Sunday, September 25, 2016

Continuity between the Older and Newer Testament

[Eyesus] said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.’” - Luke 16.31 RSV

I find this one of the most powerful and interesting verses in the Newer Testament. Eyesus says, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.’ Here, Eyesus powerfully affirms the place of the Older Testament in the Teaching of the Church. The Older Testament still bears the revelation of God for the Christian, we still receive the Torah, the Instruction, from it. Eyesus Kristos teaches us in this passage the need to believe the Holy Scriptures for our salvation, and in this context, He is talking about the Older Testament in referring to  Moses (Torah) and the Prophets. 

One can see this continuity especially in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. In a December 2007 article in the Smithsonian, His Holiness Abuna Paulos, patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (+ 16 August 2012), stated, "We've had 1,000 years of Judaism, followed by 2,000 years of Christianity, and that's why our religion is rooted in the Old Testament...we follow the same dietary laws as Judaism, as set out in Leviticus [meaning that his followers keep kosher, even though they are Christians]... Parents circumcise their baby boys as a religious duty, we often give Old Testament names to our boys and many villagers in the countryside still hold Saturday sacred as the Sabbath."

Yet, there is also a disruption with the coming of the Messiah. There is also in Luke 16.31 a reference to His own resurrection. There is a continuity of the faith communities and Scriptures of the Older Testament with that of the Newer Testament.  In the words a my friend, Abba Gregory Ned Blevins, "In the Christ-event, there is both continuity with the past and radical disruption. In a word, 'sublation'."

Eyesus teaches elsewhere, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old." - Matthew 13.52 RSV.  The student of the Word of God believes on the Messiah for salvation, and receives instruction from both the Older and Newer Testament.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Native American View of the Holy Eucharist

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"When we celebrate Communion, our people [Native Americans] are very, very clear that Christ is present on the altar. More clear I think than white Episcopal and Lutheran churches. The power of Christ is present in body and blood and spirit."

- Native American Theologian George Tinker, in an interview with Sojourners Magazine, January 1991 issue

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Social Justice in the Bible

We are each responsible for our own sins. We have a free will. This passage in Ezekiel 18 also highlights the importance of social justice, for which we all bear personal responsibility. Some Christians think that Biblical morality is only about sexual matters, it is not; this passage mentions adultery but also issue of social justice, oppression, debts and the treatment of the vulnerable. We ignore much of the social message in the Scriptures in this country. And of course, this passage speaks of idolatry too, which is when we value anyone or anything above the Lord our God.