Orthodox Christians hail 'Holy Fire' of Easter (Pasca) in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Thousands of Orthodox Christians converged on Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Saturday to witness what they believe is the miraculous appearance of "holy fire" on the eve of Orthodox Easter.
The Old City was jammed with pilgrims from the Eastern Orthodox faiths including Greeks, Copts, Russians and Assyrians, seeking to reach the church, one of Christianity's holiest sites.No police estimates were available on the number of people crammed into the narrow streets, but Hanna Anton Signora, a Christian scholar who contacted various churches, put the figure at around 150,000. Whatever the number, it was too much for everyone to be satisfied. Some of the faithful grew angry as police tried to control the crowds, pushing and shoving to get into the church or at least the plaza outside its main door. "We cannot enter the square of the church, which is full of police instead of prayers," said Hussam Sheebi, 16, who came from the northern Israeli town of Acre. A 48-year-old doctor said she travelled from Armenia "to see the light, to pray, to be here and feel the resurrection of our Jesus." She came to witness what Orthodox Christians believe is an annual miracle -- the sudden appearance of a blue-coloured flame inside an ornately decorated marble tabernacle built over what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus. The church itself is built on the site most Christians revere as the place where Jesus was crucifixed, and also where he was buried and rose again to life, the event celebrated on Easter Day. Custody of the church is shared by the Greeks, Armenians and Roman Catholics, all of whom jealously guard their responsibilities under a fragile network of agreements hammered out over the centuries. Such are the sometime rivalries that custody of the keys to the church has been entrusted for centuries to two Palestinian Muslim families. In the past, the ceremony has erupted in brawling and fisticuffs, especially between Greeks and Armenians, and even led to stampedes and deaths. Early on Saturday afternoon, in a totally darkened church, the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, entered alone the small marble structure built over Jesus's tomb, or sepulchre, inside the church. It is believed that as the patriarch prays a blue, shiny light emanates from the tomb and that he then lights two candles it.

Emerging from the tomb with the lighted candles, he is greeted with the joyful cries of the assembled throng and the ringing of the church bells.The "holy fire" is eventually passed from the patriarch's candles to those held by others and then on and on, in a spreading wave of light, to even others, both inside and outside the church.
A music teacher from Ukraine started to cry as she talked about what she holds to be the miracle of the holy fire.
"Jesus sacrificed for us, for our souls and he continues to show us his miracles," said the 33-year-old woman who gave only her first name, Albina.
Hussam's mother, Suher, says "me and my family are waiting until we are able to take the holy light with us to Acre, to keep my family blessed."

Orthodox Christians who are Palestinian and live in the nearby West Bank are generally not allowed by Israel to enter the Holy City. Many of them hold similar ceremonies at churches in their own towns and villages, such as Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Christ.
But special permissions are given to them to enter Jerusalem for religious celebrations, according to the army.
From Jerusalem the sacred flame is transported by a chartered flight to Athens, where it is taken by road, air and sea to light up churches all over Greece and beyond at midnight as the faithful call out "Christ is risen."
In Orthodox tradition, as well as many Western rites, the vigil held on the night before Easter begins with a darkened church that is illuminated by new fire, which symbolises the "light of Christ" manifest in the Resurrection.

Another Christian Martyr in Iraq

Every night on the news we hear updates of violence in Iraq. The war continues and commentators debate whether American soldiers should be there or not. What we do not hear about is the plight of Christian nationals in Iraq. For them a spiritual war wages.
When "Muhammad" first converted to Christianity from Islam, he kept his new faith a secret. In fact, the first person he told outside of his wife and son was a Christian named "Joseph." He knew the risks of sharing his faith with others in his homeland of Iraq but felt led to do so anyway. So he witnessed to his extended family. Following radical teachings of Islam, family members killed Muhammad.
Muhammad's widow sent Muhammad's friend "Joseph" an e-mail after the martyrdom of her husband. She wrote:
"I have bad news. Muhammad is dead. Our family killed him for sharing his new faith in Jesus Christ. I miss him dearly. Muhammad left me two important things: my son and our Bible. I'll never forget why he died. He died for Jesus. I believe Jesus will help me. Tell the people [other Christians] to pray for me."
Muhammad's widow and son are now being supported by VOM's Families of Martyrs fund. This is perhaps VOM's most important work: reaching out to families who have been victims of severe persecution and martyrdom. Each week we learn about new cases that need our support.

