Category: Clergy Blog

This is a Blog where the various members of the Clergy of the Abyssinian Apostolic Church may share their thoughts, insights and articles.

Understanding The Christian Calendar

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Understanding the Church (Liturgical) Calendar

To understand the Church Year one must understand a concept that is foreign to many Protestant/Evangelical/Pentecostal Christians.

Liturgy–customary public and communal participation and response of the people in a sacred service of worship. In ancient (Greek: λειτουργία), leitourgia, which comes from a compound “litos ergos” or “public service” word literally means “work for the people”

No matter what style of the church you attend the worship that comes from the heart in the corporate or public setting must be a collaboration of all the people to be effective.

Liturgy existed before the Church

In Judaism, Liturgy was in the prayer recitation of Rabbinic Judaism. Like the Anglican book of Common Prayer, the Jews had a book called the “siddur”.From this book, they were obligated to pray three times a day. (This is seen in the life of Daniel).

There were the (Morning prayers) Schacant Shaharit (שַחֲרִת), from the Hebrew shachar or shahar (שַחָר) “morning light”,

The (Mid-day prayers) Mincha or Minha (מִנְחָה), the afternoon prayers named for the flour offering that accompanied sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem,

And at dusk, (The evening vespers} Arvit (עַרְבִית) or Maariv (מַעֲרִיב), from “nightfall”

Liturgy is found in the Buddhist faith, as well as in Islam where again precited supplications or Salāt (“prayer”, in Arabic: صلاة‎ ṣalāh or gen: ṣalāt; pl. صلوات ṣalawāt) are the practices of both physical and compulsory prayer in Islam as opposed to dua, which is the Arabic word for supplication. Its importance for Muslims is because it is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Next- Liturgy and Prayer Books

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The Parable of the “Bags of Money”

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By: Rev. Fr. David J. Davis, DD, OSP

Matthew 25.14-30

Verse 14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. `Master,’ he said, `you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 22 The man with the two talents also came. `Master,’ he said, `you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ 23 His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 24 Then the man who had received the one talent came. `Master,’ he said, `I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 26 His master replied, `You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned, I would have received it back with interest. 28 `Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

 

You cannot examine this pericope of scripture and be contextually true without the ethical back story. Ethics is how we execute judgment, (the difference between perceived good, evil; right and wrong; excellence vs. mediocrity, or even a truth vs. a lie.) Ethics are the practices of you inner value system. What is not only important to you, but who you are; ..”for as a man thinketh in his heart, that is who they become.”

We are here this morning not to shout, or dance per se, but to grow and change. As we look at the text, we are immediately arrested by the dilemma of someone doing excellent, someone doing mediocre, and someone doing poorly.  Notice that the person who does the worst, unlike his counterparts starts off his accountability interview with an excuse already at hand and ready to go. This moment is not a moment of relationship, or family, it is a moment of accountability which is the lifeblood of relationship and family. Members of a group who are simply after benefits with no accountability for their behavior or performance, or productivity are bastards and parasites. What is accountability and why is this not a moment of responsibility? First let me tell you that what you are responsible for is what you were given not in review, but in instructions. I cannot hold you accountable for what I have not made you responsible for. Today you will not leave here without knowing what you are responsible for, and therefore from today forward, you are a steward who is accountable.

Accountability vs. Responsibility- The main difference between responsibility and accountability is that responsibility can be shared while accountability cannot. Notice all received the same instruction. Gays have the same instructions as straights. Poor and rich get the same instructions concerning tithing. Back biters, liars, fornicators, disrespectful folks, haters, jealous folks, envious people, all get the same instructions. Don’t just be a Christian; multiply. Be productive, and don’t just show up in the judgment with the same stuff I gave you. We all share the same responsibility. Be Ye Holy. Being accountable not only means being responsible for something but also ultimately being answerable for your actions. Also, accountability is something you hold a person to only after a task is done or not done. Responsibility can be before and/or after a task.

Theology of Stewardship

Stewardship is a theological belief that humans are responsible for the world, and should take care of it. Stewardship refers to the way time, talents, material possessions, or wealth are used or given for the service of God. A biblical world view of stewardship can be consciously defined as: “Utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.”[2] The central essence of biblical world view stewardship is managing everything God brings into the believers’ life in a manner that honors God and impacts eternity.

Stewardship begins and ends with the understanding of God’s ownership of all:

The immediate impact of this fact is the knowledge that we cannot pay God for anything since there is no currency that matches His budget.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13) He owns Time.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” (Psalm 24:1) He owns all material substance.

