Skip to content

Unrequited

File:All Saints Catholic Church (Walton, Kentucky) - portal tympanum, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.jpg

“Marriage Supper of the Lamb”, portal tympanum at All Saints Catholic Church, Walton, KY, Author Nheyob (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

The relationship between Christ and His church has often been compared to a marriage.

Old Testament

In the Old Testament, Boaz – the kinsman-redeemer who marries the Moabite widow Ruth – is considered a foreshadowing of Christ [1].

The Song of Solomon describes the covenantal love of Christ for His church.  In medieval mysticism, this book was construed to apply to the love between Christ and the human soul [2].

On the other hand, the prophet Hosea’s troubled relationship with his wife is used as a metaphor for God’s relationship with Israel.

But God promises Israel:

And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness….You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the Lord delights in you, And your land shall be married.  For…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you” (Isa. 62: 1, 4-5).

New Testament

In the New Testament, John the Baptist describes Christ as the Bridegroom (John 3: 29).  This concept is reinforced by the parable reference Christ makes to Himself as the Bridegroom (Mark 2: 19-20).

In fact, the church is regularly referred to as the Bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11: 2; Eph. 5: 25-27; Rev. 19: 7-9, 21: 2, 22: 17). Read more…

The Wings of Morning

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/21/Banate_Bay%2C_at_the_break_of_dawn.jpg
Break of dawn at Banate Bay, Philippines, Author Dandy1022 (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

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” (Ps. 139: 9-10).

Merciful God, too often we seek to flee from Your presence…when the world is too much with us, when temptation beckons, when we know we have failed.

So often these moments follow on the heels of our greatest presumed triumphs.

Despite our many weaknesses, You stand by us – waiting to draw us once again into Your arms.  The wonder of this is beyond our understanding.

Hold us fast, Lord God.  Never let us go, that we may yet do the work of the kingdom for which You intended us.  We ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Amen

Originally posted 5/10/12

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://www.avoicereclaimed.com

Muslim Persecution of Christians

<br /> File:A public demonstration calling for Sharia Islamic Law in Maldives 2014.jpgMuslim demonstrators carry signs reading “Islam will dominate the world” and “To hell with democracy” in Maldives (2014), Author Dying Regime, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/dyingregime/15151723781/, (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

“Fact:  The 2016 killing of a gorilla in Cincinnati received six times more [mainstream] media coverage than the beheading by ISIS of 21 Coptic Egyptian Christians who refused to recant their faith.”

-“Blaming Israel, Not Muslims, for Christian Woe” by Raymond Ibrahim [1A]

The mainstream media does not impartially report religious persecution.

Nigeria

In Nigeria alone there have been 32,000 Christians killed by the country’s jihadists over the past decade [1B][2].

Hostility toward Christianity is well-established in other Muslim countries, as well [1C].  These include Kenya, Somalia, and Mozambique.

Uganda

In Uganda (a religiously diverse country with Christianity widely practiced), it is not uncommon for Muslims to attack or kill family members for converting to Christianity [1D][3].

Egypt

In Egypt, numerous churches have been bombed by Muslims, over the years [1E].  The number of Christian women and girls kidnapped, then forced to convert to Islam and marry their abductors is record high [1F]. Read more…

The Fight Against Woke Paganism

Colossians - Bible Book Chapters and Summary - New International Version

Image courtesy of Christianity.com

The following is excerpted from a post by Joel Abbott [1].  You can find the full text at the web address given below.

“…When…[the] good news [of the Resurrection] first began spreading over the Roman world, people thought it was crazy.  Just like they do today!

Along the way, people created deviations of what the Bible and Jesus taught.  They began tacking on additional requirements other than to believe with your heart and profess with your mouth, teaching that there was secret knowledge to be attained (‘do the work’), specific qualifications that needed to be met (‘become an ally’), rituals that needed to be followed (‘state your pronouns and make an indigenous land acknowledgement’), and that God’s character was actually different than you think (‘Breastfeeding God Of Many Breasts’)…

Most Western churches today…have no idea that it’s woke paganism that is destroying their members…

Yet woke paganism was the standard of the day back in ancient Rome…

Modern Wokeism is no different than the paganism of old.  It’s just a new variety of world religions (where Christianity is the exception).

For but the briefest of moments where Christianity was followed in Europe and America and created insane human flourishing and scientific advancement, the world has been ruled by such thought.

We live again in such an age.

  • The Romans wanted sex to be everywhere and expressed in every way.  We’ve done that, and then some!  Caligula himself would blush.
  • The Romans wanted to kill who they wanted to kill.  We do that every time we jump on board with the #CurrentThing, vilifying our enemies as Nazis and cheering in many cases when they die.  In some cases, such as the situation of the preborn child, we’re allowed to legally shed more human blood than the gladiators or crucifixion teams could have ever imagined.
  • The Romans wanted to silence who they wanted to silence.  The mainstream media and Big Tech have that practice down pat.

Because our situation is rapidly regressing to the first century AD, it’s worth noting that the Apostle Paul and other early church leaders addressed the exact same kind of things we’re dealing with today…

One letter in particular, Paul’s epistle to the Colossians, truly stands out as a letter for our moment in history…” Read more…

“Wedding Day Blues” by John Hare and Shane Haselbarth

File:Wedding-Flowers.jpg

Bridal bouquet, Author Djmuenchen s4I, Source https://www.sound4light.de (CC Attribution 4.0 International)

Readers of this blog are by now well familiar with Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia https://www.clcphila.org/, a non-profit whose predecessor I was involved in co-founding.

CLCP provides the poor of Philadelphia with legal services at no charge.  This is accomplished by Christian attorneys and paralegals who volunteer their time and expertise for the love of God.  (More information about Christian legal aid can be found above.)

Here is the story of one case CLCP handled [1].  Client names have been changed in the interest of privacy.

“In 2019, Sandy and Bill, newly engaged college students…found the perfect venue for their May 20, 2020 dream wedding.  The venue required them to sign a contract and pay a deposit to secure their wedding date.  The contract stated that the venue would refund the deposit if the venue canceled the event.  The couple was, also, required to purchase wedding insurance…

Just months before their dream wedding, Covid-19 hit the country.  Pennsylvania was labeled a ‘red zone’, and the venue could not host large events; Sandy and Bill’s wedding included. Disappointed…Sandy and Bill requested a refund…

However, instead of honoring their request, the venue refused to refund the deposit and arbitrarily rescheduled their wedding date.  When Sandy and Bill expressed that the date offered would not work, the venue once again refused to refund their money…telling the couple that…Sandy and Bill, had canceled the wedding by refusing to accept a rescheduled date.  As a result, Sandy and Bill’s wedding insurance was unusable…”

Read more…

Spirituality and the Heart

File:Rubens Praying Hands.jpg“Praying Hands” by Peter Paul Rubens (1600), Source COREL photo CD, Masters I (PD)

“Several studies suggest that religious involvement or spiritual well-being may affect health outcomes…The spirituality scores were significantly correlated with the degree of progression or regression of coronary artery obstruction over a 4-year time period…This study suggests that the degree of spiritual well-being may be an important factor in the development of coronary artery disease.”

-Abstract:  “The relationship of spirituality to coronary heart disease” by EL Morris, September/October 2001 [1]

A number of studies have demonstrated that spirituality – loosely defined as a relationship to the Divine – can have a positive impact on heart health.

These studies attempt to measure and parse spirituality without actually evaluating the quality of the relationship from which human beings draw their life and strength.

