P: O Lord God, who makes the sinner righteous…praise and thanksgiving forever and ever. (Taken from the Order of Worship for Holy Qurbana) Worship is our response to God’s love and mercy. It is corporate in nature. In worship God manifests himself to us. Worship is not only thanking, adoring, and glorifying God, but true worship seeks God’s mercy through pure repentance. The portion that we are going to meditate upon is a cluster of prayers where we seek forgiveness from God. Let us try to understand these prayers:
1. The celebrant prays for himself and also for the community: Here the celebrant prays, “…blot out all my sins”…. “…wipe away the sins of all believers.” The Celebrant not only seeks forgiveness of sins for others, but also he prays for himself, as he too is a sinner. As we stand in the holiness of God we realize our sinful nature. Hebrews 5:1-3 says, “For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifices for his own sins just as he does for those of the people.” No one in this world is without sin – as Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom3: 23).” Jesus is the great high priest without any blemish over the house of God with whose mercy we can draw closer to God (Heb. 10:19-23). Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Being sinner we need God’s forgiveness. As Jesus said, “it is not those who are well who need a physician but those who are sick.” We all need the cure, which Jesus can only give.
2. We pray to God to remember his Holy and Glorious Church. Here the word ‘holy’ means “set apart.” The Church is holy and glorious because it is set apart by God’s redemptive act in and through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Christ is the cornerstone on which his Church is built (Eph. 2:20-21). Church here is not any denomination or any building as such, but it is the community of believers who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When the Celebrant prays to God to “remember us”, he is in fact praying to God to “continue to shower His mercy towards His people.” In other words we pray to God to save and sanctify His Church. Why we pray so? We are sinful in nature, but God is Holy and all worthy. How God, who is Holy and all worthy, can enter into relationship with humanity that is sinful and unworthy? Neither can God, in no way, lower his Holy nature, nor can humanity be without any blemish. So how relationship between God and humanity is possible. It is only through true repentance. Pure repentance is seeking God in faith, and realizing and accepting one’s own unworthiness before him. True repentance leads to sanctification, and this is possible when one has true faith in Christ’s saving power.
3. Celebrant prays to God for ‘good end that is set for the Children of peace.’ What is peace? Peace is an undisturbed state of mind in the midst of all problems. But it has a much deeper meaning in Christianity. Peace or Shalomsignifies a sense of wellbeing and harmony both within and without. It is unity or wholeness. Biblically it means ‘spiritual harmony.’ This harmony is possible in union with God. Therefore peace means ‘to be in right relationship with God.’ Only when we are in right relationship with God we experience holistic health, which is health of body, mind and spirit. This is possible only when our sins are forgiven. Being in sin, we are enemies with God. But while we are sinners, Christ died for us. So in Christ we are in peace with God. Our relationship of peace with God is restored because of Christ dying for us. So Christ restored our relationship with God the father. We are children of peace through Jesus Christ who is the “Prince of peace” (Isa 9:6). In Ephesians Paul says, “Jesus is our peace and he has made peace” (Eph 2: 13-18). True peace is being one in God through Jesus Christ. Eternal life, or the good end, is for those who are in harmony (peace) with God, as eternal life is the gift and grace of God to those who believe in Him. As we truly repent and seek forgiveness, we experience that peace (Jesus Christ) through whom salvation is possible.
From February 15, 2015 the Church is entering into the season of “Great Lent.” These are the days when we meditate the life, ministry, and passion of Christ. As we observe these days, I wish and pray that these days may not be mere observance, but lead you and me to true repentance and holiness where the society experiences the fragrance of our presence.
May God keep us in His Warm and comforting Embrace.
Meetings are held on Thursdays at 7:30 PM. The schedule is as follows:
Mr. & Mrs.
Thomas Paul, 214-09 Hillside Ave, Queens Village
Mr. & Mrs.
Mammen Samuel, 5 Country Court, Hicksville
Mr. & Mrs.
Joseph K. Mathew, 1557 Rosser Ave. Elmont
Mrs. Shinoi Joseph, Parsonage
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.
Youth Fellowship meetings will take place on the following dates (at 7:15 PM): Friday, February 6 At the church Friday, February 13 TBD* Friday, February 27 TBD* *Venue will be announced via Youth Fellowship email chain