Malankara World

Faith of the Church

The zeal for thy house has consumed me

By E.S. John, Australia

King David was zealously aspiring to build a Temple for God to dwell in among the people, but was not allowed because of his hands spilling a river of blood that was the foundation stone of erecting an Israelite empire or kingdom, despite God was not in favor of having a king, as the Almighty wanted to lead His flock by Judges whom He used to choose from time to time. God's presence till the time of King Solomon, the son of David building a permanent building in Jerusalem was compensated by the tent of the Tabernacle that had to be carried during their exodus journey from Egypt to Palestine.

"They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary; for when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "see that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you on mountain", Heb.8: 5.

Moses made the tabernacle according to the design given by God on Mount Sinai, while He dwelt with Moses for giving the Ten Commandments. Brooding over the presence of God and a permanent worshipping place for the Lord, King David's passionate desire of building a House for the Lord and worshipping Him sincerely found its expression in this verse,

"For zeal for thy house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult thee have fallen on me", Ps.69: 9.

Though there was no methodical instructions how to worship God while giving the 10 commandments, it was implicit that how and where the worship had to be done. Moses' five books delineate such things meticulously.

Pattern and form of worship

The Ten Commandments are the moral sides of the day to day worshipping style of God, not the practical sides of worshipping style or form in toto. How to set the venue for worship and what all necessary accessories that are associated with it are all explained in the other creeds and laws.

If there was a technological aspect of how to make the venue and worship God in the OT period, there is also a definite worshipping method in the NT period. Some copycat churches propagate and multiply their numbers by dynamiting the apostolic method of celebrating the Holy liturgy, the bloodless sacrifice, and the first such pattern of service was written by St. James, the brother of Jesus, the name of which is known as St. James' Thaksa. The only difference is that the blood sacrifice is replaced by a web of bloodless sacrifice. Hence the design of the building in a set pattern and celebrating the sacrifice is the core element of the worship of God.

If the High priest of the OT period was allowed to enter the Holy of the Holies only once in a year, the NT period priest is able to go the third holy place any time, as the veil is torn apart by the tearing of the veil of Jerusalem temple by the death cry of Jesus on the cross Heb.9: 1-10. "For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second…..In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away", Heb.8: 7-13.

This is thus proved basically that there is a set covenant formulated by the builders of the church. Such set rules or manuscripts though were written was not incorporated together with the bible, the subsequent wreckers of the early faith make it as an opportunity for mushrooming the numbers of the sects by misinterpreting the bible, despite the early faith is imbedded in the bible in very mysterious ways. The biblical treasures are hidden in a subtle way for the terrestrials, or in other words for the nominal or wayward or cultic Christians.

We can ascribe two reasons for not maintaining the codified set rules like that of Moses' Pentateuch for the NT Christians.

Firstly, they were under the impression that the Lord would come to collect them during their lifetime.

Secondly, they also were not sure that bible would be printed and truck loaded in every corner of the world or could be presented in a match box size or in internet web, so that everyone could read and deal it in their own way. The bible was treated with full respect by the mainstream churches till yesterday, but it doesn't bring any respect or acceptance by some sects that either keeps it under their armpits or in between the thighs or wherever they like to.

I had once two room mates, one a Marthommite and the other a Catholic, Reeth. The Marthommite friend showed a portion from the bible during the course of their hot arguments of the scripture. The Reeth friend got the bible in a fury and just threw it against the wall. There was no physical altercation because both of them were relatives. The Catholics don't encourage or venerate the bible reading because they give infallibility to the Pope, whereas the extreme Protestants' infallibility approach of the bible mislead them to their own undue destinations.

The beauty of the Orthodox Church is that they give infallibility to the church that is the Body of Christ, despite the so-called centrists' one leg in the right canoe and the left in the other one during the cultural revolutions of the cultic Christian sects. Nothing is more important than the number of followers each denomination can add by hook or by crook is the war cry, so that their power can be displayed in the different realms of socio- economic platforms that fetch money and weight from the political system.

There is no more real apostolic church now, Lk.18: 8; we have venues of heterogeneous worships that consists of Pharisees, Sadducees, zealots and Herodians who have paved the way for the crucifixion of the Lamb. There are amalgams of heterogeneous worships that are not a model of the early church anymore. The food that we eat are of hybrid products; the plants we have are of crossbreed species, the people we intermingle are of hybrid ethnicities and races and the worship that we offer to God are not pure like Abel's but of Cain's.

