Maybe I like Solzhenitsyn because he is just like me; a two-hearted and two-minded male. Enjoy this quote which destroys the self-righteous beliefs of an “ism”, and shows how evil short-circuits every life: past, present, and future. Will You give us the gift of humility to recognize the lies we aim at ourselves today?
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
Below is a the text of both a hard-copy letter and e-mail blast I sent out this morning to everyone I know who names the name of Jesus, or is G-d fearing. We are living through a year where we are constantly receiving diametrically opposed messages from our neighbors, workplaces, media, governmental leadership, and iconic voices from pop culture. We are being asked to both trust science, (when it comes to the World Health Organization), but disbelieve science when it comes to the Covid response of nations like Sweden or states like South Dakota. We ask students to verify their sources, yet daily take in opinion-based current event stories who fail provide a single credible source for their information. We are taught the merits of observational truth, yet are comfortable in denying election judges from all parties observing something as basic as a vote tally!?
It seems we may be reaching an epoch in our society where these bifurcated beliefs have infected our process and methods of voting. We are taught, “Every vote counts”, but can observe dozens of populous counties where more than 100% of the vote has been collected and counted. We are taught “All politics are local”, but then can observe the influence of foreign actors such as George Soros, and nations such as Cuba, Venezuela, and China influencing the vote counting hardware and software of allegedly up to 30 states. Yet, we who know the risen Messiah do not have reason for fear, but to raise our appeal to a higher court than public opinion or even the Supreme Court of the United States. Let’s ask and see what He says today?
Tuesday December 1, 2020
GOOD MORNING! RISE UP AND PRAISE HIM!
I’m sending this to you because I trust your hearts and minds as voices of discernment. There is much contention still in this election process and the allegations are serious enough we need to respond prayerfully to call the Justice of Heaven to intervene. Our nation, in my recollection, is experiencing a time of incredible partisanship. The “us versus them” mentality that is often present only at the times of revolution or great division.
I thank G-d that we are called out of this partisanship and into his kingdom. We are not here to build: the kingdom of the Democrats, the Progressives, the Greens, the Libertarians, or the Republicans to name a few. Like Daniel, we act as the authority of our authorities when we fast, pray, and agree with the eternal laws of heaven. Why did the Lord chastise Israel over dishonest weights and measures so often: Proverbs 11:1 “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord…” Proverbs 20:23 “Unequal weights are detestable to the Lord…” Micah 6:11 “Can I excuse dishonest scales…” Leviticus 19:35-36 “You shall do no wrong in judgment…” Deuteronomy 25:13-16 “You shall not have in your bag differing weights…” Ezekiel 45:9-10 “Stop your expropriations from my people…” Amos 8:4-6 Condemnation of conspiracy to cheat one’s neighbor Hosea 12:7-8 “A merchant, in whose hands are false balances, he loves to oppress…” Proverbs 22:28 “Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set…” He clearly loves honesty and integrity. When we practice these, we also are practicing His Presence in our homes, businesses, and in our city, county, state, and Federal Government.
But… We do have a very clear mandate in I Timothy 2:1-5 to contend in prayer for our civic leaders. We are to pray the Grace and Truth and Justice of the Lord into the legal and political fabric of our society.
This movement, started by Dean Briggs of IHOP KC and Lou Engle, began during the week before Thanksgiving. Even though its “old news” I invite you to join in prayer, worship, and fasting for our 2020 Election process and its aftermath throughout December. Come bring clarity to our confusion, dear bright Morning Star!
Our nation suffers from an identity crisis. We are forgetting that we are a nation of laws and not men. What’s that old saying, “with liberty and justice for all”? How we have embraced fear, envy, suspicion, and dissent based on a constant flow of dis-information, mis-information, and constant deluge of news that attacks our identity.
Along those lines, below is an excerpt of a letter I sent to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Executive Council; Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Secretary of State Simon, and State Auditor Blaha on Monday July 13, 2020.
“Worship, I believe, in the Old English means something akin to ” worth-ship, or to call something worthy”. Simply put, worship is choosing what is valuable to us. Our choices forge our experiences, and our experiences create our sense of memory. Our memory is what creates our identity.
Composer Clive Wearing suffers from retrograde and anterograde amnesia. to his psychologists, he is known as “30-second Clive” because his condition usurps his past. In effect, he has largely lost his personality. **
Why is this relevant? There is an unprecedented cessation or censorship of worship for approximately 2.9 billion people internationally because of the Covid pandemic. What are the international results? We are experiencing one of the most profound attacks on history or historical statues and symbols in recollection; primarily through youth movements.
