The Patriarchs, the Maccabeans, and Us

There has been a strange interweaving of stories in the past few days in my life. Over the past week I have studied I Maccabees in the Apocrypha and preached on Hanukkah and the Maccabean Revolt. I posted earlier on lessons learned from Mattathias and the Maccabeans.

Then, I was given this link from a friend. It is the story of Patriarch Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox Church. He is the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church, but his situation is vastly different from that of the Pope. Bartholomew has his headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey. A Muslim nation. His “headquarters” are tiny. The main church is empty. The seminary where he trained for the priesthood is empty.

Throughout this article I could not help thinking that this may be the future of the American Church. Probably not in my lifetime, but I was witnessing a church in exile. There could be a time coming when we will be in such a minority that our celebrated places of worship will be gone. We will understand what it means to be a “remnant.”

The piece by Bob Simon of 60 Minutes is a good one. Make sure you see it.

3 thoughts on “The Patriarchs, the Maccabeans, and Us

  1. Sometimes, I think, we are more faithful as a remnant. Although we want to lead everyone to Christ and do not want to be in a situation like the Church in Turkey, or the Jews at the time of the Maccabees, its seems that it is precisely in these situations where we are most faithful and the closest to our Lord.

  2. The bigger an organization gets, the further away it tends to drift from the center of its life; it begins to exist for the sake of the organization instead of the Founder. I fear this is much of what happens (and is currently happening) with the Church. For the most recent example of this, just think “ELCA.”

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