P: O Son of God, who came for our salvation and will come again for our resurrection and for the renewal of our race, Grant, we pray forgiveness of sins to Your servants through your own atoning sacrifice C: Amen
(Taken from the Order of Worship for Holy Qurbana)
Dear beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
Liturgical prayers are our faith proclamationsin Christ Jesus. The Celebrant raises (lifts)the paten and chalice while saying this prayer. Lifting up of paten and chalice symbolizes Christ being lifted up. When the Israelite community spoke against God and Moses in the wilderness, God punishes the community by sendingfiery serpents among the people. These serpents bit the people and many died. When people repented before God, He asked Moses to make a fiery serpent and set it on a standard, so that any bitten person when he looks at it will be saved. So here in raising the paten and chalice, redemption and salvation through Christ is being proclaimed. Let us meditate shortly on the following theme based on above prayer.
Our sins are forgiven through Christ our atonement
Through this prayer we are proclaiming that Jesus Christ is our atonement for our sins. It means Christ Jesus died on cross for our sins. The English word ‘atonement’ means ‘at-one ment’i.e.‘the state of being at one or being reconciled.’ The Hebrew word for ‘atonement’ is ‘Kaphar’ meaning ‘to cover’, ‘purge’, ‘reconcile.’ So the word atonement means ‘reparation for a wrong or an injury. ‘Jesus Christ is the propitiation or the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2).
Jesus Christ as God’s ultimate provision of atonement:The word ‘atonement’ is used to describe the saving work that God did through His Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to Himself (2 Cor.5:1,19). Atonement is the act of God, not the act of human. The God took flesh (incarnate) to save the sinful humanity (Jn.1.1, 12, 14; 3:16). The theme of atonement is a very central idea in the Bible – from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation. When Adam and Eve sinned in eating the forbidden fruit, they found themselves as naked and were ashamed to come before God. Though God punishes them fortheir disobedience, yet the word of God says “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them (Gen.3:21). This covering of the nakedness of the human being by God is to be viewed as God’s act of atonement for humans’ sins, by which animals are sacrificed to clothe humans. This act reflects God’s gracious love. In the same way, sinful humanity is covered over by Jesus Christ who is God’s only begotten Son.
In Old Testament times, Israelites presented offerings and sacrifices for the forgiveness of their sins. Animals like sheep, goat, and bulls were considered as acceptable sacrifices for human sins. In the book of Leviticus we read, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying Speak to the sons of Israel saying if a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them, if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord a bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed. He shall bring the bull to the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord and he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull and slay the bull before the Lord (Lev4:1-4). On the Day of Atonement, which was an annual day of repentance for all Israelites, animals were sacrificed to receive forgiveness of sins. (Exo.30:10; Lev. 23:27-31; Num.29:7-11). The Israelites believed that the sacrificial blood of the animal becomes the substitute for their sins. All sacrifices in the Old Testament points to the greater sacrifice of God in and through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ as a ransom for many (Isa.53:10; Mk.10:45) Jesus’ death on Cross is the true atonement for human beings’ sins which enabled us to be in reconciliation with God.
Atonement not only points to God’s saving act but also reflects His righteousness. What does it mean when we say God is righteous? Righteousness of God means He is a Just God, and always does what is right and what should be done. Righteousness of God also reflects His holiness. The sins of humans cannot go unpunished. Forgiveness is possible through a sacrifice which is without blemish. Therefore, God sends his only begotten Son Jesus as God’s lamb who takes away the sins of the world (Jn. 1:29). Being fully God and fully human, Jesus is God’s eternal High priest, who is holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from the sinner, and exalted above the heavens, who offers himself as sacrifice once for all. Christ is the atonement of God once and for all. Jesus says, “…for the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mk.10:45). Forgiveness is not possible by our own merits but only by the grace of God, which He gives freely to those who have faith in Christ Jesus.
Atoning sacrifice of Christ leads to renewal of our life: We are being redeemed to live a renewed life is Christ Jesus. Though the wages of sins is death, yet God gifted us eternal life in Christ Jesus (Rom.6:23). St. Paul says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come” (2 Cor.5:17). Through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ not only are our sins forgiven, but we are also called to live a transformed life. This renewal of life is possible only through Christ Jesus. St. Paul says, “We are being redeemed from death to put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created …As in sinning, image of God in human being is distorted, so through atoning sacrifice of Lord Jesus Christ that image of God in human being is restored” (Gal. 3:27).
