Showing posts from February, 2015

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Lifesaving Faith Luke 5:17-26
Rev. Dennis Abraham Youth Chaplain, South East Region 24 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the one who was paralyzed—“I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.” 25 Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God.

As we are in the season of Great Lent, we are meditating on Jesus Christ’s public ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing. In this passage, we see a group of men, trying to carry a paralyzed man on a bed to Jesus. Seeing that there was no way of getting around the people to Jesus, they went to the rooftop and let the paralyzed man down, from the top. The friends did not give up, and were willing to go to the maximum extent of enabling their friend to be healed no matter what physical obstacles or Pharisaic criticism was present. But in the end, the paralyzed man received healing and was restored to wholeness.

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Touching the Untouchable Mark 5:24-34
Saji J. Mathew St. Thomas MTC, Lombard, IL 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

In this Bible portion, we read about a bleeding woman, who "had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse".

According to Mosaic Law, women who were ceremonially unclean weren't allowed to touch anyone. But when this woman heard about a man who healed many who had various diseases, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak.

All those who came into contact with Jesus, experienced the healing in every part of their lives, both physically and spiritually.

Where the need is great, then Jesus is there to touch. From our part, what is needed is the faith of this woman, the leper, the blind and the many others who were humble enough to admit that they were in need. All of them believed and recognized that J…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Unexpected Showers Genesis 16:7-16
Binu Shaji Thomas, Kochamma St. Thomas MTC, Lombard, IL 13 So she named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are El-roi”; for she said, “Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?”

The famous quote "Man proposes, God Disposes," written by Augustinian Monk Thomas A Kempis in his classic book ,"On the Imitation of Christ," may not hold true always but sometimes we may come across such situations in our lives. We always try to do things in accordance with our desires and wishes but God does what He wills. Solomon in Proverbs 19: 21, thus says that "There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the Lord's counsel that will stand." The plight of Hagar gives us an insight on this aspect.

Hagar was Sarai's trusted maidservant. She came out of Egypt with Abram and his family. With this status, she possessed no choice and had no voice in becoming a surrogate mother. As a slave she was mistreated by the aut…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Touching the Untouchable 1 John 1:5-10
Geetha Thomas St. Thomas MTC, Chicago, IL but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

In the First Letter from John, Chapter 1, John is encouraging the readers to live in fellowship with God and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus lived in this world as a normal human being. He walked with the common people of that time. In today’s terms we can call them the middle class or the low income people. He saw their lives, He felt what they went through, He understood their pain and sufferings, the injustice they suffered and above all He saw their longing for a savior. He taught them how to pray, He touched them and healed them, He comforted them with His words, actions and sometimes with His silence. He spread the light around Him removing all darkness away.

I am a Physical Therapist by profession. Touching someone in pain can do miracles sometimes. T…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Touch the Untouchable Hebrews 13:7-17
Jacob Joseph St. John's MTC, NY 12 Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. 13 Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. 15 Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Christ’s gift was not limited to those within the “city,” but also to those who are on the outskirts and who did not belong in the city. The gift of grace was not a gift limited to a special sect of people but a gift to all of humanity. Too often in today’s society, we fail to see this. We see those we deem unclean and untouchable and are afraid to approach them. But God has cleansed through the blood of His son Jesus Christ, and this is…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Touching the Untouchable 2 Kings 5:1-10
Sherry George St. John's MTC, NY Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy.

In the story of Naaman, we meet a man known as great man, a commander, a leader, a man highly regarded in the eyes of the king of Aram, a victorious man in battle, a valiant soldier... and a leper.  Like Naaman, we too are recognized for our great strengths or great weaknesses.

Here, we see it was truly God who worked through Naaman to give victory. Although the victory was from the Lord, the power of God was not made known in Naaman’s strengths. Rather, it was through Naaman's weakness that God's victory and power was shown. Naaman was a leper, what would make a man of his time a social pariah. All his victory in battle and any great thing he might achieve in life could not stop him for being recog…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Touch of Acceptance Romans 15:7-13
Rev. Abraham Kuruvilla Princeton Theological Seminary Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Chrysostom Thirumeni’s 90th birthday, marked a new era in Christian witnessing. The onset of the ‘House For Houseless’ project, was an example of love. But it was with a difference. It was for everyone, not just for Marthomites, or other Christian denominations, but also for people of other faith. The word spread like a fire, and people from all walks of life were touched by the love of Jesus, through, the Great man, Mar Chrysostom. It was the vision of the visionary. Love laid down for everyone, just like Christ’s love. It was a touch of acceptance.

What is acceptance? Acceptance includes seeing other people as themselves; it also involves getting rid of all our prejudice mindset and lastly it includes entering the zone of other people’s life. That’s what happened on the Cross. Jesus saw us as ourselves and ent…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Compassion: Faith in Action Matthew 8:1-4
Rev. Isaac P. Kurien Bangalore and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.”

