of our Lord in the New Testament are richly portrayed as places abounding with wine. Thus the color and substance work together, developing a rather pointed imagery – particularly relevant to the time of Advent.

The Bible describes the high priest’s clothing as fine linen and purple, and our Lord makes a reference to this in his parable of the rich man and Lazarus.  The rich man is dressed in purple and fine linen — Jesus’ hearers would have seen an allusion to the high priest here. Christ’s reference to purple draws a literary connection in the minds of listeners. Christ’s nature as a our high priest is shown in biblical imagery as well; as when He was arrested, the Roman soldiers girded him in a purple robe. The color is not meaningless, but rather directs us to the notion that our high priest was to be the sacrifice, the royal sacrifice.

Christ Cleanses the Temple From What is Common

Attention to liturgical detail is in no way foreign to Christian thought or an innovation of Roman authorities. A familiarity with the Pentateuch reveals that God has plenty to say about the way he would like to be worshiped and these ceremonies were revealing the beauty of Christ. As Percy Dearmer rightly points out,

“Our Lord attended the ritualistic services of the Temple; nay, He was careful to be present at those great feasts when the ceremonial was most elaborate. Yet no word of censure ever escaped His lips. This was the more remarkable, because He was evidently far from ignoring the subject. No one ever appreciated the danger of formalism so keenly as He: He did condemn most strongly the vain private ceremonies of the Pharisees. Also, on two occasions He cleansed the Temple, driving out, not those who adorned it with ceremonial, but those who dishonoured it with commercialism. That is to say, His only interference with the ritualistic worship of the Temple was to secure it against profane interruption.” (The Parson’s Handbook)

Thus the richness of the church calendar is ever present. I pray that during Advent – we may be penetrated visually by the truth of God’s Word. May the purple of this season remind us of our High Priest and King Lord Jesus. May we be intentional in demonstrating God’s truth in all areas of life, both in the church and in our homes.рерайтер копирайтерстатистика ключевых слов в google

Pastor Voddie Baucham on Ferguson: Don’t fear police, fear black people

Pastor Voddie Baucham, Pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, took to Fox News to attempt a Christian answer to the ongoing situation in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Back in August, unarmed african-american teenager Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer – inciting months of tense race relations, violent riots, and widespread looting. National media attention has intensified the situation as many perceive the event to be an example of racial profiling and excessive police force. Widespread looting broke out last week in the St. Louis suburb as a grand jury declined to indict the officer involved in the shooting. Officer Wilson has since resigned from the Ferguson Police Department.

Pastor says Ferguson is a “Celebration of Criminality”

On Saturday, Pastor Baucham went live on Fox News to share his viewpoint as an african-american pastor. “…They expect black pastors and black leaders to respond to this in the same way. I don’t see it the same way.” Pastor Baucham characterized the Ferguson protests as a, “celebration of criminality” and “thuggery” adding that Michael Brown was a “criminal” engaged in, “a violent robbery and then engaged a police officer in a violent confrontation…”

Speaking to the nature of crime in black communities, he added that there is a bigger issue of ‘black-on-black’ crime in city’s like Chicago. Upset by a disproportional murder rate by blacks and the “randomness” of violent crimes, Voddie concludes that,”the police are not the ones that we have to fear, it’s other black people.”

See the video here:

Al Sharpton v. Voddie Baucham

Baucham’s words serve a sharp contrast to what has been delivered by other leaders in the african-american community like Al Sharpton who have called the grand jury’s verdict, “an absolute blow to those of us that wanted to see a fair and open trial.” His efforts have called attention to what he believes to be racially motivated episode of police brutality and an unfair judicial system prejudiced against black americans. “Ferguson is not just Missouri, we can lose a round, but the fight is not over,” said Sharpton, who is now moving forward on a call for a federal criminal indictment.

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Hope for the Future

While the Fox News anchor was not happy to receive it, Pastor Voddie concluded with a positive outlook for racial relations in America. “My message is that the Gospel gives us hope. I am a pastor, not a politician. I’m not here to make political points. I’m here to point to the cross and say that there is room for us to be united.”

Voddie Baucham is a husband, father, pastor, author, professor, conference speaker and church planter. He serves as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, TX. Read more about Voddie Baucham here. количество запросов в google