LATEST - Since 6 April 2019
Thursday 25 April 2019
Anzac Day is the national day of remembrance to commemorate the service and sacrifice of Australian and New Zealand Armed Forces men and women.
An impressive flypast, including Spitfire planes and Harvards, took place directly over
the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Prince William's wreath reads: "We will never forget the sacrifice of the Anzacs. With deep gratitude, William."
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14 April 2019
Palm Sunday is the beginning of the Holy Week for Christians around the world. Holy Week encompasses the 7 days prior to Easter. It begins today on Palm Sunday and includes Holy Thursday (also known as Maundy Thursday), Good Friday and Holy Saturday. At the end of Holy Week - the beginning of next week - it is Easter Sunday with the celebration of Jesus rising from the tomb.
Palm Sunday is the day in which Jesus entered Jerusalem; His last journey into the city before His death. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. This choice of travel is very symbolic as Jesus wanted to show all the people that He came in peace. History shows that when a king rode into a city on a horse, he was entering for war. If a king came into a city on a donkey, he was coming in peace.
Many people who heard Jesus was arriving in Jerusalem came forward to greet Him. In the Gospel of St. John 12:13, it is written that a great multitude: “Took branches of palm trees and went forth to meet Him and cried: Hosanna! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!” Palm leaves and robes were placed on the ground in front of Jesus as He entered Jerusalem - similar to a “red carpet” greeting.
The Biblical Account:
Jesus Came to Jerusalem as King
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realise that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
A hymn for Palm Sunday:
Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Hark, all the tribes hosanna cry:
O Saviour meek, pursue thy road
with palms and scattered garments strowed.
Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die:
O Christ, thy triumphs now begin
o'er captive death and conquered sin.
Ride on, ride on in majesty!
The wingèd squadrons of the sky
look down with sad and wondering eyes
to see the approaching sacrifice.
Ride on, ride on in majesty!
The last and fiercest strife is nigh:
the Father on his sapphire throne
awaits his own anointed Son.
Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
bow thy meek head to mortal pain,
then take, O God, thy power, and reign.
Author: Henry Hart Milman DD (1827)
his account of Palm Sunday St Luke (Chapter 19: verses 41-44) recounts
how Jesus wept over the sight of Jerusalem as he foresaw that some
decades later (70AD) the beautiful city would come under seige and the
magnificent Temple would be utterly destroyed - not one stone standing
upon another - and duly that came to pass. To this very day the Temple
complex has not been rebuilt.
BUT we - the Knights Templar (named after the fact that the original knights occupied part of the site) - can represent that temple still; as 'living stones' built into the Temple which is Jesus. This is explained in 1 Peter 2: 4-6 ....
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a temple of the spirit, to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
If one traces the steep path over which Jesus rode on a donkey towards Jerusalem, down the Mount of Olives, you come to a small chapel built in the shape of a teardrop. It is the church known as Dominus Flevit (the Lord wept):
The main window has a superb view over the city and the Church of the Holy Sepuchre:
The Church of the Holy Sepuchre was built over the place where Jesus was crucified and the tomb where he was buried and then, three days later - on the first Easter Day - he rose from the dead.
Holy Week gives us an opportunity to refresh our memories of the most important events in human history! Hopefully it will also encourage us to become the 'holy priesthood' mentioned above.
Help us Lord this week to become pilgrims,
learning to follow you in all things.
15 April 2019
There are a number of different traditions about the events in Jerusalem on the day after Jesus triumphantly entered the city. But one logical one - bearing in mind the then massive support which Jesus had from the people - was what is known as the "Cleansing of the Temple" :
St Matthew provides us with an account of this event in his Gospel (Chapter 21, verses 12-13):
Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
1. Isaiah 56:7
2. Jeremiah 7:11
3. Psalm 8:2
Help us Lord God to cleanse from our lives the things which keep us from
adequately thanking and praising you today for Jesus, our Friend and Saviour.
16 April 2019
The news today is dominated by the fire which has destroyed large parts of the great Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris:
Last night we sent a message to our Grand Master and his wife in Paris:
Mon cher frère Gérard et ma soeur Sissi,
Nous vous saluons avec beaucoup de tristesse car la grande cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris est tombée aux flammes. C'est vraiment tragique!
‡ The Grand Prior of OSMTH Wales
My dear Brother Gérard and sister Sissi,
We greet you with much sadness because the great cathedral of Notre Dame of Paris has fallen to the flames. It is truly tragic!