Will this results in personal and cultural amnesia for our kids? Are we raising a “30-second generation”? Dear Governor Walz, how will we build and retain a common cultural identity if we allow the trend of erasing history? Our character is shaped by our successes and failures; shouldn’t we remember both?”
Similarly, shouldn’t we be grateful for our Bill of Rights, and especially our right to vote? Some states of our Union are erasing our history of peaceful elections following a lawful process for a corruptible system designed to deny our citizens’ votes and political will. Dean Briggs and Lou Engle are calling the Ekklesia, (aka those in the Church that know their authoritative position in Christ) to call on the Justice of the Universe to bring right judgments to our broken 2020 Election process.
How can we trust election results with these current allegations on the table? (This is not a partisan attack, but a stand against election corruption coming from any party.)
States and counties have disallowed observers from all parties on the ballot to count and verify the vote?
We are using an election software that is hackable? Current court cases allege voting software can: switch votes, eliminate votes, upload non-vetted votes, or report actual votes as a fractional value.
Hundreds of counties nationwide exceeding 100% registration? * (Also, more than 100% of eligible voters included in the current vote tallies.) Simply put, there are more votes collected than the actual number of voters.
Will we remain a people if our good laws are ignored? Why are we, allegedly, erasing the civic identities of millions by destroying, withholding, or otherwise tampering with their votes?
Let’s hear the Words of G-d, spoken over 2000 years ago through the pen of the Apostle Paul for this present moment. Will You join in this Thanks giving Prayer Strike to pray for our government and our election results, “so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives”?
A Call to Prayer 1First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered on behalf of all men 2for kings and all those in authority, so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity. 3This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
5For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave Himself as a ransom for all—the testimony that was given at just the right time.
7For this reason I was appointed as a herald, an apostle, and a faithful and true teacher of the Gentiles. I am telling the truth; I am not lying about anything. 8Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or dissension.
Dean Briggs and Lou Engles discuss 2020 and the elections. Namely, the alleged widespread voting fraud, and its potential impact on our nation. These men are far from politicians, but have dedicated their lives to prayer, worship, to “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children”, and prepare this generation for the return of the Lord.
What do elections look like to modern day prophets? How does our political system in the U.S. look when viewed through a G-d’s eye lens? Where can those with an eternal perspective turn when their governmental leadership and legal structures seem to seek more and more after temporal power rather than justice or the truth?
I challenge you to take some time to hear these men, and think about what He may be whispering to you through the events of 2020. May the sweet Holy Spirit guide you into His revelations and responses. May You take action to do your part in standing for …”whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…”
Many of us were called to participate in the Jericho Prayer marches last week. Dr. Taylor Marshall, a noteworthy Catholic scholar and apologist, added greatly to the momentum of these prophetic acts. To clarify, a prophetic act is not just fore-telling or calling our broken Churches and societies to repentance. Sometimes Our Lord wants to drive a stake in the ground, and see if there are those willing to stand firm with His laws, His Authority, and with the advice of the Council of Heaven.
While obedience of any kind to the Lord will bring joy, it is no light task. Who is willing to lay their reputation and pride on His altar? Who is willing to be completely misunderstood? Who is willing to shout down a stone wall?
While my heart is to acknowledge offenses to the Lord, I feel He has already positioned people who fear Him and love the Law to stand: in politics, in terms of our laws and Constitution, in all fields of work, and in the home and our familial relationships. Today I will give honor to Mayor Giuliani and Sidney Powell. They are exposing massive corruption in numerous allegations based on mountains of primary source evidence in our various systems of election in the United States. This press conference, (link below), is an echo of the shout that brought down the walls of Jericho. The common Enemy of all that is human, hates the law, hates the truth, or even the belief that truth exists. Faithful and True One, will You hear their roar? Will You tear down the walls of America’s guardian lies? Will You judge our system of justice, and realign us with Your Kingdom values of Grace and Truth? Amen!
Jericho March 2020 Sunday November 8: Saint Paul, Minnesota
2020 is a confounding year, to say the least. In it, we are experiencing: a mass pandemic, shutdowns, unemployment and under-employment, censorship of thought, absence of worship, limitations on sports and recreation, peaceful protests, riots, and a non-stop barrage of the politization and polarization of almost every aspect of life in Minnesota. Add to that list, perhaps, the most stratified and contentious election of our lifetimes at the Federal level. We have not had a normal form of government since March 13, 2020, but have experienced life under the authority of a Governor and Executive council making nearly all decisions through a declaration of a “State of Emergency”.
Though my family and extended family surely have deeply held values, we are doing our best to sidestep partisanship, and be the kingdom of G-d wherever and to whomever He places in our path. It is difficult sometimes. (Just yesterday, over 646 people were arrested for blocking Interstate 94.) At times, it appears we are even physically hemmed into conflict that we did not invite.
Just as we were prayerfully asking for a response to these crises, we came across a post by Dr. Taylor Marshall calling Catholics to prayer for justice and honesty to prevail in this Presidential election.* In his post, he calls Catholics and all who name the name of Jesus to: fast, pray, and invite Our Father as we walk around the capitols or courthouses of our respective States. **,*** He calls us, like Joshua, to invite His Presence into our battles!
For those unfamiliar with the Scriptures, let me cite this synopsis from “All About Prayer”.
Jericho March – Joshua 6 “In the book of Joshua chapter 6, we are told of the first “Jericho March.” According to the Bible, the Israelites were led by Joshua into the land God promised them. They crossed the Jordan River and were instructed to conquer the land called Canaan. Jericho was the first city to be taken for the Lord. It was a city of false gods. Joshua was instructed to silently march around the walled city once a day for six days straight.
Then on the seventh day the Israelites marched around the city seven times with seven priests, placed ahead of the Ark of the Covenant, carrying seven shofars or ram’s horns. As they marched, the priests were to blow the shofars. On the seventh trip around, they were to give one long blast in unison. Upon hearing that long blast, the people were to give a great shout. When they did this, the fortress walls of Jericho fell flat to the ground allowing the Israelites entry to take the city. It must have seemed strange to the Israelites to enter battle by way of a peaceful march.
The residents inside Jericho were also surely puzzled by the six days of quiet marches around their city. But on that seventh day, they certainly believed their gods would protect them. However, once again the one true God proved He is mightier than all other false gods.
This Jericho March was the instruction given by God; it was His plan and they succeeded. We may not always see God’s logic, but He is faithful when we are obedient to His Word. If a church is petitioning the Lord for a revival or a new pastor, be sure, the Lord will provide. The Lord may call you to Jericho March in behalf of taking back your city from sinful corruption or for divine guidance for your leaders. Have faith that the Lord hears every prayer because He may again call on us to bring down some walls to restore His Kingdom.” ****
To friends old and new, please consider taking this simple action of faith; circle your local capitol or courthouse in prayer this week. You don’t need a sign, a website, a hashtag to give you instructions. We are inviting the King of the Universe to succeed where we have failed, state by state, county by county, town by town! Talk to Our Father like He really is a good dad that is deeply interested in your troubles!
A small portion of our family, only three generations, decided to have a fantastic brunch, prayer walk in St. Paul, and bring (representationally) a few guests. We remember our suffering brothers and sisters of the former Soviet Union through an icon of Christ given me shortly after the Coup of 1991! We remember our adopted family in Bolivia, (Great Grandma raised dozens of orphans there), and brought St. Juan and the promise of John 17:3. We wore crosses to commemorate those like Ansgar, ***** who brought faith to our family in Sweden roughly 1200 years ago!
We serve a wonderful Authority who found us when we were prostitutes like Rahab! We know a Judge who cannot be bribed, and He WILL bring justice and peace. We have a Father, who has adopted us into His family as a continuum of blessing and faith! Let’s get with His plan! Only move forward! He will send us the next step on the way!
13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the groundin reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord[a] have for his servant?”
15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
6 Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout;then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”
6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” 7 And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the arkof the Lord.”
8 When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. 9 The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there.
12 Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. 14 So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted[b] to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”
20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.
22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.
24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.
26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: “Cursedbefore the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho:
“At the cost of his firstborn son he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates.”
27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.
Pray Through History: A New Way of Looking at History
Though this post mostly portrays my theology and touches on historiography, I want to bravely lead out with baring my heart. I pray through history out of love of Our Father. I pray because it is a calling. I’m incensed at the wrongs our human race commits towards Him. I’m humbled at my own betrayals of myself, my G-d, and others. We spend so much time academically threading the needle of who is offended by whom at what time in our past, but we rarely, so rarely, if ever look above the heads of our beloved enemies to see the offenses and betrayals committed against the “I AM”. How will we move forward as the human race if we maintain permanent grudges against each other? How do we heal the huge chasms caused by deep and real wounds, “ethnos to ethnos”, if we do not have a way to forgive, and an academy too often stuck in the same trap?
Dear and Holy Messiah, how grateful I am that You made a way! You literally gave Your blood and yielded Your life so that when we, too, are falsely accused and crucified by our neighbor(s); we also will rise again! Forgiveness may be the most costly of all the virtues You exhort us to live by. It is not a feeling that can be manufactured. It is not a commodity that can be bought or sold. It is not an exercise of the mind, or an intellectual “ism”. It is a habit of Your Kingdom; of those eternally committed to unconditional love. It is an impossibility without Your impartations of humility, revelation, and a new heart to replace our hearts of stone.
