Is it not just amazing that we are seeing in the news at this time of Lent, nothing about the universal church retracing the historic steps that led to the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, but rather the latest status of Jerusalem? What was, according to the Biblical narrative, the day of Israel’s glory; the day that her divine calling for the world became a reality?

I submit to you that it was the day the infant Jesus was presented to God in the temple in accordance with the Law of the covenant and by faith in His promises to Israel. I’m thinking now of at least three converging themes on this wednesday: God’s provision of “the seed of the woman”, the person of Mary in this entire story as the “hand-maiden of the Lord”, the inauguration of the promised rule (kingdom) of God on earth, including the promised light to the Gentiles. No one captures this scene (Luke 2:21-35) better than Michael Card in this song , “Now that I’ve held him in my arms”.

If you are unable to view go here.

Related article : The Church’s Relation to Israel by Richard DeRidder

AN OPEN LETTER TO AMERICAN CHRISTIANS

I subscribe to a magazine called “ZION’s FIRE”. It is of the highest technical quality and the founding editor is a man I highly esteem and respect. I have followed at a distance his mission for a number of years. He is a tireless advocate for Jesus Christ and as a Jewish Christian has zealously promoted a very specific tradition within the Church. I know this tradition well. When I answered God’s call to prepare myself for the ministry, it was the tradition that I initially received my training in. I studied theology initially using Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Systematic Theology as our main text. zionshope

As you perhaps know by now, my passion is to advocate for the UNITY that we have in Christ as Christians, and to insist that we must treat oneanother with love and dignity. I choose to do this by the simple method of letting others tell us in their own words what living and practicing their faith tradition looks like to them. Usually I do not try to debate their position or criticize it. I honestly believe that we have much to learn from oneanother if we will take the pains to listen to what they see from their perspective. Yet,this is perhaps one of the most difficult traditions for me to be faithful to that practice for the simple reason that I am not neutral on so many interpretations of Scripture from this perspective. But I will demonstrate my love for Marv Rosenthal and many other personal friends also from this tradition by withholding any comments. Within the great diversity which is the Body of Christ, this too is a recognizable and definable contributing part. Although I do not consider myself of this tradition, I am convinced we can be greatly strengthened by paying close attention to their emphasis.

I do believe that Rosenthal’s letter, the position within American Christianity that it represents and the political influence on foreign policy that is greatly affecting world peace and the mission of the Church of Jesus Christ, justifies not only calling this to the attention of everyone I know but also highly recommending its reading by as many as possible. Thank you brother Marv for being so transparent.

FROM the HEART of MARV ROSENTHAL (a few excerpts)

During almost two thousand years of dispersion, one thing alone sustained the Jewish people. It was a small candle in a dark place. But it burned brightly in their hearts. They believed above all things that one day their Messiah would come. Who He would be and when He would come, they did not know. But the hope of His coming was an anchor of the soul, so strong that no storm of adversity which Satan could throw against them could make that anchor break.

In May of 1948 the impossible became the possible. What had never happened before in the annals of history came to pass as God had foretold in His Word. After nineteen hundred years of being buried among the nations of the world, Israel was reborn. They are a people with their own land and capital city. They lack only one thing to make their national resurrection complete. Their King, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Son of David, “the seed of the woman”, must return !

OPEN LETTER FROM MARV ROSENTHAL – Take time to get to know the ministry of Zion’s Hope including the beautiful music from the Jewish-Christian tradition. You will not find a more readable and precise statement of the theology that drives much of the “religious right” politics in America.

Hava Nagila Dance

ARCHBISHOP ELIAS CHACOUR of The Melkite Greek Catholic Church

chacour

The author of Blood Brothers- which is the unforgettable story of a Palestinian Christian who has been working for peace in Israel for as many years as he has been in the Priesthood, came to Berea College this week. He was the honored guest for the International Focus sponsored by the International Center of Berea College.

Besides speaking to the students at a campus wide convocation yesterday, he also spoke a number of other times as well. Imagine my great delight when I was able to attend a luncheon today for area ministers, watch a video showing the remarkable achievement God has allowed him to bring into existence in Israel, and then have the privilege of talking informally with him for over an hour. My special thanks to Richard Cahill, the Director of International Education, for the invitation extended to the Ministers.

I read the 1984 edition of Father Chacour’s book some years ago and was greatly encouraged to learn of his life work as another of God’s peacemakers working in the midst of conflict. In the foreword to the recent 2003 edition, former U.S.Secretary of State James Baker writes,

From my perspective, both as a believer and as a diplomat, I take hope and comfort in knowing that amid all the hatred, destruction and death, Father Chacour continues his patient work, softening one heart at a time.

There are many things we can learn from this humble man including that not all Palestinians are “terrorists”, many are christians and citizens of Israel. But for the “great hearts” around the world which are working for peace, he provides a model that will instruct and inspire all. The schools that he has founded are the only ones in Israel where Jews, Muslims, and Christians can study together. see Mar-Elias Schools

Read his profile on wikipedia 

Buy the book, Blood Brothers