‡ The Grand Prior of OSMTH Wales
It has been many years since such an extensive fire has engulfed a British cathedral. But it does bring to mind the Great Fire of London which destroyed the old St Paul's Cathedral in 1666. When Sir Christopher Wren visited the site prior to considering how to rebuild it he asked a workman to bring him a bit of stone. The workman picked up the first piece which came to hand. On it was inscribed one word in Latin: "Resurgam" - "May I rise again". Duly St Paul's, as we know it today, took a mere 35 years to complete.
Let us pray France will see Notre Dame rise again over the Paris skyline.
Knights Templar have many connections with Notre Dame. The Third
Crusade started from there. And each March, on the island just below
the cathedral, hundreds of Templar Knights and Dames assemble as we
commemorate the execution and martyrdom of our last medieval Grand
Master, Jacques de Molay. Here are 3 of our group standing below the
commemorative plaque in March 2018:
keeps this day in Holy Week to recall that Jesus predicted his death
(John 12: 20-38). We have the advantage of knowing that Jesus had his
own 'resurgam' to come and that on that first Easter day Jesus 'rose
must also remember that no matter how many times a building in an
Earthly city may be rebuilt, in the end it will fall to dust. But
Christians are citizens of heaven; we have an Eternal City in which to
Lord Jesus Christ as we follow your teachings here on earth;
We pray that when we return to dust you will receive us safely in heaven.
17 April 2019
Unofficially Holy Tuesday is sometimes referred to as 'Spy Wednesday' since one of the main Gospel readings is from St Matthew, Chapter 26 verses 20-25 (also Mark 14:17-25, Luke 22:14-30, John13:21-30). This passage recounts the event when Jesus reveals that one of his own disciples would betray him. Judas left the 'Last Supper' and went off to make arrangements to identify Jesus to the authorities.
The Biblical account of Judas agreeing to Betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16) :
14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
Almighty God keep us firm in the salvation hope which you have set before us;
That we may never betray Jesus in our hearts, thoughts, words nor actions.
18 April 2019
The Thursday in Holy Week is usually referred to as Maundy Thursday. The word 'maundy' comes from the English word derived through Middle English and the Old French word mandé, and the Latin mandatum
(also the origin of the English word "mandate") which is the first word
in St John's Gospel, Chapter 13 verse 34 of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" where Jesus gave to his disciples: "A new commandment ...
"That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
fact that this was given as a "Commandment" and not merely a
'suggestion' or a 'good idea' added to its vital importance then and
continues to apply to his followers today. We Knights Templar do our
best to obey.
Also, during the evening meal with the disciples, as recorded by St Mark (Chapter 14 verses 22-25) :
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
By these actions Jesus instituted what we know as 'The Lord's Supper' or 'Holy Communion' or 'The Mass' or 'The Eucharist' and so on, when Christians all over the world, in their different communities, churches and traditions gather together to celebrate and bring to mind the sacrifice of his life which he gave freely for our salvation.
Lord Jesus Christ we thank you for our salvation through your self-sacrifice;
We pray that we shall never be ashamed to confess that you are our God.
19 April 2019
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The events of the first Good Friday
During the night Jesus’ guards insulted and tormented him. They blindfolded and beat him, saying mockingly: ‘If you are a prophet, tell us who hit you’. When morning came Jesus was brought before the Jewish Governing Council, which consisted of the chief priests, elders and teachers of the Law. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’ His reply, ‘It is you who say that I am’, was regarded as sufficient evidence for his condemnation for blasphemy. He was taken before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, and accused of claiming to be King of the Jews and thus of subverting Roman rule. After interrogating him Pilate concluded he had done nothing wrong, and was inclined to release him. When however he discovered that Jesus came from Galilee, he sent him to be judged by the ruler of that province, Herod son of Herod the Great, who happened to be in Jerusalem.
Herod had heard a great deal about Jesus and had long wanted to meet him. He questioned him at length, but Jesus refused to reply. Eventually Herod sent him back to Pilate arrayed in a gorgeous robe, thereby making up a quarrel between them.
Pilate still believed that Jesus was being falsely accused, and his wife sent him a message to the same effect. So he decided to take advantage of a custom by which a prisoner chosen by the people was released at Passover-tide. He was holding another well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas, and he asked the crowd which had gathered: ‘Which one would you like me to release - Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ The chief priests and elders had worked on the crowd, so they responded ‘Barabbas’. ‘What then am I to do with Jesus called Messiah?’ asked Pilate. The reply came repeatedly and with increasing emphasis: ‘Crucify him!’