Though not in Scripture, You crystalized this human condition through the pen of English poet Alexander Pope. About 1711, he wrote a powerful poem entitled so appropriately “An Essay on Criticism, Part II”. What did You speak to us through this beautiful man’s mind but ‘To err is human; to forgive, divine’?!
May You be honored by our repentance, Eternal Father. May we break off the bitter branches of this tree of humanity. May we prune our own branches so that our neighbors may again enjoy Your light! How we love You, and need You this day to survive! Your adoring adopted son, James
A PRAYERFUL MODEL TO ANALYSE HISTORY
I. THERE ARE SPECIFIC ‘MOMENTS OF SEPARATION’ IN HUMAN HISTORY.
> For example, the Seljuk Turks attack Jerusalem.
II. ACTION-BASED JUDGMENTS IN PRESENT TIME.
> Jews to Seljuks, Jews to all Turks, Jews towards any outsider
> Seljuks to Jerusalem’s Jews, Seljuks to all Jews
III. FUTURE JUDGMENTS ARE FORMED BASED ON MEMORY, PERCEPTION, AND BITTER ROOT JUDGMENTS ARE SOLIDIFIED.
> Transference on a cultural scale.
> Perpetuation of offense.
IV. PARTIES ARE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND JUDGMENTS IN THE LORD’S JUSTICE.
> Even righteous anger betrays the victim. Even if the victim is a city, culture, tribe, or nation. We have been forgiven all, and therefore must forgive all. (This is not easy. The decision of the will may be simple, but the maintaining a heart of forgiveness is divine. )
> This is not an endorsement of living without boundaries, especially personal boundaries. Rather, it is a challenge of the rights of a human being to hold another prisoner by the maintenance of an offense.
V. WE CAN REPRESENTATIONALLY ACKNOWLEDGE HISTORICAL SIN BEFORE OUR LORD.
> Through Christ we have access to his Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence. He is present to all history, the present, and future events. He is within time, and beyond our comprehension of time. He knows all and can guide us to pray representationally, (intercession) for events of history, the present, and the future. He truly has unlimited power to forgive, heal, restore any human condition!
>His only limitation is self-imposed: He is a gentleman with boundaries. He believes in good and evil, justice and injustice, lightness and darkness, separateness and relationship. Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” We can trust in distinctions because He trusts in distinctions. Denial of sin within the context of our relationship with Him or others offends God because it denies our condition of separateness, or that we may have a need to address. Denial allows us to keep our pride, hold a grudge, or maintain anger. To use an old Baptist analogy,
“The whole world stand under the Niagara Falls of the Lord’s love. Some have their cups turned up and are filled. Others, although they under a deluge of love, can’t seem to keep a drop because their cups are turned upside down.”
VI. THROUGH ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF HISTORICAL SINS, WE SET THE PROCESS OF RESTORATION IN MOTION.
A. We become aware of historical sin through experience or education.
B. We confess it to the Lord. This is a legal admission of guilt.
C. We pronounce the Lord’s forgiveness of confessed sin. (1 John 1: 8-10)
D. He will guide it through the full process of restoration.
1. Confession leads to remorse.
2. Remorse leads to repentance.
3. Repentance leads to reconciliation.
4. Reconciliation leads to restoration.
VII. ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLES OR MANDATES THAT OUTLINE OR AUTHORITY TO PRAY THROUGH HISTORY.
A. “It is never the will of God that the judgment due the wicked should come upon the righteous.” pp 14-15 citing Genesis 18: 23,25 NIV
1.”Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” v. 23 Abraham asks.
2.”Far be it from you to do such a thing-to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” v. 25
B. “Every Christian has dual citizenship.” pp 32-35
1. “By natural birth he is a citizen of an earthly nation, and he is subject to all the ordinances and requirements of his nation’s lawful government. But by spiritual rebirth through faith in Christ, he is also a citizen of God’s heavenly kingdom. This is the basis of Paul’s statement, already referred to in our previous chapter: “We…are citizens of heaven.” Philippians 3:20 NEB
2. Example of dual citizenship: Jeremiah 1: 5,10 NIV
-”I approinted you as a prophet to the nations.” v.5
-”See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” v.10
– Jeremiah was subject as a citizen of Judah: “he did not “preach or practice political subversion or anarchy. Nor did he ever seek to evade or resist decrees made by the government concerning him, even though these were at times arbitrary and unjust. Yet on the spiritual plane to which God elevated him through his prophetic ministry, Jeremiah exercised authority over the very rulers to whom he was in subjection on the natural plane.”
