|Posted by Firehouse of God Ministries, Inc. on May 9, 2012 at 2:00 PM|
#5 May 2012
Could 2012 be the year of Christ’s return?
What Is the Origin of Making the Sign of the Cross? X
Rachel Lovejoy has been a professional journalist since 1990. She has been a correspondent for the "Journal Tribune" and a guest writer for the "Maine Sunday Telegram" and has written for several weekly newspapers owned by Current Publishing. Lovejoy has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Southern Maine.
Most of us believe that “making the sign of the Cross is limited to Catholics and that it is simply a Catholic ritual – however that is not true – making the sign is common in some Protestant faiths too – Lutherans are encouraged to do it in Luther’s Small Catechism and it has become common in Lutheran churches today. Some Methodist churches also practice making the sign of the cross.
Crucifixion was the standard form of execution during the time of Christ. The sign of the cross is an ancient practice that reaffirms the belief in Jesus' atonement for the world's sins. Mainly Catholics practice it, and while its origins are unknown, it is believed to have originated not long after Jesus' death.
Christ's death is thought to have taken place around the year 33 AD. As Christianity grew, writers such as Tertullian, who encouraged early Christians to make the sign of the cross, spread Jesus’ doctrines. Subsequent religious figures continued to promote its use. Basil, bishop of Cappadocia, believed that the sign had been used by the apostles to indicate those who believed in Jesus.
Tertullian's description of the sign suggests that it was made on the forehead with one finger, and early Christians may have consulted Biblical references that mention making a mark on the forehead to indicate God's claim, states "Christianity Today."
There is no dispute over the centrality of the Cross in the spirituality and understanding of the Church. The first definitive written records of Christians “making the sign of the Cross” come from the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries. Scholars have long noted that practices/beliefs were assumed and already well in effect (like the Scriptures) by the time they were in written form.
The current evidence is that the sign of the Cross was traced with one finger (most likely the thumb) on the forehead (and over the mouth when reading Scripture) and over anyone or anything Christians wished to consecrate. The Cross was traced with the right hand (unless one was disabled, etc.), which itself symbolized intimacy with the Christ “who sits at the right hand of God.”
The making the sign of the Cross on one’s forehead corresponds with the ancient cultures of the Scriptures (e.g. Genesis 4; Ezekiel 9). Marks on the forehead conspicuously display and proclaim the spiritual condition or identity of the person as seen and identified by God.
By the 4th century, the sign of the Cross began to be traced by two (the index and middle) fingers. It also reflected how bishops or (beginning with the 4th century) presbyters (when they began to function as priests) blessed others; the classic Roman gesture for public speaking was the two fingers extended. By the 8th century, the two fingers came to symbolize the two natures of Christ and to distinguish Christians in the East under Islamic rule from Muslims who, as some sources from that time show, lifted “one finger when asking Allah for forgiveness.”
By mid 9th century the “three fingers” are replacing the “two finger sign” (though in the East it did not become universal until after the 17th century following the Old Believer Schism in Russia), expanding the focus that through the crucified Jesus we enter communion with the Holy Trinity. In the 13th century in the West, we have the first mention of some who “make the sign of the Cross from the left to the right,” the reasons varying from crossing from misery (left) to glory (right) to mirroring the priest blessing them
Regardless of how the Cross was (is) traced in the various traditions, the Church has understood its expression as concretely identifying oneself with the Lord who, through His crucifixion, fully participates in our humanity, which then, as seen in the resurrection-ascension, brings us to organically participate in the life of the Trinity. The Cross symbolizes (“brings together”) God’s organic descent into death and darkness, through which we are given back to Him. It also symbolizes our embracing the spiritual battle within the deserts of our hearts and choosing to see things from the perspective of the God who shows His all-powerful and sovereign Love by giving up control of His very life on the Cross.
The sign is also used by priests and pastors when making a blessing upon someone or something. It is most commonly accompanied by the words “In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost”.
The Friendship Circle
Wow – time is flying by – as I write this it is already the middle of April and by the time you read it, it will be May 1st.
I am sorry I haven’t shared with you before now information on what is happening with our Haiti kids, Ruth and Karl. I want to share a bit on what we have done so far.
Earlier this year, in February I believe, we sent little Ruth a birthday box filled with a variety of fun things all wrapped in brightly colored tissue paper. I am sure she was wide eyed as she opened the box and saw its contents. A huge thanks to all who contributed to filling her box with surprises.
