September 1-31, 2002 ARCHIVE

By Geevarghese Mar Coorilos

God Almighty displayed His love, mercy, concern and affection, attributes of the very nature of God, to uplift us and make use of us for building up of His Kingdom and extending His Grace and Blessings through mortals like you and me.

Diocesan Metropolitan,
Mumbai Diocese,
Malankara Orthodox Church

President, National Council of Churches in India & Maharashtra Council of Churches

As we have been celebrating two great feasts of the Church - Feast of transfiguration of our Lord (August 6) and the Feast of translation of Theotokos (St. Mary, Mother of Christ - August 15) it will be certainly an additional blessing for us to reflect on the message and the content of these feasts for the total benefit of the faithful.

Though Jesus had so many followers, he selected twelve to be the Apostles and of them he selected three to be with Him to witness the great event of transfiguration. It is surprising to see that even St. Andrew who introduced or rather brought the good news about the Lord to his beloved brother St. Peter was not invited to witness this great event. So it is clear that even the late comers as it is mentioned in various incidents of the Public ministry of our Lord even the down trodden or marginalized are brought into the main stream of Salvationist history. Though some times we can claim of many things in terms of our closeness to the Lord or for the wonderful service to the Church and the society, we need not be recognized by the Lord. But on the other side even though there are so many stalwarts in the field of spirituality and Christian sphere, very simple people can be elected or selected to share His glory and receive His grace in abundance. So it should be our earnest prayers that we may also be counted among the three, who had the privilege of coming close to the transfigured Lord.

Also it is very exciting as well as trilling experience for any person to see that human beings are considered and accepted to share the thoughts of God Almighty, especially Salvationist action of our Lord - Moses and Elijah were brought to the top of the mountain to share the thoughts of Jesus, regarding the coming passion and salvation to the humanity through His death on the Cross.

As we reflect on the historic event of the translation of St. Mary it is so moving to identify the fact that deepest love and concern of Jesus had been continuing even at the time of the departure of Theotokos. It is so touching to acknowledge that Heaven itself is brought down to earth so that the bearer of the Lord was brought to Heaven by the Lord Himself in the company of angels and archangels as well as apostles and disciples who were brought together from the various parts of the world. This shows the great concern as well as the affection and the way in which God rewards. This shows how human beings are elevated to higher strata and involve them to build up the Kingdom of Heaven and impart His blessings to the rest of the world. Go is so eager not only to share His thoughts, extend His blessings, choose His people for unexpected and even unimaginable events and experiences, the bringing down of the heavenly realm gathering, together the disciples both living and the departed from the various parts of the world, all show the way in which God rewards and respects the human being who respond to His call, share the glory and serve the community. It is equally important for us to identify how God acknowledges even the smallest gesture commitment or contribution in his vineyard, which will be rewarded many times and who will be blessed to have more responsibility and greater positions in the Kingdom of God.

All this shows the love and mercy, concern and affection of God Almighty the very nature of God is to uplift us and make use of us for building up of His Kingdom and extending His grace and blessings through mortals like you and me. This shows the immense of possibility as well as intention of God Almighty to make use of us to be the shareholders in the Kingdom of God. Let us praise God Almighty for prevailing himself and His openness and great desire to transform us to taste the special package of heaven and heavenly experiences. Let us place ourselves for His views to build up His Kingdom as very useful instruments. Let us rededicate ourselves and His beautiful creation for His continuous intervention transformation and recreation. May God bless us - Holy Spirit guide us through out our future to be meaningful as well as useful for His glory.

H.G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos

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Jesus Christ is our liberty! He died for us on the cross, paid the ultimate and the best possible price for every manís salvation from sin and death, gave us eternal life and free citizenship in the kingdom of God, made us worthy to be called children of God, and unity with Christ himself, as Lordís brothers and sisters.

" Freedom is what we have Ė Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow ourselves to become slaves again" (Gal. 5.1). In union with Jesus Christ, we Christians are free; we are called to be free (Gal. 5.13) from the bondage of sin, from the power of death and from the blindness in darkness. With the help of God who is pleased to dwell with and within us, we have the freedom not to sin. Our Saviour has given us freedom from the religious rituals, traditions, ancestors, man-made rules, dogmas and doctrines, freedom from the weak and pitiful ruling spirit of the universe, special attention to certain days, months, seasons, and years, forced worship of angels and man- made holy ones, false humility, and severe treatment of the body (Col. 2.16-23. Gal. 4.9-10).

Jesus Christ is our liberty! He died for us on the cross, paid the ultimate and the best possible price for every man's salvation from sin and death, gave us eternal life and free citizenship in the kingdom of God, made us worthy to be called children of God, and unity with Christ himself, as Lord's brothers and sisters. He poured out his own Holy Spirit as a gift to abide within us for comfort and guidance in our daily life now and forever. We are reconciled with our heavenly father through the eternal atonement done through the Cross on Calvary. We are made branches of the Divine Vine by grafting us into His wounds, so that we are given the privilege and honor to be one with Jesus Christ forever (John 15. 1-7). Blessed are the followers of Jesus Christ! Let not anything or anybody put us back to the bondage and slavery of man-made laws, religions, or denominational barriers. Christianity is not a religion; we all belong to the Kingdom of God. Christ is our divine and eternal King and supreme ruler before whom all beings in heaven, on earth, and the world below will fall on their knees (Phil. 2.10). Every Christian has a direct and definite relationship with Jesus Christ without a mediator. No body is a branch of another branch. We are all directly joined to Christ Jesus and called to produce fruits to glorify the Father (John 15.16). When the Lord puts a yoke on us, it will be light, because he is gentle and humble in spirit (Mathew 11.28-30). He will be our partner too in carrying our burdens of life.