Despite the centrist church claim that its modus operandi is the same as of the early church, the heretical elements from the left and right have defiled it on various ways. God reveals only fractions of mysteries to the seers from time to time, however, all prophesies will have to be fulfilled, though everything is in the capsule form is hidden in the scriptures.

The Holy Church

The church is holy because it is the abode of God with His children. The journey to the church starts from the miniature church, the family that is outwardly is a trinity, father, children and mother. The Holy Spirit who apparently represents the mother of the Christian family cares, nurtures and indwells within the whole members of the family. Just as the holy Trinity is inseparable, the members of the family are also inseparable because of them being electrified together with the fire of love, Jn.17: 11, 21.

As the church is holy, it is considered that each member that is the brick of the building is also holy. Holy Catholicose means that the status or position is treated as holy, whether the person holding the position is holy or not.

"…you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of god in the Spirit", Eph.2: 19-22; 1: 14; col.1: 17-20.

Because Jesus is the head and the flock the body, we are expected to be holy. This symbolic holiness of each member is attained through the sacraments that the Lord prescribed through the priesthood which has the authority of forgiving the sins of the repenting flock. Just as the Aaronite priesthood of the OT prescribed the imperativeness of worship and its raiment, utensils and vestments, the items and the venue used for the bloodless sacrifice, despite a difference in the ingredients, also is same and sacred.

As a prelude to the bloodless sacrifice of the New age, the eternal High priest Melchizedek( Jesus) king of Salem brought bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High, and He blessed Abraham, the Father of faith, Gen.14: 17-24; Heb.6: 19- 7.3. Since then as a token of his gratitude Abraham gave a tenth of everything to God.

Because Jesus has given His Body as our bread and drink, we offer everything and ourselves, not the tithe only, for the service of God in our worshipping places and also among our fellow beings. We may do such things to an extent for the temple sacrifice, but the most important is not the sacrifice alone, but also all our dealings that are done justly and truthfully towards God and our brethren.

"I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless, Mt.12: 7; Ps.50: 23.

Symptoms of the New Age

Parish Assemblies

Despite there have been sacrileges, corruptions, money games, blasphemes and power games in our worshipping places, the modern age that has no respect for justice, values, truth and faith is the uncrowned monarchs of our religious venues due to the blinding of our inner eyes. The difficulty is that these carnivorous desecrations that have driven away the Holy Spirit from the vicinities of our churches and monasteries are the real obstacles for our improvements.

I have either read or heard about one of our bishops who participated in a Holy qurbana (mass) in a Byzantine Orthodox churches talked to somebody who was in the church after the worship. A woman immediately dashed forward and asked thirumeni (bishop) to go outside and talk because they have the strict discipline of not speaking any personal matters or seeking queries where they celebrate the holy mysteries. We all had such traditions once, but they are all out of date since the beginning of new theological encroachments. God's Holiness should be venerated always and everywhere. But tragically the law makers have proved themselves as law breakers.

When I was a young adult, I remember to have witnessed an episode that brought the local Congress party members into the church for a branch meeting due to the unexpected raining, but immediately was stopped by a Marxist Communist member of the church. It sounded as if God belonged to the Congress party.

General Body Meetings

In my youth days we used to have meetings in the parish assembly halls, but all these auditoriums now are for food caterings and public theatres that bring money and popularity for the church. In such a scenario, the parish meetings have become a part of the Holy of the Holies, claiming that the sacrosanct meetings are a part of our worship; thus the church has become a place of these meetings and a fortress for the vicar for inducing scare tactics, saying that the parish meetings are all part of the worship. The clergy that attribute holiness to these meetings inject fear into the minds of the devotees, so that the vicar and his cronies can do anything that they want.

The fear of God has vanished away from the clergy and the so-called believers, as they think that a decorated church and celebrating festivities in a grand and elaborate way conjure up God for their own advantages. They pre-plan all what they want to decide and the meetings are stage managed in tune with their previous arrangements; hence a sane person tremble to go for a General Body meeting that usually propagate holy hooliganism.

The inside of the place also where holy credentials and puja indispensability are kept are lately decorated like pagan worship places, like electric decorations, colorful frills or thoranams (decorations) that block the Heavenly luminosities and decorated Christmas trees with Christmas gifts and the raiment of Christmas father who give gifts benevolently and taking photos and displaying the valuable roles of each self-assumed heroes in sports, camps, choir and many other public and social activities, making an impressions that the `holy' cosmetics are venerated where the golden urn holding the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, the tables of the covenant and the mercy seat were placed once, Heb.9: 1-5.

