Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gethsemane and the Cross: The Tomb and the New Man

by Father Matta El Maskeen (Matthew the Poor)

Not from fear of death did terror enter Your heart. Your heartbeat was reviving the heavens, raising the earth, establishing the principle of life for every living thing.
Glory to Him who stood a stone's throw from His chosen disciples;

Glory to Him who stood dejected till death with a deep inward sadness, yet living still;

Glory to Him who, though a beloved Son, knelt on the ground before the Father to whom all prayers are lifted;

Glory to him who was struck to the ground with his face marred yet who owns the heavenly face before which all heavenly hosts are awed;

Glory to Him who, in agony of soul and bitter suffering, sweated great drops of blood from His forehead, because of the weariness and grief that had ravaged his flesh during his hour of trial.

He lives, and is the giver of life.

Not from fear of death did terror enter Your heart. Your heartbeat was reviving the heavens, raising the earth, establishing the principle of life for every living thing. Nor did terror enter Your heart out of fear of the pain and suffering to come, for You are the Comforter of those who suffer, the one who wipes away every tear, and strengthens the heart of the distressed. You bear the pain of every soul that takes refuge in Your bosom.

No alarm arose in You at the approach of an enemy who had the power of death in his hands, for it was You who terrorized him and overcame his power. With Your cross you bound and threw him into the eternal fire that devours all enemies of truth, all liars, and the father of lies. You are the One and Only present Eternal Truth who judges and brings to final annihilation the evil that has degraded and humiliated mankind.

I discovered Your mystery. The source of Your grief was revealed to me, by which You attained the degree of death without dying. I realized the extent of your spiritual suffering and torture. Indeed, I realized the mystery of Your face that was marred by the earth's dust and by the endless flowing of tears and the gushing sweat, like blood.

I learned from You the reason for the fear that took complete hold of You and entered deep into Your heart.

I also learned the mystery of the fear of the pain that gripped Your soul, not Your flesh, and the mystery of the suffering that tormented Your spirit, and the torture You suffered from being cut off from Your Father's loe. You suffered alone, for it was the Father's will to bruise You with grief (Is. 53:10.) Why should You therefore not grieve the grief of those dying without a saviour?

I got to know the measure of the pain you experienced; the tears, the broken heart, and the fear of what was about to happen. You were forsaken by the Father. It was His will to abandon You, a beloved Son of the Father.

Indeed, I got to know, I was convinced, and the mystery was revealed to me:

Your Father made You bear the full weight of all the sins of mankind, though You were innocent of them all. From the very beginning, in the eternal council chamber of the Father, You accepted the responsibility of bearing them. Because of this, You submitted to the incarnation, and bore it according to Your will and Your Father's will.

Yet when I saw the significance of the Father's inevitable hostility to that sin, I was horrified. For how could the Father be so unyielding when You were one with Him, present in His fatherly bosom, and came from Him? If the sin of blasphemy is the mother of sins, how could You bear it in Your flesh an dhow could You stand with it before Your Father? How could You be as one who denies Him? What terror and what fear must have overtaken You? Was it possible? Did the Father allow this?

Yes! When He allowed mankind's sins to be placed on You in order to redeem them, He did allow it! What rending of Your soul! How could You stand before Him in your holy purity, bearing the sin of fornication as if you were an adulterer, indeed the chief of all the world's adulterers?

Now, I know Your heartbreak and the reason Your face was covered in dust so as not to be seen by the Father, and the mystery of those tears and sweat flowing like blood! The load must have been unbearable as the Father's hand was laid on You. Why didn't You throw Yourself to the ground and let courage escape You, deceived by the familiarity linking You to Your Father, though it remained in You?

Do You bear man's lies and assume his sins, his deceptions, his denial of turth, and his rejection of what is right whilst being at the same the embodiment of Righteousness and Truth? How could You stand before the Father as a liar and as the representative of all liars? Did You bear every crime that the devil inspired in man? Do You take on the nature of a murderer in order to bear the murders he committed, then do You stand before the Father as if You were the murderer when You are Yourself actually their Father and Giver of Life? How can this be?