Let us always praise our God and be thankful for this freedom; we are baptized into union with Christ, and are clothed with the life of Christ himself (Gal 3.27). Let us not forget Apostle Paul's warning, "Do not let this freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires control you. Instead let love make you serve one another" (Gal 5.13-14). When the Holy Spirit guides our lives, Apostle Paul gives a list of fruits of spirit that could be produced in a Christian's life (Gal 5.22) whereas rotten fruits of human nature is listed in Gal 5.19.Let us boast only about the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 6.14).Cross is the symbol of God's grace and our liberty in our Saviour.

Christians, let us not be tired of doing good (Gal 6.9). We are redeemed and given freedom to do so. It is our primary duty to live through and enjoy this freedom and to proclaim it to all who are living under the chains and slavery of sin, death and darkness. Blessed are the ones who are free in Christ Jesus! He is the only one who could give every man true freedom from all kinds of bondages because He is the true living Lord and God. Blessed be the Name of our Liberator now and forever. Amen!

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Principal Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam

Turning to the East, of course is a symbolic act. We know that East and West, South and North have no physical and geographical significance in the age of space travel in a Tran terrestrial cosmic frame. Yet it is a deeply spiritual symbol and a most beautiful one in the whole of Christian tradition.

Why do we turn to the East while we pray ? Can we not pray in any direction ? Since God is present every where and can hear our prayer, is it really necessary that we turn to a particular direction while praying?

Jews who live anywhere outside the holy city of Jerusalem traditionally turn to the direction of Jerusalem in Palestine ( modern Israel) for prayer, Muslims anywhere in the world will turn to Ka'aba, the sacred black stone in Mecca, Saudi Arabia for the prescribed hours of prayer. Christians from very ancient times used to turn to the direction of the rising sun for public prayer. For Christians in the western world this tradition is nearly lost. However all Christians belonging to the Eastern (Orthodox ) Christian churches still maintain this venerable practice of turning to the East for the public act of the community worship.

In the Christian church, we make a distinction between the personal prayer of an individual and the public worship of the Christian Community. An individual is free to pray any time, in any direction and in any posture. In fact, Christ and and the Apostles encouraged the practice of "unceasing prayer". One can pray while taking a bath, playing or eating. One can maintain the mood of prayer through out the day. This kind of continuous prayer of an individual has no fixed form or style or words. This could be done mostly in silence or with words one chooses or with the help of ancient prayers like the famous " Jesus Prayer". This can be practiced without engaging our conscious mind at all. This is essentially the practice of the presence of God every moment of our earthly life.

But public worship is different in its form and style. It is a community prayer in which many individuals together constitute one body, an expression of the body of Christ, the Church. They are not an ad-hoc community, but they continue the unbroken tradition of worshipping the Triune God from the time of the Apostles onwards. The best example of this kind of public worship is the Eucharistic liturgy or Holy Qurbana. In public worship we turn to East, the direction of the rising sun.

The Apostles of Christ were all Jews. The early disciples of Christ in Palestine were mostly Jews. They prayed like other Jews. Soon however, Christians developed their own prayers addressed to Christ as the saviour

Because of a new spiritual awareness in the early Christian community, Christians developed a detachment to physical places like Jerusalem. Their absorbing concern was with the "Heavenly Jerusalem" and the way to reach that abiding spiritual city. All places on earth were the same for them. No place was particularly sacred. So the early Christian community gradually moved away from the Jewish orientation to the city of Jerusalem in Palestine. At the same time a new sense of direction emerged in Christian worship, namely the direction of the rising sun.

This eastward direction developed in Christianity has a strong biblical basis:


In the biblical story of creation we read: " And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed ( Gen. 2:8). Eventually Adam and Eve, after their act of disobedience were sent out from the Garden of Eden in the East. According to Christian interpretation, since the time of this expulsion of the first parents by the eastern gate of paradise (=garden), all children of Adam and Eve look back to their lost home, the paradise in the East, with a deep sense of spiritual home sickness. So salvation is understood partly as a return to the original home.


The prophets foretold the coming of Jesus as the Messiah in symbolic and figurative language. The New Testament writers interpreted these prophecies as having been fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. For example the prophecy of Malachi. " But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings" ( 4: 2). So looking to the East stands for our earnest waiting for the coming of Christ, the healer and saviour of the world.


