The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States is composed of 44 priests serving the 38 churches and 28 Coptic communities. More
The Season of the Church
The Departure of the Upright St. Joseph, the Carpenter
Aug 2, 2014
Epep 26, 1730
August 2, 2014
Epep 26, 1730
Faith, so to speak, is a comprehensive knowledge of the essentials. And knowledge is the strong and sure demonstration of what is received by faith. It is built upon faith by the Lord's teaching.
Clement of Alexandria (c. 195, E)
St. Joseph the Carpenter
Born in Bethlehem of Judea, St. Joseph came from the royal lineage of King David. Both St. Luke and St. Matthew mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). The Scriptures do not tell us why or when originally St. Joseph left Bethlehem and chose Nazareth to be his place of residence, but it tells us that he was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55).
According to tradition, when St. Mary, who was dedicated to the temple, completed twelve years in the sanctuary and could not stay there any longer, the priests announced through Judea that they wished to find in the tribe of Judah a respectable man, to espouse her. St. Joseph was among the candidates. A miracle revealed the choice of St. Joseph God had made. When the priests gathered twelve righteous men from the tribe of Judah and took their staffs inside the sanctuary, a dove flew up and stood on the staff belonging to St. Joseph. They immediately knew that this was Gods will. The righteous St. Joseph took St. Mary to his house. Both spouses intended for this betrothal to be virginal marriage.
Putting Away Falsehoods With Patient Endurance
Forgiving someone appears initially to be a concept easily understood. It's meaning is one of granting forgiveness or pardon for an offense. But what if the offense was a misunderstanding or something taken out of the context in which it was presented? What if it was a misrepresentation of facts? Does this make the unforgiving acceptable?
Whenever there is much depending on the offense it makes it the harder to forgive. Accompanying reactions often defuse among others and then others are led into a trap of being convinced the unreasonable is indeed reasonable. These are the beginnings of falsehood.
As the Lord Jesus Christ died in excruciating pain upon the Holy Cross, our Lord had much to resent. The envious and paranoid religious leaders and their followers had stalked him at length, arrested our Lord upon a false and untrue charge and misrepresentation of facts, forced Him to undergo a trial of mockery and then sentenced the Lord Jesus Christ to death. Prior to this He was brutally beaten and forced to carry His own cross to the hill where His death would be finalized. Truly this was indeed horrible!
Anger Conquered With Righteousness
The question frequently asked, "is anger a sin?" finds its answer in St. Paul's words to the Ephesians "Be angry, and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26). Anger is a complex energy initiated by various attitudes such as impatience, unmet expectations, stress, and the like. It is an inevitable natural reaction to an undesirable situation. St. Paul did not say not to get angry. Rather, he urged us not to sin. Sinning resides in the way anger is expressed and the length of time it is allowed to dwell in the heart. For inappropriate expression of anger will displease God; and by time it will breed other types of undesirable sins. The Holy Bible is full of incidents where the negative emotion of anger had found its way in the heart. These incidents exemplified anger as being one of two types: justifiable and unjustifiable anger. While the former leads to spiritual rewards and kingdom-related fruits; the latter leads to external violence and internal bitterness.
This type of anger referred to as "holy indignation" is represented in many incidents in the Holy Bible. In the Old Testament we read about God's holy indignation for His glory "My glory I will not give to another" (Isaiah 42:8), His Ark of the Covenant "And when they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God" (2 Samuel 6:6,7), and for His people "So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, "Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me" (Exodus 10:3).
One of the tragic occurrences in the evolution of contemporary religion is the presence of "Churchless Christianity". The assertion that the followers of this Christianity believe is that it is the Lord Jesus Christ who saves us, not the Church. They no longer want or need a Church. They stress that "all you need is Jesus."
Few would dispute the fact that it is the Lord Jesus Christ who truly saves us. Few would dispute the scripture, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 2:5). Through this Mediator, a Church was established, which is His Holy Body. We who are joined to Him are joined to the Church. "I will build My Church" (Matthew 16:18) clearly points out the Lord Jesus Christ intentions for His Church. To deny the Church is to deny New Testament teachings.
Perhaps what brought on the evolution of "Churchless Christianity" was that people lost faith in their place of worship. Perhaps worship was no longer a priority where they attended church. Perhaps the church they attended no longer welcomed strangers, the poor and the needy. Perhaps the church functioned more as a charity organization than meeting the congregations' spiritual needs. Perhaps God did not come first in the life of the Church.
The Offensive and Defensive Types of Warfare
In earthly wars between countries and kingdoms, there exist two types of warfare with their own individual strategies. These are offensive and defensive types of warfare. In the spiritual fight there are the same types of warfare and both require from us personal initiative and active participation. Since Satan does not take rest, we should be involved in both wars if we want to be true soldiers in the army of Jesus Christ.
The Defensive Warfare
It is a means of defending one's territory, a forced battle launched in response to an attack from an opponent and a defensive decision made based on an offensive one. This type of warfare does not advance into the enemy's territory. Such defensive type of warfare is necessary because Satan is constantly attacking believers and therefore we should be constantly alert to apply defensive strategies in order to defend our spiritual territories.
The Offensive Warfare
It is an aggressive warfare against the enemy characterized by its dynamic nature not waiting for the enemy to launch his attack but going to the enemy in his territory and gaining rather than losing territory. In offensive warfare, the enemy is identified, his strategies recognized, and the attack is a decision the offender makes based on this knowledge.
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