You stood, dear Master, as a burglar or thief before Your Father, assuming the identity of the ungodly. It was because of this that You were able to release the thief crucified with You--the first sinner to gain acquittal. I know now the reason for which the Apostle Paul said, "And to one who does not work, but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness" (Romans 4:5.) Why? Because, he believed in the Cross and the works of Him who was crucified.

I know now why You stayed kneeling, crying out with tears to the Almighty to save You and take away the cup, although He did not. Your meek and gentle soul was broken by the terror of mankind's sins! But it was for this very hour that You came. For the sake of Man's sins, You became flesh, drank the defiled cup, bore his burden of defilement and were judged as a sinner!

Now I know the reason for the loud cry, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" (Matt 27:46.)

Had it not been for the rejection that wounded Your heart, that You bore alone as a sinner and as the father all sinners, under the Father's sentence, You would not have been able to die and descend in to the grace for man's sins and remain buried for three days, fulfilling the punishment for the sin of mankind. Mankind would not have been absolved from sin and released from its sentence and its curse, which is death. This is the power of the cross and the power of Him who was cruficied.

You were the Almighty, the Master and the Omnipotent One. In You the attributes of God are fully revealed. You are the One who has known throughout the Old Testament as "the Almighty." This is God's omnipotence that was revealed to its fullest extent on the cross.

This, then, is the new man's value!

Master, you rose on the third day and exposed Annas, Caiphas, and the devil, discarding the sin You bore in Your flesh at the cross. You cleansed man from his uncleanness, burying it with the old, sin-laden body that You took from him. Sin pierced Your hands and feet and side on the cross, in the nails and the spear, causing Your Divine Blood to flow out like a river. A man's body is therefore baptized and sanctified with blood, and acquires the eternal life that is in Him. It descends into the tomb, where death has been trampled under Your feet, and is resurrected pure and sanctified in Your resurrection. Thereafter, death has no power over it; it is a new creation through the Spirit, and shares the glory that is Yours, the glory which You laid down through the incarnation, the cross and the tomb, but which returned as You returned to the Father. In this You bore new man in Your body ot offer it, sinless, to Your Father. You reconciled God and manthrough Your bloodo that was shed and created an eternal redemption with Your Father and gave man eternal life in You.

Thus, in the resurrected body of Christ, man is recreated and raised to sit on the Father's right hand in the highest heavens, just as Christ sat in the glory of eternal life.

Midnight, May 8, 1999

የተመከረበት፥ የታደመበት፥ የተፈረደበት

በዚህች ዕለት የካህናት አለቆች በሸንጎአቸው ስለወሰኑት ውሳኔ ዮሐንስ በወንጌሉ እንዲህ ብሎ ነበር።

እንግዲህ የካህናት አለቆችና ፈሪሳውያን ሸንጎ ሰብስበው። ምን እናድርግ? ይህ ሰው ብዙ ምልክቶች ያደርጋልና። እንዲሁ ብንተወው ሁሉ በእርሱ ያምናሉ፤ የሮሜም ሰዎች መጥተው አገራችንን ወገናችንንም ይወስዳሉ አሉ። በዚያችም ዓመት ሊቀ ካህናት የነበረ ቀያፋ የሚሉት ከእነርሱ አንዱ። እናንተ ምንም አታውቁም፤ ሕዝቡም ሁሉ ከሚጠፋ አንድ ሰው ስለ ሕዝቡ ይሞት ዘንድ እንዲሻለን አታስቡም አላቸው። ይህንም የተናገረ ከራሱ አይደለም፥ ነገር ግን በዚያች ዓመት ሊቀ ካህናት ነበረና ኢየሱስ ስለ ሕዝቡ ሊሞት እንዳለው ትንቢት ተናገረ፤ ስለ ሕዝቡም ሁሉ አይደለም፥ ነገር ግን የተበተኑትን የእግዚአብሔርን ልጆች ደግሞ በአንድነት እንዲሰበስባቸው ነው እንጂ። እንግዲህ ከዚያ ቀን ጀምረው ሊገድሉት ተማከሩ። ዮሐ 11፥47-53