Three Things to Ponder: By Clay C. Rowe

Three Things to Ponder:
1. Cows
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.

T H E 1 0 C O M M A N D M E N T S
The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this: You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery," and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians...It creates a hostile work environment.

TH-550 God and Government Notes (last session)

Suggested reading-

Equal and Different by Michael Harper

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood-a response to Evangelical Feminism.

There are two predominate views on why there should or should not be a Male only Priesthood-

Egalitarianism - (Christians for Biblical Equality)

1.)No Gender distinctiveness , no role differences, either in
_the family or in the church-
_and women have the same function.
_belief in the ordination of women.
_dual leadership in the home.
_Definition of 'Equality' is that: to be equal is the ability to do
_the same thing.
_Scriptural basis of argument is Galatians 3:28- There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NASB)

Complimentarinism - (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood)

2.)Distinct roles for man and woman; in the family and the church.
_A mans role is given to him by God to lead and to be an authority figure. This leadership is not to be an Authoritarian but in loving service. Complimentarian is a call to service. Ephesians 5:25- Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
_Complimentarinism is the way that that the Trinity is viewed
__1Hierarchical- Equal in creation yet subordinate in role.
___Bishop, Priest (presbyter), Deacon
__2Patriacrical- Father and Son.
___This is what the priesthood should reflect.
__3Monarichal- Speaks with one voice.
___The Church should be governed with one voice,
___but by consensus. Not as a CEO or committee.
_it has practical implications in the way the world is viewed.

_Definition of 'Equality' is that: we are both made in the image of God, He loves us the same, we are created equal. Men and Women compliment each other this compliment is found in creation by Gods' design; but they serve the family and the church in different ways. God created man and woman in their essential dignity and human person-hood but different and complimentary in function with male headship in the home and church.

Headship Means: a spiritual responsibility in leadership in the home and church the Bible does not address the secular roles.

The Deaconess has a historical role in the Church; as a ministerial role in helping families, orphans, widows, the poor,etc. The Deaconess was mainly for spiritual care versus spiritual leadership.

Hermeneutics of 1st Corinthians 11

vs.2)The content is the Lords Supper as in Chapters 10 and 12
_it is 'traditions' not 'teachings'

vs.3)God the Father head of Christ head of Man head of Woman
__What does 'head' mean?- κεφάλι- kephale (Greek lexicon) the head, both of men and often of animals. Since the loss of the head destroys life, this word is used in the phrases relating to capital and extreme punishment. metaph. anything supreme, chief, prominent

A. of persons, master lord: of a husband in relation to his wife
B. of Christ: the Lord of the husband and of the Church
C. of things: the corner stone

___Spiritual Authority, also headship. There is a Hierarchical order for society family and the church. Hierarchical in the Trinity, Church, Family.

Egalitarian View interprets 'head' as "source" but this does not fit;
see Ephesians 5:23-
For the husband is the "source" of the wife, as Christ also is the "source" of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.

vs.4) Social status in a Greco/Roman Corinthian Society was to wear head coverings Paul is saying that the men are acting like women by wearing these head coverings

vs.5) The cultural assumption is that if the woman has her head UNcovered she was in sin somehow- Adultery, prostitution, or acting like men

vs.6) he is directly appealing to the need to follow these cultural norms that women are to appear as women. Head coverings showed that a woman was under authority/headship of the church.

vs.7)as a man I should not cover my head and fulfill my role as a man He will honor God and a woman fulfills her role she will honor God and her husband as well.

vs.8-9)What part of creation is Paul referring to? The Creation of woman; rib taken from man. If we believe that Creation is Truth the it is clear the order of the roles of men and women. It has theological implications as an argument for order based on creation Paul is appealing to Creation on 'headship' and that is is unchanging. The root of the matter is
timeless 'Shawl Wearing' is cultural and is therefore subject to change.

vs.10)a head covering is a sacrificial sign of authority as being a part Heavenly Worship, if we are going to participate in this heavenly worship it is only proper that we should show this level of order.

It would be a possible conclusion at this point that women are inferior if we left the text here.
In Corinthian Culture women were seen as property, their witness was suspect, because of their gender-her testimony was seen as invalid. Yet the Bible is elevating the position/status of women as seen in the case of Mary Magdalene being the first to find the risen Lord... If you were going to make a believable argument for his Resurrection you would not use a woman's testimony to prove your case...