Derek Prince, Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting, (Springdale, PA: Whittaker House,1973)
Mark 2:1-12 NIV
v 5. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “ Son, your sins are forgiven.”
v 10. “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…”He said to the paralytic, v11. “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
“It is interesting to note that in John 20:22-23, Jesus breathes upon his disciples to receive the Holy Spirit, and then pronounces, “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Jesus is giving the church the authority to announce His forgiveness in the lives of those who come to Him in faith. We do not have the innate ability to forgive anyone’s sins against God, or to withhold God’s forgiveness of sins from anybody. But Jesus has given the church the authority to act as His regents or representatives in the world, and to speak on His behalf. We can declare that “God forgives you” with all the authority of Jesus, because we are not declaring our forgiveness, but rather His forgiveness in Christ. We are merely pronouncing the forgiveness made possible by the sacrifice of Christ.”
Timothy Tennent, President Asbury Theological Seminary
His Holiness John Paul II, First Sunday of Lent, “Day of Pardon” Presentation
12 March 2000
I. The meaning of the celebration
1. On 12 March 2000, the First Sunday of Lent, the Holy Father will celebrate the Eucharist with the Cardinals and will ask forgiveness from the Lord for the sins, past and present, of the sons and daughters of the Church.
The celebration of the Day of Pardon was expressly desired by the Holy Father as a powerful sign in this Jubilee Year, which is by its very nature a moment of conversion.
“As the Successor of Peter, I ask that in this year of mercy the Church, strong in the holiness which she receives from her Lord, should kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters. All have sinned and none can claim righteousness before God (cf. 1 Kgs 8:46)… Christians are invited to acknowledge, before God and before those offended by their actions, the faults which they have committed. Let them do so without seeking anything in return, but strengthened only by the ‘love of God which has been poured finto our hearts’ (Rom 5:5)” (Incarnationis Mysterium, 11; cf. Terno Millennio Adveniente, 33).
2. Consequently, the Church, in a Eucharistic celebration at the beginning of her Lenten journey, and thus in an act of thanksgiving to the Lord, confesses, proclaims and glorifies God’s work within her during the past two thousand years of Christianity. The Lord has been living and present in his Church, and through the Saints he has demonstrated that he continues to be at work in human history, in the midst of his community. Certainly, Christians, as pilgrims and wayfarers towards the Kingdom, remain sinners, frail, weak and subject to the temptations of Satan, the Prince of this world, despite their incorporation into the Body of Christ. In every generation the holiness of the Church has shone forth, witnessed by countless numbers of her sons and daughters; yet this holiness has been contradicted by the continuing presence of sin which burdens the journey of God’s People. The Church can sing both the Magnificat for what God has accomplished within her and the Miserere for the sins of Christians, for which she stands in need of purification, penance and renewal (cf. Lumen Gentium, 8).
3. “The Church cannot cross the threshold of the new millennium without encouraging her children to purify themselves through repentance of past errors and instances of infidelity, inconsistency and slowness to act” (Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 33). Consequently, a liturgy seeking pardon from God for the sins committed by Christians down the centuries is not only legitimate; it is also the most fitting means of expressing repentance and gaining purification.
Pope John Paul II, in a primatial act, confesses the sins of Christians over the centuries down to our own time, conscious that the Church is a unique subject in history, “a single mystical person”. The Church is a communion of saints, but a solidarity in sin also exists among all the members of the People of God: the bearers of the Petrine ministry, Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.
To Honorable Governor Walz, and the Minnesota Executive Council (Lt. Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Ellison, Secretary of State Simon, and State Auditor Blaha.)
As a courtesy, allow me a brief introduction? My name is James Orvis, married to Chris with three teenage daughters that all speak Mandarin. (Thanks Yinghua Academy!) We are currently residents of the Como neighborhood in St. Paul. I worked for years as a touring drummer (Romantica), currently pay the bills working photoshoots for a large Minnesota retailer, and for a light hobby have researched and written a prayerful interpretation of Minnesota’s most significant events of the past 300 years. My wife and I both have the distinction of surviving a coup d’tat; mine in Tallinn, Estonia (’91), and hers in Haiti when Aristide was ousted in 1994.
We have seen and tasted enough politics of the world to last a lifetime, and that is why I come hesitantly to ask one question; when will you restore our freedoms of religion, and reiterate for posterity that worship is essential? My personal mourning for this loss is so deep that I began fasting and praying for myself and all Minnesotans’ since May 11, 2020. I need my freedom to worship the G-d I love more than food!