“To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.” (Deuteronomy 10:14) He own the immaterial worlds.

“The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.” (Leviticus 25:23)

“Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” (Job 41:11)  He doesn’t deal with earthly monies, or currencies.

 

Stewardship is further supported and sustained theologically on the understanding of God’s holiness as found in such verse as: Genesis 1:2[1:2], Psalm 104, Psalm 113, 1 Chronicles 29:10-20, Colossians 1:16, and Revelation 1:8.

An example of stewardship is in Genesis 2:15. “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” The drive to “serve the garden in which we have been placed” (also Genesis 2:15) sees Christian influence in political and practical affairs.

The concept is also seen in Leviticus 25:1-5 “The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: `When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the LORD. 3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath of rest, a Sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5 Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.” The implication is that the land is not to be exhausted or abused for short-term gains.

Stewardship in Christianity follows from the belief that human beings are created by the same God who created the entire universe and everything in it. To look after the Earth, and thus God’s dominion, is the responsibility of the Christian steward. A useful quote explaining stewardship can be found in Psalm 24:1: “The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it”. A broader concept of stewardship is illustrated in Jesus’ parable of the “talents”, which refer to an amount of money but by implication (and by common use of the word in English) as “abilities.”Additionally, frequent references to the “tithe”, or giving of a “tenth” (the meaning of “tithe) are found throughout the Bible. The tithe represents the returning to God a significant, specific, and intentional portion of material gain. However, giving is not limited to the tithe or a specific amount, illustrated by Jesus’ comment that a woman who gave a very small amount had given more than those had given large amounts because “while they gave out of their abundance, she gave all she had to live on.” (Mark 12.41-44; Luke 21.1-4)

In the text there are three key things we want to walk away from the text with:

    1. God is the one who calls us from outside of time, He is the One who entrusts us with earthly goods or wealth.
    2. He is the one that distributes such time, talent, and financial wealth as He sees fit.
    3. It’s none of my business where the money came from, it’s none of my business where the gifting in my life came from. It’s none of business how long somebody else has got to do what they need to do.

In short, stop measuring things by what others did, didn’t; will, won’t; can, cannot do!

Be content with such things as you have!

Focus on your response to what God gave to you.

Whatever you lost, now is the time to get back.

Fix long term stuff, one day at a time, cause they are usually too big to tackle in one day.

 

Malachi (Mal’aki) the Prophet

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By: Rev. Fr. David J. Davis, DD, OSP

 

Mal’aki was a member of the Great Assembly at the beginning of a second Jewish Commonwealth or State and listed in scripture as the last of the Old Testament prophets. Because of Talmudic legends, some regarded him to be the hero of the Purim story of Esther, Mordechai, but his name sometimes interpreted (Malach), meant angel, or servant of God. He is also been thought to be Ezra the Scribe because Ezra used Mal’aki as a pseudonym in his writings. I believe that Mal’aki is a different person altogether.

 

The book itself is announced in its purpose, in that Mal’aki is a reference to the final prophecy of his book which opens with the words, Hineni sholeach Mal’aki (“Behold I send My messenger”). Only four chapters in length, it is a principal reason why Mal’aki is considered “minor, one of the Trei Asar, Twelve Minor Prophets.” He is thought to be a contemporary of Jeremiah, and perhaps received this prophecy earlier while Jeremiah was active, and along with Chaggai, and Zechariah, he delivered this later. It is the Talmud which declares his prophecy as the conclusion of the prophetic period, during the second year of King Darius’ reign according to the rebuilding efforts of Nehemiah. The Talmud states, “After the last prophets Chaggai, Zechariah, and Mal’aki died, the Divine Spirit of prophetic revelation departed from the Jewish people.”

 

Mal’aki denotes the great intimacy that has developed between Yahusha Elohim, and His people clearly seen in the first line of the prophecy, “I have shown you [Ibry] love, said the Elohim. But you ask, “How have You shown us love?” After all—declares the Elohim—Esaw is Ya’aqob’s brother; yet I have accepted Ya’aqob and have rejected Esaw.” Much has been made over this description of love vs. hate yet it is a expression of a fundamental an Yisra-el thought. That is that though brothers may come from the same household and appear to be equals, their identities and destines are not necessarily aligned. This is evident in that Elohim chose Yisra-el and not Esau as the progenitor of a chosen people. Rabbi Yosef Albo explains that the love described by Elohim in these verses is supra-rational; it cannot be justified by logic alone. It is a love of choice. God having foreknowledge and discerning the end from the beginning made a choice. The term love here is about election as much as about affection.

