Showing posts from September, 2014

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Mercy & GraceTitus 3:3-8
Dr. Ron Jacob
Long Island MTC, NY This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

I love being a Sunday School Teacher! Of all the ministries I am part of in the Mar Thoma Church, this is my favorite. As a Sunday School teacher, I make it a point each year to hammer the concepts of mercy and grace into the minds of my students. My reasoning is simple; because I too often forget that I am always in need of mercy and grace. The simple definitions are as follows: Mercy is when we do not get what we truly deserve and grace is when we get what we do not deserve.

In the passage it says despite the fact that we were “foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another”, we were shown goodness and loving kindness which ultimately saved us.

We as Ch…

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The Sacrament of BaptismRomans 6:1-11
Rev. Dennis Abraham
Youth Chaplain, Southeast Region

We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.For whoever has died is freed from sin. 

Paul’s letter to the Romans is unique because it is a “theological epistle,” where he writes statements of faith in an organized manner to the Christians in Rome. The growing Christian community in Rome was facing many challenges, especially tensions between Jewish and Gentile believers, and also doctrinal issues.

In the Mar Thoma liturgy of Holy Baptism, when a person is baptized, the following is said: (name) is baptized in the hope of the remission of sins and eternal life. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” As a faith community, we have been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, reminding us that we are a new creation, and we need to experience this newness on a daily basis. Being human beings…

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Salvation is God's GraceExodus 14:15-31
Rev. Shinoi Joseph
Long Island MTC, NY 29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

The passage that we are reflecting on today is very familiar. It speaks about how God delivered his people from Pharaoh and his army. The Book of Exodus deals with the history of departure of Israelite community from bondage and slavery. The Greek word ‘Exodus’ means ‘exit’ or ‘departure.’ Here in Chapter 14 we see how God leads God’s people from slavery to freedom by making way through the sea.   Based on the passage let us reflect on the theme.

Salvation is God’s Grace
Trapped between the Egyptian Army and the sea, the Israelites were confused. They didn't see any purpose in leaving the Pharaoh and his slavery. They ask why Moses had brought them to this point of life, when looking back they see the army of Pharaoh and in front is the Red Sea. Neither can they go ahead nor can…

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Sacrament of Baptism John 3:1-8
Rev. K.E Geevarghese
Anaprampal MTC, India

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Holy Baptism is one of the dominical sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ. Through this sacrament a person identifies himself / herself with the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the head of the church. This unique experience enables one to receive the divine grace and to enter into the New Life.

John 3: 1-8 explains the visit of Nicodemus to Jesus and their conversation. Nicodemus was a religious leader and teacher of the law. He had recognized that Jesus has come from God (v.2). He was an admirer of Jesus, but was a secret disciple. Therefore he approached Jesus at night. On his visit, he validates Jesus as a divinely sanctioned rabbi. Yet his social and religious standing did not allow him to be seen openly with Jesus.

The keywords …

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Accepting the ElderlyPsalm 71
Santhosh George
St. Johns MTC, NY 14 But I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more.

The psalmist commits himself to God's care.  He has enjoyed a life of faith commitment; and through the experiences of communion with the Lord, he has learned that Yahweh is faithful.

As I write this, I've been just blessed with a third child in our family life.  Miracle of life is one of the precious moments anyone can experience in their family life.  We may think that the more we experience that miracle, somehow it becomes less exciting, but, the contrary is true.

Arrival of every new creation reminds us of the Creator who made each of us in His image.  It is a reminder of the hand that knit each of us in our mother’s womb.  As we hold our little one, we are also reminded of our parents and their generation who helped us to become the persons we are today. 

We see their hope that is anchored in the rock of refuge that surpasses all doubts. We see t…

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Accepting of the Elderly1 John 4:7-21
Dr. Betsy Thomas Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

The most talked about theme in the Bible is love. Love is emphasized as being given first and not to be received first. In this portion we read about God’s love and how he wants us to love. As Apostle John writes this epistle, he makes three key points. God is the creator or origin of all love (vs.7-8); God represents what genuine true love is (vs.9-10); and God commands us to love one another (vs11-12). To know God is to love so if we do not love one another then we do not know God.