I, as most Minnesotans’, do not blame you for your initial use of emergency powers to shut down the state. We had no data and were facing a colossal pandemic. For example, on March 11, 2020, “Congress’ in-house doctor (Dr. Brian Monahan told Capitol Hill staffers at a close-door meeting this week that he expects 70-150 million people in the U.S. — roughly a third of the country — to contract the coronavirus, two sources briefed on the meeting tell Axios.”* Most of us did not envy the weight of your responsibility given such claims and expectations.
In response to information such as that, you gave the initial declaration of peace time emergency on March 13, 2020. On April 8th, you extended the Stay at Home (Executive Order 20–33) order until May 3 at 11:59 PM. Again, you extended the stay at home order on April 30th for Minnesota until Sunday May 17 at 11:59 PM.** Today, you extended Minnesota’s peacetime emergency through August 12th.
Again, I appeal to you Governor and executive council members to take off your political hats, and try to see our life through a G-d’s eye lens. What is the cause and effect since the shutdown? A few examples:
No Easter, even in the Vatican, for the first time in 1700 years!? No Sacraments? No grace flowing from the altar into the community. Though I’m a Christian with a Swedish Lutheran, Polish Jewish and Polish Catholic heritage, I seriously mourn that Minnesotans’ felt the loss of Ramadan, Pesach or Passover, and meditating at their temples.
A state-imposed limitation of our work. To work is to participate in Creation, and to express our human dignity. It is a primary act of worship; i.e. “I may be changing tires, but I choose to work as if the King of the Universe were my customer.”
We have paid dearly during the Peacetime Emergency for the loss of relationship between small business owners and their customers. It is not just an economic hit, but a hit on the basic trust and voluntary connections between neighbors. We spend money where we know and trust the people.
We have allowed the fear of Covid 19 to rob us of the things that bring us joy: going to the park, eating a meal, having a beer, watching a ballgame, going to school, playing with friends, buying a coffee, sitting in a cafe, going to the theatre, shopping in a favorite store, and going out to dance. Etc. How are these simple pleasures an act of worship? Whether we acknowledge the Deity or not, when we feel joy we are reminded that “something is good in this universe, I’m tangibly experiencing it, and I belong here. I matter to somebody, and somebody matters to me.”
Worship, I believe, in the Old English means something akin to “worth-ship, or to call something worthy”. Simply put, worship is choosing what is valuable to us. Our choices forge our experiences, and our experiences create our sense of memory. Our memory is what creates our identity. Composer Clive Wearing suffers from retrograde and anterograde amnesia. To his psychologists, he is known as “30-second Clive” because his condition usurps his past. In effect, he has largely lost his personality.**** Why is this relevant? There is an unprecedented cessation or censorship of worship for approximately 2.9 billion people internationally because of the Covid pandemic. What are the international results? We are experiencing one of the most profound attacks on history or historical statues and symbols in recollection, primarily through youth movements. Will this result in personal and cultural amnesia for our kids? Are we raising a “30-second generation”? Dear Governor Walz, how will we build and retain a common cultural identity if we allow the trend of erasing history? Our character is shaped by both our successes and failures; shouldn’t we remember both?
To further the point, we see a crisis of justice. We have experienced and tasted the bitter fruits of George Floyd’s unnecessary death. We have seen a huge response of justice and righteous indignation expressed in peaceful protest. Yet we also saw protest boil over and result in approximately 1500 acts of property damage and violence committed against those who were not the cause of a botched detainment! For some of us, race, class, and gender could be construed as causal in this context; but what happens if we dig past these political labels to the heart? Perhaps it is an internal dysfunction? When we experience deep pain we have a choice; insurrection or introspection. We can choose to hold onto an offense, yet that is precisely what bonds us to our offender. Some call this principle ‘trauma bonding’. Dear Governor, how will our people heal without the introspection learned by giving and receiving both the Grace and Truth; the forgiveness and the judgment of Christ?
So now it’s time for some pointed statements based on nine years of interceding through our State’s history, four months of my experience of a worship-less Minnesota, and nine weeks of mournful fasting. I truly don’t relish rebuking you or your council, but ask that You listen to the kindness and sternness of G-d. (You may not understand or believe in prophecy, but I will share what I’ve heard in prayer and nothing more. Please test it against the Scriptures and your life experiences. Judge for yourselves if I’m wrong about the principles of sowing and reaping judgment.)
Hear the message of the Lord:
Whether You accept it or not, you are my masterpiece. You were created for this moment in history to guide the political state of Minnesota into good government. Part of this understanding is the humility to understand that all political authority is subject to the Authority of Heaven.