The Pater Familias (plural: patres familias) was the highest ranking family status in an Anchient Roman household, always a male position. The pater familias had vitae necisque potestas - the "power of life and death" - over his children, his wife, and his slaves, all of whom were said to be sub manu, "under his hand". The patres familias were the only full legal persons. Women were always under the control (sub manu) of a pater familias. The woman was dominated; but Paul called on men to Love their wives, a radical shift from cultural norms of the day...

vs.11)there is an interdependent relationship

vs.12)you need each other- equal in person yet different in Roles.

vs.13)rhetorical question-referring to Natural Law.

vs.14)again appealing to Natural Law.

vs.15)indication of her femininity.

vs.16)this is the Apostolic Tradition- we do this everywhere not interpreted throughthe lens of 20th/21st century values.

What is the principal that underlies the text?

Men and women have a complimentary role, Men and Women should pray and prophesy in a manner that recognises that they are under headship/authority. Equal in person different in roles.

Hermeneutics of 1st Timothy 2

Timothy was the Bishop of Ephesus where one of the 7 wonders of the world resided; the Temple of Artemis

VS.9) when a woman wears these things her dress in this culture would be deemed as seductive.

vs.10) we should worship with good deeds (chapter 5:10) and be focusing on service and not involved with impropriety directly of indirectly.

In Ephesus there was a tremendous strain on the Christians due to the Temple of Artemis and so a lot of False Teaching prevailed-

False Teaching goes hand in hand with sexual immorality-
False Teachers-
1)Sewed Distention through triviality.
2)Stressed Asceticism.
3)Denied things that scripture permits.
4)encouraged women not to follow traditional family roles.
5)encouraged women not to marry.

vs.11)women SHOULD learn... is a step in elevation in this society and should have an attitude of submission.

Submission is defined as: Voluntary yielding to the authority of Christ in another person.

vs.12)explaining vs.11- I do not permit women to be elders in the church to teach, didache Greek- The transmitting of the Faith of the Church is the role of a man, to teach official doctrinal standards. Women are not to be governing or ruling elders of the church.
The women are trying to gain authority in the church-
The only thing Paul is prohibiting is women being
teaching-ruling elders of the church.

vs.13-14)From creation this was so- it is not saying that women are more easily deceived, but that if you want a disaster to come step outside of male headship-
_be what a woman is; a mother, modest, Proverbs 31:10-31, having values, not a seductress. Paul is not saying be barefoot and pregnant, but that your value is in Christ not in your outward appearance, Gods' love is your value.

ch.3:1)overseer is ἐπισκοπῆς episcopas Gr. It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.

Joel 2:28)you are not equal in ROLE just because you are equal in receiving the spirit.

1st Corinthians 14:29-40)Paul condemns an astatic (unstable) experience. The Montanists are a good example. It is not helpful to speak in tongues if there is no interpreter. There is a discernment process that Paul is laying out. Weigh - Discern. Take turns, it won't disappear it won't fly away. When you are experiencing the Spiritual Gifts you don't have to loose control.

So what is it that women should be silent about?
vs.27 speaking in tongues without an interpreter,
vs.30 if some one is seated the other must be silent (don't interrupt),
vs.35 any questions?-go ask your husband at home.
It does not mean they cannot prophesy
The text is saying they should not weigh the prophecy- that involves spiritual authority in the mans role....

Order of worship/prophecy-
Two or three prophets should speak.
vs.30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent.
The ones in authority should discern/weigh carefully what was said.
Wait to ask your husband if there are any questions/disagreements.
_you shouldn't argue during the order of worship.

Galatians 3:26-29)these verses speak to our Status in Christ
_we identify with our status through baptism.
_we are sons and heirs according to the promise-
not gender but through Faith (thank God)
Who? Jews, Greeks, Slaves, Free, Male, Female
Who? Races, Cultures, Economic, Social, Genders.
We are saved the same way as each other, in Christ through faith, has nothing to do with spiritual headship.

-equality in being different in role-

The Charismatic Episcopal Church

We are men and women of faith gathered from diverse backgrounds seeking an expression of the church that is fully sacramental-liturgical, evangelical, and charismatic; a church that is submitted to the authority of scripture, as interpreted by the continuing witness of the ancient church, and governed by consensus. Our worship is biblical, liturgical and Spirit filled, ancient and contemporary, holy and joyful. We are committed to advancing God's kingdom by proclaiming the Gospel to the least, the lost, and the lonely.

The Charismatic Episcopal Church is not and has never been affiliated with the Episcopal Church USA or the Anglican Communion.