Feeds:
Posts
Comments

St. Barnabas | WITHOUT GRACE THERE IS NO HOPE, BUT WITH IT THERE IS NO SHORTAGE. | image tagged in saints | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

Grant, O God, that we may follow the example of your faithful servant Barnabas, who, seeking not his own renown but the well­-being of your Church, gave generously of his life and substance for the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Readings: Isaiah 42: 5-12  Psalm 112  Acts 11: 19-30; 13: 1-3  St. Mark 6: 7-13

Bio:  

“St. Barnabas was a Levite from Cyprus who sold some land and gave the proceeds to the early Christian community in Jerusalem (Acts 4:36-37). St. Paul informs us that hewas a cousin of John Mark (Colossians 4:10). Barnabas was sent by the Jerusalem Church to oversee the young Church in Antioch (Acts 11:22). While there, he went to Tarsus and brought Paul back to Antioch to help him (Acts 11:25-26). It was this Church in Antioch that commissioned and sent Barnabas and Paul on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:2-3). When it was time for the second missionary journey, however, Barnabas and Paul disagreed about taking along John Mark. Barnabas took Mark and went to Cyprus; Paul took Silas and headed north through Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:36-41). Nothing more is known of the activities of Barnabas, except that he was apparently known to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 9:6). Tradition relates that Barnabas died a martyr’s death in Cyprus by being stoned.

“Barnabas was a Jew, a Levite born in Cyprus, one of the first disciples of the apostles, and Paul’s traveling companion until the sixteenth year after the resurrection of Christ. He is mentioned in [Acts] 4, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 1 Corinthians 9, Galatians 2. Part of the sermons of Barnabas is recited by Clement [of Alexandria] in his Stromateis:

“Before we believed in God, the dwelling of our heart was corruptible and fragile; truly it was a temple made by hands, when it was full of idolatry, and was a house of demons. But behold! It has been built gloriously into the temple of the Lord. How? By receiving the remission of sins and by hoping in the name of Christ, let us become new and re-created,because God truly dwells in us. How? When these dwell in us: the Word of His faith, the calling of His promise, the wisdom of  justification, and the mandates of doctrine.”

“Barnabas is the same as “Son of consolation” (Acts 4), from bar, “son,” and nafesh, “recreate, revive, console,” and so on. Eusebius (bk. 1, ch. 14) writes that he was one of the seventy disciples.—David Chytraeus (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, CPH)

Reflection:

“Son of Encouragement”

In Acts 4, where we first meet Barnabas, he may have been encouraged by Peter’s preaching and his bravery and the fact that the scribes and Pharisees noted about Peter and John that,  “…they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished.” And,

“Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

This was probably quite encouraging to the early Church.  Later, Barnabas and St. Paul had a “sharp disagreement” over their missionary plans and especially who would accompany  them in the Lord’s work, see Acts 15:38-40. Yet later, it seems these brothers in Christ reconciled, see Colossians 4:10.    This too would have been encouraging. 

Hebrews 3: 13, we are encouraged to be encouraging, to be Barnabas:

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

The Greek word for “encourage” is parakaleite  and it is the root word for the Holy Spirit.  It is also translated as comfort, help and exhort.  The Lord uses this Word to describe the Holy Spirit, Paraklētos
Παράκλητος:   

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me” (St. John 15).  

Encouragement is a chain effect, spreading from person to person, in secular work and culture but especially in the Church.  In the Church, this is uniquely so.  Literally, parakaleo means “called alongside of”, as you are called alongside your family, your co-workers, strangers you meet and the like. The Holy Spirit is alongside of us with the weapons of the Spirit to strengthen one another.  Pray that when the time is right, you are a Barnabas for someone else and may  you speak a word and parakaleo  and may it also be the Word!

Hymnody

For Barnabas we praise You, Who kept Your law of love

And, leaving earthly treasures, Sought riches from above.

