Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mrs. of Nazareth

I am not going to wade deeply into the newest media releases on a Fourth Century Coptic text fragment, that may or may not be authentic, and is reputed to state that Jesus was married.  Others have done so already, and I will not repeat their work.  Hey, why reinvent the wheel on a regular basis?  If you are interested, I would recommend this article from catholicity and covenant.

What intrigues me is the subtext of articles that assumes Christianity is a religion rooted in history.  It is almost as if there are some waiting expectantly for the one thing that will prove the real historical Jesus was nothing like the Jesus of the Scriptures, and thus will pull down the edifice of Christianity as we know it.  Of course, if that happened many would celebrate, others mourn, and yet others continue to redefine the argument.

It is interesting that those in the camp waiting, dare I say hoping, for the “one thing” understand that it must come out of history.  They are undeniably correct.  Christianity is not rooted in philosophy.  It is not a mere ethical system.  Christianity is rooted in an historical, and historic, claim, the resurrection of Jesus.   This is the central claim, Jesus is alive, and the tomb is empty. The question that must be answered by each one of us is, “What happened on that Sunday morning in Jerusalem?”   Everything else in Christianity derives from this central event.

Therefore, I am not that worked up, either way, by a late text, most likely Gnostic, which states Jesus had a wife. 

If you wish to read a concise study of the “Quest for the Historical Jesus”, I recommend N.T. Wright’s, Who was Jesus?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cyprian of Carthage (Bishop and Martyr, 258)

A short reading from his treatise on The Lord's Prayer (chapter VIII):

Before all things, the Teacher of peace and the Master of unity would not have prayer to be made singly and individually, as for one who prays to pray for himself alone.  For we say not “My Father, which art in heaven,” nor “Give me this day my daily bread;” nor does  each one ask that only his own debt should be forgiven him; nor does he request for himself alone that he may not be led into temptation, and delivered from evil. Our prayer is public and common; and when we pray, we pray not for one, bur for the whole people, because we the whole people are one. The God of peace and the Teacher of concord, who taught unity, willed that one should thus pray for all, even as He Himself bore us all in one.  This law of prayer the three children observed when they were shut up in the fiery furnace, speaking together in prayer, and being of one heart in the agreement of the spirit; and this the faith of sacred Scripture assures us, and in telling us how such as these prayed, gives an example which we ought to follow in our prayers, in order that we may be such as they were: “Then these three,” it says, “as if from one mouth sang an hymn, and blessed the Lord.” (Song of the Three Children, v. 28) They spoke as if from one mouth, although Christ had not yet taught them how to pray.  And therefore, as they prayed, their speech was availing and effectual, because a peaceful, and sincere, and spiritual prayer deserved well of the Lord.  Thus also we find that the apostles, with the disciples, prayed after the Lord’s ascension: “They all,” says the Scripture (Acts 1:4), “continued with one accord in prayer, with the women, and Mary who was the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren.”  They continued with one accord in prayer, declaring both by the urgency and by the agreement of their praying, that God, “who maketh men to dwell of one mind in a house (Psalm 68:6),” only admits into the divine and eternal home those among whom prayer is unanimous.

The Collect

Almighty God, who gave to your servant Cyprian boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Blessed Cyprian pray for us.