Christians, of course, know that a relationship with God is at the very heart of spirituality.  Organized religion reflects and captures only a small portion of this.  But the target of our devotion (and the degree of that devotion) matter. Read more…

War, Food, Fuel, and Famine

File:Apocalypse vasnetsov.jpg“Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” (1887) by Viktor Vasnetsov, Glinka National Museum, Moscow, Russia (PD)

There are those who view the current war in Ukraine as the initial phase of WW III.  Whether that is true or not, this war will impact more than Russia and Ukraine.

Food

Under normal conditions, these two nations export enormous amounts of food to the world.  Together, they produce 29% of global wheat exports, and 75% of global sunflower oil exports [1A].

Wheat, of course, is an essential ingredient for the bread, pasta, and packaged foods which feed billions.

Global markets are still strained from the Covid pandemic.  Food prices have risen, as a result.  A further reduction in supply will only drive them higher.

Fertilizer

Russia is, also, among the world’s largest exporters of fertilizer (used to increase soil fertility, therefore, critical to agriculture) [1B].

Fertilizer prices are already spiraling upward.  Some types have quadrupled in price.  Corn is among the US crops directly impacted.  Farmers do not plant what they cannot afford to cultivate.

Projections are that Africa will not be able to grow enough food this year, with up to 100 million left starving [3][4][5]. Read more…

Violence for Its Own Sake

File:Classic Walther PPK.jpg

Classic Walther PPK/S, .380 cal., Author Tomascastelazo, © Tomas Castelazo, http://www.tomascastelazo.com/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

  • On an ordinary Tuesday, at least 29 passengers were injured in a shooting on a Brooklyn, NY subway [1].  Many more in the area were traumatized.
  • The weekend before, a 16 y.o. girl was killed and 2 other teens shot walking home from school in the Bronx [2].  The victims were not the intended targets.
  • That same weekend, 2 died and 10 were injured during a shooting at a birthday party in a Cedar Rapids, IA nightclub [3].
  • One man was killed and 5 others shot at a house party in Elgin, IL (a satellite of Chicago considered the quintessential midwestern town) [4].
  • Earlier, a shooting occurred in Sacramento, CA in which 6 were killed and 12 injured [5].  This was Sacramento’s second mass shooting in a matter of weeks.

The list here is by no means a full tally of the gun violence which occurred in America during that particular 10-day period.

Much of this was violence for its own sake — for the twisted “thrill” of taking a life, perhaps revenge over some real or imagined slight. Read more…

The Empty Tomb

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/St._John_and_St._Peter_at_Christ%27s_Tomb_LACMA_M.81.68.jpg

“St. John and St. Peter at Christ’s Tomb” by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (c. 1640), Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA ID 246533), Source https://collections.lacma.org/node/246533 (PD)

Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.’

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there…Then Simon Peter came…and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed” (John 20: 1-8).

Wishing you all a blessed Easter!

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

Solid Food, Part 3

Statue of the Good Shepherd by Sebastian Santos Rojas, Church of Socorro de Ronda, Malaga, Spain, Author Jl FilpoC (CC Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

All of us have experienced prayers denied. How is this to be reconciled with Jesus’ promise, “ ‘[A]sk, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened for you’ ”(Luke 11: 9)?

Doesn’t belief in God guarantee us our legitimate desires?  Well, not exactly.

  • The first Jewish temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  The Babylonian Captivity lasted 70 years, and began the Jewish diaspora.
  • The second temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The Arch of Titus still stands in Rome portraying the enslaved Jews and booty from the sack of the temple.  Archaeological evidence supports a conclusion that temple treasure funded the building of the Roman Colosseum.
  • Devout Christians throughout history have been persecuted and martyred.
  • Injustice persists to the present day.  Any attorney, anywhere, has come in contact with it.

On the surface, these events would appear to contradict the promise of answered prayer.  Jesus, Himself, in the garden of Gethsemane asked that the cup be taken away.

He …fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will’ ” (Matt. 26: 39).

Those last eight words are key. God’s will is always paramount.  That is not merely a reflection of His supreme power, but His supreme righteousness.  And God’s purposes may not be our own. Read more…