Biserica Protestanta din Iasi – Expresie a Reformei Magisteriale

Duminică 19 septembrie a avut loc ceremonia care a consfințit crearea la Iași a unei Biserici Protestante, ca expresie a Reformei Magisteriale.

Rev. Alain-Georges Nouga

Această ceremonie a fost condusă de Rev. Alain-Georges Nouga, pastor al Bisericii Protestante din Niort, Franța, delegat în acest scop de conducerea națională a Bisericii Protestante Unite din Franța. În cadrul acesteia a avut loc confirmarea ca membri ai comunității protestante un număr de 18 persoane din cadrul comunității din Iași.

Celebrare euharistică

De asemenea, a avut loc consacrarea Consiliului prezbiterial, care conduce biserica locală, precum și ordinarea unei diaconițe, în persoana domnișoarei Estera Popovici, și a unui diacon, domnul Mircea Păduraru, care, în virtutea acestei ordinări canonice vor oficia în viitor sacramentele în această comunitate locală. Slujba publică de consacrare a avut loc la Centrul Creștin „La Răscruce”, care găzduiește și slujbele de închinare duminicală ale noii comunități protestante.

Turul Iașului – Mitropolia ortodoxă

Turul Iașului – Palatul Culturii

Delegația de primire – juniorii

Rev Alain-Georges primit, așa cum se cuvine, cu pâine și sare, dar și cu pălincă

Pastorul Alain-Georges a fost parte a unei delegații de zece persoane, din comunitatea protestantă din Niort, Franța, care au venit împreună cu el pentru a cunoaște membrii comunității ieșene și a se bucura împreună cu aceștia la această sărbătoare. Cu câteva luni în urmă, o delegație a comunității ieșene, în curs de formare, vizitase comunitatea din Niort.

În preziua liturghiei de consacrare, pastorul Alain-Georges a susținut o conferință publică cu tema „Ce înseamnă a fi protestant astăzi?”, moderată de teologul Dănuț Jemna, care este și al membru al Bisericii Protestante Unite.

Rev. Alain-Georges Nouga & Dr. Dănuț Jemna

Odată cu acest eveniment se împlinește un deziderat despre a cărui necesitate am vorbit în mai multe rânduri atât eu cât și dr. Dănuț Jemna – crearea în cadrul comunităților creștine de limbă română din țara noastră a unei punți de legătură între bisericile istorice (catolică și ortodoxă) de la noi și diversele expresii ale Reformei Radicale. Această conexiune poate fi realizată prin existența și afirmarea în timp, a unei comunități protestante românești care se reclamă de la principiile Reformei Magisteriale.

Masa altarului

Dumnezeu să binecuvânteze aceste începuturi, pentru gloria sa.

Walter Brueggemann – Ash Wednesday. An Old Identity Made New

Walter Brueggemann

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the LORD, that he may have
mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

—Isaiah 55:6–7

These verses are a familiar call to worship or a call to repentance, not a bad accent for Lent. The face of God shown here is of a Lord near at hand, ready to forgive, a God of grace. But this is a God to whom a turn must be made, a God of demand, a God of demand ready to be a God of grace . . . not just hard demand, not just easy grace, but grace and demand, the way all serious relationships work.

The imperative is around four verbs, “seek, call, forsake, return,” good Lenten verbs. But this is not about generic repentance for generic sin. I believe, rather, the sin addressed concerns for Jews too eager to become Babylonians, too easy to compromise Jewish identity, Jewish faith, Jewish discipline—in order to get along in a Babylonian empire that had faith in other gods with other disciplines. The imperatives are summons to come back to an original identity, an elemental discipline, a primal faith.

I suggest, moreover, that these are just about the right imperatives for Lent among us Christians. For I believe the crisis in the U.S. church has almost nothing to do with being liberal or conservative; it has everything to do with giving up on the faith and discipline of our Christian baptism and settling for a common, generic U.S. identity that is part patriotism, part consumerism, part violence, and part affluence.

The good news for the church is that nobody, liberal or conservative, has high ground. The hard news is that the Lenten prerequisite for mercy and pardon is to ponder again the initial identity of baptism . . . “child of the promise,” . . . “to live a life worthy of our calling,” worthy of our calling in the face of false patriotism; overheated consumerism; easy, conventional violence; and limitless acquisitiveness. Since these forces and seductions are all around us, we have much to ponder in Lent about our baptismal identity.

Lent is a time to consider again our easy, conventional compromises and see again about discipline, obedience, and glad identity. And the climax of these verses:

that he may have mercy . . .
for he will abundantly pardon.

Isa. 55:7
The word to the compromised deportees is that God’s face of pardon and mercy is turned exactly to the ones who reengage an identity of faith.

