Posts tagged Christ
It is Christmas eve 2012 here in Boulder on a snowy night in the Rocky Mountain west. 2012 years ago tonight the savior of the world was born. His name Jesus of Nazareth. He is followed by more men and women in the world than any guru, profit or teacher ever. Boulder is predominantly a Christian community with followers who are relatively quiet about their devotion to Christ. There are very vocal atheists here who are a tiny minority, small group of Jews, and a very small group of Buddhists. Sprinkled in are a few Muslims ( who also follow Jesus) and several hundred very tiny cults of religions. But far and above is Jesus Christ. Tonight is his night. He is the reason for the season.
His power knows no limits. For those who call his name profound miracles have happened even in this day. The following is the story of the first miracle.
The Christmas Story of the Birth of Jesus – Paraphrased from the Bible:
Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20.
The Conception of Jesus Foretold
Mary, a virgin, was living in Galilee of Nazareth and was engaged to be married to Joseph, a Jewish carpenter. An angel visited her and explained to her that she would conceive a son by the power of theHoly Spirit. She would carry and give birth to this child and she would name him Jesus.
At first Mary was afraid and troubled by the angel’s words. Being a virgin, Mary questioned the angel, “How will this be?” The angel explained that the child would be God’s own Son and, therefore, “nothing is impossible with God.” Humbled and in awe, Mary believed the angel of the Lord and rejoiced in God her Savior.
Surely Mary reflected with wonder on the words found in Isaiah 7:14 foretelling this event, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (NIV)
The Birth of Jesus:
While Mary was still engaged to Joseph, she miraculously became pregnant through the Holy Spirit, as foretold to her by the angel. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, he had every right to feel disgraced. He knew the child was not his own, and Mary’s apparent unfaithfulness carried a grave social stigma. Joseph not only had the right to divorce Mary, under Jewish law she could be put to death by stoning.
Although Joseph’s initial reaction was to break the engagement, the appropriate thing for a righteous man to do, he treated Mary with extreme kindness. He did not want to cause her further shame, so he decided to act quietly. But God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to verify Mary’s story and reassure him that his marriage to her was God’s will. The angel explained that the child within Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit, that his name would be Jesus and that he was the Messiah, God with us.
When Joseph woke from his dream, he willingly obeyed God and took Mary home to be his wife, in spite of the public humiliation he would face. Perhaps this noble quality is one of the reasons God chose him to be the Messiah’s earthly father.
Joseph too must have wondered in awe as he remembered the words found in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (NIV)
At that time, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken, and every person in the entire Roman world had to go to his own town to register. Joseph, being of the line of David, was required to go to Bethlehem to register with Mary. While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. Probably due to the census, the inn was too crowded, and Mary gave birth in a crude stable. She wrapped the baby in cloths and placed him in a manger.
The Shepherd’s Worship the Savior:
Out in the fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were tending their flocks of sheep by night. The angel announced that the Savior had been born in the town of David. Suddenly a great host of heavenly beings appeared with the angels and began singing praises to God. As the angelic beings departed, the shepherds decided to travel to Bethlehem and see the Christ-child.
There they found Mary, Joseph and the baby, in the stable. After their visit, they began to spread the word about this amazing child and everything the angel had said about him. They went on their way still praising and glorifying God. But Mary kept quiet, treasuring their words and pondering them in her heart. It must have been beyond her ability to grasp, that sleeping in her arms—the tender child she had just borne—was the Savior of the world.
The Magi Bring Gifts:
After Jesus’ birth, Herod was king of Judea. At this time wise men (Magi) from the east saw a star, they came in search, knowing the star signified the birth of the king of the Jews. The wise men came to the Jewish rulers in Jerusalem and asked where the Christ was to be born. The rulers explained, “In Bethlehem in Judea,” referring to Micah 5:2. Herod secretly met with the Magi and asked them to report back after they had found the child. Herod told the Magi that he too wanted to go and worship the babe. But secretly Herod was plotting to kill the child.So the wise men continued to follow the star in search of the new born king and found Jesus with his mother in Bethlehem. (Most likely Jesus was already two years of age by this time.) They bowed and worshiped him, offering treasures of gold, incense, and myrrh. When they left, they did not return to Herod. They had been warned in a dream of his plot to destroy the child.