Karl will be having a birthday in August and I hope to do the same for him as well. Keep this in mind and think about donating a gift for him. I will have more details later on.
As of this writing, from donations I received, I have also purchased, prepared and sent school supplies for Ruth and Karl, as well as some items for the teacher and classroom.
God bless you all and thanks so much for all your help…couldn’t do it without you!
Don’t forget – kids love mail! Write a letter or send a card even if it is just to say “Hi”! …Annie Vroman
House #1 - All going well – currently housing 3 men
House #2 - Renovation completed – currently housing 2 men upstairs
The shed has a new roof thanks to Cory Olalde who donated the labor!
Sharing and Caring
Prayer Request Form – in the back of the pews you will find a small Prayer Request Form – fill it out and put it in with the offering – the Friendship Circle ladies will be praying for you! There are also forms in the Fellowship Hall for guests who come to dinner/lunch
The weekly cooking of meals for the Council House has been a huge success!.
Greeter Ministry – more volunteers needed!
May Events & Activities
12th – Sammantha Abell 24th – Joe Magana
13th – Roger Hampton 26th – Mike Rodekamp
22nd – Dickie Case (Council House)
10th – Carl & Barbara Rodekamp – 61 years!
* * * * * * * *
3rd – National Day of Prayer
12th – Postal Worker’s Food Drive
13th – Mother’s Day
19th – 11:00a-3:00p Outreach in Oregon at Dillehay Park –volunteers are needed
28th – Memorial Day
29th – Let’s Feed the Children – we will be participating each Tue, Wed and Thu – volunteers needed – contact Pastor Brian or Barb Evans if interested
Notes from April - Pastor Brian has introduced a serious and compelling series of sermons on the seriousness of what is happening in our world today and how it effects everyone of us here at the Firehouse of God
Men’s Ministry – to be announced – Leader needed!
Women’s Friendship Circle will meet Thursdays 6:30p.m. at Sheryl Noble’s home - 1134 West 23rd ST, Rock Falls
Community Light Feeding Program: Monday – Friday 5:00pm – 6:00pm Dinner Served / Saturday 12:00pm – 1:00pm Lunch Served
Firehouse Youth Ministry – Sundays 6:00 p.m. at the church
Old News Items…
Sutherland Courier - Sutherland, Iowa Nov 4, 1898
Four gasoline street lamps were put in position Wednesday by the town authorities. One was placed at Woodbury's corner, one at the corner by the State Bank, another on the corner by the former D. Hockert store and the fourth on the south side of Second street in front of L. Schwerdtfeger's shoe shop.
The lamps are of the pattern used largely in cities and are the best that could be had. They cost $5 each at Cleveland, Ohio.
LeMars, Iowa Sentinel November 1882
-Flood, famine, tornado, mine disaster—to say nothing of the Martinique horror (Mont Pelee eruption)—have followed each other so closely that it is little wonder that believers in the literal sense of the Bible hold that the consummation of the age is at hand. In the face of such horrors as these the Christendom of 500 years ago would have been on its knees. It might be well if the Christendom of today were to take to its knees. The attitude is one that one seldom assumes.
Last night my little boy confessed to me
Some childish wrong;
And kneeling at my knee,
He prayed with Tears-
“Dear God, make me a man
Like Daddy-wise and strong,
I know You can
Then while he slept
I knelt beside his bed;
Confessed my sins,
And prayed with bow-downed head;
“O God, make me a child
Like my child here-
Trusting Thee with faith sincere”.
By Andrew Gillies
Matthew 5:16 Let your light shine before people, that they may see your good works and praise your Heavenly Father
Summer/Winter Homeless Ministry and
Summer Kids Program
Feeding the homeless and the hungry – providing temporary shelter for men and women.
Homeless Coordinator Men’s Rescue Leaders
Mike Russell Barb Evans
Council House Caretakers –
Clayton Conrady / Robert Pyron
Volunteer - Darryl Snow
Shelter Dinner / Lunch Shift Leaders
Mike Russell – Keven Miller - Marcia Rodekamp
Shelter Dinner / Lunch Assistants
Sean Broughton – Sheryl Noble
Children’s Church Coordinator
Thanks & Blessings to all who volunteer in any way to carry out the Lord’s work at the Firehouse
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;
the arm of flesh will fail you,
ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
each piece put on with prayer;
where duty calls or danger,
be never wanting there.