God of grace and demand, you challenge us to reclaim our baptismal identity as those whose lives are built on your call and your promises—not on the easy, seductive forces around us. Stir our hearts that we may engage your transforming word anew and rediscover its power to save. Amen.

(Brueggemann, Walter – A Way Other Than Our Own. Devotions for Lent, 2017)

Ash Wednesday 2021

Today is the beginning of Lent, a period of spiritual preparation for Easter. In Western churches this is marked by the application of ashes on the forefront, as a sign of repentance.

We ask sometimes ‘what should I give up?’ for this period of fasting. Here are some suggestions coming from St Francis.

1st Sunday of Advent 2020 – Hope

A Prayer for the First Sunday of Advent

Father, let your hope arise in our hearts! Lift our eyes up to see that you alone are where our hope comes from. Help us to shake off the anxiety, discouragements, and distractions that have filled this year.

May we pause to remember that we have hope in you.

You know the end of our stories, and we give thanks because you have promised that it will be a victorious ending. Give us the grace we need to wrap up this year joyfully.

We invite your Spirit into this beautiful Advent season. Renew our sense of holy anticipation! Let us be those who are waiting eagerly for Jesus to come again.

More than anything, we ask that you be glorified in this season of expectation. Amen.

(Source, HERE)

Prayer for the Day of Pentecost

(Illustration: a page from the Gospel Lectionary portion of the Bamberg Apocalypse)

Spirit of life
ALL: Fill our emptiness with your fullness
Spirit of power
ALL: Stir our hearts afresh
Spirit of love
ALL: Touch us, and through us, our neighbour
Spirit of Creativity
ALL: Enable and empower the gifts you have given
Spirit of Eternity
ALL: Draw us ever deeper into your Kingdom

Easter Responses in Different Languages

(source of image, HERE)

Abhazian: Kyrsa Dybzaheit! Itzzabyrgny Dybzaheit!

Afrikaans: Kristus het opgestaan! Hom het waarlik opgestaan!

Albanian: Krishti u ngjall! Vërtet u ngjall!

Aleutian: Khristus anahgrecum! Alhecum anahgrecum!

Alutuq: Khris-tusaq ung-uixtuq! Pijii-nuq ung-uixtuq!

Amharic: Kristos tenestwal! Bergit tenestwal!

Anglo-Saxon (old): Crist aras! Crist sodhlice aras!

Arabic: al-Masīḥ qām! Bi-l-ḥaqīqati qām!

Armenian: Kristos haryav ee merelotz! Orhnial eh harootyunuh Kristosee!

Aromanian: Hristolu unghia! Daleehira unghia!

Athabascan: Xristosi banuytashtch’ey! Gheli banuytashtch’ey!

Azeri: Məsih dirildi! Həqiqətən dirildi!

Basque: Cristo Berbistua! Benatan Berbistua!

Belarusian: Hrystos uvaskros! Saprawdy wvaskros!

Bretonnian: Dassoret eo Krist! E wirionez dassoret eo!

Bulgarian: Hristos vozkrese! Voistina vozkrese!

Byelorussian: Khrystos uvaskros! Sapraudy uvaskros!

Carolinian: Lios a melau sefal! Meipung, a mahan sefal!

Catalan: Crist ha ressuscitat! Veritablement ha ressuscitat!

Cebuano: Si Kristo nabanhaw! Matuod Siya nga nabanhaw!

Chamorro: La’la’i i Kristo! Magahet na luma’la’ i Kristo!

Chinese (Mandarin): Jīdū fùhuó le! Tā quèshí fùhuó le!

Chinese: Helisituosi fuhuole! Queshi fuhuole!

Chuvash: Khristós chərəlnə! Chæn chərəlnə!

Coptic: Pikhristos aftonf! Khen oumethmi aftonf!

Cornish: Thew Creest dassorez! En weer thewa dassorez!

Croatian: Krist uskrsnu! Uistinu uskrsnu!

Czech: Kristus vstal a mrtvych! Opravdi vstoupil!

Danish: Kristus er opstanden! Sandelig Han er Opstanden!

Dutch: Christus is opgestaan! Hij is waarlijk opgestaan! (Netherland) or Christus is verrezen! Hij is waarlijk verrezen! (Belgium)

English (Medieval): Crist is arisen! Arisen he sothe!

English (old): Crist aras! Crist sodhlice aras!

English: Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Eritrean: Tigre: Christos tensiou! Bahake tensiou!

Esperanto: Kristo leviĝis! Vere Li leviĝis!

Estonian: Kristus on üles tõusnud! Tõesti, Ta on üles tõusnud!

Ethiopian: Christos t’ensah em’ muhtan! Exai’ ab-her eokala!

Fijian: Na Karisito tucake tale! Io sa tucake tale!