By Mary Fairchild, About.com Guide
Easter is considered a high holy day here in Boulder
Jesus of Nazareth lived for 31 years. He is roundly considered by Boulder to be the son of God of Abraham. With all the powers of the creator of the universe Jesus is widely proclaimed here to be God. Boulder has over 20 Christian churches and Christianity is the prominent religion in the city. Followers of Jesus say that he communicates with them through prayer and meditation. Jesus is considered the Christ which is to say he is God.
Easter is the day he rose from the dead and then ascended through the clouds into heaven to be with the God of Moses. The event shook the world to its core. His crucifixion was a sacrifice to absolve all of humanity from sin, sins of the past present and future. Sin is the act which separates humans from love, the love of God and integration with God at the end of this life. Jesus is considered to be alive today and has the power to integrate humans with the universe.
With out freedom from sin humans are destined to “the void ” at the end of this life, so a connection with God is essential for a completed life. This is the one condition God place on human kind when he created us.
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;” from the holy scriptures Deuteronomy 7:9
Jesus was the last person sent to earth with this message. He also said that he will return to carry the message again. What was so profound about Jesus is that he was so real, had such an impact on humanity, that those who call upon him , even in this day and age seem to have a miraculous transformation.
Jesus is also the number one Guru in Boulder. He is Jesus the teacher, the Rabbi and the risen Christ. He has always held the number one spot because of the profound effects he has had on the life of Boulderites.
To find out more about Jesus ask at any Christian church in Boulder.
Although I agree that there are “homeless” individuals in Boulder who might be regarded an eyesore,
“dangerous” when tangled with drug or alcohol abuse, the overall policies the city employs to “deal” with homelessness
are harmful to the entire community — wealthy homeowner, renter, student, or homeless person. It’s not a practical solution to the problem
of having homeless people present, to ask our law enforcers to chase them around and make sure they don’t sleep
in an inconvenient public spot.
Firstly, regardless of whether one imagines the local economy to be robust, or on the decline, or making a comeback –
statistics don’t lie: the numbers of homeless people in Boulder and in the Denver metro area continue to rise. As those numbers
have risen, the number of people on the margin has risen also — people who might be a paycheck or an unemployment check
away from being without shelter.
Asking law enforcers to “do more” — or, “clean up the problem” — is unfair. It’s unfair to the enforcers, it’s unfair to the community
of residents who see the problem growing and are paying for the enforcement strategy that continues to be a failure.
Is it a failure because law enforcement is not doing their job? No, that’s simply not the case — and in fact, it would be absurd
to negatively assess the police department for the job they are doing when people become homeless for a wide variety of reasons –
including injury or illness, job loss, or the entire variety of issues that homeless individuals have which include mental health issues
and substance abuse issues.
Peter Maurin, founder of the “Catholic Worker” movement, which established dozens of working community farms to feed the poor
in the 1930′s, wrote extensively in prose poem digest form of his belief that “What we give to the poor for Christ’s sake is what we carry with us
when we die.”
He wrote: “In the first centuries of Christianity, the hungry were fed at a personal sacrifice, the naked were clothed at a personal sacrifice,
the homeless were sheltered at a personal sacrifice. And because the poor were fed, clothed and sheltered at a personal sacrifice, the pagans
used to say about the Christians, “See how they love each other.””
He believed that if only we expand our understanding, shift our perspective, we might get what the Pagan Greeks understood –
that “the poor are “the ambassadors of the gods”, and that to become poor is to become an Ambassador of God.
It’s sad to see the Boulder city council sit around and discuss the merits of “camping tickets” or other measures
designed to control the behavior of “the unwanted”, whilst all possible helpful solutions are either postponed or ignored.
I say, let’s get it together and accomplish a set of basic goals related to homelessness in our area, a problem
that needs to be addressed directly with specific actions that include creating more low-cost housing and temporary solutions
that lower the level of personal risk for people who do become homeless, and also other projects — like farms created
in the “Catholic worker” model which helped to feed thousands of people in need.
It’s not about advocacy for the homeless, it’s about honoring the basic human rights of people who do find themselves in poverty.
Rob Smoke was the chairman of the Boulder City Council Human relations committee until he talked about “girls ” on his my space page. He is a columnist for Boulder Channel 1 news
Good Friday Saturday and Easter time for prayer meditation for Boulder Christians Jews Muslims, Hindus Buddhists0
In our search of Boulder media we realized no one had explained the current religious holiday season we are in. They reduced it to food, which is a shame because we are in one of the most spiritual times of the year.
Both Christians and Jews celebrate this time of the year. It is Easter for Christians and Passover for Jews. Jesus was a Jew and celebrated passover at his last supper before his crucifixion on Good Friday.. Then there is the question of how do Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists fit in. We try to explain.
