Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As we are in the process of understanding and exploring the meaning of the liturgy of Holy Communion, we need to know the significance of the Epistle reading in the Holy Communion service.
In the Holy Qurbana service there are four readings from the Bible-one from OT, one from NT, one Epistle portion and one Gospel portion. These readings signifies the importance and centrality of the Word of God. The lectionary of the Mar Thoma Church for every Sunday/Special days has a particular theme and all the readings focuses on that same theme. The idea is to bring the message/theme more clearly to the worshipping community. So all the readings are complementary to one another.
The Epistle is read by a Deacon facing the congregation. The Epistle is always linked with Gospel. The Epistle reading has great significance in the Liturgy of Mar Thoma Church. Its significance is understood by the fact that there is no liturgy without Epistle and Gospel reading. Gospel is read at the last as the fulfilment of all the other readings. If Gospels are “proclamation of Life and salvation,” Epistles are exhortation and teaching for fruitful Christian living. The epistle reading can be from one of the epistles or from the Acts of the Apostles or even sometimes from book of Revelations.
All the books of the New Testament (NT) including the Gospels emerged out of the need of the early Christian community. As the Christian community grew in strength and number after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there arouse many problems within the Christian community. In order to deal with those problems and also to guide the life of early Christians, Epistles were written. So Epistles emerged out of a particular context or situations of the early Christian community. As Epistles were written by the Apostles or early Church leaders, these Epistles denotes their presence even when they were not physically present in the early Christian community. These Epistles were highly revered and were looked into when the community encountered an issue. These Epistles were read by the church leaders when people assembled for worship. The scripts were copied and were circulated to other churches. These epistles were considered as solutions to the various problems. Christian doctrines and theology has its bases on these writings as they were valuable teachings and instructions of the disciples of Jesus Christ. These letters contain valuable insight and principles for living as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Epistles deal with theological, ethical, moral, socio-religious and liturgical issues. It is these epistles that gave base for the systematic growth of Church.
The epistles are exhortations and teachings which educated the early Christian community to live a life pleasing to God. These Epistles also warned them against the false teachings, false practices and all evils. They served as the guiding and corrective forces. They are relevant to Christians of all ages as Epistles contain instructions for proper Christian living and behavior. To conclude we can say that the Epistle reading has the following significances in the Liturgy of the Holy Communion.
1. As Epistles were a guide to early Christians, these readings help us to understand the life and practices of the early Christian community. 2. Epistles are exhortations and teachings of the Apostles or Church leaders. 3. Epistles help us to understand the mind of the disciples of Jesus and early Church leaders in dealing with particular issues or problems. 4. Epistles teach us Christian values and morals. 5. Epistle reading gives us insight to deal with the present problems and evils in the society and Church. 6. Epistles enable us to understand Christian doctrines and theology. 7. Epistle enable us to discern the will and teaching of Jesus Christ.
May God keep us in His Warm and comforting Embrace.
Edavaka Mission meets every Thursday at 7:30PM at the following locations:
Address & Phone
& Mrs. Joseph K Mathew
1557 Rosser Ave., Elmont, NY 11003
& Mrs. V.G. Abraham
260-19, 81st Avenue
Floral Park, NY 110043
& Mrs. Yohannan Varughese
25 David Avenue
Hicksville, NY 11801
& Dr. Shinoi Joseph
2350 Merrick Avenue
Merrick, NY 11566
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.
The Northeast Regional Yuvajana Sakhyam is hosting a Kalamela on Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 10:00AM. For more information, please contact Mr. Lagi Thomas @ 516-849-0368 or Mr. Jibi P. Mathew @ 516-849-4537.