Finnish: Kristus nousi kuolleista! Totisesti nousi!

French: Le Christ est ressuscité! En verite il est ressuscité!

Frisian: Kristus is opstien! Wis is er opstien!

Gaelic (Scottish): Tha Crìosd air èiridh! Gu dearbh, tha e air èiridh!

Gaelic: Kriost eirgim! Eirgim!

Georgian: Kriste ahzdkhah! Chezdmaridet!

German: Christus ist erstanden! Er ist wahrhaftig erstanden!

Greek: Christos anesti! Alithos anesti!

Hawaiian: Ua ala hou o Kristo! Ua alaI o nooia!

Hebrew (modern): HaMashiach qam! Be’emet qam!

Hebrew: Ha Masheeha houh kam! A ken kam! (or Be emet quam!)

Hindi: Yesu Masih zinda ho gaya hai! Haan yaqeenan, woh zinda ho gaya hai!)

Hungarian: Krisztus feltámadt! Valóban feltámadt!

Icelandic: Kristur er upprisinn! Hann er vissulega upprisinn!

Idish: Der Meschiache undzer iz geshtanen! Avade er iz ufgeshtanen!

Ido: Kristo riviveskabas! Ya Il rivivesakabas!

Igbo: Jésu Krísti Ébilíwõ! Ézia õ´ Bilíwõ!

Indonesian: Kristus telah bangkit! Dia benar-benar telah bangkit!

Interlingua: Christo ha resurgite! Vermente ille ha resurgite! or Christo ha resurrecte! Vermente ille ha resurrecte!

Irish (old): Asréracht Críst! Asréracht Hé-som co dearb!

Irish: Tá Críost éirithe! Go deimhin, tá sé éirithe!

Italian: Cristo è risorto! È veramente risorto!

Japonese: Harisutosu fukkatsu! Jitsu ni fukkatsu!

Javanese: Kristus sampun wungu! Saesto panjene ganipun sampun wungu!

Kapampangan: Y Cristo sinubli yang mebie! Sinubli ya pin mebie!

Kikuyu: Kristo ni muriuku! Ni muriuku nema!

Korean: Kristo Gesso Buhwal ha sho sumnida! Chamuro Buhwal ha sho sumnida!

Korean: Kristo gesso! Buhar ha sho nay!

Latin: Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!

Latvian: Kristus ir augsham sales! Teyasham ir augsham sales vinsch!

Letonian: Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!

Lituanian: Kristus prisikėlė! Tikrai prisikėlė!

Lugandan: Kristo ajukkide! Amajim ajukkide!

Malayalam: Christu uyirthezhunnettu! Theerchayayum uyirthezhunnettu!

Malgash: Nitsangana tamin’ny maty i Kristy! Nitsangana marina tokoa izy!

Maltese: Kristu qam! Huwa qam tassew! or Kristu qam mill-mewt! Huwa qam tassew!

Manx: Taw Creest Ereen! Taw Shay Ereen Guhdyne!

Marathi: Yeshu Khrist uthla ahe! Kharokhar uthla ahe!

Mari: Hristos îlîj kînelîn! Ciînak îlîj kînelîn!

Navajo: Christ daaztsą́ą́dę́ę́ʼ náádiidzáá! Tʼáá aaníí daaztsą́ą́dę́ę́ʼ náádiidzáá!

Nigerian: Jesu Kristi ebiliwo! Ezia o’ biliwo!

Norwegian: Kristus er oppstanden! Han er sannelig oppstanden!

Persian: Masih barkhaste ast! Be rasti barkhaste ast!

Polish: Chrystus zmartwychwstał! Prawdziwie zmartwychwstał!

Portuguese: Cristo ressuscitou! Em verdade ressuscitou!

Quechua: Cristo causarimpunña! Ciertopuni causarimpunña!

Romanian (Istro-Romanian dialect): Uscrâsnit-å Isus Crist! Zaista uscrâsnit–å!

Romanian (Macedo-Romanian dialect): Hristolu anyie! De-alihea anyie!

Romanian (Megleno-Romanian dialect): Hristos anghii! Istana anghii!

Romanian: Cristos a inviat! Adevarat a inviat!

Russian: Hristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!

Rutenian: Hristos voskres! Voistynu voskres!

Sanskrit: Kristo’pastitaha! Satvam upastitaha!

Serbian: Kristos vaskres! Vaistinu vaskres!

Slavonic (old): Hristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!

Slovak: Kristus vstal zmr’tvych! Skutoc ne vstal!

Spanish: Cristo ha resucitado! En verdad ha resucitado!

Swahili: Kristo Amefufukka! Kweli Amefufukka!

Swedish: Kristus är uppstånden! Ja, Han är verkligen uppstånden!

Syriac (new): Mshikha qimlih! Bhāqota qimlih!

