Feast of the Ascension 28 May 2017

There is evil in the world.

Our Interfaith Council has been seeking to involve the local Egyptian Coptic Church in our work for harmony and peace in our area. The world knows about the event surrounding the local Muslim desire for a place of worship (incidentally we are building two Buddhist places of worship as we speak, one in the Tibetan tradition and another in the Karen Tradition; for them no protests and no publicity!)

Evil in the world!

It is scarcely three weeks since the historic visit of Pope Francis to Egypt. His Arabic greeting of peace be unto you was warmly appreciated by the audience as he and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, embraced. Brings back the memorable visit of a previous Francis of Assisi to Egypt nearly one thousand years ago. But that was not all. The Coptic Pope Tawadros II signed a protocol with Pope Francis, recognising one another’s Baptism and they were joined in prayer by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople on the Friday night.; this is believed to be the first time since the fifth century split during and following the Monophysite schism at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Just to add to the history, there are Catholic and Orthodox Copts in Egypt and Australia, with a beautiful Monastery next door to Bendigo in Heathcote …and, within days of all this being celebrated, we have the murder of Copts on their bus going to prayer!

The opening word from Ephesians today asking God the Father to “give you a spirit of wisdom and perception” shouts at us all. We must, in this country, whilst we can work for peace and justice.

We pray that the eyes of our minds be enlightened and that we come to realise more fully the “hope his call holds for you”.

Our world needs that vision of hope.

Our Baptism not only empowers us with many gifts, but calls us to preach the Good News of Christ risen and ascended…it is from that situation that all are empowered to build on his legacy.

 

Mons Frank

 

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