 

In Chapter One Mal’aki identifies the target of Elohim’s favor and proceeds to tell the who they are to Him. “For I am the Elohim—I have not changed; and you are the children of Jacob—you have not ceased to be.18

The prelude to the daily prayers includes the following declaration of Mal’aki’s:

You were the same before the world was created; You are the same since the world has been created.”

 

Following this loving, sentimental and nation identifying of Yisra-el, the true purpose of the prophecy becomes lucid, the prophecy was written to correct the lax religious and social behaviour of the Yisra–elites, particularly the priests – in post-exilic Jerusalem. The people had departed so far from Yahusha, that when Ezra the prophet came out in the morning to read from the Torah in Nehemiah 8, he had to interpret the text, because they people only spoke Chaldean. They had lost their native language, and their worship.  So, while the priests were going about their duties, they had forgot and forsaken the responsibilities to obey the Lord. God mandated the people should only bring the best animals, firstborn, without spot or blemish, but the priests through the substandard sacrifices which Mal’aki claims are being offered by the priests ignored (Leviticus 1:3, NRSV), and so these priests, who were “to determine whether the animal was acceptable” (Mason 143), were offering blind, lame and sick animals for sacrifice because they thought nobody would notice.

 

He promises the people that Yahweh Sabaoth, (God of War) is coming to bring a curse upon those priests in 2:1.

Beginning in 2:10, He addresses the issue of divorce and domestic relations. He tells the people that they have reduced the covenant blood oath of marriage to a social domestic arrangement giving men the ability to treat the “wives of their youth” treacherously. He accuses the male-men of being faithless and refers to the fact that marriage is a part of the Yisra-el faith, God standing as the judge whose interest is the “righteous seed” that comes from such a union of matrimony. He therefore urges the men to stop their sexual wanderings and remain faithful.

In chapter 3, the last leg of Faith, Family, and Finances completes the three legs of correction beginning at verse 8 through verse 15, the subject is not the tithe. The tithe is incidental to the then current methodology to the established method of financing the temporal needs of the temple. It does not focus on the tithes but rather on “robbing God” or being faithful and honest in our dealings. The text never uses the word “pay” in the tithe, but rather establishes the fact that the tithe already belonged to God. It was never a question of withholding the worshiper’s property or possession, it was stealing something that belonged to another by force. In regard to this type of honoring or giving the offering’s efficacy was established by the attitude of the giver.

 

The final issue addressed by Mal’aki is the eschatological Day of the Lord in 4:1-5,  in which “judgment is coming in the form of a messenger who “is like refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap…”

Why I Wear My Collar

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By: Abp. D. E. Chase, Ph.D. OSP
Presiding Archbishop & Patriarch

The world has many signs and symbols. We are taught from our youth how to discern and decipher weather signs, and in some households, the practice of observing signs from a natural, cultural, spiritual, or occult viewpoint. The Clerical, Roman, or Clergy collar is a spiritual and mystical sign, meant to be a sign to people, but also, a constant reminder to the Priest of the Lord of who they are, what they are and why they are.

Clerical Collars in modern usage have become recognized as a part of a “uniform.” The uniform calls for the individual wearer to fashion themselves in a manner prescribed by an ecclesiastical authority, which is often borrowed from the views and concepts of established Church orders throughout the world. In fact, most of the garments, vestments and accessories we darn as clergy are often borrowed much in the same way.

So, why do we wear Clerical Collars? To answer this question we must first acknowledge the established meaning and purpose of the same. According to BBC News Magazine, “The clerical, or Roman, collar is a sign or mark of a person’s holy calling, according to the Church of England. It is an identifying badge that can be recognised by people of all faiths. Worn by both Anglican and Roman Catholic priests around the world, the narrow, stiff, upright white collar fastens at the back.”

HISTORY:

Let us examine the actual history the Clerical Collar.

The detachable clerical collar was invented in 1865 by the Rev. Donald Mcleod, a Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) minister in Glasgow. (Glasgow Herald of December 6, 1894)

By the mid-1800s, the clergy of the Anglican Communion developed a sense of separation between themselves and the secular world. One of the most distinctive, external symbols of said separation was the implementation of distinguishing clerical dress. Originally, clerical dress was identified by the black coat and white necktie which had been worn for several decades. By the 1880s this had been transformed into the clerical collar, which was worn almost continuously by the greater part of clergy for the rest of the period.