Syriac: Mshiḥa qām! Sharīrāīth qām! or Mshiḥo Qom! Shariroith Qom!

Tagalog: Si Kristo ay nabuhay! Totoo! Siya nga ay nabuhay!

Tigrinya: Christos tensiou! Bahake tensiou!

Tlingit: Xristos Kuxwoo-digoot! Xegaa-kux Kuxwoo-digoot!

Turkish: Hristos diril-di! Hakikaten diril-di!

Turoyo-Syriac: Mshiḥo qāyem! Shariroith qāyem!

Tzeltal: Cha’kuxaj Kajwaltik Kristo! Ta melel cha’kuxaj!

Tzotzil: Icha’kuxi Kajvaltik Kristo! Ta melel icha’kuxi!

Ugandan: Kristo ajukkide! Kweli ajukkide!

Uigur: Əysa tirildi! Ⱨəⱪiⱪətinla tirildi!

Ukrainian: Hrystos voskres! Voistynu voskres!)

Urdu: Yesu Masih zinda ho gaya hai! Haan yaqeenan, woh zinda ho gaya hai!

Welsh: Atgyfododd Crist! Atgyfododd yn wir!

Yupik: Xris-tusaq Ung-uixtuq! Iluumun Ung-uixtuq!

Zulu: Ukristu uvukile! Uvukile kuphela!

NOTE: I am not sure about many of these, so, please suggest any necessary corrections. Thanks. I appreciate it.

Pr Florescu – Semnul Bisericii calatoare

Cristos a înviat!

Pr, Florescu, de la Edinburg, un prieten drag, întâlnirile cu care sunt întotdeauna un eveniment de poveste, a publicat ieri pe blogul său un text cu adevărat profetic legat de sărbătoarea Pastelui.

Iata aici fragmentul de început.

De la Ierusalim la Emaus erau 60 de stadii, adică ceva mai puțin de 12 kilometri (Luca 24,13-35). Dar în duminica învierii Domnului drumul acesta se va face distanța nesfârșită dintre instituția credinței și împărăția cea vie a lui Dumnezeu.

Este aceeași distanță dintre religie și credință, pe care cei mai mulți credincioși, din păcate ținuți în captivitatea ritualică a religiei chiar de preoții lor care în aceste zile se pozează pe facebook în posturi dramatice, nu o vor străbate niciodată

De aici și sentimentul general de insecuritate, de sfârșitul lumii, de dezorientare spirituală: unde să te mai duci, unde să-l mai găsești pe Dumnezeu, atunci când toate drumurile tale au fost în afară și n-ai fost învățat să călătorești înlăuntrul tău

Vă încurajez să citiți AICI restul textul, care este la fel de miezos ca și introducerea.

Fiți binecuvântați!

Christus Victor – A Celtic Look at the Death of Christ

Most of the Western Christians – Catholics, mainline Protestants and evangelicals, look at the cross of Christ through the lens of a legal metaphor. According to it, God created humans and gave them his commands. At the devil’s temptation, they disobeyed God, whose honour, as head of the universe, was utterly offended. Because of human rebellion, called sin, God cursed the entire creation. And thus, death entered our world. At the peak of history, God sent his son into the world, to die for us, so that the guilt for Adam’s fall and our sinfulness could be atoned for. Through Christ’s terrible death, justice was done for the breaking of God’s law, and God’s wrath was appeased. The penalty for our sins was paid (let us not ask ‘to whom exactly’, as this may lead us into all sorts of strange theories). If humans believed that Christ died for their sins (what is usually called the ‘penal substitution theory’) they would be saved, and when Christ comes back, at the end of history, he will take them with him to heaven, while this world will perish in flames. As to those who did not believe, God, in his wrath, has prepared for them the eternal fire of hell.

I imagine many of my readers would be familiar with this perspective, maybe it is also their own, even if they might be disturbed here and there by the way I phrased things. This is the perspective behind Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of Christ, and of many of the western depictions – cinematic, literary or theological, of the events we rememorate at this time in the church calendar. For some, this is the only correct way of understanding the story of Christ. For them, this is the Gospel.

Yet, this is by no means the only way to look at it, and, dare I say, not the best way of accounting for Christ’s incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension. The Eastern Church and the Celtic Church viewed the cross through a radically different lens, which we may call generically, the Christus victor motif. In what follows, I will talk more of the Celtic version of the story.

During this period of Lent, the first I ever spent in Scotland, I did two things which gave me a somewhat different perspective on Easter. First, I followed the daily readings from David Cole’s book Celtic Lent: 40 Days of Devotions to Easter. Second, I am watching at this time the Vikings series, which begins with the first incursion of the Norsemen on the Monastery of Lindisfarne on the Holy Island, the famous Celtic religious centre in Northumbria, which I had the privilege of visiting a number of times.