Jesus said: " I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" ( St. John 8:12) Light is the source of life. On our planet earth, all life depends on the light of the sun. But the physical sun in our solar system sustains only biological life in plants, animals, and human beings. This life will eventually die. The sun as a star will ultimately die as well. In the spiritual realm, Jesus is the eternal sun. He is the source and sustainer of all life, both biological and spiritual. He is " the true light that enlightens every human being" ( St. John, 1:9 ).

Therefore we symbolically turn to the direction of the rising sun to receive the light of the risen Christ. Christ is also called " the bright morning star" ( Rev. 22:16) He inaugurated the new age of the Kingdom of God. As the dawn breaks, the eastern horizon brightens up with beautiful colours. We turn to the beauty and brilliance of God's light as we praise the triune God facing east.


A popular Christian belief developed in the course of time that in the Second Coming, Christ would come from the East. The basis of this tradition is the Gospel reference ( Matt. 24:27) that the coming of the Son of Man would be like lightening that shines from the east to the west.

So, turning to the east stands for our final preparation to receive Christ when he comes for the last Judgment of the world. Thus the east symbolizes our spiritual wakefulness, our readiness to give account of our life and our hope in the transfiguration of all creation in Christ our Lord.

This biblical, Christ centered tradition of the church of turning to the east in prayer is part of the rich heritage of the Orthodox church. We build our churches in the east-west direction. The whole congregation together with the priest turns to east in remembrance of all that God grants us from the time of our creation in Paradise to the fulfillment of all in the Second coming of Christ. The bodies of our beloved departed faithful are laid to rest facing the east with the hope of resurrection and meeting Jesus face to face.

Turning to the East, of course is a symbolic act. We know that East and West, South and North have no physical and geographical significance in the age of space travel in a Tran terrestrial cosmic frame. Yet it is a deeply spiritual symbol and a most beautiful one in the whole of Christian tradition. In special situations when the place or building where we worship happens to be inconvenient for the traditional orientation of the community, we are free to turn to any suitable direction. The sense of the east gives the right " orientation" ( from the world Orient + East ) for our earthly life in the midst of suffering, doubt, and spiritual disorientation. In any case, it is only wise to keep this ancient tradition in its right spirit.

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Bible tells the history ahead of time. The Bible make us to know what will happen prior to their occurrence. All the prophecies in the Bible culminate to its true sense. Why would God give us prophecy? For man to have the proof that Scripture is true, authentic and is written by God through the revelations of His Holy Spirit.

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed...Prophecy came not in old time by the will of men; but holy men of God spake as they are moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:19 - 21 ) Prophecy is risky because of its contents of prediction. There is a chance of 'this' and 'that'. Have you heard of speculations made by people with regard to politics? Who is going to win the next election? We can make a lot of guesswork. But the Bible states history ahead of time. It can tell us all about powers before they exist. The Bible can let us know what will happen prior to their happening. We can see the events will fulfill exactly as Bible says. Why would God give us prophecy? Because prophecy is one of the best proof that Bible is true and that is written by God and not man.

In the Book of Daniel, the Bible predicts every world power from Daniel's day until now. God names every world power, as well as putting them in order and accurately describing them. God's word is true, unique and worthy of trust. The Bible is the guide to the future. Without this Book, we would have no light on the plan of God for today or tomorrow. One of the best way to have confidence in Bible prophecy, look at some specific prophesies that have fulfilled in the past. The prophet Micah, 700 BC, saying that Christ would be born in Bethlehem; the prophet Malachi, 400 years B.C., saying that Christ would have forerunner; and Zechariah, 800 years before Christ says Christ would enter Jerusalem on a colt. Christ would be betrayed by a friend, would be sold for 30 pieces of silver and the money would be then used to buy a potter's field. In Isaiah, we read Christ would be silent at His trial. In the book of Psalms, they would gamble His clothing.

In II Cor. 1:20 we read, "For all the promises in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the Glory of God by us". GOD'S EXACT TIMING Let's find some example of God making promises with time commitments: In Gen. 6:13 we read: "And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years". God said judgment was going to come because of evil and corruption on the face of earth. God told Noah to build an ark. Noah, who was a righteous man saying," All right, I'll do it". God is going to destroy the wickedness on the face of earth by a flood. But God wanted Noah to build an Ark for his safety and salvation from that flood. God said that judgment was going to happen in 120 years. The people in Noah's days laughed at him and said," Noah, I think it's crazy to believe a promise like that. There has never been any rain before (people never saw rain before). Why in the world should you build an ark". Yet, Noah believed the promises of God. Not in 119 years or in 121 years, but in exactly 120 years, an overwhelming flood came. Only Noah and those in the ark who believed the promises of God were spared. In Gen, Chapter 15, we find another promise. This time God made promise to a man called Abram.

Read Gen.15:13-16. "And He said unto Abram, know of a surety that thy seed shall be stranger in a land is not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them 400 years. But in the fourth generation, they shall come hither again, for the iniquity of the Amorities is not yet full". This promise has a time commitment. After Abraham had already been in the land for 30 years, God told that he and his descendents would be in the land for 400 more years, making a total of 430 years. God also said, this time span of 400 more years take place in the fourth generation. When God promise of deliverance in the 430 years, there were people who believed the promise. In this group of people were the parents of Moses. May be his parents thought, "our son is in fourth generation and we are coming to the close of the 430 years? Wouldn't it be wonderful if God would use our boy, Moses, to deliver the children of Israel from their bondage? Read Exodus 12:14 - 21: "And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the SELFSAME DAY, it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt". Yes, this a promise. He promised, if you will accept by faith, what Christ did on the cross, you will have everlasting life. Our salvation rest on His promise.