Henry McCloud stated that the collar “was nothing else than the shirt collar turned down over the cleric’s everyday common dress in compliance with a fashion that began toward the end of the sixteenth century. For when the laity began to turn down their collars, the clergy also took up the mode.”

The Clerical Collar was Invented within the Presbyterian Church, of which was adopted by other Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Methodist churches, Eastern Orthodox Church, Baptist churches and the Lutheran churches. Prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) the practice of Roman Catholic clergy wearing the clerical collar as street-dress tended to be found only in those countries where Roman Catholicism was the minority religion. The use of Clerical Collars was mandatory for U.S. Catholic priests starting in 1884.

Preaching Tabs in the Reformed tradition, which stresses preaching as a central concern, pastors often wear preaching tabs, which project from their clerical collar. Preaching bands (an alternative name for tabs) are also worn by Anglican clergy, particularly on occasions such as inductions when choir dress of cassock, surplice, preaching scarf (Tippet) and the academic hood pertaining to degree is worn, as well as at Mattins and Evensong. Lutheran and Methodist clergy sometimes attach preaching bands to their clerical collars as well.

Denominational Practices:

The clerical collar is worn by all ranks of clergy. Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, and often seminarians who have been admitted to candidacy for the priesthood along with their cassock during liturgical celebrations use the Clerical Collar.

Clerical Collars are typically worn by clergy of groups such as those of the Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran traditions. However, many Scandinavian Lutheran clergy wear the ruff instead. Additionally, many Pentecostal and non-denominational Protestants, as well as others wear collars. In the Roman Catholic tradition, major seminarians, after receiving admission to candidacy (and thus becoming “candidates” for ordination), often wear clericals in the seminary or in their dioceses.

WHY I WEAR MY CLERICAL COLLAR:

As we have noted in the beginning of this article, the Clerical Collar is a significant tool to express the symbolism of the calling upon one’s life. It separates the clergy from the world, I that it implies that there is a separation between the called and chosen from the laity. It expresses the identity of the wearer as a member of the three major offices (Deacon, Priest, Bishop).

However, if you ask me why I wear my Clerical Collar, the answer is quite simple…

  • It represents years of study and dedication to the Lord and His Church
  • It identifies me as not just a servant, but a Priest of the Most High God
  • It signifies the sacrifice that the Lord has made for me, and my duty to Him
  • It reminds me that I am not above the people of God, rather their humble servant on behalf of the Lord

Dirt In the Hands of Jesus

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John 9:1-7 KJV
By: Rev. Fr. David J. Davis, DD, OSP

“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way, therefore, and washed, and came seeing”

 

As a child, the Lord Jesus spoke into me that experience is not the best teacher. He said it is merely the most toxic, costly, and cruel. He is immutable, and He is willing to make every Word He speaks an immutable law. He is the Alpha and the Omega, knowing the end from the beginning, He sets the course already knowing the destination.we should never let what He speaks to become affected and infected with the thoughts of men who fail to believe He is able to do all He says He can do. This is an account of when Jesus was doing what people allowed other people did not have faith to believe.

The strength of our text today is that we need to look at the miracle of what Jesus could do for a man who was blind from birth. While eye salves had previously been made to correct non-congenital vision problems before, But Jesus is so convinced of His power to recover the man’s sight the He creates a salve the is crude, unproven and so unsanitary that a casual observer would conclude that it is dirt, and a detriment to health, and not healing compound. He, however, makes known that in His hands, dirt that might normally cause you harm, will bring about a miracle. After all, He’s only using the elements used to make an entire man from scratch. So in His hands in a matter of seconds, a metamorphic change of the carbon in the soil is performed.

Unseen by the naked eye simple DNA is created exactly matching the genome of the man who is born blind. Precise beyond even modern-day cloning or gene tailoring technology, it is not only of the type of tissue suitable for transplant but the identical match of the deformed tissue it will replace. Cellular mitosis causes the stem cells to reproduce in the cupped palm of his hand, and in just seconds Jesus would turn them into a fully formed eye to be non- surgically implanted without scalpel or suture.

But before the miracle, of the fulfillment of God’s word in the man, comes man’s objection.

 

+ DJD

CLERGY BLOG

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BEWARE OF RELIGIOUS PHILOSOPHIES

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after MASHIACH. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of ELOHIYM bodily.  Qolasiym (Colossians) 2:8-9

The warning given in these verses is evident. Man must seek the truth of Yahusha and His Word.

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