God is love. God’s love is completely different than human love. It is unconditional and he doesn't love us because we’re attractive, or we make him laugh, or give him a shoulder to lean on, or we have a nice personality which is what humans make the mistake doing when looking for love but he loves us because he IS love. He created us so that…

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Accepting the Elderly:Advice for the Young1 Peter 5:1-11
Susan Koshy
Trinity MTC, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

In this letter, Peter has a lot to say about suffering. In his old age, he shows how it can be a way of serving the Lord and of sharing the faith to the younger leaders and followers of Christ. 

The letter was written to Christians scattered all over the northern part of Asia Minor. In this geographical location of the Roman Empire, Christians had already suffered   due to their faith in Christ. Peter was quick to offer encouragement. His letter reminds that we have to undergo hardships, however; in turn it will strengthen our faith and bring honor on the day of Christ’s return.

At one point in his stormy career Martin Luther received some discouraging news. He responded by saying, “recently I have been looking at the night sky, spangled and studded with stars and I found no pillars to hold them up. Yet they didn’t fall”. Luthe…

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The Sovereign God who is in ControlIsaiah 40:21-31
Dr. Anu Shinoi, Kochamma
Long Island MTC, NY

29 He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.

The book of Isaiah is one among the most important books of the Old Testament. The book is prophetic in nature and style. The 66 chapters of Isaiah can be broadly divided into two major divisions namely the book of Judgment (1-39) and book of Comfort (40-66). Prophet Isaiah warned God’s punishment and judgment on people of Judah and Jerusalem during 8th B.C.E. He urged people to turn away from sin and also to repent before God. He warned Judah that her sin would bring captivity at the hands of Babylon. But he also comforted them the hope that God will provide them a Redeemer. 

The passage Isa. 40: 21-31 comes under the section book of Comfort (Cha 40-66). Here a great assurance is given to the faithful in the context of future captivity in Babylon. Based on these verse let us meditate of two points:

1. God is in Control of Everything

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First Day of FallPsalm 103:15-19
Chris Thomas

St. John's MTC, NY 
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children
When you step out of your home in the morning and you feel that cool breeze, you know that summer is gone and fall is in the air. I remember my first time travelling to upstate New York to see the fall colors. The scenic drive with the bright yellow, orange, red and brown leaves were definitely a sight to remember. If you go a little too late after the peak of fall it’s no longer as beautiful with all the leaves brown and almost all of them stripped off from the trees. God reminds us that the season of fall is actually the slow dying of nature around us. The trees, flowers, grass and plants prepare for the bitterness of winter. Yet God, in his infinite ability to create purposeful demonstrations takes this time of dying and creates a beautiful tapestry in the midst of what we under…

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Accepting of the Elderly1 Timothy 5:1-10
Tina Joji (Kochamma)
St. Johns MTC, NY If a widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some repayment to their parents; for this is pleasing in God’s sight. 

Paul’s 1st letter to Timothy is considered one of his Pastoral Epistles to strengthen the life of the church and avoid ecclesiastical and dogmatic confusions. Here, Paul’s principal preoccupation is to dictate how to organize the church. Timothy was given the responsibility as supervisor of the church. In chapter 5 Paul gives special advice to honor elders and widows. In New Testament times, widows were employed in the church to tend the sick and the aged, under the direction of the deacons. The elderly were an important group within the early church. In the present time, profit-oriented societies make elders an unwanted part of society.