O Christ, our Lord and Savior, Let gifts of grace descend,

That Your true consolation May through the world extend.

—By All Your Saints in Warfare  (LSB 518:17)

Pakistan Police Shut Down Church in Muslim-Majority Village, Now Forcing Members to Demolish It (from The Christian Post)

Wisdom | "BE NOT WISE IN YOUR OWN EYES, FEAR THE LORD, AND TURN AWAY FROM EVIL. IT WILL BE HEALING FOR YOUR FLESH AND REFRESHMENT FOR YOUR BONES." PR | image tagged in bible | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

D-Day and Today

74 years ago today the largest fleet ever assembled in world history landed on Normandy Beach, France to invade Hitler’s “Fortress Europe”.  Many brave and frightened men died this day for our freedoms, especially freedom from political tyranny. A tyranny that essentially outlawed the Christian faith as spiritual tyrants today desire to do so in the “dictatorship of relativism”(Pope Benedict XVI).

Fly your flag today but even more pray and give thanks for our freedoms.  They are under  assault in our day both at home and in the tyranny of the jihadists and the relativists. The results  back then were not a foregone conclusion.

C.S. Lewis, writing at the time, gave us a poignant lesson from D-Day for the Church.  Before the quote below, Lewis is discussing the fact that Faith is not about God having one part of us but He claims the whole and then makes the comparison with D-Day:

In all of us God “still” holds only a part. D-Day is only a week ago. The bite so far taken out of Normandy shows small on the map of Europe. The resistance is strong, the casualties heavy, and the event uncertain. There is, we have to admit, a line of demarcation between God’s part in us and the enemy’s region. But it is, we hope, a fighting line; not a frontier fixed by agreement.

On Pentecost, 50 days after Easter, the  Lord, Holy Spirit began assembling the invasion force, the militia Christi, the army of Christ  to preach and teach His Word.  The resistance, which is the flesh, the world and the devil is strong, the martyrs many, and the event uncertain.   Yet, our hope we pray is fulfilled in the kingdom come. In The Large Catechism Luther taught that in this life we are only half-way pure. I think both Luther and Lewis are teaching that this is, “…a fighting line;  not a frontier fixed by agreement.”  

 C.S. Lewis uses this comparison as one who fought in the front lines during the first World War.  This is the strife of the Spirit in our lives, for us and for our salvation and the salvation of many in Christ Jesus. It is bloody, as in the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us all.  It is bloody, as in the blood of the martyrs who witnessed to Jesus Christ in Fortress Adam in Operation Lord Over All.  Luther sang, “…He fights by our side with the weapons of the Spirit” (See Ephesians 6).  The Bible is the “war map” to fighting the powers and principalities (See Ephesians 6:12).  The devil does not take his enemies alive.  The Lord does take His enemies alive and frees them (see Romans 5:9-11!)   From  1 Peter:

 “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

Let us pray…

Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word;
Curb those who fain by craft and sword
Would wrest the Kingdom from Thy Son
And set at naught all He hath done.

Lord Jesus Christ, Thy power make known,
For Thou art Lord of lords alone;
Defend Thy Christendom that we
May evermore sing praise to Thee.

O Comforter of priceless worth.
Send peace and unity on earth.
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life.

(Martin Luther)

Image result for St. Boniface

Almighty God, who called Your faithful servant Boniface to be a witness and martyr in the lands of Germany and Friesland, and by his labor and suffering raised up a people for Your own possession, pour forth Your Holy Spirit upon your Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many Your holy Name may be glorified and Your kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Biography:  Boniface was born in the late seventh century in England. Though he was educated, became a monk, and was ordained as a presbyter in England, he was inspired by the example of others to become a missionary.  The 8th century the Church was international: Rome, England, Germany, Frisia (Holland) were all part of the Boniface’s bio and mission.   The Word created the uncommon common culture of the Church. Upon receiving a papal commission in 719 to work in Germany, Boniface devoted himself to planting, organizing, and reforming churches and monasteries in Hesse, Thuringia, and Bavaria. After becoming an archbishop, Boniface was assigned to the See of Mainz in 743. Ten years later he resigned his position to engage in mission work in the Netherlands. On June 5, 754,  Pentecost that year, and at sunrise, while reading the Gospel to a group of the newly Baptized, a band of pagan Frisians attacked Boniface and the neophytes.  Boniface and the neophytes were massacred. According to reports, Boniface was carrying a Bible and it was stabbed. So his emblem is the one you see here.

