Sunday, November 1, 2015

All Souls Day



All Souls Day

At Benim Avraham, we primarily remember All Souls on its eve . We light a candle for our loved ones whom we wish to remember with the words,
I light a candle in the memory of N.N. in remembrance that they showed me the light of Christ by.... After the service is over, each person is encouraged to share something of the loved one's life. It is a time of remembrance, and a time to make sure families truly know something of their family history.

Traditionally, All Souls Day is an extension of All Saints to remember those who were close to us in life.

Eve: Psalm: 116:10-17
Isaiah 25:6-9
I Thessalonians 4:13-18

All Souls Day:
Psalm: 130
Wisdom 3:1-9
John 5:24-27

Collect: Blessed Father, you are the Lord of the Living, and all the faithful are alive to you. Bless us with the memories of our loved ones who have gone on before us, that we following their examples may find a mansion prepared for us by our Lord Yeshua. This we ask in his most precious name. Amen. (white)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

All Saints Day




http://www.goarch.org/special/listen_learn_share/allsaints/allsaints.jpg/image_view_fullscreen

All Saints Day was originally celebrated in May by the church, and is still celebrated in the Sunday after Pentecost by Eastern Orthodox.  In the west it was transferred to November the 1st. originally it was to remember martyrs, but was extended to include all who witnessed to Messiah not only by their deaths, but by their lives.   

On this day we remember the entire communion of saints, with whom we share communion through our Saviour Yeshua.  It is a special day for remembering all of those saints whose names are not remembered each year in the calendar, and it is a special day to remember that we are called to be saints as well.  A saint was not a holy person, but a person who believes in Messiah.  A saint becomes holy, by taking up his or her cross daily and following Messiah.

All Saints (or the following Sunday) is considered an excellent day for baptism, for when we are baptised, we become saints as well.   

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Micah 6:6-8
The Wisdom of Solomon 2:1-11
Psalm 37
Ephesians 1:11-23
Matthew 5: 1-16

Collect:  Blessed God, you have raised up saints in every generation to be lights for us to show us that we too can imitate Messiah.  So govern our hearts, that as we remember the heroes of the church, that we follow their example and live for you.  This we ask in the name of Yeshuah who lives and reins with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God, surrounded by saints and all the company of heaven.  Amen.  (white)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Reformation Day




http://revbrentwhite.com/2012/07/16/gods-grace-from-beginning-to-end/

Reformation Day

October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the castle church door of Wittenberg.  This was a common way of making announcements at the time, and since November 1st is All Saints day, a day of special observance, crowds were guaranteed to see the announcements.  

At the heart of the 95 theses was a custom of the day, selling indulgences in order to raise money for the church.  The general idea was that one could buy more rapid exit from purgatory for one’s self or a relative.  In the famous words of  Johann Tetzel, “Sobald der G├╝lden im Becken klingt, im huy die Seel im Himmel springt,“  (as soon as the guilder in the box clings, hurriedly the soul into heaven springs.“)

The Pope was rebuilding St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, and needed money to work on it.  He sent Tetzel and others to raise money through the sale of indulgences. Martin Luther found this reprehensible, and nailed his objections to the church door.  (The 95 Theses can be found at:  http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/web/ninetyfive.html

Several points made by Luther:

If the pope had this power than he should let all people out of purgatory.

Money spent on charity would do us more good than money spent on indulgences.

Repentance is necessary.

The Pope had enough money to repair St. Peter’s, and should have used his own money.

Martin Luther’s theses were extremely important to the church and to Europe and eventually the world.  They lead to challenging the Roman Catholic Church in other areas (such as holding church services in languages which the people understood, the marriage of clergy and many other factors.  Most of the Protestant Churches we have today are a direct or indirect result of this challenge to the Roman Catholic Church.  The Roman Catholic Church indeed reformed itself to some extent, to win back people lost to protestant churches.  Europe itself, became divided between the Protestant North (Great Britain, Scandinavia, Prussia, Holland, Latvia and Estonia), and the Catholic South.  Among the Protestants was a great desire to know God’s word in one’s one language and to apply it to one’s life.  Europe was transformed, not only religiously by the reformation, but economically as well.  Religious wars changed the face of Europe, and indeed had a great affect on those who wrote the constitution of the USA.  George Washington feared sectarian wars, and for this reason the USA did not recognise any one form of Christianity. 

Tonight is also Halloween, from All Hallows Even, meaning the evening before the feast of All Hallows (i.e. All Saints Day).  This feast was originally held in May but was moved to counteract the Celtic Holliday of Samhain. 

Jeremiah 31:31-34                                                                                                                                    Psalm 46                                                                                                                                                       Romans 3:19-28                                                                                                                                          John 8:31-36
  

Collect:  Heavenly Father, on this day Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, not to challenge the church, but to transform it into a true body for mission.  Grant us zeal in reforming the church and translating scripture and liturgy so all may understand your word, and be enabled for mission to the entire world.  This we ask in the name of our Lord Yeshuah.  Amen.  (white)