የቀያፋ ንግግር ወንጌላዊው ቅዱስ ዮሐንስ እንደነገረን ከራሱ አልነበረም። አባቶቻችን በትርጓሜአቸው እንዳሉት << መንፈስ ቅዱስ አንደበቱን ከፍቶ አፉን ጸፍቶ>> አናገረው። የክርስቶስ ሞት ለቤዛነት የሚሆን ሞት እንደሆነ የነገረን ራሱ ቀያፋ ነበር፤ ሕዝቡ ሁሉ ከሚጠፋ አንድ ሰው ቢጠፋ ይሻላል በማለት።

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

በመከራችን የቀረበን አምላክ

ከኃጢአት በቀር በነገር ሁሉ እንደ እኛ የተፈተነ ነው እንጂ፥ በድካማችን ሊራራልን የማይችል ሊቀ ካህናት የለንም።
16 እንግዲህ ምሕረትን እንድንቀበል በሚያስፈልገንም ጊዜ የሚረዳንን ጸጋ እንድናገኝ ወደ ጸጋው ዙፋን በእምነት እንቅረብ። ዕብ 4፥15-1

በዚህ ሰ ሙነ ሕማማት አንዱ ልናሰላስለው የሚገባን ነገር ቢኖር አምላካችን ምን ያህል በመከራችን የቀረበን አምላክ መሆኑን ነው። በሰማይ ያለፈ ታላቁ ሊቀ ካህናችን፥ ከአብ ከመንፈስ ቅዱስ ጋር የሚመለክና የሚሰገድለት፥ በሌላ በኩል ከኃጢአት በቀር በነገር ሁሉ እንደእኛ የተፈተነ ነው። ይህ ቃል ለሕይወቴ ሦስት ዓበይት መልእክቶች አሉት።

1 የምጓዝበትን መንገድ የሚያውቅ አምላክ አለኝ። አንዳንድ ጊዜ በዚህ ዓለም ጉዞአችን ውስጥ አስቸጋሪው ነገር የሚረዳንን ሰው ማግኘቱ ነው። ጣት የሚጠቁም፥ ደካማ ጎናችንን የሚዳስስ፥ እንዲህ አድርግ እንዲያ አታድርግ የሚል ማግኘቱ ላይ ችግር የለብንም። ነገር ግን የልባችንን ስብራት የሚያውቅ፥ ውስጣዊ ነገራችንን የሚገነዘብ ማግኘት ከባድ ነው። በሌሎች ሃይማኖቶች አምላክ ከሰው በጣም የራቀ ነው። በክርስትናችን ደግሞ አምላክ ከመቅረብ አልፎ አንድ ሆኖአል። እንደ እኛ ተፈትኖአል። ይህ ወደሚቀጥለው ክፍል ያመጣኛል።

2 የምጓዝበትን መንገድ የሚያውቅ ብቻ ሳይሆን በጉዞዬ ባልደረባ የሚሆን አምላክ አለኝ። ዛሬ ይህን አረፍተ ነገር ስጽፍ ልቤ የከበደበት ነገር ነበረ። ነገር ግን ይህን ቃል እንዳስብ መንፈስ ቅዱስ መራኝ። <እንደ እኔ የተፈተነ> አምላክ አለኝ። የተገፋ፥ መከራ የደረሰበት፥ የተጠማ፥ የተናቀ አምላክ አለኝ። የሚሰማኝን ያውቀዋል። የልቤን ቁስለት ያውቀዋል።