When Pilate saw that his efforts to save Jesus were fruitless, and that there was a danger of a riot breaking out, he took water and washed his hands, saying; ‘My hands are clean of this man’s blood.’ He released Barabbas and had Jesus flogged; then he handed him over to be crucified. The soldiers made sport of him, stripping him, dressing him in a scarlet cloak, and putting a reed in his hand and a crown of thorns on his head. They paid him mock homage, spat upon him, and beat him. Then they put on his clothes again, and led him away.
(see: Luke 22.63 - 23.12; Matthew 27.15 - 31)
By then Jesus was too weak to carry his cross to the place of execution, so the soldiers compelled a man named Simon from Cyrene in North Africa to carry it for him. Among the great crowd which followed him were many women, who wept for him. Jesus told them to weep for themselves and for their children because dreadful times were coming.
When they reached the place called ‘The Skull’ the soldiers crucified him and two criminals, one of them on his right and one on his left.
From midday darkness fell until three o’clock in the afternoon. Then Jesus shouted: ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me?’ Some of the bystanders thought he was calling upon Elijah; one of them offered him wine in a sponge held on the end of a stick, and said: ‘Let’s see if Elijah will come and help him’. Jesus then gave another loud cry and died; and at that very moment the curtain dividing the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple building was torn in two.
The day was a Friday, the eve of the Sabbath, and the Jews were anxious that the bodies should not remain on the crosses once the Sabbath had begun. Pilate therefore agreed that the legs of the condemned men should be broken, to hasten their deaths. This was done in the cases of the two criminals but when the soldiers came to Jesus they found he was already dead. They did not break his legs, but one of them thrust a spear into his side, causing a flow of blood and water.
(see: Luke 23.26 - 43; Mark 15.33 - 39; John 19.31 - 37)
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Probably the most famous hymn for Good Friday is one which Isaac Watts (1674-1748) wrote in 1707 and perhaps a reflective reading of this provides an excellent prayer for today:
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ my God:
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.
See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down:
did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?
His dying crimson, like a robe,
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.
20 April 2019
Here is a summary of the Biblical account of the first Good Friday evening and Holy Saturday:
That Friday evening Joseph of Arimathaea, a member of the Jewish Governing Council but also a follower of Jesus, asked Pilate if he might have Jesus’ body. Once Pilate had given permission, the body was taken down from the cross and wrapped in a linen sheet. Then it was laid in a tomb cut out of the rock, which Joseph had prepared for himself, and a large stone was rolled in front of it. Some of the women who had witnessed the crucifixion watched over the grave.
The next day the Jewish leaders asked Pilate if they could protect
the tomb with a guard, lest the disciples should come, steal the body
and then falsely claim that Jesus had risen from the dead. Pilate agreed
to their request, and the tomb was sealed and guarded.
Here is a Biblical prophecy from the book of Isaiah, written approximately 700 years before the birth of Christ:He was despised, and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering; as one from whom men hide their face, and we despised him and we did not value him. Surely he has borne our sufferings, and carried our pains; yet we considered him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his wounds we are healed. [Isaiah 53:3-5]
Almighty God as the body of the crucified Jesus lay in the silence of the tomb;
May we allow for some quiet time in the busyness of our modern life-styles
to still our hearts and minds to contemplate the mystery of death.
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EASTER SUNDAY MORNING
21 April 2019
ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN!
HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!!
Easter Fire - Church of the Holy Sepulcre, Jerusalem
Here is the account in the Holy Bible of the first Easter Morning from the Gospel according to St John, Chapter 20, verses 1-18.
The Empty Tomb
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him,
should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
[John 3: 16]
Jesus said:“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die."
Lord God, the resurrection of Jesus
gives us new life and renewed hope.
Help us to live as new people
in pursuit of the Christian ideal.
Grant us wisdom to know what we must do,
the will to want to do it,
the courage to undertake it,
the perseverance to continue to do it,
and the strength to complete it.
EASTER SUNDAY EVENING
21 April 2019
Here is the account in the Holy Bible of the first Easter Evening from the Gospel according to St Luke, Chapter 24, verses 13-49.
On the Road to Emmaus
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.
31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
ALLELUIA! CHRIST IS RISEN!
HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!!