In Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15, we read about the grumbling of the Israelites. They have escaped their lives as slaves in Egypt and are now wandering in the desert. They are hungry, so now those days in Egypt look pretty good – they had food there, after all.
We can assume they had once yearned to be free – but now their freedom isn’t as they expected. How often this can happen! We yearn for something – we pray it will happen. It does. But then we may find that while they are answered, our prayers aren’t answered exactly as we imagined.
Then what? Do we grumble, or are we able to have a positive attitude and find something good in our new situation?
Having freely received the Sacraments from Jesus, the Christ, the Church is morally bound to give them freely to the world to anyone who asks …. Any organization that shuts members or would be members out because they decline to enter a restricted theological cage is not universal, all inclusive, catholic….
Of course, the Church of Antioch does not question the right of any organization to forbid intellectual and religious liberty to its members, but we do claim that such limitation is in opposition to true catholicity.
Patriarch and Founder, Herman Adrian Spruit, 1911-1994
In: The Meaning of Membership in Our Church (no date) – Church Archives
Many Christian adults look back to their childhood and remember memorizing the 23rd Psalm. “The Lord is my shepherd….” Surprisingly, many of us learned that psalm before the Greatest Commandment. How different the playground may have been had we learned that loving God and our neighbor as ourselves before any other words of wisdom!
But it was the 23rd Psalm. Yes, it too has good lessons. We learned that God takes care of us and helps us when we’re frightened. It may well help children to know they can turn to God when they have needs. It may help children to know that God takes care of our needs, and will protect and comfort us, even when people may not like us, and even threaten us. That’s good to know when one of the playground bullies doesn’t yet know s/he is to love us as s/he loves her/himself. Maybe that’s the reason we learn the psalm before much else.
Whatever the reason, something else is interesting for many Christian adults, and that is the wording., While many of us are comfortable with a variety of translations of the Bible, we prefer only one translation of the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father, and the 23rd Psalm. Depending upon our jurisdiction or denomination, we may not have used the King James version of the Bible in decades – except for this prayer and this psalm.
For a treat this week, you may want to read newer versions and translations of the Lord’s Prayer. How do they sound? You may also want to look at the wording of the 23rd Psalm in different translations of the Bible, you may find that only one sounds ‘right,’ probably the one you memorized so long ago.
In Mark 6:7-13, we read of Jesus sending out his followers. Like them, we too, are to go out to offer our stories and to share our faith. We are to offer an invitation to others. Some of us will use words. Others will use no words, and instead will wear a cross. Still others will do neither but will show God’s love through their way of living.
If our invitation is declined, we, like the disciples, will show love for ourselves and others by accepting that decision. We’ll shake the dust from our feet and move on. We don’t need to try to convince someone; we simply plant the seed and go. Doing so is actually way of showing them love. We’ve offered, we’ve listened to their decision, and we haven’t tried to browbeat them. We try and that’s enough – the rest is up to God.
By the time Jesus arrived in Nazareth, he had been engaged in a very active ministry. He had healed many; he had taught many. He had pulled together his core group, and he had debated with the religious leaders of his time. He had, as they say, made a name for himself. And then he stopped by at home. Oh-oh! Instead of being proud of the hometown kid made good, they became offended.
Rather than argue or try to convince them, Jesus accepted that he “..could do no deeds of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.” And then he off he went to continue his ministry. He exhibited what it means to accept himself as God’s son – and he showed us how to accept ourselves as Children of God.
Because this is the 4th of July, let’s look at this using some words we hear about today – independence, freedom, liberty, happiness.
When we consider Jesus, we see he was an independent thinker. He was free from the control of others. His independence was such that he wasn’t impressed by the authority of others. His many debates with the religious leaders of his day show us this. Jesus lived his ministry with freedom. He took his power – he took the right to teach, to preach, and to heal without asking permission. Once he started, he didn’t stop. Acting in liberty, Jesus acted out his freedom, his power – no matter what anyone thought.
What about happiness? Was Jesus a happy man? We don’t really know. But, he was so connected to people and so connected to his Abba, and he was so able to help people, and he so believed in the power of love, maybe he was happy. Many of us are happy when we can claim even one of these things.
Love was so important to Jesus and to us. It’s his commandment, after all. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and our neighbor as ourselves. We are to be independent and free enough to do this – and we are not only to feel that love, we are to ‘do’ that love.
Through his way of living, Jesus showed us that, as all followers of the way, we are to believe in ourselves and in our God; we are to believe in the things we are called to do; and we are to move forward, knowing whose power and whose authority is guiding us. We know how we are to act. We are to love.
We are to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to invite in strangers, to clothe the naked, to look after the sick and to visit those in prison. (Matthew 25:35-40) This is always the case, not only today. But it IS July 4th, so it is important to note that the same sentiments – the same idea we read in Matthew are similar to the sentiments of our Lady. Our Lady? Mary? No, not Mary – the other one:
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
We are to be independent enough, free enough to love as God loves! So may it be. Happy 4th of July!
As we seem to be headed out of the confusion, the trials, the sorrows of the past months, let us stop to assess how we are doing, and how our faith has been helping us.
Decades ago, CCOA founder, Archbishop Herman Adrian Spruit wrote,
“It is the unexpected that is the test of life … it takes something like a genius to run it when times are tough. … Likewise, almost any kind of faith is promising in ordinary times, but when hearts are crushed, and no help appears in sight then one needs a faith that stands the test.”
Has your faith stood with you – has it stood the test?
We firmly believe that the internet should be available and accessible to anyone, and Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of circumstance and ability.To fulfill this promise, we are in the process of reviewing our site to adhere as closely as possible to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These guidelines explain how to make web content more accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us provide a site that is accessible to all our site visitors.This website utilizes various technologies that are incorporated to make it more accessible.What Are We Presently Doing to Make our Website More Usable for People With Disabilities?
We utilize an interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs. This interface replaces the older fashioned method of providing all users with the same, lesser but accessible design or user interface. Some of the interface’s capabilities are Font handling, Color Handling and more
Additionally, the website utilizes an AI-based application that runs in the background and optimizes its accessibility level by resolving HTML issues:
Identify the Site’s Language in Header Code
Label All Images on the Website with Descriptions of the Image (Alt-Tags)
Fix Empty Links, so Website is Easier to Use
Remove Empty Headings
Remove Empty Form Labels
Fix Menu Broken ARIA
Fix Missing Form Labels
Handling NoScript Elements
Handling Autoplay Attributes
Additional capabilities are being researched and added as timing and budget allow
Interface to Adjust the Website’s UI
High Contrast Mode
Dark Contrast Mode
Font Size Adjustment
Big Mouse Cursor
Our efforts are ongoing as ADA standards and guidelines may change, or we may find additional compliance items that need to be edited on our website.Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, and/or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible.