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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity


Jan 26, 2004
St. Anthony's Church, Coptic Orthodox

A Coptic Hymn: "King of peace..."

"King of peace, grant us the peace. Esatablish the peace within us and forgive us our sins. Disperse those who are hostile to the church, fortify it that it never be shaken. Emmanuel our God is amidst us right now in the Glory of His Father and that of the Holy Spirit. May he bless us all, purify our hearts, and cure the infirmities of our souls and bodies. We worship thee O Chirst with the Righteous Father and the Holy Spirit for thou hast risen and saved us."

The Holy Gospel (Mark 6:45-51)

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Beth-sa'ida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear." And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded.

Sermon (by Fr. Afraym)

Your Beatitudes, Eminences, Graces, Rev. Fathers and Monks, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The grace and peace of our Lord, God of Peace be with us all,

Beloved,
The Gospel today speaks to us about the trust in God, not to be frightened of the very hard circumstances around us, for we have an Almighty Saviour and good faithful Shepherd who can lead us in the midst of turmoil waves of life that hit our life boat, our churches and the world around us…In the midst of all this, the Lord says to us and to His Holy Church, which He redeemed in His Blood
“Take heart, it is I, have no fear”.
“Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When you passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God.”
Christ our peace despite our weakness. He says to us
“Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom”.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Have no fear of your sins”.
Have no fear, let us return to God with all our hearts, He who says to us
“I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.”
“In Him we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His Grace”.
He who can give us salvation from sin, its power and effects, not in the past, but also the present. He is also able to sanctify our future.
Don’t fear the waves of life.
It was He who calmed the wind and waves and filled the disciples boat and all around it with safety, tranquillity, peace and security. He is yesterday, today and forever. He wants to live in your heart and life. He is knocking…open to Him and say:
‘O Lord, come and abide in my heart by Faith. Come Lord, abide in your Church and fill it with your Glory, Grace, Power and Your Peace, for in Your Blood You redeemed and saved it. Under Your leadership unify the church to be as a Holy Bride pure with no shame; and lead Her in your triumphant procession, by your promises You grant her tranquillity, by your Grace it will be united all under the leadership of one Shepherd.
Don’t fear your weakness but go ahead and act and say with Paul the apostle “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”.
“Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?” In Christ “Let the weak say I am strong”. Ask God to share you in your work. He will grant you power, peace and safety.
By our faith in God, we can overcome all our weakness, fear and division. When the Holy Spirit leads us we will be filled with love, peace and joy; we will approach others with open heart, patience and endurance. So they can see the light and love of Christ. When the Good Shepherd leads our lifeboat, no power whatever can turn it away from its objectives or hinder it from reaching the Kingdom of God.
And we have this promise from the Lord of the Church and the shepherd of our souls.
“I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”
"If God be for us, who can be against us?"


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