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We know who Jesus is. Son of the living God, Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Bread of life, Living Stone, thus the ways of salvation through Jesus Christ. Does his words marvel us? Does it make us shaken? Any effect on us to withdraw from our wicked ways of life?

Pharisees and Priest sent temple guards to arrest Jesus (John 7:32). Quoted verse is the report, the guards gave to their masters. They did not arrest Jesus, instead, they were attracted by His preaching and teachings, forgetting, rather forsaking, their assignment.

They did not know who Jesus was. An offender, a culprit, a revolutionary, was the only impression they had, with which they approached him; but his words had a wonderful effect on them. It impelled them to take a firm decision. They knew that they would be rebuked, even punished, if they failed in their duty, yet they did not apprehend Jesus

We know who Jesus is. Son of the living God, Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Bread of life, Living Stone, thus the ways of salvation through Jesus Christ. Does his words marvel us? Does it make us shaken? Any effect on us to withdraw from our wicked ways of life? There may be some who can answer positively, there may be many who get perplexed at these questions. What was the peculiar characteristics of the utterance of "this man" that turned away the temple guards from taking hold of him. How it affects us to turn away from our sins? Let us see some of the characteristics of Jesus' Voice.


This man was God's Word:
" In the beginning there was word , and the word was with God and the word was God" (John. 1:1) God testifies this word: "Is not my word like a fire? And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? (Jer.23:29). Hearing this, the temple guards felt that "No man ever spoke like this man". They had no understanding of the Word of God, no knowledge of the Scripture, not heard of Bible. They were Romans, the soldiers; yet His Words had a telling effect on them : it created movement within them.


His Words cleans us:
"You are already clean because of the words I have spoken to you"(John.15:3). Under the influence of this cleansing word, they refrained from arresting Him.


His Words were with authority:
"For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mathew.7:29). Upon hearing this authoritative voice, the officers forgot of their own authority.


His Words were astonishing:
"So it was, when Jesus had ended these saying, that the people were astonished at His teaching" (Mathew.7:28, Luke. 4:32). So were the Temple guards on hearing His words. They were astonished and fell back.


His words were that raising the dead:
"The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the son of God ; and those who hear will live" (John.5:25) The most cruel in executing the duties , without the least consideration of justice and righteousness, were the Roman soldiers , the world ever have seen . Jesus' Voice arouse the sense of righteousness which was dead in them and they returned even without arresting Jesus.


His Words were that defeating the Satan:
"Then Jesus said unto him, away with you Satan ; and then the devil left him" (Mathew. 4: 10,11) It was His voice that influenced the soldiers to withdraw from the devilish plan of killing Jesus even before the appointed time frame of the God.


His Words were to cleanse the sin and the disease:
"I am willing; be cleansed" (Mat.8:3) "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee" (Mat.9:2) Thus His Words cleansed the sick and forgiven the sin. Perceiving and hearing these things, the soldiers said that "no man ever spoke like this man".


His Words were gracious:
"So all bore witness to him and marveled in the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth" (Luke 4:21). Soldier guards returned with these witness of praise. They were so attracted in His Gracious Words; to be rebuked by the Pharisees that "are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him". The Roman soldiers were even much bolder than the present day Christians who are ashamed of witnessing Jesus words in the fear of society and the public and worldly authorities.


His words are promises:
"If any one hear my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:20)


His Words are comforting:
"Come to me, all you labor and are heavily laden and I will give you rest. (Mat. 11:28)


His Words were of love:
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I loved you (Jn. 15:12) "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you" (Mat. 5:44)

His promising voice, His comforting voice, His loving voice made the cruel guards tender hearted and filled with love, compassion and promise, they turned away. Some of the characteristics of Jesus' voice have been brought our from the Scripture, which attracted the soldiers, astonished them and cleansed them inwardly. How long are we hearing his voice of cleansing, of repentance, of authority, of astonishment, of life, of defeating the devil, of healing the sick, of forgiving the sin, of grace, of comforting, of love, of promise. What is the effect of his voice upon us. Has it impelled us to turn away from the sinful ways of our life, like the soldiers. If not, lent your years to Jesus' Voice today.

"Today if you will hear His voice; do not harden your heart as in the rebellion and as in the day of trail in the wilderness" (Ps. 95:8)

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'There were two men in one city, one rich and other poor', Nathan continued, 'The rich had a great many flocks. But the poor had nothing except one little ewe lamb which was like a daughter to him. Unwilling to take from his own flock, the rich took the poor man's ewe lamb and prepared for his guest.

"Finally it is all over," said the king to the prophet, Nathan.

After taking a brief nap in the afternoon, King David was strolling around on the balcony of the palace. That is when the prophet came to visit him.

