Malankara World Journal Volume 1 No. 14 July 15, 2011 If the Journal is not displayed properly, please click on the link below (or copy and paste) to read from web
Table of Contents
If you live in the Northern United States, you will be devouring what is left of
the short summer. It is difficult to get a full church, as most people take
vacations or trips, or whatever. The joke is that, "you need a vacation after a
vacation to relax." So, we picked one of my favorite passages from the bible as
focus for today's MW Journal:
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
This should be read along with 1 Kings 19:11-13:
11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
Lauri Lumby explained this best:
However, there is also an aspect of prayer here. Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, an Orthodox bishop (pages vii-viii) wrote in “Living Prayer:”
Silence is putting aside our words and thoughts to make room for God’s presence; silence is the discipline of having ears to hear. As Henri Nouwen put it, “Silence is the home of the word. Silence gives strength and fruitfulness to the word.” (“The Way of the Heart”).
Where there is a quiet, silent heart, God’s word has strength, fruitfulness, and depth. Where God’s word has strength, fruitfulness and depth, God is exalted. Where God is exalted, God’s Name is hallowed and His Kingdom comes.
Source: Randy Thompson
To Issac, this scripture reminds him of the story of Mary and Martha. "Sometimes God needs to tell us that its better to sit at his feet and be with him than to be busy doing stuff for him.
For many of us we need to be reminded that we’re not God. He doesn’t NEED us to accomplish his mission. He doesn’t NEED us in order to be exalted. He was doing just fine before we got here and he’ll do just fine after we’re gone.
For many of us, that’s not really good news. I can’t tell you how many preachers, pastors, and clergy I’ve talked to that turn 50 and start worrying about their legacy. But God doesn’t call us to build a legacy. We can’t build his kingdom and ours at the same time. Let’s face it, without his help we can’t even build his kingdom! As Fr. Corapi is fond of saying, even the ability to be obedient or to do good things is a grace from God. What is humility? Realizing and keeping in perspective the fact of who we really are. And who we really are is totally defined by God. Without him we’re nothing. With him, we’re kings and priests, but we’re also slaves.
So, we ought to let God be God and not try to fill his unfillable shoes."
Of course, the theology experts will tell us that this scripture is not about calming down or being quiet but recognizing and proclaiming the majesty of God.
The lead article this week talks about taking a moment in your busy schedule to take stock of yourself. There is also a health angle associated with that. Meditation is proven to help you with your mental health. Prayer, meditation, and contemplation are the best remedy for a stressful lifestyle.
Sometimes, you can relax by being busy as our team from MGSOSA have discovered on their trip to Dominican Republic. They have just returned from a weeklong mission trip. We have included reflections from 3 days of their trip in this issue. I learned that our "champakom" tree is also in Dominican Republic. And they call our "Naranga" as perhaps "naranja." When we read about the condition of people in places like Haiti and Dominican Republic, we realize how lucky we are. Suddenly all the problems we think are important looks nothing compared to what some of the people over there go through everyday to survive.
Rev. Dn. Shiryl Mathai wrote in his memoirs:
Contemplate this question as you read the article, "Letting your light shine in the darkness."
This Sunday in Church
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.
Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Gospel Analysis for the Fifth Sunday After Pentecost
This Week's Features
|Inspiration for Today|
"The Lord doesn't expect us to work harder than we are able. He doesn't (nor should we) compare our efforts to those of others. Our Heavenly Father asks only that we do the best we can—that we work according to our full capacity, however great or small that may be."
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge like the
light that enters a dark home, drives away its darkness and
lights it up. Such is the Fear of God. It enters the heart of a
human being, it banishes ignorance away from him, and teaches
him all the virtues and wisdom.
Let your speech be always gracious and in good taste, and strive
to respond properly to all who address you.
A faithful friend is a strong shelter, and he who finds one,
finds a treasure.
Do not open your heart to every man, but discuss your affairs
with one who is wise and who fears God.