1. Family: The space of acceptance.

Here, advice is given to children to care for their wi…

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Accepting the ElderlyLuke 2:25-38
Rev. Shibu Mathew
Epiphany MTC, NY 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

This Sunday is set apart as Senior Citizen Sunday. Today’s passage is about the prophetical role of two old people, Simeon and Anna, who blessed the infant Jesus with a special understanding of God’s plan and purpose. Luke records Simeon as a righteous, devout, hope generating  and a spirit filled person. He is looking forward to the consolation of Israel. The “consolation of Israel” was a term for the restoration of the people and fulfillment of God’s redemptive work. Simeon recognized that redemptive work without any supernatural incidents. All that happened in this incident was in an ordinary way, poor parents, little child, young pigeons …But the Holy spirit enabled him to see God’s work of salvation  through  ordinary events and persons .S…

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Women as Change MakersNumbers 27:1-11
Anie John
Long Island MTC, NY 4 Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.”

When we meditate on the word of God, we hardly concentrate on the passage dealing with Zelophehad’s daughters.  The daughters of Zelophehad’s mentioned in the book of Numbers are common, ordinary women but the scripture mentions the importance of their influence.  We can note from this passage that their faith helps them to accomplish something extraordinary.  God's strength in their lives gives them remarkable power and influence, and we can see that the ordinary women becomes extraordinary. The scholars refer to them as “Daring Daughters” or “Heroines of Faith”.

Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, from the hands of their oppressors and they were promised Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey.  Little did the Israelites know they had to wander in the wilderness for forty …

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International Day of Peace: Rise Children of GodMatthew 5:9
Robin Varughese
Epiphany MTC, NY “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“The Beatitudes” serves as a crucial part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Many of times we read through this passage, recite it whenever prompted, but forget the true meaning of His Words. A beatitude ascribes praise to character that is then divinely rewarded. In verse 9,  “peacemakers” will be called “children of God”. A peacemaker isn’t only one who ceases war and chaos, but also one who finds a way to spread the Kingdom of God on earth- granting an eternal peace that no war can disturb. Along with this character is the promise of being called “children of God”, but wait! Aren’t we all “children of God”? Of course, but the imagery of being called a “child of God” further emphasizes the greater relationship and connection formed with God, as do everyone who constantly work towards advancing the Kingdom.

So what …

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Citizenship Day: Godly CitizenshipRomans 13:1-7
Rev. Christopher Phil Daniel
St. Stephen's MTC, NJ Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.

It has often been said that God has established three institutions – the home (family), the church, and the state.  And He has even provided specific instructions on how all three are to operate.  Most Christians feel as if they have a good grasp on what God has to say about the home and church; however, there seems to be some confusion as to how Christians should relate to the state or governing authorities.  The selected text addresses this question directly.  In fact, Romans 13 is the central New Testament passage regarding the relationship between Christians and the government.

St. Paul is quite frank when he addresses this topic and provides an explicit directive: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities.” Th…

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Women as Change Makers; Praise MakersLuke 1:46-55
Mariam Hency Varghese
MTC of South Florida 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior

I know women who are change makers before the Lord God, not before men or women.  No one knows their hardships, joys or sorrows.  These women work in silence unto the Lord, and for the Lord.  These women are our grandmothers, mothers, sisters and aunts who change and shape over the course of years, but may never see an end result. Yet, the Lord sees all their work and will exalt each one in His time. Thank the Lord for these women in your life today.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, sets before us a challenge of praise even in the midst of a hard situation, as a young teenage mother.  Songs of praise mark us as Christ’s followers, regardless of our age. What is the opposite of praise?  Blame, criticism, silence, disapproval, condemnation, and disrespect.  Do you know women like this or have you  know women who have a tendency to be a nagger, someone who finds fa…

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Welcoming WomenRomans 16:1-16
Merry Thomas
Horeb MTC, Los Angeles, CA

so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well.

Have you been watching the news lately?  What are the stories about women that are making headlines around the world?  Did you hear about the 300 Nigerian girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram?  Or the stories of the Indian girls and women who are brutalized regularly?  Did the story of Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who was sentenced to death due to apostasy, even register on your radar?  These 3 stories highlight the very real and present danger that women face around the world.  To be a female at this time and in this place is to live with uncertainty and fear. 
It is in this context that this passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans takes on special significance.  Paul uses the last portion of his letter to recommend some spec…