"You don't know how joyful I am to see you now!" the king said. "I have been looking forward to meeting you and telling you what has been going on here for the past few months."

"I am listening," the prophet said.

"Look," the king continued, "I like it when the weather is cool like this. That is exactly how I feel inside my soul too--like a quiet ocean after a violent tempest. To tell you the truth, I have been in the midst of a tempest for the past few months. Never had I felt such tension in all my life. No, not when I fought with Goliath, the Philistine giant, or not even when I had to run for my life, and hide myself within caves.

"If it were a threat from an enemy, I knew how to handle it. I have already changed this nation to an empire, and the rulers of the surrounding nations tremble at my name. Gone are the days when I had to lead the army in battles. I need only to stay here and give orders, and they will be done. However, all these belong to Yahweh, the almighty. Every minute of my life, I am fully aware of the fact that I would have wandered around with some sheep in those hills if Yahweh hadn't called me to lead the nation. Whatever I have belongs to Yahweh. I could face all the challenges in my life only with the might of God. My success is really my God's success.

"I know that I wouldn't have successfully gotten out of the dangerous situation I have been in recently without the might and mercy of Yahweh. If the danger had been from the king of the Ammonites, I could have sent an army to chop off his head and throw it before the feet of their powerless gods! If the danger had been from an unfaithful soldier, I could have cast him into a den of lions! But the danger was not from an enemy, and that is what made it difficult for me. Isn't it such a very rare situation when a soldier's faithfulness becomes a problem to a king?"

"He was truly faithful. He was so devoted to the well being of the nation that he didn't want to take a day off and spend a night at his home though he had a chance to do so. I know and God knows that I treated him in a very friendly way. I let him eat and drink with me in the palace.

"Not once, but twice did I try to send him home to spend a night with his wife. First I tried to persuade him by words of sympathy and concern. I said, 'Uriah, my friend, yesterday, I happened to think of you. How faithful you are to me to leave your family behind and stay at the warfront! Your commitment and sense of responsibility are very impressive indeed. I realize how hard it is for you to be away from your dear family. Your wife must be so eager to see you. Take a day off, Uriah, and enjoy a day with your family.'

"I was foolish enough to imagine that Uriah would go home and sleep with his wife. He was too faithful to consider my suggestions. He spent the night in front of the palace with some other soldiers. The next day I inquired why he hadn't gone. He said, 'Yahweh is staying in a tent. My master Joab and my lord's men are camped in the open fields. Then, how can I go home, eat, drink, and sleep with my wife?'

"When I understood that I couldn't persuade him in that way, I used another tactic. I told him that I was so pleased to have such a faithful soldier, and invited him to eat with me that evening. I persuaded him to drink as much as his belly could hold, hoping that he would go home. However, I failed in that attempt, too. He was determined not to go.

"I couldn't sleep that night. Walking around here, I cried to Yahweh for a solution. It was utterly dark; not a single star in the sky, and not a glimmer of light anywhere. As dawn approached and I noticed a dim light in the sky, a dim light came to my mind as well. A solution was in sight. I hurried to my chamber, found a pen, and started writing:


David, the king of Israel and Judah


Joab, the commander in chief

Dear Joab:

I have received the news of what you have been doing there. I am impressed of your bravery and tactfulness. As I am seriously thinking of placing Uriah, with whom I send this letter, in a high position in the army, I want you to give him a test to see if he is fit for that position. Put him in the front line where fighting is most fierce that there might be an opportunity for him to fight alone and prove his ability

I wish you all success.

May you have the blessing of Yahweh!

I signed it, sealed it, put it in an envelope, and gave it to Uriah to be delivered to Joab.

 "After a few days, a messenger came from Joab to inform me what had happened to Uriah. He had died at the warfront. Though I was relieved, I really felt sorry for him. He was such a faithful man. Soon I sent for Bethsheba, Uriah's wife, and let her stay in my palace, and recently, she has given birth to a baby."

 "May I interrupt if you don't mind?" asked the prophet. "I still do not understand exactly how Uriah was a problem for you."

 "Oh, I should have told you the story from the beginning," the king replied. "It all began one afternoon when I was walking around on the roof of the palace. I usually see somebody washing clothes or taking a bath in that stream down there. It was there that I saw her -- taking a bath. I immediately realized that she was unusually beautiful. I couldn't help looking at her again.

"I inquired about her and gathered information. The more I thought about her, the more I wanted her. Thus I arranged for her to spend some time with me in the palace. She promised me to keep it a secret, and all those in the palace who were involved in this were asked by me to keep it to themselves.

"After about three months, when I had almost forgotten her and the incident, I received a message from her saying that she was pregnant. Her husband, being in the army, had not been with her for a long time. As the child grew in her womb, people would ask her whose child she was bearing. Someone had to be responsible for the conception. Otherwise, she would be killed publicly like a mad dog. I couldn't imagine such a thing happening, not only because she was a woman I loved but also because she was bearing my child. Moreover, I would never escape the judgement of God if she were killed in the street. What if I openly admitted that I was responsible for her pregnancy? I could perhaps do it if I were not the king of Israel. Once the people knew that I had broken the moral code of Israel, I couldn't expect their support. It could lead to the destruction of the empire. It was not a time to be silly. All the neighboring nations were looking for such a chance. They would certainly take advantage of it. They would tear this empire into pieces, and God's people would be taken as slaves. No! Being a responsible king, I couldn't allow it.

