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Sacred Legacies: Renewal Tuesday, Saints & Scriptures (May 7, 2024)

Sacred Legacies: Renewal Tuesday, Saints & Scriptures


Introduction:

Welcome to Sacred Legacies: Renewal Tuesday, Saints & Scriptures. Today, we journey through the rich tapestry of the Christian faith, exploring two profound passages: the commemoration of Saints Raphael, Nicholas, Irene, and the newly-revealed martyrs of Lesbos, and a study of Hebrews 13:7-16, followed by a reflection on Luke 24:13-35.


In the first part, we delve into the miraculous events surrounding the appearance of saints long past, bearing witness to the enduring power of Christ's resurrection. Then, we turn our attention to the book of Hebrews, unpacking its teachings on leadership, faithfulness, and the unchanging nature of Christ's sacrifice.


Lastly, we explore the captivating narrative of the road to Emmaus, where disciples encountered Christ in breaking bread, igniting their hearts with faith and understanding.


Join us as we uncover the sacred legacies that continue to shape our journey of renewal in Christ.


Saint Study: The Commemoration of Saints Raphael, Nicholas, Irene, and the Other Newly-revealed Martyrs of Lesbos:


On the small island of Mytilene (Lesbos during the ancient times) was a village that was near another small town called Therme, and there the villagers had an old custom of ascending this certain hill on this particular day to celebrate and work during Divine Liturgy, which was in the ruins of a small chapel. Still, people have yet to learn exactly how the tradition came to be. It is said that around 1959, many villagers began seeing different persons who spoke to them. First, they came in dreams, then when people were awake, and for both day and night, these wondrous appearances, which were given to lots of people independently of the holy martyrs Raphael, Archimandrite of the ancient monastery, and Nicholas, his deacon, and altogether with the other saints who had all been martyred on that island, had told the villagers the whole account of their entire martyrdom had taken place by the hands of Muslim Turks ten years after the fall of Constantinople, which was in the year 1463. The twelve-year-old Irene had been tortured and then burned alive in a jar, which was done in the presence of her parents. On this Tuesday of Renewal week, Saint Raphael had been tied to a tree, and then his head was sawn off; Saint Nicholas died at the sight of this. The feast is celebrated today because of the day of the martyrdom; the appearance of these saints as living five hundred years after their deaths is a testimony to the resurrection of Christ.


Hebrews 13:7-16 Study:

1.    Leadership and Faithfulness (Hebrews 13:7): The passage emphasizes the importance of following and praying for Christian leaders who serve as models of the Christian life. Their faith, which they teach and live by, remains steadfast and unchanged.

2.    Immutable Faith in Christ (Hebrews 13:8): The faith in Christ remains constant and reliable because Christ Himself is unchanging. Past Christians attained the eternal Kingdom through faith; contemporary Christians can do the same. Thus, the Church should maintain doctrinal purity without alteration.

3.    Rejecting Strange Doctrines (Hebrews 13:9): The passage warns against adopting foreign teachings that deviate from the doctrines of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Specifically, it critiques legalistic interpretations of Jewish traditions, emphasizing the importance of grace over adherence to ceremonial laws.

4.    Equality in the New Covenant (Hebrews 13:10): Unlike in the Old Testament, where only priests could partake in certain sacrifices, under the New Covenant, all Christians have equal access to spiritual nourishment symbolized by the food of the altar.

5.    Christ's Ultimate Sacrifice (Hebrews 13:11-12): Drawing parallels with the Day of Atonement, the passage highlights Christ's sacrifice as the ultimate atonement. Christ, as the High Priest, offered His blood outside the gate, symbolizing His identification with the sin offerings of the Old Testament. His sacrifice grants believers eternal access to the Divine Liturgy, symbolizing perpetual communion with God.

Hebrews 13:7-12 emphasizes the unchanging nature of Christ's faith, the importance of doctrinal purity, and the transformative power of Christ's sacrifice in granting believers access to God's presence.

In Hebrews 13:13-14, the passage contrasts the old covenant represented by the Camp, signifying Israel and its institutions, with the new covenant symbolized by the heavenly city, the earthly Jerusalem, seen through the lens of spiritual significance. This distinction highlights the incompatibility of adhering to the old and new covenants. The early Christian community faced opposition from those still bound by the old covenant, necessitating endurance amidst societal scorn and a sense of exile as believers awaited their heavenly city.


The appeal in verses 15-19 encompasses several vital points: See vv. 17-19, my reading stopped at v. 16


1.    Engagement in Divine Worship: Believers partake in the heavenly city and the heavenly most holy place through the Divine Liturgy, offering their entire being in praise consistent with sound doctrine.

2.    Integration of Good Works and Community Life: Acts of service and communal living must complement worship, emphasizing the concept of "koinonias" or shared fellowship.

3.    Respect for Spiritual Leaders: The passage underscores the importance of respecting and obeying priests and spiritual leaders, recognizing their role as spiritual fathers in the Church. These leaders will be held accountable for their ministry, including the author who seeks prayers for exemplary conduct.

Hebrews 13 emphasizes the spiritual journey from the old covenant to the new, the centrality of worship, the importance of communal living, and the reverence for spiritual authority within the Christian community.


Luke 24:13-35 Study:

In Luke 24:13-35, the narrative unfolds on the road to Emmaus:

  • The two travelers are identified as Cleopas, yet the absence of the other's name is a standard literary convention.

  • The encounter reveals the nature of the resurrected body, which is initially unrecognizable and capable of assuming different forms.

  • The disciples' hope for redemption is rooted in a misunderstanding of the Messiah as a political savior, shattered by Christ's death.

  • Complete faith understands Christ as the suffering Messiah and the glorious ruler, as foretold in the Scriptures.

  • The breaking of bread echoes the Last Supper, symbolizing the Eucharist of the New Testament Church. Those who partake in faith have their spiritual eyes opened to know the Lord.

  • The disciples' burning hearts signify the transformative power of hearing the Scriptures taught with faith, leading to a deep conviction of their truth.

The passage underscores the profound significance of recognizing Christ's presence, understanding the Scriptures, and participating in the Church's sacramental life.


As we conclude our Study, let us carry forward the timeless truths we have uncovered: the unwavering faithfulness of our leaders, the unchanging nature of Christ's sacrifice, and the transformative power of encountering Him in the breaking of bread and the hearing of His Word. May these sacred legacies inspire us to walk boldly in the footsteps of saints past as we journey with hearts ablaze, ever seeking the presence of our risen Lord in our lives and our world. Amen.


In Christ, love Jared W Campbell





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