3 እኔ የማልፍበትን ውጣ ውረድ የሞላበትን የሕይወት ጎዳና ስለሚያውቅ፥ አምላኬ ለእኔ ያለው ርህራሄ ታላቅ ነው። የማይራራ ሊቀ ካህን የለንም። ሐዘንን የቀመሰው ያውቀዋልና።
በሌላ አነጋገር ይህ ሰሞን አምላካችን የእኛን መንገድ ምን ያህል እንደተጉዋዘ የምናይበት ወቅት ነው። ክርስቶስ ስለኃጢአታችን ሞተ ስለ በደላችን ደቀቀ የሚለው ቃል ህያው የሆነ ለኑሮአችን ልዩ ትርጉም ያለው ቃል ነው።

ስለዚህ ወንድሞቼና እህቶቼ ብቻችንን አይደለንም። አዳኛችን የቀረበን ህዝቦች ነን። ህይወት አስቸጋሪ ወደሆኑ ድንበሮች ቢወስደን ያለንበትን ሁኔታ ከማንም በላይ የሚያውቅ አምላክ እንዳለን እናስተውል። ይቆየን።

Monday, March 29, 2010

ሰሙነ ሕማማት የመስቀሉ ውለታ

ሐዋርያው ቅዱስ ጳውሎስ ለቆሮንቶስ ክርስቲያኖች < እኛ የተሰቀለውን ክርስቶስን እንሰብካለን> በማለት በመስቀሉ የተከናወነው አስደናቂ ምሥጢር የክርስትናችን ዋና መልእክት እንደሆነ ገልጦአል። 1 ቆሮ1፥ 23። ቅዱስ ጳውሎስ ለቆሮንቶስ ክርስቲያኖች ሊገልጥላቸው የፈለገው፥ ከአይሁድ ምልክት (ተአምር)ከግሪኮች ጥበብ (ፍልስፍና) በላይ ጌታችን መድኃኒታችን ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ለእኛ በመስቀል ላይ ያሳየን ፍቅር አስደናቂ መ,ሆኑን ነው። ሐዋርያው ዮሐንስ ስለዚህ ፍቅር ሲናገር <በዚህ የእግዚአብሔር ፍቅር በእኛ ዘንድ ተገለጠ፥ በእርሱ በኩል በሕይወት እንኖር ዘንድ እግዚአብሔር አንድ ልጁን ወደ ዓለም ልኮታልና።ፍቅርም እንደዚህ ነው፤ እግዚአብሔር እርሱ ራሱ እንደ ወደደን ስለ ኃጢአታችንም ማስተስሪያ ይሆን ዘንድ ልጁን እንደ ላከ እንጂ እኛ እግዚአብሔርን እንደ ወደድነው አይደለም።> በማለት አምላካችን በመስቀል ላይ መከራ የተቀበለው ለእኛ ካለው ፍጹም ፍቅር የተነሳ እንደሆነ አስተምሮናል። ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ከትንሣኤ በፊት ባለው ሳምንት ይህን ይህን የጌታን ህማምና መከራ ታስታውሳለች። ሳምንቱንም ሰሙነ ሕማማት (Passion Week) ብላ ትጠራዋለች። በዚህ ሳምንትም ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ምዕመናንን ለስግደት ለጾምና ትጠራለች። በየዕለቱም ጌታ ከመሰቀሉ በፊት ባሉት አምስት ቀናት የተከናወኑትን ድርጊቶች የሚያወሱ ምንባባት ከብሉይ ኪዳን ከአዲስ ኪዳን ከኦርቶዶክሳውያን አባቶች መጻሕፍት በማውጣጣት ይነበባል። እነዚህን የቅዱሳት መጻሕፍት አስተዋጽኦ የያዘውና ሳምንቱን በሙሉ የሚነበበው መጽሐፍ ግብረ ሕማማት ይባላል። ግብረ ሕማማት በሚነበብበት ወቅት በሰባቱ ሰዓታት ቁጥር የክርስቶስን ሕማምና መከራ በማሰብ ስግደት ይደረጋል፤ መዝሙር ይዘመራል። በቤተ ክርስቲያን የሚከናወነው ሥርዓት በሙሉ ፍጹም ምሳሌያዊ በመሆኑ ምዕመናን በእግረ ሕሊናቸው ወደ ቀራንዮ ይሄዳሉ፤ አምላካቸው ለእነርሱ ያደረገውን በማስተዋል ያመሰገኑታል፥ ያመልኩታል፥ ያከብሩታል። የሰውንም ጠንካራ ልብ በማሰብ፥ ሰው በአዳኙ በቤዛው ላይ ያደረገውን ጭካኔ የተሞላበትን ድርጊት በማሰብ ያዝናሉ፥ የራሳቸውንም የልብ ጥንካሬ በማሰብም አምላክ ሆይ በፍቅርህ ሙላኝ በምህረት አስበኝ ይላሉ።
ለዚህም ነው ስምዖን ዐምዳዊ በጸሎቱ እንዲህ ያለው፤
በመስቀል ላይ እንዴት እጅህን ዘረጋህ እንዴትስ በቀኖት ተቸነከርክ? ወዴትስ ወረድክ ጌታዬ ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ሆይ ፍቅርህን በልቤ ውስጥ ቅረጽ ከክፉ ማሰሪያ ፍታኝ፤ ለዘላለም በሚኖረው ፍቅር እሰረኝጌታዬ ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ሆይ ማሕየዊ መስቀልህን አቅፌ ከእርሱ የሕይወትና የመድኃኒት መዐዛ እንዳሸት አድርገኝ፤በልቡናዬም ውስጥ ንጹሕ ደምህ ይውረድ ንጹሕ መሠዊያ ይሆን ዘንድ ልቡናዬን ያክብረው፤ በውስጡም የሕይወት መንፈስ ይንቀሳቀስ፤ የሕይወትንም መንፈስ አንተን ይቀበል።