So God himself has sent His atonement (Jesus Christ) to the world so that whoever accepts Him and believes in Him will be saved and not be condemned. Let us be mindful that the Holy Qurbana is the remembrance and commemoration of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins and the renewal of our race.
May God keep us in His Warm and comforting Embrace, Rev. Shinoi Joseph Vicar
• Sunday School Classes will begin at 9:00 AM every Sunday • Little Blessings Ministry (Nursery-2nd) and Junior Blessings (3rd&4th) will be held on all Malayalam & Divine Sunday’s at 9:00AM • Sunday School Fall Fest will be held on Sat. October 29th from 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM at the church • The Sunday School council is encouraging all Sunday Schools to observe Sun., October 16, 2016 and collect $1 per Sunday school child for the Kids Helping Kids Project. The amount collected through this offertory will be used for the following: >> VBS in Mexico (Mexico Mission) >> Work among the children of Native American Mission >> Work among the Children in one of the Mission fields in Kerala • Sunday School Anniversary and World Sunday School Day will be held on Sun, November 6th, at St. John’s Mar Thoma Church • 2016 North East Regional Sunday School Talent Festival Results: >> Grade 1&2: > English Song: Abigail Jacob - Gold > Storytelling: Olivia Abraham - Gold >> Grade 3:4: > Storytelling: Joseph Philip - Gold >> Grade 5&6: > English Song: Kaitlin Abraham - Gold > Malayalam Song: Kaitlin Abraham - Bronze > Elocution: Kaitlin Abraham - Bronze >> Grade 7&8: > English Song: Anusha Shinoi - Bronze > Malayalam Song: Aunsha Shinoi - Gold > Elocution: Aleena Jacob - Bronze >> Grade 9&10: > Malayalam Song: Jabin Mathew - Bronze > Elocution: Reuben Philip - Bronze > Bible Reading - Naomi Kovoor - Bronze >> English Group Song - Bronze >> Malayalam Group Song - Bronze
Weekly Bible Study classes will be held every Thursday at 7:30PM at the church
Edavaka Mission Activities
Thoma Voluntary Evangelist's Association was found by our late
Metropolitan Most Rev. Abraham Mar Thoma out of his strong conviction
that each Mar Thomite is an Evangelist. Evangelism
is the utmost mission of this Organization. The Parish level unit is
known as the Edavaka Mission and at the Long Island Mar Thoma Church,
New York, we give stress to the seven fold activities such as
Intercessory Prayer, Bible Study, Sharing of Experience, House Visit,
Visiting the Sick, Group Activities etc
Edavaka Mission regular
meetings are conducted every Thursday at 7.30 PM at the Church as well
as Members' houses with prior announcement at the Parish on Sundays.
Fasting Prayer meetings are conducted once every month at the members' houses either the last Saturdays or Thursdays depending upon members and Achen's
convenience with prior announcement at the Parish on Sundays.
Edavaka Mission also support various Mission projects such as sponsorship of students at St. Thomas School,
Visakhapatanam, India. Sponsoraship of an Evangelist in India. Medical
and financial aid to different individuals and families based on
requests received by Achen time to time. Edavaka Mission welcomes
donations from members for the above mentioned activities and
sponsorship. For details, please contact our Achen Rev. A. B. Binu, Mr.
Mammen Samuel or Achamma Jacob.
• This month youth fellowship will be exploring the theme of "Touchy Topics" with meetings talking about topics such as church leadership, racism, mental illness/depression, etc that are usually silences within our church walls. Youth Fellowship meetings will be held on Fri., Oct 7th, 14th,&21st • Praise Night will be held on Sunday, October 2nd at 6:00 PM >> Theme: “Homecoming” – Luke 15: 11-32 >> Speaker: Rev. Jerome Taylor • Operation Christmas Child will be held on November 5th at 10am. All those wishing to help donate items as well as help us pack boxes for children who aren't as fortunate to receive Christmas gifts, are encouraged to join and attend. For more information, contact Blessy Thomas
YOUNG FAMILY FELLOWSHIP
• Next Monthly YFF Meeting to be held on Sunday October 23, 2016 from 3:30-5:30 at LIMC.
>> "Helping Kids Thrive" - a presentation by Susan Thomas and Leena Mathew. >> Topic to include discussion on open communication with our children regarding drugs, screen time, friends, etc. and parenting strategies to help our kids thrive >> All are welcome, and feel free to invite others. Babysitting will be provided
• Malayalam and English Choir practices will be held either before or after service on their respective weeks