If you feel sorry when giving, then you have lost both the bread
and merit, for God loves the cheerful giver.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
It’s Hard to Be Still
by Laura MacCorkle
"Be still and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10
I’m one of those people who likes going 90 mph—not in my car, of course, but in my day-to-day living.
I enjoy moving fast, juggling multiple tasks and having a full schedule with lots of things to do, people to see and places to go. Variety is definitely the spice of my life, and without it everything starts feeling a little “vanilla.”
Thus, I guess you could say I’m having what feels like a bland kind of summer—and definitely not “jamocha almond fudge,” if you will. All of my extracurricular activities that keep me busy during the school year are on break until sometime in August. And so that leaves me with a lot of undefined time each week, and a lot of stillness.
I was complaining about this to my sister the other day and had expressed that I was bored with temporarily not having an “exciting” schedule. But I had also been wondering if the Lord wanted me to use this time to rest or think about things that I don’t usually focus on when I’m so busy in the fall, winter and spring.
So I had been trying to think about what I was supposed to be thinking about. So I could then write down what I was supposed to be thinking about on my to-do list. So I could then be thinking about what I was supposed to be thinking about. So I could then cross off that I had been thinking about what I was supposed to be thinking about. And be done thinking about it.
See how that great logic has been working out for me?
My sister first probably had a good chuckle to herself. And then she thoughtfully responded with the lyrics to Watermark’s poignant song, “Still” …
Oh. I get it. When I become still before the Lord, it’s more about God and less about me. Or my “exciting” activities or the control I think I have over my life. When I become still, I can see more clearly what God is trying to show me. And I can either respond or fill up my time with something else while I wait for my “vanilla” summer to end.
By and large, there’s nothing wrong with having a full life. But it is very easy to tip the scale and land on the side of too much, where worship of a heavenly Father gets lost in the wrongful worship of earthly things that a very busy schedule can certainly bring.
That’s what I’ve learned so far about stillness this summer. Perhaps you, too, have a need for speed and are prone to going 90 mph on the freeway of your life. Why not spend some time at a rest stop with me in the coming months, and be still for a little while? The Lord is waiting and ready to meet us both there.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Some people schedule regular personal retreats with the Lord. Whether you can get away to a cabin in the woods or just set up a hammock between two backyard trees, see how you can schedule some time for stillness with the Lord before summer’s end.
1 Kings 19:11-12, NIV
Source: Crosswalk.com, The Devotional. Laura MacCorkle is Senior Editor of Crosswalk.com.
Source: Perlas Purificacion Albino
From July 3-9, 2011 several 7 youth members of MGSOSA - Malankara Archdiocese of Syriac Orthodox Church in North America spent a week in Dominican Republic and Neighboring Earthquake ravished Haiti to experience a Christian Mission work personally. They were encouraged to write about their experiences and reflections on the trip.
Three reports (Issue 1 - Pre-trip, Issue 2: July 3, 2011, Issue 3 (July 4-5) are now available. The rest of the reports, as and when available, will be published in Malankara World.
Read the trip reports here:
by Dr. Jack Graham
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5
Have you ever noticed that when you’re in the dark, everything is confusing? Some things may look closer or farther away than they may be. And many things can’t be distinguished at all. That’s why, when you’re in the darkness, the most instinctive thing to want to do is turn on the light.
And you know, that’s the way so many people are living today in this dark world. They’re stumbling and falling and failing because they’re living in a dark and decaying world and barely managing to get around. And that’s exactly why Jesus told us as his people, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
Jesus has given his people the unique privilege of being his light in the world. But the light that we shine in the darkness is not our own. We, like the moon, reflect the light of a power much greater than ourselves.
As God’s people, you and I are to simply be reflections of God’s light to a dark world. So shine God’s light by living a Christ-filled life to a watching and waiting world. When you do that, you’ll make a significant impact for Christ on the people around you!