"The best possible solution Yahweh showed me was to bring her husband back from the battle field and let him sleep with her. If that man had done that, everything would have ended well. The only bad thing about that solution was that my own child would have to grow up as Uriah's child. When he refused to sleep with his wife, the only sensible alternative that I could think of was to let him die in the warfront. There is nothing unusual about a soldier dying in the war front.

"After a few months, when she would give birth to a child, people would normally believe that she conceived the child after she came to the palace."

"In fact I feel pity for Uriah, and I feel guilty when I think about him. But I had no other alternative. I had to choose between two evils: the death of Uriah or the destruction of the whole empire. And I chose the lesser evil."

 "Well, it is certainly the mercy of God that saved you from such a dangerous situation," the prophet said.

 The king was relieved to hear those words because he was not sure what the prophet would think about the whole story. Though everything he talked about was a very personal matter, and very shameful to him, he didn't dare to hide anything from the prophet because he was convinced that nothing could be hidden from a prophet of God. He invited the prophet to stay at the palace that night, and the prophet accepted the invitation.

 The next morning when they met again, the prophet said: "In fact, I was here yesterday to make a complaint to you, but as you were too busy telling me your story, I couldn't say it to you."

 "A complaint about what?" the king was curious.

 "An evil deed," the prophet said. "Though God has given me the ability to see things and speak for God, the authority to pronounce justice is given to you. With the authority entrusted on you by God, please, do decide what is right and wrong in this case, and pronounce judgment."

 "I give you my word that I will do my duty," David said. "Tell me, who on earth dared to do an evil deed against you, the prophet of God?"

          "It is not directly against me, but it is something I am greatly concerned about," the prophet said. "An evil deed is an epidemic, and it spreads like fire. We need to put off the fire before it devours the whole nation."

          "I fully agree with you," the king said.

          "There lives a rich man in my village," the prophet continued. "He is really rich: A big home to live, a lot of cattle and sheep, and a lot of servants. He has a poor neighbor. He is utterly poor. The only wealth he had was a lamb. He loved the lamb and fed it like his own child. One day I happened to see a heart-breaking sight--the poor man running around looking for his lamb. He was even at my home to ask if I had seen it. No one could console him. After two days, I heard news from one of the servants of the rich man: The lamb was indeed stolen by the rich man. He happened to see the lamb running around the poor man's hut. 'It is a stout lamb, it must be delicious,' he said to himself, and sent a servant to fetch it."

            The king trembled with anger. Drawing out his sword, he said: "I can't wait a second to root out that evil from this land. Here is my judgment: Whoever he is, he deserves to die. A heartless man who dared to break a fellow being's heart for a moment's fancy has no right to live. Let the whole of Israel know that there is justice in this nation."

            The king's vigor to establish justice made the prophet hesitate to continue.

 "Who is he? Where is he? Tell me!" the king demanded.

Again the prophet hesitated because he was not sure how the king would react to the truth. But then the prophet had no other choice but to answer.

"He is right here in this palace," the prophet said.

The king was surprised.

"He is out there? How could you manage to bring him here?" he asked with surprise.

The prophet looked steadily at the king's face and said, "No, he is right here in this room."

The king looked around, but he couldn't see anyone else in the room. When the king turned his eyes at the prophet with surprise, he noticed the peculiar way the prophet was staring at him. It was a moment of realization.

 "Yes," the prophet said. "You are that man."

 The truth dawned on him heavily. He was ashamed even to look at the prophet's face. He couldn't even open his mouth. The sword slipped off from his hand.

 "I am here with God's message," the prophet said. "Hear the words of Yahweh:

Here is a riddle for you to solve,
A question for you to answer:
A lad, wandering in the woods with a flock of sheep,
was made the great shepherd of the people of God!
A servant boy, playing harp in the palace,
was given the throne of the king!
A rebel who had to hide himself within caves
and behind the bushes
was made the emperor of Israel!
Tell me, who is that? :Speak out, let me hear.
The answer you know,
but your mouth can't utter it,
your tongue is too ashamed to sound it.
More than what you could imagine was what I gave you,
More than what you could dream is what you possess.
Didn't I give you your master's palace with everything in it?
Didn't I give you all the women in the palace?
If you were not satisfied with them, you could have asked me,:and I would have given you more.
How could you forget you are the shepherd of Israel?:How could you forget you are the anointed judge of Israel?:What would happen if all of them follow your example?
Do you want all men of this nation to kill one another,:blinded by passion?
If this nation perishes like that,:you bear its blame.
Don't you know that the neighboring nations, like wolves,
are looking for a chance to tear this nation:into pieces?
When they come in, they will rape your women openly in the streets in bright day light.
That will be the effect of what you did inside your palace
under the cover of darkness."

  Hearing these words, the king covered his face with his hands and fell on his knees, and then he began to roll on the ground. It was more than what he could bear. He remembered that he had pronounced a judgement a few minutes ago. The judgement had to be executed. Ironically, the judge and the criminal happened to be the same person. He found his sword and raised it to pierce his own heart.

However, the prophet was quick enough to restrain him.

"I have received the message of God again," the prophet said. 'God says:

As you have realized your mistake, and were ready to punish yourself for that, I have forgiven you."

 The king wept bitterly like a child and his tears cleansed his stained heart. The prophet patted on his back and consoled him.

He said, "David, my brother, don't be too upset. Forget everything. This experience has made you a better and stronger person. God doesn't want you to die because the nation needs your leadership now. However, as the judgement has been pronounced, and as it has not fallen on you, it will certainly fall on someone else in the palace. Most probably it will be on your new born babe."

 After the prophet left, the newborn babe became sick. David couldn't swallow the idea of an innocent babe being punished for his mistake. Therefore, he fasted and prayed earnestly for seven days to save the life of the child. However, on the seventh day, the child died. By that time, David had made up his mind to accept the will of Yahweh.

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St.Gregorios Church, Philadelphia Convention was conducted at Church on Torresdale Street, Philadelphia on 16-17 August 2002 under the leadership of V.Rev. Mathai Cor Episcopos, Vicar of the Church. Fr. Mathai Edayanal proclaimed the Word of God on both days. Fr.Mathai Edayanal is a Blessed Spiritual Orator and a Story Narrator.

Rev.Dr.Valsan Thampu

AUGUST 16-17, 2002

'Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John [speak], and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.'

The birth of Jesus Christ has not happened by surprise. He was not a founder of any religion. Birth of the Son of God was prophesized even 700 years earlier. John is witnessing Christ in a unique way in his Gospel. It stands distinct from the other three Synoptic Gospels. John's Gospel is a spiritual Gospel. He accords the events in chronological order. That is why he is narrating the event as of the 'Next day'. Jesus Christ is standing in the Old Testament as a shadow of good things to come but in New Testament he is the very image of the things.

Here Baptist John is introducing Jesus to his disciples with a strange word 'Lamb of the God'. What is the mystery in this? What is this Lamb? Why John is introducing Jesus as a Lamb? To get revealed to the mystery of these questions, we may need to refer to the Process of Creation of the World. We notice some difference in the creation process of all the other creatures and that of the man. During the first 5 days of the creation God created everything by the power of His Words. God said 'Let it be formed' and it formed. But man has not been created this way. LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. All other living things and animals got body and life. But man is unique in the creation to have body, life and soul. If any man has only body and life and lacks the soul he is beastly. With this special attribute of man, the Soul, which lack in animals, man knows about God. If a beast start to know God, it is not a beast; it becomes human. Conversely if a man does not know about God he is not human, he becomes animal.

Eve is not a stand-alone creature. She is made out of man. God might have His own wise disposition to select the rib bone for the formation of woman. God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eat thereof thou shall surely die. This is the mode of fasting which God had established first time in the universe. We notice in the Book of Genesis that God had prohibited man from 2 trees in the middle of the garden. 1.Tree of knowledge of good and evil 2.Tree of Life.

Satan came to Eve and very cunningly asked her 'Really God had commanded that you should not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden?' The woman replied God commanded them 'Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.' To that, Satan said to her that they should not surely die: rather it will open your eyes and you shall be as God. So, we see here that man has disbelieved God and believed Satan. The first human error prior to his breakage of the God's command by disobedience was that he disbelieved God. Disbelief in God has caused him to do the disobedience. So, this disbelief is the fall happened to mankind. The only remedy for the salvation of the mankind from this fall is its converse that is belief or faith. The man who was used to stroll with God in the cool of day; had fallen from his Grace and felt himself as naked. They made themselves cloths with leaves of the fig tree to hide their nakedness caused by loosing the Grace of God. As man has eaten from the fruit of the tree of knowledge and fallen from the Grace of God, God did not want him to stretch his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Many people misunderstand it as an act of selfishness on the part of God. But God was demonstrating the Supreme Love of God to man as the man should not get into the eternal life of the condemnation as he joined with Satan to do the disobedience. There are two extremities or eternal life; one in heaven and other in hell for the utter condemnation. God's Love did not allow man to get into the pit of Satan to emerge in to eternal life of condemnation.

The cloths man made with his own hands with the fig trees were very temporary and could never replace his original shielding of Grace. God felt sympathy of the fallen man and he made coats of skin and clothed them. Here lies a big mystery. Man was living out of his vegetation. So where from this skin came in? Imaginatively a blood sacrifice was done and skin is taken to make coats for Adam and Eve. In short a lamb is killed. We get the reference of this Lamb cut at the time of creation in Revelation 13:8

'And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world'

During the baptism, we renounce the faith in Satan and in place of the lost Apron in the Aden, we wear the permanent Apron of the Grace of God through the mystery of the Holy Sacrament of Baptism by the belief and faith in God. This Lamb is only a shadow in the Old Testament. They lived with the coat of the skin, which even was temporary. God said to the Satan 'I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.' So the seed of woman, Jesus Christ, had bruised the head of the Satan. The consummation of the promise given by God in Aden had culminated through he selection of a special nation, kingdom and a woman. When the fullness of the time came, God sent his Son, born through the woman. When Abraham went to the mount of Moriah to give burnt offering of his son, Isaac asked Abraham 'where is the lamb for a burnt offering?' But Abraham could not answer the question as he replied; 'God will provide himself a lamb' So in the old testament this lamb was not known, as it was the shadow of the things to come. This question always remained unanswered in the Old Testament period.