I have these offenses against you:
You have judged that you are the arbiter of your citizens’ health, and have stolen their rights and responsibilities for their own health.
You have judged that “Worship is not essential” to Minnesota, and still withhold the freedoms of religion and the practice of faith from my people!
You have both withheld freedom from the people of Minnesota, and added to their burdens.
Governor Tim Walz, and the Minnesota Executive Council, I will now spiritually judge you and the Minnesota Executive Council precisely in the areas of your judgements. I, too, will govern your healthcare choices. I will withhold from you what you deem worthy of value, and goals you find praiseworthy; that which you worship. Humble yourselves! Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. May You experience my Grace and Truth as you practice these principles of good self-government. Judgment is a windmill. Return to me and I will return to you.”
The Lord, Jesus Christ, Messiah and King of the Universe
In sum, Honorable Governor Walz, we love you, pray for your success, and need you to survive. The Peacetime Emergency powers are crushing our humanity, and extinguishing the light of our heritage of faith and generosity of spirit in Minnesota. Will you lift this burden off of us so we can worship, think for ourselves, and thrive?
Just another man who loves Minnesota, James D. Orvis
For most of my adult life, I’ve been perplexed or even confused by a single line in the Lord’s Prayer *found in either Matthew 6:9-13 or in Luke 11:2-4. To put this thought in context, below is Matthew’s version quoting the words of Christ our Messiah.
“This then is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ “ Matthew 6:9-13 NIV **
What did the Lord mean when He said, “on earth as it is in heaven” ?
This question was burning inside of me when I began my fast on May 11th, 2020 in response to the local and international halting of corporate worship over the Covid 19 virus. (For those unfamiliar with the term, by ‘corporate worship’ I mean being physically present together to: sing, pray, receive Communion, speak with each other and the Lord, hear from each other and the Word, kneel, sit, stand, raise hands, give offerings and tithes, and practicing other forms of showing Our Father that He is worthy of praise and adoration.) I wondered to myself and the Lord, “If worship is disrupted on earth, in many places for the first time in over 1,000 years, does this mean that worship stopped in heaven too?”
Many answers came to me by reading and re-reading two of my all-time favorite books on prayer. The first is “Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting” *** by Derek Prince, and the second is”Ekklesia Rising” **** by Dean Briggs. For me, it’s as if the silver pen of the Holy Spirit fell from heaven into the hands of these brothers, and they started writing His hard fought revelatory lessons. Both books are the intersection of education and revelation, and are worthy of our attention!
In Mr. Prince’s book, the Lord speaks so clearly to us about Our Father’s heart for government and leadership. In the third chapter, “Praying for our Government” he starts with Scripture and ends with an unassailable statement of logic.
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we made lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior: who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:1-4 Phillips
He contends that one of the most basic functions of any meeting of believers’ is to pray and express gratitude for our government and those in leadership because it is a clear mandate from the Bible. Yet the Body of Christ rarely practices this primary function?!Allow me a quote from Mr. Prince, “Not merely do they not pray for the government “first”, they scarcely pray for it at all!” p.49
Let’s fast forward to how he summarizes the mandate of I Timothy 2:1-4 as only a philosopher of Eton and Cambridge can?
“1. The first ministry and outreach of believers as we meet together in regular fellowship is prayer.
2. The first specific topic for prayer is the government.
3. We are to pray for good government.
4. God desires all men to have the truth of the Gospel preached to them.
5. Good government facilitates the preaching of the Gospel, while bad government hinders it.
6. Therefore, good government is the will of God.” Shaping History p.53
Let’s hold that thought while I tie it to another “big idea” from the book “Ekklesia Rising” by Mr. Briggs?
Again, he starts with the Word and builds into a logical revelation from heaven.
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18 NIV *****
Though this is one of the most familiar passages of the Bible, Briggs points out that the word Christ used is “ekklesia” and not “kyriakon”. Why does this discrepancy in the original Greek matter so much to Briggs? It’s because words mattered to Jesus; He said what He meant, and we should settle for no less!
So what is the magnitude of this difference? What is the distance between two words with completely different connotations and meanings? Let’s see for ourselves?
Kyriakon – a compound Greek word translated from; “Kyrios”- meaning the Lord “ and “oikas” meaning house, a building. “Kyriakon” literally means the Lord’s house.
Ekklesia – a compound Greek word: “Ek” ‘out of’ and “Klesis” ‘a calling’ or “called out, separated, holy.” p.107
Though this misinterpretation already shows a major difference in meaning between ‘the Lord’s house’, and ‘the called out, separated, and holy’ there’s much more depth when Mr. Briggs zooms in on the meaning of ‘ekklesia’. A few fast facts below:
Ekklesia is used 115 times in the New Testament, misinterpreted 112 times as “church” and interpreted, in part, correctly 3 times as “assembly”. p. 108
Quoting Oskar Seyfert’s “Dictionary of Classical Antiquities”, “ekklesia was originally used to describe the assembly of the people, which in Greek cities had the final decisions in public affairs.” p.109
The idea of the ekklesia would already have been familiar to the Hebrew mind and the Disciples. Deuteronomy 9:10 and 18:16 used the word ‘qahal’ meaning “the day of the assembly”. p.109
Quoting William Barclay “New Testament Words”.
“The Septuagint…translates the Hebrew word qahal, which again comes from a root which means ‘to summon’. It is regularly used for the “assembly’ or ‘congregation’ of Israel…In the Hebrew sense it, therefore, means God’s people, called together by God, in order to listen or act for God.” For this reason, Barclay observes, “In a certain sense the word ‘congregation’ loses a certain amount of the essential meaning” because qahaland ekklesia are both, clearly, summoned together for a purpose, rather than merely “assembling because they have chosen to come together.” Pp.109-110
Mr. Briggs wraps the chapter saying, “the ekklesia was by definition a governmental assembly”. What does Matthew 16:18 sound like with this new information?
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my ekklesia, my ‘called out, holy ones, who are summoned together by my Spirit to govern, listen and act for me, to enact, spiritually, my dominion over the authorities of earth…
and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
All this to say that when we agree in prayer with even one other person, we are authorized by the ruling council of heaven to make changes on earth. The Enemy doesn’t get to “steal, kill, and destroy” anymore without pushback. The political powers of earth must bend the knee to the will of heaven. Those that create false narratives for profit or power must redact their falsehoods before the King of the Universe, or be windmilled by their own judgments and misbeliefs.
We have an action plan. We have unbreakable hope. We get to invite the place where everything works into the dysfunction of our nation or neighborhood; our family or tribe because we are summoned to do so by G-d. We get to be the “deciders” and the “inviters” of His will; “on earth as it is in heaven”!
Please pray for me to stay centered in the Lord. I wake up most days with a sense of heaviness for our state that has publicly weighed the expression of our worship as “non-essential”. Though I know that we serve a Savior that is omnipresent, I feel remorse that we have not responded in grace and truth to the governor, and his limitations imposed on every house of worship. Where is the masculine leadership of the Church of Minnesota to kindly, respectfully, but firmly stand up to the notion that taking communion, common prayer, common worship and fellowship is as valueless to our society as pumping gas?
He is our fuel! He is our grocery store! He is the department store for our spirit! He is worthy of the respect shown to Holiday, Cub, Target, and Walmart. Lord, if Gov. Walz is truly and sincerely acting from a place of benevolence, why is there no public recognition of the sacrifice of the Church of Minnesota? Why hasn’t our Governor made statements to assure our houses of worship that they will fully retain their inalienable freedoms of religion? Where is the law or precedent that a Governor can regulate, monitor, or insert state controls on the practice of our faith and worship?
If you know the answers to any of these questions, please tell me. My understanding of our law is that it based on the idea of apportionment, the idea that we can and should expect an even and proportional application of the law. Does this mean we can expect Walmart to limit itself to 10 shoppers at time like our cathedrals and large sanctuaries? Will G-d’s house be limited to 10 guests at a time irregardless of size? Shall all food sales, whether packaged or fresh or fast foods be restricted like a communion served only through a table at the door?
What about the spiritual ramifications of touch: in prayer? in baptism? in marriage? in mourning? Are the expressions of our humanity less valued if they come in the Name of the Lord than our neighbors who handle sod, install doors, or serve coffee? Must we wear PPE to remain human?
It seems that these issues all hinge on choice and responsibility. If Governor Walz is the arbiter of health, then it follows logically that we are not responsible for our own health, and the state must make choices for us. Yet, for 244 years, the opposite is the norm. We have the precedent given us by the 9th and 14th Amendments to retain choices not expressly given to the Federal or State governments.
“In sum, the Ninth Amendment simply lends strong support to the view that the “liberty” protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments from infringement by the Federal Government or the States is not restricted to rights specifically mentioned in the first eight amendments.” Cf. United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75, 94–95.
Lord, come stand between us and Governor Tim Walz. You have made him our legal authority whom we esteem, honor, and regard. Will You resolve this painful issue between the worshippers of Minnesota, and our Governor? We do not wish to become outlaws, but we must not fail by ceasing to worship You. We need You for our survival! We need Your Body for our survival! Come Lord Jesus; show us again that worship is essential!