In spite of claiming that the church is holy, all sorts of cheap jokes and vulgarities, character assassinations that make acrimonious scenes are the usual pattern of these meetings. A determined minority that hijacks the vulnerable ones by threats and false statements bring many of them to their knees. They pervert the truth deliberately by twisting with sugar-coated statements. The audited Accounts are many times proven to be a procession of falsities and a procession of fraudulent super computer gimmicks that could tarnish the genuineness of certain individuals and elect their own bravados for running the parish affairs. Such scenarios are artificially created, so that they could do defame certain persons.

The religious Ministers' ejaculations these days are that let the senior people retire, like in the days of King Rehoboam, and the youngsters take charge of the parish for better management, making a false veil that the computer is a Heavenly invention. The Computer technologies are helpful, provided the data that are fed are not falsified.

Many of today's clergy, together with their associates, doesn't hesitate to go to any extent and prowl upon the innocent ones by pointing out their victim's personal, family and social dealings that seemingly create a black aura, as if they were all angels of light. Many priests hire the youth and electrify them with all sort of new versions of modern spirituality and religiosity. This type of political and real estate spirituality has really sedated the church that sends out the committed youths and their family members to the periphery or to the other religious wolves of charismatic venues.

If the fear of the Lord has disappeared from the clergy and the flock, who can salvage the shpherdless flock. Litigations, scuffling, feuding and conflicts are the outcome of such acrimonious situations which have struck the last nail on the coffin of the Apostolic churches. Personal gratification that mortifies the body of Christ is the last sign of the doomsday religiosity.

Righteousness of God

God is a righteous Judge, Ps.7.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before thee, Ps.89: 14; 7: 11.

There is not absolute truth or justice in our parish decision- making venues. Cronyism from the top to the bottom is the order of the day. Truth is mooted and falsity reigns because of power struggle of a minority that craves in grabbing the power like that of Absalom. The judge allows a lobbying minority to make sway everything in line with the vandalisers, making God as an alien to our hierarchical spiritual order.

As it has become a Sunday club that fosters for thriving the business interests and cosmetic celebrations of rituals and festivities, all our meetings should take place in the church halls, not within the church, due to the desecration of the holy name of God.

We used to have nercha (offerings), oblations, during the festival days; this is now replaced with catering food and pompous decorations and music in the style of political platforms and elections.

Parish or Hierarchical Elections

The church or parish has become a duplicate of the political system that horse trade for power and position in an unethical and monstrous way in countries which go in tune with the culture and background set- up of the particular nation in question. The carnivorous taste of power that whet jealousy and head weight is as old as Cain and Abel.

It is a sad situation that the body of Christ also has become a prey of political black magic. This sort of election propaganda and group polarization that wipeout all our moral and religious fervor has proven to be a deadlock for the progress of spiritual life and its cultivation.

Unity of mind in Christian love is the salt and butter of our breathing; if that is infringed upon without any moral values, it is a sign of degradation of religion which used to impart spiritual knowledge to an extent to its followers.

The clergy and laity work together for this spiritual suicide that devastates our inner strength and moral fibre. Borrow the good side of the voting system, because we have already assimilated within the gamut of the political hierarchy, but don't become a carbon copy of the secular mechanism that is not allowed to stimulate religiosity or godly appetite because political system is devoid of spirituality of any particular religion, as there are different religions and castes and ways of worships.

Morality and religiosity are the common denominators of religion and politics, not any faith or creed of any religion. Our day to day running of the parish with this sort of an amalgam of anything heterogeneous is not a healthy climate for inculcating human relationship that is the grease of our sound existence. We borrow any filth that can help the money-making venture for the parish and also bring glory for ourselves. Instead of religion becoming a role model and educating the secular system, it is a pity that religion has become an identical twin of the ruling hierarchy.

The religious places have become a copycat culture of business enterprises and eating and drinking merriment cafes that also is authenticated by inappropriate biblical verses that sound like `devil quoting the bible', the reason for youth and women power to be highlighted and edified, Is.3: 12.

If we follow Jesus, we have to fight against, firstly, the leaven of the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots and Herodians, then, secondly only against the invading Caesar. We become a prey of Caesar when there is disunity among us. But it is certain that one who girds with the weapons of this formula, one will lose his head.

Jesus whipped out such business zealots that encouraged these sorts of soul-killing trades from the Temple ramparts during the last week of His crucifixion. The cosmetic piety that hides a multitude of sins for the sake of satisfying the lust of the flush, though one knows the normal way of religious life, is the art of the people with the leavened bread, Mt.16: 11. Jesus sold off His life for the last crime He did by evicting the Shylocks from the Temple.