SHINE GOD’S LIGHT IN A DARK WORLD BY LETTING OTHERS SEE CHRIST’S CHARACTER IN YOU!
"Is any among you afflicted? let him pray." – James 5:13
As James writes, from his pastor’s heart, to the people of God, his entire letter is full of practical instruction and direct admonition. He does not have a flowery style or a theoretical bent; he is interested only in getting clear, candid counsel into the hands and hearts of believers.
And when he comes to the matter of affliction—gut-wrenching, spirit-pounding, heart-crushing affliction—this practical pastor gives his guidance in only three words: let him pray.
“Is that it?” we might ask. What about formulating an exit strategy? What about checking all our options for circumventing the pain? What about gathering a support group to cheer us up and cheer us on? The greatest therapy, the surest solution, the sweetest healing that we will find, James says, is in fervent and honest and faith-full conversation with God.
James is not suggesting a momentary, fleeting mention of our trial—perhaps in the middle of blessing our breakfast food—as the answer to affliction. The verb he uses is in the present tense: let him, in other words, continually be praying.
Perhaps you know what it is like to be so pressed by a sorrow or pain or trial that you pray, not only as you breath, but in order to be able to keep on breathing. There are times when God’s people truly find Him their only source of strength, of life, of purpose, and of joy. They pray, not because they have to, but because they can’t not pray.
Whether your affliction is earth-shattering or hardly-worth-mentioning, take your trial to God in prayer. And out of the fountain of close communion with your Father, will flow the calming, refreshing, restoring waters of spiritual renewal.
Source: A Good Thing (BBH)
Wherever you live, go out in the evening-time as the light begins to fade, before night falls. Look at the setting Sun and the rising Moon. See the beauty of their colours. Wait for the stars to come out. Know that the whole of Creation is the sign of God's presence among us. The Sun that gives hope in the light of day is Christ. The Moon that gives hope in the dark of night is the Mother of God. And all the starways are but the pathways of the angels and the saints, a mighty host in number, praying for you.
You live by a lake? Listen to the tiny waves lapping on the shore. You are listening to the gentle touch of God, Who envelops your soul with His mercy.
You live by the sea? Listen to the ocean breakers crashing on the shore. You are listening to the strength of God, Whose laws govern the whole universe.
The Spirit is on the waters. By the Will of the Almighty, know that the waves have broken on these shores for thousands of years before you. And if God grants it, long after you have left this world, the waves will still be breaking on the countless grains of sand and listened to by generations unborn.
It is raining? Each raindrop contains within itself a rainbow. It is snowing? Each snowdrop is a miracle which cannot be imitated. Rain or snow, know that God is purifying His world.
You live in a great city? Go out into the avenues lined with trees, the squares, the parks and the gardens. Listen to the rustling whisper of the leaves in the breeze. The breeze is the breath of God, the Holy Spirit giving life. The leaves speak of the wisdom of the Creator. Look at the blades of grass, almost infinite in number, but never as many as God's mercies. Look at the faces of the flowers, each grown by miracle from a tiny seed, all different, as the faces of humanity looking up to God. However clever man may grow, however many his workshops and laboratories, he will never be able to create a single leaf, or a single blade of grass, or a single blossom.
The forests and the fields, the mountains and the streams, the hills and the lakes, the oceans and the seas, the whole of Creation is but a mirror of the power and beauty of God.
In the freshness of the spring green, in the stillness of the summer heat, in the suddenness of the autumn gale, in the coldness of the winter ice, know that God is here, with you.
You are lonely? Why? You are never alone, for wherever you go, the hosts of the Creator go with you.
You are depressed? Why? Whatever manmade pain now afflicts you, your soul will soon go beyond time and space into the warmth of Godmade Love.
Chase away your sorrow! God is with you, in all the beauty that He has made for you.
Source: Orthodox England Online
This drink is delicious to drink as well as extremely nutritious.
1 cup pineapple juice
Combine all ingredients in covered blender at high speed until well mixed.
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