Good Friday Reflections

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. MARK‬ ‭15:22-41‬ ‭AMP‬‬

“Then they brought Him to the place [called] Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh [to dull the pain], but He would not take it. And they crucified Him, and divided up His clothes among themselves, casting lots for them to see who should take what. It was the third hour (9:00 a.m.) when they crucified Him. The inscription of the accusation against Him had been written [above Him]: “THE KING OF THE JEWS.” They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. [And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “He was counted with the transgressors.”] Those who were passing by were insulting Him with abusive and insolent language, wagging their heads [as a sign of contempt], and saying, “Ha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in [only] three days, save Yourself by coming down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were ridiculing and mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others [from death]; He cannot save Himself! Let the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe and trust [in Him]!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him. When the sixth hour (noon) came, darkness covered the whole land until the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.). And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “E LOI, E LOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” –which is translated, “M Y GOD, M Y GOD, WHY HAVE Y OU FORSAKEN M E?” Some of the bystanders heard Him and said, “Look! He is calling for Elijah!” Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave Him a drink, saying, “Let us see whether Elijah is coming to take Him down.” But Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed out His last [voluntarily, sovereignly dismissing and releasing His spirit from His body in submission to His Father’s plan]. And the veil [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last [being fully in control], he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Now some women also were watching from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, they used to accompany him and minister to Him; and there were also many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.”

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“It is finished.” He suffered so we could live in Glory with the Father. By virtue of our Holy Baptism We died with him on that cross and come Sunday morning we will be raised anew with his Glorious Resurrection.

However we must not be stagnant just because our Victory has been won for us on Golgotha/Calvary. We have commandments to follow as well as the Great Commission to fulfill. We must not turn a blind eye to sin. We must teach the sinner that they are in sin and teach them of the redemption offered by Christ.

Pray for the world brothers and sisters, pray for those in sin that they may seek redemption, pray for the governments of the land, pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters, and lastly pray for me.

Remember It Is Finished but do not squander the Victory won this day!

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Lenten Journey 2017

Lent is vastly approaching us; this year it begins on St. Valentine’s Day. I know most of you my beloved readers look forward to the daily devotional and homily I post during the journey. Are y’all looking forward to it this year? What do you want to see it included.

Advent Reminder

As we approach the end of Advent I wanted to check in and see what you remember of this time.

The Advent Season and then The Christmastide season are about preparation for the coming of the Christ and then celebrating his joyful birth among us. Have you remembered this or have you gotten mixed up in the secular side of this Holy Season!

What gifts have you gotten to give unto the King of Kings this year? Don’t be so wrapped up in exchanging gifts with each other that you loose sight that we celebrate the gift of the greatest Gift God gave mankind this season.

It is Christ the newborn King that should be remembered first and foremost and we need to flourish with the gifts the Holy Spirit gave to us to further His Kingdom and Glorify Him.

Remember without the manger we can not have the Cross and Empty Tomb! Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord! Veni, Veni, Emmanuel!

Let us pray!

Father, just as You sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus, help me to clear the path in my heart, too. Show me the distractions in my life that block me from all-out worship of You this Advent. Lord, I await Your coming! As I celebrate the first Advent––the first coming––I look toward the day where I will see You face to face. I imagine what it will be like. Give me a heart, Lord, that looks for Your coming on a daily basis. Help me to live my life where I’m constantly seeking Your presence. My offering to You today is my righteous life for I know I am only clean because of Jesus. Show me today how I need to be refined, purified, forgiven. Give me the strength to ask for forgiveness and to then change my ways.

~Sarah Martin, from “The Awe & Wonder of Advent: Day 18

Are you a Modern-Day Pharisee or Once Saved Always Saved?

10th Sunday after Pentecost

Processional Hymn:

Are you a Modern-Day Pharisee or Once Saved Always Saved?
Archbishop Edward L. Tatro, Jr.

This Sunday my Brothers and Sisters I am not using the lectionary for today, instead I was given an inspiration from the Holy Spirit and we are going to do some expounding on it.

Have you heard or even been guilty of saying: “Once saved always saved?” Lets take an adventure through the Holy Word!

We begin in Jeremiah 6: 27-30 (ESV) “27“I have made you a tester of metals among my people,
that you may know and test their ways.
28They are all stubbornly rebellious,
going about with slanders;
they are bronze and iron;
all of them act corruptly.
29The bellows blow fiercely;
the lead is consumed by the fire;
in vain the refining goes on,
for the wicked are not removed.
30Rejected silver they are called,
for the LORD has rejected them.”

Are you or have you become rejected silver?