During Lent, we should; live as children of the light, performing actions good, just and true
(see Ep 5:1-9)
O, My people! What have I done to thee that thou shouldst testify against me?
from The Reproaches
Veneration of the Cross – The Reproaches
Good Friday ideas for families
The Cross – The Sign of the Cross – The Crucifix, Crosses and Symbols of Christ
On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Good Friday, in the Adoration of the Cross, in the chanting of the ‘Reproaches’, in the reading of the Passion, and in receiving the pre-consecrated Host, we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord.
The Church – stripped of its ornaments, the altar bare, and with the door of the empty tabernacle standing open – is as if in mourning. In the fourth century the Apostolic Constitutions described this day as a ‘day of mourning, not a day of festive joy,’ and this day was called the ‘Pasch (passage) of the Crucifixion.’
The liturgical observance of this day of Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and death evidently has been in existence from the earliest days of the Church. No Mass is celebrated on this day, but the service of Good Friday is called the Mass of the Presanctified because Communion (in the species of bread) which had already been consecrated on Holy Thursday is given to the people .
Traditionally, the organ is silent from Holy Thursday until the Alleluia at the Easter Vigil , as are all bells or other instruments, the only music during this period being unaccompanied chant.
The omission of the prayer of consecration deepens our sense of loss because Mass throughout the year reminds us of the Lord’s triumph over death, the source of our joy and blessing. The desolate quality of the rites of this day reminds us of Christ’s humiliation and suffering during his Passion. We can see that the parts of the Good Friday service correspond to the divisions of Mass:
- Liturgy of the Word – reading of the Passion.
- Intercessory prayers for the Church and the entire world, Christian and non-Christian.
- Veneration of the Cross
- Communion, or the ‘Mass of the Pre-Sanctified.’
The Veneration of the Cross
In the seventh century, the Church in Rome adopted the practice of Adoration of the Cross from the Church in Jerusalem, where a fragment of wood believed to be the Lord’s cross had been venerated every year on Good Friday since the fourth century. According to tradition, a part of the Holy Cross was discovered by the mother of the emperor Constantine, St. Helen, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 326. A fifth century account describes this service in Jerusalem. A coffer of gold-plated silver containing the wood of the cross was brought forward. The bishop placed the relic on the a table in the chapel of the Crucifixion and the faithful approached it, touching brow and eyes and lips to the wood as the priest said (as every priest has done ever since): ‘Behold, the Wood of the Cross.’
Adoration or veneration of an image or representation of Christ’s cross does not mean that we are actually adoring the material image, of course, but rather what it represents. In kneeling before the crucifix and kissing it we are paying the highest honor to the our Lord’s cross as the instrument of our salvation. Because the Cross is inseparable from His sacrifice, in reverencing His Cross we are, in effect, adoring Christ. Thus we affirm: ‘We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee because by Thy Holy Cross Thou has Redeemed the World.’
The Reproaches and the Reading of the Passion
The Reproaches (Improperia), are often chanted by a priest during the Good Friday service as the people are venerating the Cross. In this haunting and poignant poem-like chant of very ancient origin, Christ himself ‘reproaches’ us, making us more deeply aware of how our sinfulness and hardness of heart caused such agony for our sinless and loving Savior. A modern translation of the some of the Reproaches, originally in Latin follows:
My people, What have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!
I led you out of Egypt; but you led your Savior to the Cross.
For forty years I led you safely through the desert,
I fed you with manna from heaven,
and brought you to the land of plenty; But you led your Savior to the Cross.
O, My people! What have I done to you that you should testify against me?
Holy God. Holy God. Holy Mighty One. Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.
Three times during Holy Week the Passion is read – on Passion Sunday, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday. By very ancient tradition, three clergy read the three principal parts from the sanctuary: Jesus (always read by a priest), Narrator, and all the other individual parts. The people also have a role in this – we are those who condemn the Lord to death. Hearing our own voices say ‘Away with Him! Crucify him!’ heightens our consciousness of our complicity by our personal sinfulness in causing His death.
Catholic Commemoration of the Day
By Scott P. Richert, About.com Guide
April 22 2011 The Friday before Easter Sunday; see When Is Good Friday? for the date of Good Friday this year.
