THE ROYAL WEDDING, WILL YOU BE THERE? PART 1

THE ROYAL WEDDING, WILL YOU BE THERE? PART 1

(Download PDF Print-friendly version) Most people enjoy a good wedding. There is something special about them, something meaningful and indeed deeply spiritual. They are events at which we can rejoice and be glad for the newlywed couple by celebrating their special day with them.   Billions watched the pageantry and grandeur of the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton on TV, whilst hundreds of thousands lined the streets of London and a lucky few attended in person. Well, one day we will have the opportunity to attend a royal wedding; the wedding between the King of Kings and His bride. With this thought in mind we want to share a question God posed to us here at Emmaus in early 2014: “will the Groom come for a bride who despises His own family?” Jesus, the Church and Israel The Bible contains many texts alluding to the relationship between Jesus and His people as similar to that of a bride and groom. It’s a theme in the old testament that continues into the new. Examples are to be found in Hosea 2, Ephesians 5 or Revelation 21.   So in considering God’s question, “will the Groom come for a bride who despises His own family” we must start by acknowledging the Groom’s heritage: Jesus was a Jew. He was born of the line of David. “I am the root and the offspring of David and the bright Morning Star.”[i] Jesus a Jewish Messiah He was born into a Jewish family, dedicated at the temple on the 8th day in accordance with Jewish custom, went up to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover each...
WOE TO THOSE WHO CAUSE A LITTLE ONE TO SIN…

WOE TO THOSE WHO CAUSE A LITTLE ONE TO SIN…

In Mark 9:42, Jesus makes a statement about people who would cause a young person who believes in Him, to sin. He says it would be better for them to have a millstone put around their neck and be cast into the sea. Drowned! These words are echoed in Matthew’s account: “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” [i] Jesus continues by saying, “Woe to the world because of offences! For offences must come, but woe to that man (or woman) by whom the offences come!” The Lord Jesus is telling us clearly that to cause a child or young person who believes in Him to sin will bring great trouble upon the perpetrator. Jesus acknowledges that sin will of course come, that many offences will be caused, but woe to the man or woman who incites it. Although Jesus refers to children who believe in Him, I think we can, with reasonable safety, assume his thoughts about this matter would extend to those who do not know Him also being caused to sin. After all is He not the Lord of mercy and compassion who desires that all should be saved? HAMAS TRAINING CHILD SOLDIERS So when we learn that Hamas is currently training 17,000 child soldiers to attack Israel [ii], bringing yet more misery upon other children, it begs the question: what does God think? Jesus clearly stated that the Father and He were one. “If you...
GAZA: BLOCKADED OR IN QUARANTINE?

GAZA: BLOCKADED OR IN QUARANTINE?

Howard Stern: Conflict Negotiator & Co-Founder Emmaus Group For many years, Israel’s opponents have filed endless allegations against its military blockade of Gaza. Rallies, protests and campaigns around the world cite Israel’s military blockade of Gaza as a serious contribution to the suffering of Gaza’s 1.7 million inhabitants. Gaza has been described as an overcrowded open air prison. In actual fact, its population density per square mile is less than the London Borough of Croydon. Whilst people rail against Israel’s so called “blockade,” rarely do they ask why it exists. What happened after Israel withdrew from the territory that mitigated such tight security measures being instituted? The question I raise is this: is Israel blockading Gaza, or is Gaza simply in a form of quarantine? A perfect case study of this is the Cuban Missile crisis of 1962 in which the US was forced to quarantine Cuba to prevent further ingress of ICBM nuclear missiles from Russia. Strong ideological links existed between Fidel Castro’s communist government and the Russians. Russia supported Castro’s regime in much the same way that Iran does with Hamas. Russia supplied Cuba with military hardware just as Iran has to Hamas. Over the past decade alone, numerous vessels have been intercepted in exactly the same way that the US intercepted Russian vessels carrying weapons to Cuba. In March this year, the Klos-C was stopped 930 miles from Israel’s coast carrying 400,000 rounds of ammunition and advanced Syrian M-302 missiles with a payload of 170kg and range of 200km.  InMarch 2011, another Iranian ship was intercepted, the Victoria, carrying 50 tons of Iranian weaponry. In 2009...
A MESSAGE BY CHRISTY ANASTAS – EMMAUS GROUP

A MESSAGE BY CHRISTY ANASTAS – EMMAUS GROUP

A message to the Palestinian People in this time of renewed conflict. By Christy Anastas: Palestinian Christian, Co-Founder of the Emmaus Group As a Palestinian who has lived through war, lost family and friends, and witnessed the futility of conflict, I feel great empathy for Palestinians and Israelis in this time. I understand well the fear that people are living with, hiding in shelters not knowing where the next rocket might land, wondering whether you might be killed at any moment. What saddens me is that again, the suffering of millions of Israelis is not being highlighted, as if they are not human beings. In the last week alone, over 750 rockets have rained on them yet the world, and my people, are not regarding this as a crime against humanity simply because no Israelis have been killed. Under the Geneva Convention, firing missiles indiscriminately at civilian targets is a crime against humanity. They have not considered how Israel cares for her citizens by building a network of bomb shelters, reinforcing buildings and public structures and providing early warning systems for her people. In contrast, the leaders of Gaza, given so much aid by the West, appear to have spent much of it on building and preparing for war, rather than helping or protecting the people. Sadly, militants hide like cowards behind civilians, using public/civilian buildings as cover for launching rockets in order to draw Israeli fire. Women and children are called to be jihadists on rooftops and pay with their lives, defying the IDF’s warnings to evacuate. It breaks my heart to see the one called the enemy,...
IS PEACE POSSIBLE?

IS PEACE POSSIBLE?

Is Peace and Reconciliation Possible? by Christy Anastas & Howard Stern The English author, C S Lewis, wrote that forgiveness is a great idea until someone has something to forgive. So when two peoples such as the Palestinians and Israelis, who have been at war for so long with so many losses on both sides, in a conflict driven by nationalistic pride or over claims of ancient covenant rights, forgiveness can quickly disappear. In its place remains unforgiveness, a cruel prison keeping people captive to historic injuries. For genuine and lasting reconciliation to occur there must be forgiveness. Forgiveness is the foundation upon which a house of reconciliation can be built. For true progress towards reconciliation to be made there must first be honesty about past failings, recognition of each other’s needs and rights, and a willingness to make compromise. People must see each other’s humanity. Both sides must understand, appreciate and respect each other’s needs for security, peace, cultural freedoms and the need to work together towards common goals, such as the prevention of terrorism. In the Palestine-Israel conflict there is a huge amount at stake for both parties. Both have much to gain or lose depending on how successful future negotiations are. However, such negotiations can only succeed if they focus on the future, and not dwell in the past. We must learn from the past, but not dwell in it, for we cannot change it, we can only affect the future. Today exists a window of opportunity that has not been present before. This opportunity is to be found among the generation of younger Palestinians and...