Let us continue in Jeremiah 7:8-10 (ESV) 8“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. 9Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations?” Moving further into Jeremiah…11:15-16 (ESV) 15What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done many vile deeds? Can even sacrificial flesh avert your doom? Can you then exult? 16The LORD once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’ But with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed” Be careful and vigilant for you may just made yourself tinder!

Lets jump to Proverbs 2:14-15 and Psalm 83:2 (ESV). Proverbs: “who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil, 15men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways.” Psalm: 2For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads.” Do you seek things that are against the Kingdom of God? We are suppose to bear good fruit! What happens to the bad?

Lets go to John 15:2 and Isaiah 27:11 (ESV). John: “2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Isaiah: “11When its boughs are dry, they are broken; women come and make a fire of them.” Again I say be watchful or you may become tinder in His sight!

Let us turn to John 13:18 and Jeremiah 32:33-34 (ESV). John: “18I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’” Jeremiah: “33They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction. 34They set up their abominations in the house that is called by my name, to defile it.” Remember your actions, thoughts, words, etc. will either bless His House or defile it!!!

In John 15: 16 (ESV) it says: “16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” In Matthew 15:3 (ESV) He says: “13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. “ Now let us go to Daniel 11:35 (ESV) “35and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.” Some of us will be refined, however I am not speaking to those right now. I’m addressing those who have become modern day Pharisees.

It says in Matthew 13:41-42 (ESV) 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” O repent ye who only give lip service to the Lord! I know you are probably thinking but Pastor doesn’t Romans 3:23-25 say “ 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” I would agree with you, however, if one continues to wall in sin it says in Romans 1:28-31 (KJV) 28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful…” God will turn you over to a reprobate or worthless mind.

I call upon you to repent, repent, REPENT! Repent and return to the TRUTH! Return to Him, His Word and His Traditions! Claim Christ as Savior and live that way and not as someone who defiles God’s Holy House!

Recessional Hymn:

True Love?

What Is True Love In Christ?
Rt. Rev. Edward L. Tatro, Jr

My brothers and sisters please take a moment and pray with me. Oh Lord, cleanse the thoughts of my mind and anoint my lips and heart that I may teach Your Word according to your Will. Amen.

Jeremiah 6:16 NKJV: Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

I have a question for you my brothers and sisters, I’m full of questions…just because I wear this collar doesn’t mean I am not inquisitive. I’m full of questions…just ask anyone. Today’s question I just happen to think I know the answer to I hope you know that answer too. What is True Love In Christ?

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word Love: as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests. Webster further defines it as: unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another: as the fatherly concern of God for humankind, brotherly concern for others, and a person’s adoration of God.

Yes brethren we see that this word Love has a few meanings yet they are all tied together and one. We love our families, our partners, our friends, and we love our God and with that love comes deep and unending respect.

Therefore, before we get to what true love in Christ is, we first need to see what the Scriptures describe love as.

Song of Songs 8:6-7 New International Version: “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

What is the Scripture telling us? The Word is telling us that Love is as strong as death; it cannot be bought for any price. Love is priceless even the richest king can’t buy it. Love must be freely accepted as a gift from God, and then bestowed and shared with everyone to be fully felt.

John 3:16 New Living Translation: ” For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

In this very verse my brothers and sisters God sets the pattern of true love, the foundation for all love relationships; when you love someone dearly you are willing to give freely to the point of self sacrifice. God also showed us that by offering His Son to die for our sins, that He has for us what is called Agape Love, meaning Unconditional Love.

Now this brings me to the question, how do we love others as Christ loves us? The answer to this may just also be the answer of today’s question.

John 15:12-13 King James Version: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ”

We may not have to die for someone, but there are other ways to show sacrificial love: listening, helping, encouraging, sharing and giving. Think of someone today who could use this kind of love; and give all the love you can, and then give an ounce more. Remember that it is easy to love, yet easier to hate, so remember to love as much as you can and don’t let society and the Devil win and let you hate!

Romans 13:10 The Message: “You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.”

My brethren, Jesus does not leave loopholes in the Law of Love. Whenever love demands it, we must and should go beyond all human “legal” requirements and emulate the God of Love.

Matthew 10:42 New Living Translation: “And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”

How much we love Jesus and God our Father can be measured by how well we treat others. So to fully answer the question: What Is True Love In Christ? We can surely see that the ultimate sign is when you lay down your life for a friend; as well as, showing love to all, even to those whom you feel do not require it or deserve it.

My brothers and sisters, I leave you with two questions to ponder in your hearts, minds and souls. How would you respond if Jesus asked you: “Do you love me?” and “Are you even my friend?”