Type of Feast:
Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, commemorates the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. No Mass is celebrated on Good Friday; instead, the Church celebrates a special liturgy in which the account of the Passion according to the Gospel of John is read, a series of intercessory prayers (prayers for special intentions) are offered, and the faithful venerate the Cross by coming forward and kissing it. The Good Friday liturgy concludes with the distribution of Holy Communion . Since there was no Mass, Hosts that were reserved from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday are distributed instead.
Since the date of Good Friday is dependent on the date of Easter , it changes from year to year. (See When Is Easter? for more details.)
Fasting and Abstinence:
Good Friday is a day of strict fasting and abstinence. Catholics who are over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 are required to fast, which means that they can eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day, with no food in between. Catholics who are over the age of 14 are required to refrain from eating any meat, or any food made with meat, on Good Friday.
Do protestants celebrate lent, shrove Tuesday, ash Wednesday or good Friday?
Most mainline Protestants do-Episcopal, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran. Most Baptist and non-denominational/independent churches do not. I grew up Baptist and am now Evangelical but work for Presbyterians (clear as mud?) and think we miss something in not being involved in the whole story of the liturgical year.When I was growing up Baptist, all of a sudden it was Christmas and then all of a sudden it was Easter without any preamble. I believe in expository preaching but without the guidance of the church year, you miss the heart of the spiritual journey. Of course, to get the complete picture, you also have to be aware of the Jewish festivals as they also reflect the story of God’s people and redemption as well.
What is Pass Over
The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan. It commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. And, by following the rituals of Passover, we have the ability to relive and experience the true freedom that our ancestors gained.
The Story in a Nutshell
After many decades of slavery to the Egyptian pharaohs, during which time the Israelites were subjected to backbreaking labor and unbearable horrors, G‑d saw the people’s distress and sent Moses to Pharaoh with a message: “Send forth My people, so that they may serve Me.” But despite numerous warnings, Pharaoh refused to heed G‑d’s command. G‑d then sent upon Egypt ten devastating plagues, afflicting them and destroying everything from their livestock to their crops.
At the stroke of midnight of 15 Nissan in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), G‑d visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. While doing so, G‑d spared the Children of Israel, “passing over” their homes—hence the name of the holiday. Pharaoh’s resistance was broken, and he virtually chased his former slaves out of the land. The Israelites left in such a hurry, in fact, that the bread they baked as provisions for the way did not have time to rise. Six hundred thousand adult males, plus many more women and children, left Egypt on that day, and began the trek to Mount Sinai and their birth as G‑d’s chosen people.
Click here for the full Passover story.
Passover is divided into two parts:
The first two days and last two days (the latter commemorating the splitting of the Red Sea) are full-fledged holidays. Holiday candles are lit at night, and kiddush and sumptuous holiday meals are enjoyed on both nights and days. We don’t go to work, drive, write or switch on or off electric devices. We are permitted to cook and to carry outdoors (click here for the details).
The middle four days are called chol hamoed, semi-festive “intermediate days,” when most forms of work are permitted.
To commemorate the unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when they left Egypt, we don’t eat—or even retain in our possession—any chametz from midday of the day before Passover until the conclusion of the holiday. Chametz means leavened grain—any food or drink that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, and which wasn’t guarded from leavening or fermentation. This includes bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pasta and most alcoholic beverages. Moreover, almost any processed food or drink can be assumed to be chametz unless certified otherwise.
Ridding our homes of chametz is an intensive process. It involves a full-out spring-cleaning search-and-destroy mission during the weeks before Passover, and culminates with a ceremonial search for chametz on the night before Passover, and then a burning of the chametz ceremony on the morning before the holiday. Chametz that cannot be disposed of can be sold to a non-Jew for the duration of the holiday.
For more on this topic, see Operation Zero Chametz.
Instead of chametz, we eat matzah—flat unleavened bread. It is a mitzvah to partake of matzah on the two Seder nights (see below for more on this), and during the rest of the holiday it is optional.
Click here for more on matzah.
The highlight of Passover is the Seder, observed on each of the first two nights of the holiday. The Seder is a fifteen-step family-oriented tradition and ritual-packed feast.
The focal points of the Seder are:
Eating bitter herbs—to commemorate the bitter slavery endured by the Israelites.
Drinking four cups of wine or grape juice—a royal drink to celebrate our newfound freedom.
The recitation of the Haggadah, a liturgy that describes in detail the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The Haggadah is the fulfillment of the biblical obligation to recount to our children the story of the Exodus on the night of Passover.
Visit our Seder Section for guides, insights, tip, and a Global Seder Directory.