Cole talks often in this book about the Christus victor metaphor that informed the Celts’ understanding of Christ’s sacrifice, not as a ransom to appease God’s wrath, but as the culmination of a hero saga, in which the Dryhtnes (the Celtic word for Lord, which was originally the designation of a warlord in charge of a band of warriors) becomes victorious in his battle against the invisible forces of evil, in spite of his terrible death, precisely because death is followed by resurrection. And that not because God’s wrath has been appeased, but because death was the entry door for the hero to be received in triumph at his return in the angelic world (the Christian version of Valhalla, if you want).

Watching in the Vikings the painful and courageous death of Ragnar Lothbrok, helped me understand much better how this metaphor worked in the minds of Celtic Christians. To be fair, being a moderate pacifist, I am more attracted to the peaceful metaphors of the Gospel in the biblical text (grain of wheat, mustard seed, light, yeast, etc.) and I have an instinctive negative reaction to the aggressive metaphors favoured for instance by the American obsession with ‘cultural wars’. Though, this may have not been so much of a problem for the Celts, who were (and their hers still are) short tempered, very passionate people, constantly engaged in war between themselves and with others.

However, the Christian version of the Celtic cult of the hero has nothing to do  with physical fighting or waging ‘holy wars’, supposedly for the spreading the Gospel, which dominated so much of Medieval Christendom, booth in the East and the West, but it is about spiritual warfare against the demonic forces of evil, of which Paul the apostle speaks in Ephesians 6.

This reminds me of a very insightful observation made by Michael Green in his book Evangelism in the Early Church. He argues there that when Peter the apostle preached to the Jews, the recipients of the law of Moses, he spoke of sin as breach of God’s law and of salvation in terms of propitiation for their lawlessness. However, when Paul spoke to the Greeks, who had no law of God revealed to them (besides the testimony of God in nature and their own conscience, as Paul shows in the book of Romans), the apostle spoke of evil in terms of people being enslaved by fear of the primordial forces of evil, and he presented salvation in terms of liberation from under the oppression of these forces and the adoption of these Gentiles as daughters and sons of the God of love, who sacrificed his own son in order to liberate them and give them life in all its fulness, the resurrection of Christ being the guarantee of this promise, which was to be accepted by faith.

Because of their cultural resemblance, I find the Celtic view of Easter much closer to the way in which Paul preached to the Greeks. Same was true, I guess, about Viking culture. As a result, the Norsemen may have been victorious against the Scots and the Anglo-Saxons, but, in the end, they themselves were conquered spiritually by the Christus victor, the Dryhtnes, the hero, whose glorious victory we remember and celebrate these days.

So, I invite you to look at the cross with new eyes and to get enriched with this new perspective, which will give new meaning to your song ‘Christ is risen’.

Teofil Stanciu – Evanghelicii romani fata cu viitorul

Teo Stanciu a publicat recent pe situl revistei Convergente o analiza a situatiei evanghelicilor romani in acest moment, in fata provocarilor viitorului. Ramine de vazut daca acest text va reusi sa lanseze o discutie in jurul acestei teme in spatiul evanghelic, ori va fi ignorat, asa cum s-a intimplat si cu altele de acest gen inaintea lui. Iata mai jos introducerea in acest articol:

Dacă în anii comunismului, cultele și comunitățile evanghelice erau orientate spre interior, cu minime legături cu societatea și probleme ei, deceniile ulterioare au fost caracterizate, în opinia mea, de un comportament preponderent reactiv față de problemele ivite, atât la nivel instituțional, cât și la nivelul poporului credincios al mișcării evanghelice – iar asta atunci când s-a coagulat cât de cât o reacție. Explicabil într-o anumită măsură, acest comportament înseamnă, în fapt, că o problemă nu există decât în momentul când afectează în mod direct și viața comunității. Iar în situațiile și mai deplorabile, anumite probleme devin reale abia atunci când se regăsesc în cercurile liderilor ecleziali (în familiile sau printre prietenii lor) fără a mai putea fi mascate. În rest, pot fi multă vreme ignorate.

Acest reflex reactiv mi se pare că este confirmat – fie și indirect – de câteva dintre dezbaterile importante din trecut pe fond ratate în bună măsură de către cultele evanghelice: despărțirea demnă de trecutul comunist; poziționarea ca reper moral public (oricât de mic, dar măcar consecvent) în societatea românească măcinată de tarele unui regim care a ucis zeci de mii de oameni, care a mutilat caractere și a distrus orice ierarhie de valori; migrația economică românească; integrarea europeană; ba chiar și recentul referendum pentru definiția familiei. Teme mari și grele, unde dezbaterea teologică serioasă și încercarea unor răspunsuri temeinice nu s-au făcut remarcate nici măcar în interiorul cultelor evanghelice – nu includ aici „răspunsuri” date preț de o predică, ce nu are cum trece drept demers teologic consistent.

