Here is this week’s installment of “Five Faith Friday” which contains five, faith-based things I found interesting and am sharing on Friday.
Merry Christmas! We are in the final stretch of the Christmas season. It is over Sunday as we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and move into Ordinary Time. Here is the Liturgical Calendar for 2021 for those interested. I hope 2021 is off to a great start for you!
What I Bought —
A Templar Knights Flag. I was gifted an Amazon gift card for Christmas and used it to buy this flag to go in my garage gym to honor History’s Fiercest Fighters. Give the article a read about them… it highlights 10 astonishing facts about Christianity’s holy warriors. What’s interesting is that in the History.com article you will never see the word “Catholic” used despite the Templar’s being a Catholic army. Why? Because all Christians were Catholics for many hundreds of years with minor exceptions. People tend to forget that it wasn’t until the 1500s (see: ~1500 years after Jesus started the Catholic Church) that a former Catholic priest started what ended up being the Protestant Revolt. Ask any Catholic who started their Church and the correct answer is Jesus. Ask any Protestant who started their Church and the correct answer is a man… not Jesus.
What Activity My Family Did —
Chalking of the door. It is a wonderful tradition. I know there are many busy families out there so just know that it doesn’t take long at all! Ideally you should do it on the Epiphany or on the Sunday it will be observed, but it is never too late for an Epiphany house blessing. If your parish didn’t hand out blessed chalk, you can bring chalk to your parish and ask your priest to bless it for you. If that is not possible, the father of the household can ask God’s blessing on the chalk. Just remember that if it is done by a layperson, it doesn’t become a sacramental, but it is still a beautiful prayer and a lovely practice. Here’s what ours looks like! By the way, it is a GREAT way to evangelize and let someone else start a conversation when they come over and ask about it.
What I’m Listening To —
Father Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year podcast from Ascension. In only 5 days the podcast has had 1.3MM downloads and is currently the #1 podcast of any genre in iTunes. I’m telling you – it’s fantastic. Not only do you get Holy Scripture but you get authentic commentary on how to interpret it. Even if you have read the Bible many times before, I guarantee you that you’ll learn something new. Don’t be a Nimrod! (Listen to the podcast and you’ll get that Biblical referenced joke) Fox 5 News out of NY has even picked up on it!
What We Need to Pay Attention To —
The continued attack on the family. Same sex “marriage” has been a thing, Black Lives Matter wants to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” (their words, not mine), and now the House of Representatives has approved the removal of all terms regarding to gender when referring to members and their families. Only gender-neutral terms such as “parent,” “child,” “sibling” and “parent’s sibling” are allowed in the text of the House rules, according to the new changes. You can’t make this stuff up. You can read the full list of terms at the bottom of page 5 here. Don’t just sit back and complain. Do something. You can e-mail your representative here like I did, or if you would prefer to call them, their numbers are listed here. Oh! And did you see how the opening prayer of the 117th Congress ended? I’m not sure how anyone, let alone a United Methodist pastor (ehhh maybe shouldn’t be too surprising actually), could pray to different gods and not one God, but then he ended it with “amen and a-woman.” No joke. For the record, Amen is Latin for “so be it.” It’s not a gendered word. Unfortunately, facts are irrelevant to some people.
What I Read —
This statement from the Personhood Alliance responding to dismissals of the covid vaccine abortion link. “By promoting so-called ‘scientific benefits’ gained from children who were intentionally killed, regardless of when their deaths occurred, we continue to align ourselves with the evil of abortion. This includes harvesting aborted fetal cell lines in the past and in the present, which we know is currently happening for future vaccine production. By ignoring this, we help perpetuate and further legitimize the connection between abortion, biomedical science, and human trafficking.” If you plan to get the covid-19 vaccine, choose one that was ethically created. There ARE ethical alternatives out there (see page 2). Picking a “Poor” or “Very Poor” one when there are alternate options should be seriously thought through. And remember, if you are protesting something, you need to give voice to your protest by writing to the companies.
Have a wonderful weekend and may God bless you and your family!