Those pagans who stabbed the Bible are no different than pagans of differing stripes want to do these days, as exemplified by this American anti-Nazi ad from the ’40s:

Image result for anti-Nazi poster knife stabbing a Bible

In Fulda, Germany, are the remains of Boniface along with the purported Gospel book he was holding with slash marks. This Gospel book is a good reminder that in the midst of tyranny, the Word of the Lord endures forever and those who hate the Word can come to love the Lord, as many of us have.  Boniface died while catechizing. He was around 80 years old.

 The greatest, most noted and spectacular event in Boniface’s mission work occurred in 723, when he returned to the mission fields in Hesse, “…was to fell the sacred oak tree of Thor (a Norse god), at Geisman in the region of Hesse.  When Boniface was not struck down by the ‘god’, many people were converted and Boniface built a chapel in honor of St. Peter with wood from the tree.” (Festivals and Commemorations by Rev. Phillip Pfatteicher)  Nowadays progressive Prots and Roman Catholics would probably want to form a dialogue with Norse ‘theologians’, but Boniface and company preached the Gospel, the Bible, Christian morals and catechized and educated the people…without compromising to the pagan worldview nor the corrupt priests Boniface disciplined (1).  

The Church was built and the Lord was the builder.  Even a script writer for The Avengers got it right when Captain America was told to be careful, as he was going after a ‘god’, Thor and Captain America said, “Ma’am, there is only one God and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t dress like that”.  He dressed in our flesh in the fullness of time to bear our sin and be our Savior.  Boniface was dress in Jesus Christ so that many could hear the Word and be saved.  If you want to read more about Boniface read this.  It is so clear from the Bible, Church history, as it was in the ministry of Boniface, the mission work of our forebears to this land, who built churches, hospitals, orphanages, schools, colleges, seminaries, that the work of His Church is to build and edify through mortar and in mortals, because God so loved the world He gave His only-begotten Son.  

+++

(1)  From a letter from Bp. Boniface to Bp. Daniel of Winchester, “…we have fightings within as well as fears, caused especially by false priests and hypocrites, enemies of God, ruining themselves, misleading the people with scandals and false doctrines, and crying to them, as the prophet says, “Peace! Peace! when there is no peace.”  They strive to cover and choke with weeds or to turn into poisonous grain the seed of the Word which we have received from the bosom of the Catholic and Apostolic Church and have tried to sow.  What we plant they do not water that it may increase but try to uproot that it may wither away, offering to the people and teaching them new divisions and errors of divers sorts…that murderers and adulterers who persist in their crimes may nevertheless be priests of God.”

Image result for St.Mark 2:23–28

The Word of God is the sanctuary above all sanctuaries

From The Large Catechism, the Third Commandment:  Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy

For the Word of God is the sanctuary above all sanctuaries, yea, the only one which we Christians know and have. For though we had the bones of all the saints or all holy and consecrated garments upon a heap, still that would help us nothing; for all that is a dead thing which can sanctify nobody. But God’s Word is the treasure which sanctifies everything, and by which even all the saints themselves were sanctified. At whatever hour then, God’s Word is taught, preached, heard, read or meditated upon, there the person, day, and work are sanctified thereby, not because of the external work, but because of the Word which makes saints of us all. Therefore I constantly say that all our life and work must be ordered according to God’s Word, if it is to be God-pleasing or holy. Where this is done, this commandment is in force and being fulfilled.

%d bloggers like this: