The Emmanuel Communion
He is Risen!!!
We hear this declaration every Resurrection Day and run the risk of taking it for granted. Has it just become a familiar greeting, or do we really internalize the magnitude of the statement? there are Christian church goers who have doubts about the veracity of the resurrection. They claim to love Jesus and accept Him as their Savior, but are skeptical of the Resurrection. The Apostle Paul addresses this issue quite clearly in 1 Corinthians 15. Without the Resurrection of Jesus...what's the use?
I know some tough men and women that could probably go bravely through the beatings and crucifixion Our Lord experienced. In the Philippines and some other countries there are brave souls that reenact the crucifixion with great accuracy, not quite to the point of death, but very close. As horrendous as the torture is, Jesus did suffer it for atonement of our sins, but until He died and rose again it was not complete. Most great religions of the world have a central figure or figures that they venerate and look to for example. NONE has a RISEN SAVIOR aside from Christianity. Without the Resurrection, death and the grave would win, but Jesus overcame them. Because of His Resurrection, we have eternal life. If you don't believe it ... just say Happy Easter! ... and go find some eggs.
HE is Risen Indeed!!! Hallelujah!!!
Change - September 2, 2017
Change is usually uncomfortable. There are times when it brings relief, times when it brings conflict and times when it brings both. We of this humble Communion are experiencing changes in our identity which clarify our beliefs a bit more but which might make some of our friends in ministry a bit uncomfortable. These changes are not meant to be critical of others but more stabilizing for us. There are practices and beliefs which other fellow Christians maintain that do not resonate with the EC's ethos, thus our reason for dropping the Anglican identity from our name. That doesn't make anyone right or wrong, just different. The "bottom line" remains very true and very basic... there is NO salvation without a professed belief in Jesus Christ!
"Remember thou art dust...and unto dust thou shalt return."
Just when we think we have a handle on who we are and where we're going, reality hits us head on. Every year the Lenten Season helps us to get ourselves and our egos in perspective. The worldly views of success, fame, notoriety and influence become temporary concepts in the scope of eternity. Of course, to the secular world, these temporary rewards are the best they can hope for, but as believers we look to the higher calling in Christ Jesus.
This forty days of Lent gives us an opportunity to reflect on our lives, our spiritual growth and, our relationships, both with God and with each other. We see this as a time of deep introspection and self examination. There is an old expression..."the eye can not see itself." How difficult it is for us to see our selves objectively. This is one of the reasons we are admonished to "confess your sins, one to another..." (James 5:16); because we are our own best defense attorneys! Our basic human sinful nature makes it difficult to admit we have done wrong, but in Christ we are new creations and, as such, have the capacity to recognize and admit our shortcomings through God's Holy Spirit. As difficult as it is, we would be wise to find a trusted brother or sister in Christ to whom we can be accountable; a friend that we know will be honest with us in sharing the things they observe about our Christian walk.
As we take this time to evaluate our spiritual growth and the effectiveness of our witness, keep in mind that what we do speaks so loudly, people can't hear what we say. Let's take this Lenten season as the opportunity it is to renew and revise our spiritual lives, to do an honest inspection of our own beliefs and actions, and to lay all of our transgressions at the foot of the cross. Jesus said..."Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."(Matt 11:28)
Have a blessed and productive Lenten Season,
Archbishop Edward J. Skiba, OSB
Life is a series of transitions. I remember singing in the choir and serving at the altar in grammar school, attending Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes in High School (didn't have Middle School back then), and then joining the US Navy. I had to transition from a leather jacket and "duck tail" wearing (ask your grand parents what that is kids) street tough to a disciplined member of a team in 16 weeks. It took me 17 years to learn how to be a punk!
After 14 years in the US Navy I had to transition from a senior enlisted sailor with some responsibilities and a limited amount of authority to a Warrant Officer with much more responsibility and authority. A few years later I transitioned to the the Commissioned Officer ranks with additional responsibilities and authority. In all of these transitions a change of mindset must take place.
At my retirement from the Navy after 22 years the transition from Naval Officer to civilian occurred. That was a tough one. In the military,when you walk into a room, the stripes on your sleeve or the brass on your collar immediately identifies your place in the "pecking order." In civilian life you are on your own. You sink or swim based on the impression you make. The way you present yourself speaks volumes concerning who you are. Your appearance, vocabulary and attitude determine your position in society. It's just our human nature to judge people based on these obvious traits. This is a very simplified overview of how we see people and much more can be said.
Considering these factors, how does your Christian walk present itself to people? Was there a transition made when you committed to follow Jesus? Did your attitude, language and behavior change? What does you present demeanor project? A wise man once said, "what you do speaks so loudly, they can't hear what you say." I find myself to often wishing I could take back some of the things I have said or done. It's part of the human nature. The Apostle Paul (Romans 7:15-20) had the same challenges. The flesh leads us to do things we really don't want to do in our spirit. Another transition that we need to make. It takes a change of mindset.
On July 13, 2018, I will make another transition. I turn 75 years old. Three quarters of a century! I find the daily challenges to "walk the walk, not just talk the talk" become even greater. The more spiritual I strive to become, the more I find myself stumbling over worldly distractions that will be gone in the blink of an eye. In Philippians 3:14, Paul says he "presses on toward the goal for the prize of the call of God in Christ Jesus." If Paul; had to continue to press on, I guess I can too. let's press on together!
In Jesus' love,
Pro-Life...or...Pro-living? June 9, 2017
As the world continues to turn, and God has given us one more day, we continue to struggle with the moral issues of society which conflict with our spiritual principles. Abortion seems to be a unifying issue among Christians of various denominations. We champion the unborn, fight for their right to be birthed, pat ourselves on the back for another successful "save" and move on to the next terrified mom to be. Please don't misunderstand, we must stand for the rights of the unborn. If not us, who?
I recently heard a Pentecostal brother make a much broader point of being Pro-Life. There are many thousands of children in this country whose mothers were counseled to make the moral choice to give birth, but never escaped the prison of poverty. They simply made a little room in their prison to accommodate the new life that came forth from them. Now they share their misery with a helpless child that may never know anything else.
Jesus said..."the poor you will have with you always"... but I don't think He meant for us to let them suffer in their state of want. Some of us need to take up the torch of the newborns that are saved through the Pro-Life movement. Many of them are put up for adoption, but not all. Maybe we need to start a Pro-Living movement to save the "rescued" from a life of hunger, drugs, prostitution and all the poison that come from living in poverty.
Many of us are already taking positive action in that direction. Is it enough or do we need more "troops" in the trenches? We can't continue to complain about all of the people on food stamps and other government programs if we aren't willing to do something about it. Maybe it shouldn't be "Pro-Life ...OR...Pro-Living."
Maybe it needs to be "Pro-Life...AND...Pro-Living."
Copyright © Emmanuel Anglican Communion. All rights reserved.