Letters to the Editor
Members of the Grand Priory are encouraged to send in letters, discussing articles that appear in "Abraham’s Tent” or contribute observations dealing with a better understanding of the three great monotheistic religions as they impact Christians in the Holy Land. As an Order, we are singularly blessed with a wide-ranging knowledge of this subject and the “Letters” section may prove as valuable as many of the articles that appear, dealing with this subject.
("Abraham’s Tent" reserves the right to edit all correspondence, in keeping with the nature and direction of the magazine).
PRAYERS FOR THE MIDEAST
From January 26 through January 28, 2015, an organized, worldwide, effort of prayer and fasting was undertaken by members of the SMOTJ and OSMTH and many others. This was for the persecuted Christians in the Mideast. It was orchestrated by Canon Cox, a fellow Templar, in conjunction with Orthodox and Syriac Christians in Northern Iraq and had the endorsement of Grand Master BG Patrick Rea and Grand Prior XIV Buren Shields. Grand Aumonier Michael Henson joined in that effort and found it a deeply moving experience. Some of his thoughts are set forth below in this letter. When we think of the terrible times that Christians are enduring in that war-torn area of the world, he recommended that we all should consider the following wisdom:
James tells us to count it all as joy during hard times. In addition, Paul tells the Corinthians, "I’ve been imprisoned much more often. I’ve been beaten more times than I can count. I’ve faced death many times. I received the “forty lashes minus one” from the Jews five times. I was beaten with rods three times. I was stoned once. I was shipwrecked three times. I spent a day and a night on the open sea. I’ve been on many journeys. I faced dangers from rivers, robbers, my people, and Gentiles. I faced dangers in the city, in the desert, on the sea, and from false brothers and sisters. I faced these dangers with hard work and heavy labor, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, and in the cold without enough clothes."
When I started my comtemplation and prayers, I found I was potentially focused on the things that were not what God wanted us to. During the persecution of the Church, it was not sought to have the persecution stopped especially by force. Rather it was a constant prayer for those in persecution to endure to the end to show the great faith and mercy of God. It was a crowning glory of achievement to see it through. And, enduring without resistance and complaint, the Church would point the way to God and the Kingdom.
As the first day moved into the second day, my prayers turned from those of petition for relief into those of rejoicing... Into prayers for comfort, prayers for the ability to endure to the end, to run the race to the finish line that the Church may be lifted up as a whole.
As the second day turned into the third day, my prayers were for understanding, for peace of spirit and strength of character as the gift of faith provides for each one. Prayers that God's will be manifest in each life and that by the example of faith demonstrated that the persecutioner's heart will be turned towards God. I was reminded of the Roman Centurion as he looked up at the crucified Christ and realized that this was truly the Son of God and the thief that recognized as others jeered.
I wasn’t sure where the Spirit was taking me on this three day journey, but it was someplace that was very different from where I started.
Pace et Bene,
Jeffrey Peter Agnes
LTC Thomas P. Curtis II
Rev. Michael P. Forbes
David D. Fautua
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