Prinși în verva războiului cultural – foarte recent descoperit – cu diverse ideologii „stângiste”, război importat în mare parte cu temele, temerile și strategiile americane, evanghelicii amână cât pot mai mult soluționarea unor probleme tot mai prezente și tot mai complexe din imediata vecinătate. De asemenea, prezența (mai reală sau mai imaginată) pe frontul luptei pentru cauza creștină conferă o consolare morală pentru lipsa unor demersuri constructive, a reflecției teologice elaborate, profunde și complexe asupra realităților contemporane. Însă chiar și problemele conexe acestor ideologii necesită și o abordare pastorală, mult mai complicată decât poziționarea ideologică ușor de făcut și adesea lipsită de elementul uman și de orice urmă de compasiune.

Departe de a se limita la invazia ideologiilor progresiste (multe dintre ele îngrijorătoare și necesitând cu siguranță o poziționare), temele ce vor necesita un răspuns cât mai urgent – și, bine-ar fi, cât mai consistent – vin din mai multe direcții simultan: dinspre filosofie (unde e mare penurie de evanghelici angajați în dialogul cu lumea culturală), teologie, morală, ecleziologie, economie, politică, psihologie, știință, tehnologie, bioetică etc. Iar răspunsurile care vor conta va fi nevoie să iasă din sfera abordărilor actuale: predicoase, șablonarde, previzibile, de inspirație mai ales americană-populară/populistă, preluate cu minim efort de contextualizare.

Fără să fac o ierarhizare și o clasificare riguroasă, voi semnala câteva dintre problemele – de intensități și categorii foarte diferite – care cred că se vor prăvăli peste evanghelici cu o tot mai mare forță și reclamând tot mai acut niște soluții temeinice. Fără aceste soluții, sunt șanse mari ca evanghelicii din România să (re)cadă într-o irelevanță culpabilă și păguboasă, dar probabil meritată. Asta după ce s-au făcut remarcați, măcar mediatic, în ultimii ani în câteva rânduri. Nu am însă în vedere nici o utopică angajare generală a comunităților în astfel de demersuri teologice, ci pur și simplu interesul serios, consecvent al unor oameni – asumați de către „sistem” sau de mișcarea evanghelică – cât de cât competenți care ar vrea să și înțeleagă, nu doar să combată repede și să puncteze mediatic (cum se întâmplă în prezent) și ar încerca să elaboreze niște poziții teologice, temeinic ancorate în spiritul Scripturii, bine cumpănite sub raport intelectual și spiritual deopotrivă.

Cititi AICI restul articolului.

Richard Rohr – First Sunday of Advent – Darkness

Advent [meaning “coming”], to the Church Fathers, was the right naming of the season when light and life are fading. They urged the faithful to set aside four weeks to fast, give, and pray—all ways to strip down, to let the bared soul recall what it knows beneath its fear of the dark, to know what Jesus called “the one thing necessary”: that there is One who is the source of all life, One who comes to be with us and in us, even, especially, in darkness and death. One who brings a new beginning. —Gayle Boss [1]

I hope it isn’t difficult to understand why I’m beginning the Advent season reflecting on darkness. [2] I’m not trying to be a spoilsport, but once Thanksgiving is over, we in the United States are rushed headlong into the Christmas season. Yet Advent was once (and still can be) a time of waiting, a time of hoping without knowing, a time of emptying so that we can be filled by the divine Presence. Though you may be wrapping gifts, planning special meals, and spending time with family and friends, I hope you will also take time to allow the Advent darkness to do its work as well. 

Not knowing or uncertainty is a kind of darkness that many people find unbearable. Those who demand certitude out of life will insist on it even if it doesn’t fit the facts. Logic and truth have nothing to do with it. If you require certitude, you will surround yourself with your own conclusions and dismiss or ignore any evidence to the contrary.

The very meaning of faith stands in stark contrast to this mindset. We have to live in exquisite, terrible humility before reality. In this space, God gives us a spirit of questing, a desire for understanding. In some ways it is like learning to “see in the dark.” We can’t be certain of what’s in front of us, but with some time and patience, our eyes adjust, and we can make the next right move.

The Gospel doesn’t promise us complete clarity. If God wanted us to have irrefutable proof, the incarnation of Jesus would have been delayed until technology and science could confirm it.Scriptures do not offer rational certitude. They offer us something much better, an entirely different way of knowing: an intimate relationship, a dark journey, a path where we must discover for ourselves that grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness are absolutely necessary for survival in an uncertain world. You only need enough clarity to know how to live without certitude! Yes, we really are saved by faith. People who live in this way never stop growing, are not easily defeated, are wise and compassionate, and frankly, are fun to live with. They have a quiet and confident joy. Infantile religion insists on certainty every step of the way and thus is not very happy.