Rebirth, Passover and the Arab Spring
April 18th, 2011 by Dean Foster | Discuss This »
I’ll be going to the traditional Passover seder tonight, on the first night of Passover, the Jewish celebration of freedom that has been celebrated now for over 3500 years. The seder (or “order”) recall the story of Jews enslaved in a political system not of their choosing in Egypt, and of their release from this bondage, known as The Exodus. And, as all traditions and ceremonies do, tonight we will retell this ancient story through poetry, song and verse, with special foods (like the matzoh, or unleavened bread, representing the haste in which the Jews had to make their escape). Over the centuries, this holiday has become one of the most beloved in Jewish tradition, not least because it occurs in the home with family and friends, and resonates with the hunger for freedom that each generation, according to the Haggadah (or prayer book used at the Seder), must identify and then struggle to achieve.
It is not coincidental that at the same approximate time each year, Christians celebrate the resurrection, or rebirth, of Christ, and the spirit or Easter, of rebirth in our lives, and in the earth itself (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). Being reborn requires freedom, and freedom is a statement of rebirth itself, for in order to move on, we must be transformed.
Seeing Passover and Easter as different events connected by the same story is a simple, albeit acceptable, understanding of both. After all, Christ was captured as he endeavored to celebrate the Passover seder (the “last supper” was a seder), with his crucifixion and resurrection occurring soon thereafter, insuring that Passover and Easter will always be celebrated at approximately the same time: the Northern spring season.
But it would be a dry and limited reading of the meaning of both holidays if we understood them only through their historical connection; the richer reading sees the theme of freedom and rebirth as the much more powerful thread that binds Passover and Easter together. Freedom, rebirth, release from the past: not a Jewish or Christian theme, but a human one. One that embraces not only Jews and Christians, but Muslims, (and Buddhists, and Hindus, and non-theists, and … ) as well.
This spring, the Arab world has awakened. And the message resonates across all the Maghreb, Levant, and Gulf Arabia: Freedom, rebirth, release from the past. At every level, male and female, young and old, freedom to govern oneself, freedom to achieve, freedom to become. To be reborn anew, to start over again, to look to the future, as determined by oneself, and not by others.
Islam has always talked of these themes too, in its own way, from its own heart, but this spring, the Arab world has added its voice to that of Passover and Easter, imbuing both with greater urgency and legitimacy. It seems that the three great Western religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, this spring all cry out with the same voice: Freedom, rebirth, release from the past.
The Jewish seder ends tonight with the visionary words, “Next year in Jerusalem!” Jerusalem is the universal symbol of the aspirations, hopes and struggles of all three religions; the place where freedom, rebirth and release from the past are achieved. A metaphor, for sure, but if Jews, Christians and Muslims can all share the same dream of freedom, rebirth and release from the past, then why not “Next year in Jerusalem” for everyone?
Boulder Atheists embarrass city by launching unpopular protest of Christmas!
BOULDER, Colo. — Members of a Boulder atheist group is joining an umbrella organization to sponsor billboards protesting the nativity scene outside the Denver City and County Building.
Boulder Athiests is joining the Colorado Coalition of Reason to put up three billboards within a half-mile of the municipal building. They say the nativity scene belongs at a church, not a government building.
But the atheist group have drawn the ire from 9 out of 10 people polled by Boulder Channel 1 News who believe that atheism itself is a religion of anti love and intolerance. Atheism is a tenant of totalitarian political movements such as communism . Boulder has the highest registered number of communists in the USA per capita.
The Christmas holidays started out as the celebration of the birth of Christ as a Christian holiday celebrated all over America as an official government holiday. In recent years political correctness have found a way to make the holiday more inclusive by including similar holidays for Moslem’s, Jews and blacks. Some of this is questionable since Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday and Kwanza is a black non religious family day artificially created in Texas to coincide with Christmas.
Boulder Athiests will not alter the Christmas celebration at the Denver municipal building. Countless court cases have all come down on the side of the city. At this point Boulder atheists have only served to embarrass Boulder as anti Christmas. This of course is not true. The number of churches in Boulder also register in the top 10% of churches per capital for America. Though Boulder Atheists seem to grab headlines and other religions proliferate here, Boulder is still overwhelmingly a Christian community.
But Denver officials say the display on the City Hall’s front steps is a holiday tradition that has survived several legal challenges over the past 40 years. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that the decorations, which include nonreligious displays, were constitutional.
Associated Press contributed to this story