I read about it some time ago and I still shake my head every time I think about it. I almost can’t believe it. St. Catherine’s Monastery, which is located at the foot of Mount Sinai (also called Mount Horeb or Jebel Musa meaning “Mountain of Moses”), is built around what is thought to be the site where Moses spoke to God for the first time at the burning bush. The monastery is surrounded by a granite wall measuring 8 to 35 meters high. This wall defended it from numerous attacks in the 1,400 years it has been standing. It belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church and most of its monks are of Greek origin.It is also home to a unique collection of artifacts, including some of the world’s oldest Bibles. Although it is set in a desert-like landscape, the lush gardens and cypresses provide a pleasant contrast. Today, it is one of the oldest monasteries in the world.
St. Catherine’s monastery is home to an ancient library containing 5,000 early printed books, 3,500 manuscripts, and 2,000 scrolls (in Greek, Coptic, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Slavic, Georgian and other languages). The age and diversity of the collection is only equaled by that of the Vatican.
While I find all of that interesting, none of that is what makes me shake my head. What bewilders me is a strange pair of caskets that have been preserved in the monastery. Several centuries ago two young men, who were a part of the monastic community, took a vow. They pledged to one another, and to God, to devote their lives to perpetual prayer and adoration.
It was their intent to spend every moment, of every day, of every week and month, for the rest of their lives in praise and prayer. To help each other accomplish this vow, they were assigned adjoining rooms and were fastened together at the wrist with a length of chain.
The plan was for one to pray and the other to sleep and then vice versa. From the moment they began, they never again saw each other or spoke to each other. The only contact they had was the chain that ran through the wall.
When one finished praying, he would tug on the chain and awaken the other. A tug meant that the other had begun and the first could rest. Back and forth for decades this went on until they died.
To honor and remember their devotion and dedication, their remains lie side by side in caskets, still untied by the same chain.
That’s an incredible and strange story of commitment, devotion, and determination – but it’s also a sad story that shows that people can some time miss the point of prayer, devotion to God, and what it means to worship and praise Him continually.
It’s absolutely true that God calls us to a life of devotion, obedience, worship, and prayer. We have been created in such a way that our chief goal in life should be to glorify God. But that goal is not meant to be a chain that binds us.
The life we live today is meant to be as much an act of worship as what we do on Sunday mornings. The words we say to another should reflect our praise of the Lord. The way we treat those who live in our homes, and the person we stare at across the dinner table, all should show our love for God.
How we celebrate Christmas should also be a reflection of our love, commitment and devotion to Him. It is so easy to get stressed out at this time of the year; it’s so easy to forget why we give gifts to each other; it’s so easy to think “Ugh, I have to go to another special service or another party at work, or another home to visit” – and we become chained to traditions that carry no meaning for us, and stress out.
Let’s make sure we don’t forget the reason why we celebrate, and why we get together with friends and family, and give gifts to each other. (I’m not sure why we eat too much. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a pig in the stable. That wouldn’t have been kosher.) Let’s do our best to make every day of every week, a reflection of our response to a God who loves us so much that He jumped into the skin of a Jewish baby – so we could know Him.
Don’t allow Christmas, and all you have to do, and all the places you have to be to become a chain that enslaves you.
A Chain That Enslaves: http://wp.me/pzfHB-mz
I came across the following blog post from my blogroll and was amazed. Not only is it well written, it speaks to several points the hearts of freedom fighters around the country are longing to express. My thanks to “Mike from NC” at common conservative sense. I’ve reprinted only a portion here because I want you to go to Mike’s blog and read the article in its entirety. Then come back here and tell me what you think!
We are in the early stages of a war. There may be no military action, no bullets or bombs, but we are in a war none the less. This war is for the soul of America. [emphasis mine and throughout] This war is for the preservation of the principles our country was founded on and which have kept us free and prosperous since our beginning. President Obama and his allies do not like America, at least not as it is and has been. They do not believe that America is the greatest country in the history of civilization. They do not believe in American exceptionalism. They do not believe that we as Americans have a right to be proud of what we have accomplished and to be proud of the good we have done for the world. They believe America needs to be remade. They are wrong.
Obama and friends are wrong about what America believes and what America stands for.
America is a Christian nation. There may be arguments about the particular faith of some of the Founding Fathers, but the majority were undeniably Christians. One would have to “willfully suspend disbelief” to believe otherwise after reading our founding documents as well as our history. The real history, not the revisionist history. We do not deny anyone the privilege to worship as they choose, or to decline any form of worship. But our country was founded under Christian principles and beliefs.
The God of our founders and the God I pray to is Yahweh, Jehovah God, the God of Abraham and Issac. The God of the Bible. He is not some generic “man upstairs”. He is the Creator of the universe and of mankind. Because of His deep love for us, He gave His son Jesus willingly as an atonement for our sin. He is boundlessly good and has all power. He is Love, but He is a jealous God. He will chastise and correct us as individuals and as a nation if we stray too far for too long. We have strayed far and long and we need to return to Him as a nation. Pray for His mercy, His blessings, His wisdom and His guidance. If ever we needed it, it is now. If you don’t know Him, seek Him and you will find Him.