[1] Gayle Boss, All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings, illus. by David G. Klein (Paraclete Press: 2016), xi-xii.

[2] For those readers unfamiliar with the Christian liturgical calendar, Advent is the period of four Sundays before Christmas. It is intended to be a time of preparation, through prayer and reflection, on the coming of Christ at the Nativity (Christmas), in worship and community today, and at the end times.

Adapted from Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 100-101; and

Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2009), 120.

A Prayer for Rachel Held Evans

Rachel Held Evans

Almighty God,

we grieve the loss of Rachel and we pray for her family,
and so we remember before you today your faithful servant Rachel;

and we pray that, having opened to her the gates of eternal life,
you will receive her more and more into your joyful service,

that, with all who have faithfully served you in the past,
she may share in the eternal victory of Jesus Christ our Lord;

who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God,
for ever and ever.

Amen.

BCP (edited by Scot McKnight)

3rd Sunday of Advent – Joy


ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now ever. Amen.

(source, here)

1st Sunday of Advent

advent-one-candle
Copyright: hraska / 123RF Stock Photo

A Prayer for the 1st Sunday of Advent

Good and gracious God,

It is never easy to wait…
that may be
why Advent
is so hard for us.

But Loving God,
it is not so hard for you.

You wait for us
to turn from our old ways
toward the life you desire for us.

You wait for us
to admit what we have done,
and what we have failed to do,
so we might be freed
toward the life you know
we can have here on Earth.

But our fears and our failures
get in the way.

We lose sight of hope
and find ourselves
stuck in what we see
as impossibilities.

We lose sight of joy
and wallow in
what is wrong.

We lose sight of love
and focus on the things
that frustrate and anger us.

We lose sight of peace
and bind ourselves up
in the things that divide us.

This Advent season
give us pause to rest,
to wait,
to be still
and know that you are God.

Lend us perspective
this Advent
and call us back to be the people
you created us to be.

As we wait
for Hope Come Down
may we learn to practice hopefulness
and may that hopefulness
teach us to fear less
and love more.

May it strengthen us
and encourage us
as we ourselves
strive to be a people of hope
in a far too fearful world.

Amen.

(Source, HERE)

IX. Crezul creștin – Biserica

Teologul Danut Jemna se apropie de finalul seriei lui de scurte meditatii despre crez, abordind in aceasta tema Bisericii.

via IX. Crezul creștin – Biserica

VIII. Crezul creștin – Persoana și iconomia Duhului Sfânt

Comentariul teologului protestant Danut Jemna la Crez abordeaza aici sectiunea de pneumatologie a textului patristic sinodal.

via VIII. Crezul creștin – Persoana și iconomia Duhului Sfânt

VII. Crezul creștin – Kenoza Fiului lui Dumnezeu și iconomia crucii

Aceasta noua meditatie cristologica continua seria de comentarii ale dr. Danut Jemna pe tema Crezului.

via VII. Crezul creștin – Kenoza Fiului lui Dumnezeu și iconomia crucii

VI. Crezul creștin – Întruparea Fiului lui Dumnezeu

Un nou articol despre Crez pe situl domnului Danut Jemna. De data asta despre sectiunea cristologica a Crezului.

via VI. Crezul creștin – Întruparea Fiului lui Dumnezeu

V. Crezul creștin. Creația și sensul ei

Danut Jemna isi continua periplul printre sensurile Crezului crestin cu o succinta analiza a celui de al doilea articole din Crez, respectiv cel legat de  Creatie.

via V. Crezul creștin. Creația și sensul ei

IV. Crezul creștin – Despre Dumnezeu

ata aici al patrulea text al lui Danut Jemna despre crezul crestin.

via IV. Crezul creștin – Despre Dumnezeu

III. Crezul creștin – Dimensiunea comunitară a credinței

Iata aici al treilea text al lui Danut Jemna pe tema Crezului crestin.

via III. Crezul creștin – Dimensiunea comunitară a credinței

I. Crezul creștin – Prezentare

Danut Jemna incepe sa publice, pe pagina lui web o noua serie de texte, de data aceasta despre Crez.

via I. Crezul creștin – Prezentare

The Season of Lent 2018

This is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 days Lent season of 2018 in Western Christianity, which will end on April 1, the Easter Sunday.

May you have an enlightening time of reflection, askesis, repentance and reorientation.

(Source, HERE.)

Epiphany 2018

The Feast of Epiphany marks two different events in the life of Christ: in the West, the Adoration of the Magi, while in the East, the Baptism of Jesus.