Jesus had just finished the Sermon on the Mount and he was coming down from the mountain. After hearing Jesus, a large crowd was accompanying him with passion and excitement. Jesus has concluded his sermon by saying practice your faith through the parable of wise builder. A person with leprosy was considered completely unclean-physically and spiritually. He could not approach within six feet of any person including family members (Lev. 13:45-46 says "Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!' As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp”). Here Jesus has demonstrated what he had taught or we…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Lent: A Time of Reconciliation 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Rev. Shinoi Joseph Long Island MTC, NY
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;

The main theme of 2 Cor.5:16-21 is Reconciliation. Reconciliation is restoration or re-establishment of relationship. In this Lenten season this theme is very apt. Last Monday i.e February 16 was “Shubkona” i.e ‘day of forgiveness and reconciliation.’ Shubkona is considered as the “door to proper lent.” Without reconciliation there is no lent observance or experience. Reconciliation according to St. Paul is forgiveness of sins. Reconciliation means to be at peace. Peace is restored between God and world through Jesus Christ. Let us reflect on two simple points:

Reconciliation through Jesus ChristThe relationship between God and humanity was broken and shattered because of the disobedience of humanity (Gen. 3). This disobedience brought distortion in relationship between God and the w…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Lent: A Time of Reconciliation 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Ryan Jacob Long Island MTC, NY 10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.

I recently was reading an article as to why people no longer attend church. In the article, it listed 10 reasons that were most frequently given. It became clear that one of the underlying themes was interpersonal conflict. As we see in this passage, this was an issue for the original churches as much as it is an issue for us today.

The conflict that Paul illustrates arises from issues of status and party loyalty. People were drawing lines in the sand, dividing themselves according to who brought them to the faith or whom they were baptized by. As word of this traveled back to Paul, he understood that it was necessary to intervene.   Paul’s plea for the church was a reminder that it was not a…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Lent: A Time of Reconciliation Genesis 26:22-32
Dr. Ron Jacob Long Island MTC, NY 27 Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?” 28 They said, “We see plainly that the Lord has been with you; so we say, let there be an oath between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you.”

I recently came across a poster titled, “The Great Lent: A Life of Paradise on Earth; Restoring a life of bible reading, prayers and mediation.” It gives 18 practical suggestions during Great Lent, one of which is to “forgive everyone and let go of all grudges.” Our passage discusses this very notion of reconciliation.

The chapter begins with Isaac seeking a safe haven during a famine. Out of fear for his own life, Isaac attempts to deceive the Philistines by claiming Rebekah is his sister and not wife.  This obviously does not sit well with the Philistine leader. This deception could have caused someone else to approach a married woman, causing that man t…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Lent: A Time of Reconciliation Ephesians 2:11-22
Santhosh George St. John's MTC, NY 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Christians are all too familiar with reconciliation!  The Father sends His one and only son to earth to reconcile our sins.  As Christians we are all spoiled with this idea when it comes to our relationship with our creator.  It is free for us and all we have to do is to accept the Son.  But how do we practice reconciliation with our brothers and sisters?  It seems that it doesn’t come easy for many of us.  Are we only expected to receive the greatest gift and not practice it in our lives?

When I watch my two daughters (7-years, 4-years) reconcile after an argument, I see how easy it is for them to reconcile with each other.  Before we even finish talking to them, they are back in their world as if nothing ever happened.  There are no grudges or memory of what had happened just a few minutes ago.  This is one of the reasons…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Lent: Time for Reconciliation Genesis 45:1-15
Justin Mathew St. John's MTC, NY
And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.

Tossed in a hole, Betrayed, and sold as a slave not by some stranger, but your own siblings. Would you forgive them? Should you forgive them?

Reconciliation is the action of reestablishing a close relationship that was broken.

A woman one day talked on the radio about how her and her husband were going to have a divorce because her husband told her that he had an affair with another woman. She spoke to everyone and even her pastor said to get a divorce. She prayed to God and decided to forgive her husband for his past wrongs and not get a divorce and their marriage grew much stronger.

C.S Lewis once said, “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”  If I were this lady I would divorce the man and never look back just like most people. But, fo…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Lent: A Time of Reconciliation 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 Prijo Thomas St. Andew's MTC, NY 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Looking up, they saw the world around them like never before. With the sweet taste of that forbidden fruit still resonating on their lips and the juices still dripping from their hands, they turned towards each other and were startled by a strange realization that dawned upon them--there was something to hide, and someone to hide from. The physical nakedness that Adam & Eve recognized that day in the Garden, and the subsequent hiding that ensued, reflects how all of humanity has been running from our Maker since that fateful moment. The Gospel is the story of reconciliation, of God pursuing man and restoring the bond which was broken, so that we could once again become friends of God.

At my previous employer, management constantly emphasized the need for each of us to be “risk managers”. …