After deciding on the general subject matter of this month’s Thought, I read the following on the BBC website…
"Israeli police have had to restore order at one of Christianity's holiest sites after a mass brawl broke out between monks in Jerusalem's Old City. Fighting erupted between Greek Orthodox and Armenian monks at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Christ's crucifixion."
There were a few thoughts which passed my brain on reading this…
I also noticed someone’s comment after reading about the monks fighting each other. He said “Perhaps they're in the Salvation Army”!
Incidentally, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the same place where there’s a ladder on the wall that's been there for well over 100 years, simply because nobody can decide who's responsibility it is to remove it! Six “Christian” sects share control of the ancient church and it appears that the problem stems from the fact that the different sects own different parts of the church building.
It has been reported that the window above the ladder belongs to the Armenians but the cornice on which the ladder rests belongs to the Greek Orthodox. The story goes that at some point last century, the Armenians put out the ladder for the purpose of doing work on the window. The Greeks promptly protested that the ladder was resting on their portion and so the Armenians refused to remove the ladder. It has stayed in that position ever since!
In this month running up to the time when we celebrate the birth of the Saviour of the world, instead of concentrating on divisions and old wounds, we need to think about reaching out to others with an open hand, not a clenched fist. We are told in the Bible to love our neighbour as ourselves (see Mark 12:31). Maybe there is a neighbour we have never visited? Perhaps there’s a relative that we have fallen out with this year? Or as believers, how many of our unsaved friends have we spoken to about the importance of getting right with our Creator God? There will not be true ‘peace on earth’ until Jesus sets up the Millennium Kingdom (see Rev 20:2-7) but we can try to show goodwill to all men.
Titus 3:8 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.
Gal 6:9-10 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
Happy Christmas (in advance) to all and may God richly bless you in 2009.
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!