However, whatever meaning is attributed to it, it marks, in the liturgical calendar, The end of Christmas season, and the beginning of progressive preparation for the other Christian feast, Easter.

Christmas 2017

nativity-icon
May you all have a blessed Christmas!

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2017 – Light the Candle of Love

AdventWreath

Today we relight the first three candles of the Advent Wreath — the candles of HOPE, PEACE and JOY.

Now we light the fourth candle of Advent. This is the candle of LOVE.

Jesus demonstrated self-giving love in his ministry as the Good Shepherd. Advent is a time for kindness, thinking of others, and sharing with others. It is a time to love as God loved us by giving us his most precious gift. As God is love, let us be love also.

In the Book of Deuteronomy we find these words:

“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
— Deuteronomy 10:17-19a
From the Gospel of John we hear:
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
— John 13:34-35
Let us pray:
Teach us to love, O Lord. May we always remember to put you first as we follow Christ’s footsteps, that we may know your love and show it in our lives. As we prepare for our celebration of Jesus’ birth, also fill our hearts with love for the world, that all may know your love and the one whom you have sent, your son, our Savior. Amen.

(Source, HERE)

Third Sunday of Advent 2017 – Light the Candle of Joy

Third Advent Candle

Today we relight the first two candles of the Advent wreath. The candle of HOPE and the candle of PEACE.

Now we light the third candle of Advent.

This is the candle of JOY. As the coming of Jesus, our Savior, draws nearer, our joy builds with our anticipation of his birth.

From the Book of Isaiah we read the words of our Lord:

“But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.”
— Isaiah 65:18

From the New Testament, the words of Paul to the people of the church at Galatia:

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.”
— Galatians 5:22-25

Let us pray:
We joyfully praise you, O Lord, for the fulfillment of your promise of a Savior and what that means in our lives. Thank you for the gift of salvation through the birth of your son, Jesus. Create us anew as we wait, and help us to see your glory as you fill our lives with your living Spirit. Amen.

(Source, HERE).

Second Sunday of Advent 2017 – Light of the Wold

second Advent candle

Today we relight the candle of HOPE.
Now we light the candle for the second Sunday in Advent. This is the candle of PEACE.

As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we remember that Jesus is our hope and our peace.

* * *

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

The Christmas season is full of light – sparkling lights on the Christmas tree; houses in the neighborhood decorated with lights for the coming holiday; candles flickering on the mantle; a fire in the fireplace representing warmth, comfort, and hope. These are the images of light we will hold onto this Advent season.

And we hold these images as hope not only for our own lives; but for the lives of those suffering in Palestine, Israel, the Middle East, and around the world. We remember in our prayers this week:

  • The men, women, and children who are living in Gaza; often with only a few hours of electricity per day.
  • The 60,000 internally displaced persons in Gaza still waiting for a durable housing solution since the destruction of their homes during the 2014 Gaza War.
  • The families affected by the 155 demolitions or confiscations of Palestinian owned structures in East Jerusalem and the West Bank during September and October 2016.
  • Those affected by the terrible fires throughout Israel and the West Bank that destroyed hundreds of homes, displacing tens of thousands.

We close with a prayer from The Reverend Said Ailabouni, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Chicago, Illinois:

God of mercy and compassion,
of grace and reconciliation,
pour your power upon all your children in the Middle East:
Jews, Muslims and Christians,
Palestinians and Israelis.
Let hatred be turned into love, fear to trust, despair to hope,
oppression to freedom, occupation to liberation,
that violent encounters may be replaced by loving embraces,
and peace and justice could be experienced by all.

(Source, Churches for Middle East Peace.)

 

 

 

 

First Sunday of Advent 2017 – Light Shines in Darkness

AdventWreath-celtic

In him was life,
and that life was the light of the people.
The light shines in darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:4-5)

Advent is a season of waiting. The anticipation of things to come. The desperate hope that the darkness of the world is not the end of the story; but one day light will prevail.

For those invested and paying attention to the political realities of the Middle East, often darkness seems to rule the day. There is much darkness to lament.

The darkness of the Syrian conflict that has raged for more than half a decade and has

resulted in the displacement and death of millions… Continue reading “First Sunday of Advent 2017 – Light Shines in Darkness”

Women and the Creed: “For Us Humans and for Our Salvation” – Public Orthodoxy

Source: Women and the Creed: “For Us Humans and for Our Salvation” – Public Orthodoxy

An Orthodox case for the use of inclusive language in the translation of the CReed. Remarkable.

Christ Is Risen! Rejoice!

My Easter ikon this year comes from Egypt, in commemoration of the Coptic martyrs who died there at the hand of religious fanatics on Palm Sunday. May the Lord bless them and rest them with the saints!