In our scripture reference, John the Baptist is pointing Jesus Christ and say 'Behold, this is the lamb of God.' Here the world 'Behold' has wider scope than the translation to 'here', which is meant to 'perceive through sight or apprehension.' This is the lamb who bear the sin of the world. During the night, the Israelite fled from the captivity of Pharaoh, the lamb had given the deliverance to them. When blood of the lamb is seen on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD passed over the door and did not allow the destroyer to smite them. After crossing the Dead Sea, 40 years they offered burnt offerings of the lamb. The second generation of the Israelites entered the land of Canaan. Then they started worshipping in the tabernacle with burnt offering of the Lamb. Eventually King Solomon built the temple of Jerusalem. Each day 2 burnt offerings of the lamb were done, one in the morning and one in the evening with out fail. So the shepherds were living around the temple for the continuous supply of the lamb for burnt offerings. That is the reason the Shepherds were first informed about the birth of Messiah in Bethlehem. It was utmost important that the shepherds should know that their lambs for the burnt offerings is replaced by the new born son of God.

The age of Law, which was with coat of the skin of the lamb, is fulfilled by the one time supreme sacrifice of the Son of God in the Calvary. The shepherd marveled with the sight of Messiah as Patriarch of many generation eagerly waited and could not seen; had been seen by their own eyes

Immediately after John the Baptist witnessed of Christ to the two disciples they followed him. Jesus looked back to them, asked them 'What you are looking for?' Jesus replied them for their query about his abode, 'Come and see'. The disciples wanted to know more about Jesus. They wanted to spend time with him. They wanted to live with him. They wanted to learn from him. This is what God is looking for from all of us. He was not giving his own witness. He needed them to come, see and get witnessed. Each Christian should have his witness from others and not of his own. One of these disciples was Andrews. He went immediately home and witnessed to his brother Peter about Jesus. Next day early morning he brought Peter to Jesus. We see the Character Andrews as the man who witness Jesus to others and never take the front-end popularity. In the Gospel we see again Andrews to bring the boy with 5 loaves to Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount. One of the very admirable and immitigable characteristic of Andrews was that, he witness Jesus and did not desired any popularity out of that. When Jesus see Simon, he looked at him with inner eyes and understood the worthiness in him.

The four different steps taken by the 2 disciples to be the ponder on of our thoughts are:

1. They knew Him: from their Guru John the Baptist and they came to know about Jesus
2. They followed Him. Without any second thought, immediately on hearing they folloed Jesus.
3. They enjoyed Him. They went to His dwelling place; lived with Him, learned from Him and enjoyed Him.
4. They proclaimed Him. They proclaimed the the New message of Gospel through out the world.

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Bible Word to by heart:

Christ is the end of the lawfor
righteous to every one that believe.

Romans 10:4)


Naomi had rich friend and family relative of her husband by the name Boaz. He was from the family of Elimelech. Ruth asked her mother in law permission to go to to field for collecting grains from any body's field she may find favour. Naomi gave her permission to got to field for collecting grains. So she went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. By chance the field she has gone was belonging to Boaz who was the friend and relative of her father in law. Then Boaz, owner of the field, returned from Bethlehem and greeted and said the reapers 'May the Lord be with you' and they all replied 'May the Lord bless you.' Boaz asked his supervisor in change who the yoyng new woman is. The Servant in change of the reapers replied him 'She is the young Moabite woman who retuned with Naomi from Moab.'

Ruth asked Boaz permission to glean and gather the reaoers among the sheaves. Boas permitted her saying 'Do not go to any other field furthermore; stay here with my maids. I ordered my servants not to touch you. When you feel thirsty drink from the stored water jars' Ruth bowed down to the ground and said 'How I could find favour in you , me being a foreigner?' Boaz replied her that he came to know all about what she had done to her mother in law Naomi by leaving your parents and your country where you are born. God will reward all your and your wages will be given by the Lord of Israel as you had come to the refuge of him. Ruth thanked him that he comforted her and shown mercy over her though she is not like one of his maidservants. Then she called her eat with reapers. She ate bread with them and dipped the bread in the vinegar. They served her roasted grain and she ate and satisfied .

Boaz commanded his servants not to insult her also purposely pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it for her to glean and donot rebuke her. She gleaned ill evening and then went to her house in the city. Maother had seen the grain she gleaned that day and got satisfied. She asked her; 'whose field you went to glean?' Ruth replied her that the name of the owner of the field was Boaz. Naomi astonished over the Grace of God shown to her and said her; "May he be blessed of the LORD who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and to the dead." Also she informed Ruth that he is one of their closest relative. Ruth started regularly to goto the same field of Boaz for gleaning till the end of the wheast harvest.


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