We do not believe that America needs to be remade, as Obama has stated. We believe that instead we need to return to the ideals of our Founders. We need to return to lower taxes, limited, smaller government, and unfettered personal freedom.
We do not believe that America is arrogant. Strong, confident and proud, yes. Arrogant, no.
America does not stand for wealth redistribution. We are generous, compassionate people with our money, but our generosity is not for Obama to dictate.
We believe that capitalism is the best economic system. Socialism doesn’t work. Marxism doesn’t work. We believe in equality of opportunity, not in equality of outcome. Some people work harder, some people are smarter, some people have better ideas. When those people succeed, the country succeeds. When they become wealthy, the country becomes wealthy. Wealthy people buy things, they build things, they create jobs, they start businesses, they invest in American prosperity. America would collapse without them. They are not evil and do not deserve punishment.
America does not believe in the punitive taxation of our achievers. We believe in encouraging and rewarding achievement. It is counter productive to tax successful achievers into oblivion. All Americans should pay taxes so that all Americans have a stake in keeping the system honest. Consider that the City of Chicago just closed for a day to save money, with more days scheduled for more savings. A productive business does not save money by closing. Businesses produce wealth by being open for business. The government only takes, while producing nothing. Financially speaking, they are far more efficient and productive if they would just stay at home. We know that poor people don’t get any richer just because money is taken from the wealthy.
America does not stand for federally funded abortion on demand. A large and growing segment of us believe that abortion is wrong. However, the law of the land allows it for now. But using our tax dollars to support it is unacceptable.
America does not believe in a weakened, ineffective military. We do not believe that our military should be used to enforce social experimentation. We believe in spending our tax dollars to equip and train the greatest fighting force ever known to mankind, then praying to God that we will not have to use it. We love peace, but we are not afraid to fight for liberty. We know that we don’t make weak nations any stronger by being weak ourselves. Being the only remaining superpower is a good thing. A very good thing. We have no desire to weaken ourselves in the interest of “fairness”. Senator Barbara Boxer had the audacity to publicly humiliate a brigadier general for referring to her as “ma’am” rather than as ”senator”. This is symptomatic of the arrogance and ignorance of many of our elected representatives. They have come to think of themselves as royalty. They think wrongly. I know of several fitting monikers for Senator Boxer, but decorum prevails.
We welcome legal immigrants, as we always have. But for those who have no more respect for our country and our laws than to cross our borders unlawfully, we are not welcoming. We certainly don’t believe in giving them the rewards of our hard earned tax dollars in the form of social benefits. We do not support amnesty for illegal aliens. Secure our borders and enforce our laws. English is our language. Learn it if you want to live here.
Please comment on your reactions to this article. What do you think of Mike’s post? Do you agree or not? Do you think he’s right in his ascertation? Is it bigoted or racist to have these opinions? Why or why not?
Obama vs. the American Way: http://wp.me/pzfHB-lW
December 9, 2009 Posted by Lisa | Action Alert, Agenda of the Left, Christian, Citizen Patriotism, Constituional Issues, Culture, Family, Leftists Criticize Conservatives, WordPress Political Blogs | abortion, America, arrogance, Christian Nation, Founding Fathers, freedom, God, Jesus, Judaeo-Christian heritage, military, opportunity vs outcome, socialism, taxes, worship, Yahweh | Leave a Comment
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Romans 12:2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
John 14:27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
2 Chronicles 7:1414 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Elementary, dear Watson
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Samuel Adams“If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”
"But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever." (1775 letter to Abigail)
"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood." (1765)
"One useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress."
Walter E. Williams on Government
"At the heart of the American idea is the deep distrust and suspicion the founders of our nation had for government, distrust and suspicion not shared as much by today's Americans. Some of the founders' distrust is seen in our Constitution's language such as Congress shall not: abridge, infringe, deny, disparage, violate and deny. If the founders did not believe Congress would abuse our God-given rights, they would not have provided those protections. After all, one would not expect to find a Bill of Rights in Heaven; it would be an affront to God.
"Other founder distrust for government is found in the Constitution's separation of powers, checks and balances and the several anti-majoritarian provisions such as the Electoral College and the requirement that three-quarters of state legislatures ratify changes in the Constitution. The three branches of our federal government are no longer bound by the Constitution as the framers envisioned and what is worse is American ignorance and acceptance of such rogue behavior.
"Look at the current debate over government involvement in health, business bailouts and stimulus packages. The debate centers around questions as whether such involvement is a good idea or a bad idea and whether one program is more costly than another. Those questions are entirely irrelevant to what should be debated, namely: Is such government involvement in our lives permissible under the U.S. Constitution? That question is not part of the debate.
"The American people, along with our elected representatives, whether they're Republicans or Democrats, care less about what is and what is not permissible under our Constitution. They think Congress has the right to do anything upon which they can secure a majority vote, whether they have the constitutional or moral authority to do so or not."
--George Mason economics professor
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