Hatching any plot, saying blatant lies and pulling the legs of the fellow worshippers is a style of our parishes or church meetings during these days of money- harvesting turbulence. But it is only a tip of the iceberg, what is underneath below has no measure or weight or depth. In such an adverse climate, it is better to stop such elections and go back to the culture of the early church that used to select people by casting lots, Acts.1: 26. No more time left to waste our spiritual resources that cannot be enhanced in this age of apostasy.

Zeal for the House of the Lord

The real seal and zeal is the holiness of the Lord who broods in His House for giving the spirit of the Spirit of God. One has to serve the Lord with complete zeal and passion that sheds light everywhere around. The church and its hierarchy should swim against the social currents and save those who are lost in the social intercourse of the spirits, pagans, fanatics, agnostics, atheists, humanists and spiritual perverts.

When Jesus drove out all these Temple adulterers, the apostles were thrilled by the psalmist's zeal for the House of the Lord, Jn.2: 15. "Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, "It is written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you make it a den of robbers", Mt.21: 12-13.

It has really been denigrated as a place of robbery because we have killed the real spirit of worship. We made it unholy through the vanity celebrations and business interests that bring money and pervert the true spirit of chaste faith. Those who intend to go to hell after their death should celebrate their birthdays and wedding anniversaries and other pagan celebrations in this life because we don't get another chance as there is no room for any enjoyments in the place where wailings and gnashing of teeth are our inheritance. We bury the dead with musical bands and long funeral processions because we also celebrate together at the same time their birth celebrations by angels and the faithful departed ones in Heaven where their virginity continue in luminous gaiety and mirth for ever.

One who longs to have an eternal birthday should abstain from all sorts of superfluous enjoyments here. The contemporary writers of Jesus wrote that Jesus never laughed in His life because of His overburdening with the sins of humanity. Instead of sharing and working for the emancipation of the afflicted ones we celebrate in the church all such banalities that are lately imported into our spirituality menu.

While we celebrate such ephemeral prayers after the worship that ask for a happy exit from this plane, is it necessary to pray for a merry birthday when Jesus' birth, death, resurrection and ascension that carved each individual's salvation is assured, provided we also move in that orbit? Have our clergy that say "wish you a happy birthday after the Holy Eucharist" condescended down to the level of street merry makers who sing Hurray, `He is a jolly good fellow'?

Female and gay clergy that are added to the list of abominations of desolation of the Holy Spirit are the final -day saga of the end of the dying planet that is benumbed by climate change, global warming and other geriatric symptoms, Mt.24: 15. The list for the abominations of desolation of the Spirit of God is vast and unending. The first sign of the final day scenario of finishing of this planet is a sign of the real estate spirituality of the knocking off time of this planet. "…there will not left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down", mt.24: 1-2.

Real Estate Spirituality

There is no Holies or Holy of the Holies now. This is about the forewarning of the demolition of the Jerusalem temple that was built in high splendor of elegance and captivation by depositing gold in between the bricks.

It took 46 years for building the third Temple for the Jews, whereas for Christ only three days. Our body is the temple of worship; clean it up first before we start our worship in the church, Cor.3. If we want to keep the temple clean, cleanse our body, mind and spirit.

We also face the same old scenario now; but we are demolishing the church buildings and build big mansions for renovations sake and better modern look, destroying the design and antique architecture of the gothic structure. This mania for real estate spirituality is a contagious disease because of competitions and craving for fashions and cosmetic appearance and also for personal gains. Look or appearance is a sign of modernity and snobbery that we can't help it due to the minting of excess fossil money by hook or by crook.

The same dubious time of Jesus has already blossomed now. Only a slim minority care for the physical or worshipping purity or holiness of the House of the Lord. Only the bishops were allowed to sit in the Basilica or they were only empowered to bless the devotee with a cross in the bygone days, but things have changed dramatically because of the crossbreed theology from the four quarters of the world.

Just as the Jewish hierarchy earned good name and high-profile status by the desecration of the Lord's House, the super-tech era that consumed all the higher values of life and spirituality is thriving by defiling the Holy name of God and His House, highlighting that the church hierarchies are the gatekeepers of Heaven for any Nick and Harry.

But for believers, it is a testing time of uncertainties and multiplicities of standards. Those who live ahead of their times in today's carnivorous world, are put under immense pressures, torments and tortures by the Judases who do anything for 30 silver coins.

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe", Jn.20: 29.

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