Sunday, March 28, 2010

በዓለ ሆሣዕና

በስመ አብ ወወልድ ወመንፈስ ቅዱስ አሐዱ አምላክ አሜን

እንኳን ለበዓለ ሆሣዕና አደረሳችሁ፤ እኔ ባለሁበት ቤተ ክርስቲያን በሎስ አንጀለስ ድንግል ማርያም ቤተ ክርስቲያን በዓሉ የተከበረው በታላቅ ድምቀት ነበር። ከሌላው ጊዜ አከባበር የዘንድሮውን ልዩ የሚያደርገው የሕፃናት ትምህርት ክፍል የአህያ ውርንጫ ማምጣቸው ነው። እንኳን ለሕጻናት ለዓዋቂዎች እንኳን ልዩ ደስታን ፈጥሮ ነበር። የሕጻን ነገር አትበሉብኝ እንጂ ትልቁ ልጄ በውርጫዋ መምጣት በጣም እንደተደሰተ ነግሮኛል።

በዛሬው ዕለት የስብከቴ ርዕስ የነበረው << በሮች ይከፈቱ የክብር ንጉሥ ይግባ>> በሚል ርዕስ ሲሆን መነሻ ጥቅሳችንም መዝ 23፥1-11 ያለው ነው። በትምህርቱ ላይ በዚህ ሳምንት በሚኖረኝ ብሎግ ለማብራራት እሞክራለሁ።

ይህ የመጀመሪያ ቀን የብሎግ ጽሑፌ ሲሆን እግዚአብሔር በፈቀደልኝ መጠን በአገልግሎቴ ያጋጠመኝን ለእናንተ ለማካፈል እሞክራለሁ። ለብርሃነ ትንሣኤው በሰላም ያድርሰን። አሜን ።