Volume 8, Issue 27

Lent/Easter 2015 A.D.

The Risen Christ
appearing to Mary Magdalene

Editorial

The earliest converts were converted by a single historical fact (the Resurrection) and a single historical doctrine
(the Redemption) operating on a sense of sin which they already had... against the old, platitdunous, universal moral law (C.S. Lewis, The
Screwtape Letters, Letter XXIII para 3). The fact of resurrection and redemption are not tales for a book or a movie, but chapters of our own
lives. Our struggle with sin, evil and the urge to conquer them are depicted in the holy week liturgy - that God has loved us and died for
our sins and redeemed us through His passion, death and resurrection. We have our own spiritual battle still left, till we depart from this
earth. So the Lentent edition of Koinonia reminds us of these realities:
The realization of sin and its enslavement of our soul brings us to the recognition of the need of our redemption, that Christ our Redeemer bought with His precious blood. He gave us the hope of eternal life through His resurrection. The presence of sin and the impact
of evil is just not a thing of the past- etched in the human history as reflected in the article Auschwitz on its 70th anniversary by Crystal
Galles. The reality of moral entrapment is an ongoing struggle for us Christians as told by Bishop Kinner in the Tale of Two Nations. The
comparison of Jonah, the prophet and Jesus, the Savior of the World (the former in the belly of a whale and latter in the belly of the earth)
by Brother Rodd Umlauf TOF, shows God’s redeeming mercy. God is victorious and God has made us victorious. With God’s help we
will overcome. And through all these struggles the reassuring words of Christ, ‘Fear not’ I have overcome the world is re-echoed by Caryl
McAdoo’s story. The article ‘Who are these like stars appearing’ by Canon Patrick Comerford shows the human struggle captured in the
movies. They can be a source of reflection on our spiritual nature, character and what we must become. Rich Maffeo’s column is on the
‘goodness’ of Good Friday. Fr. Jimmie Dean’s article reminds us how humanity has traversed since the institution of Christ’s Church in
this world and how we have been living, preaching the Gospel of redemption until His Second Coming.
Koinonia (Fellowship), wishes all its readers the peace of the Risen Savior. May we do our part as Christians (disciples of Christ) to
stand for the values of the Kingdom of God and the conquest of evil and sin. May we embrace the Risen Savior for all eternity, just as Mary
Magdalene realized her folly and was granted the privilege of seeing the Risen Lord before anyone else. Resurrection is not history, its a
reality for you and me. Grace and peace! Bishop Leo & Holly Michael <>< <>< <><

St. James Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite, Kansas City
welcomes the Bishops, Clergy & Delegates to the Annual Diocesan Synod of the Holy Trinity & Great Plains
and Biennial Provincial Synod of the Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite. Wednesday June 10,11 & 12 2015

Welcome to all our dear Guests!
Holy Trinity Anglican Seminary welcomes you!
Holy Trinity Anglican Seminary (HTAS) is owned
and administrated by the Holy Catholic Church
Anglican Rite of the diocese of Holy Trinity and
Great Plains. It’s location in Kansas City, midAmerica makes travel easy to meet the campus
schedule. It forms part of a long tradition of
the Holy Catholic Church of Anglican Rite and
continues this important work of evangelization
of the Kingdom of Christ in the United States of
America and beyond its mission territories.

With the advancement of communications, Holy Trinity Anglican Seminary will offer online and on campus training for its students.
Holy Trinity Anglican Seminary firmly believes that Good Formation
will ensure FRUITFUL Ministry. Keeping in mind the Great Commission
of the Lord, HTAS will train its candidates in strong Scriptural foundation, Sacramental worship in the Apostolic Tradition as enunciated in
the conservative Anglican Tradition. With qualified faculty and commitment to the cause of priestly formation, Holy Trinity Anglican Seminary
is set to impart the traditional Anglican orthodoxy even in the emerging
social and pastoral challenges. The seminary will also offer courses for
lay students as well.

The Seminary primarily serves the Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite while students belonging to other denominations are welcome to participate in our program of study and reflection. The Holy
Trinity Anglican Seminary will soon be accredited with a view to conferring the Bachelor’s Degree in Theology.

Holy Catholic Church pays special attention to the formation of
her ministers. Church directives require that candidate to the priesthood
undergo a minimum of three years devoted to an intense and specifically
priestly formation. These directives are implemented at this seminary,
with particular emphasis on the Anglican traditions of the Holy Catholic
Church.

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Let us Make Time for God
Join the Morning and Evening Prayer
call during this Lent. Wake up with God.
You can join the prayer conference in
the rhythm of daily morning and evening
prayer. We have dedicated clergy and postulants faithfully hosting the prayer call
daily at 7:00 am and 7:00 pm central time.
Ask your clergy for the phone number.

In the Koinonia masthead, the circle with the cross in the center symbolizes the paten and the diverse elements which form a whole. The Mosaic
represents the great cloud of witnesses and the church tradition. The red
in the letters represents the blood of Christ with the font comprised of individual pieces of letters that are not joined until the blood unifies them. Koinonia is the official publication of the Anglican Province of the Holy Catholic Church-Anglican Rite (HCCAR) aka Anglican Rite Catholic Church.
It is published quarterly at St. James Anglican Church, 8107 S. Holmes
Road, Kansas City, MO 64131. Phone: 816.361.7242 Fax: 816.361.2144.
Editors: The Rt. Rev. Leo Michael & Holly Michael, Koinonia header: Phil
Gilbreath; email: koinonia@holycatholicanglican.org or visit us on the
web at: www.holycatholicanglican.org Cover picture: Painting @ Houston
Museum of Fine Arts, photo by Bishop Leo Michael.

The Tale Of Two Nations

I

Bishop Ken Kinner HCCAR

t may surprise you, but the reality is that America was consciously and intentionally formed and founded after the pattern of ancient Israel. The founders intended the creation of a New Israel in a New World.. It was their exodus from Europe, like the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. The New World was their promised land, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony was their New Jerusalem.
Their legal system sought to incorporate the Law of Moses. They instituted a 'day of rest' after the pattern of the Hebrew Sabbath. Their Thanksgiving Day was formed after the Hebrew Feast of Tabernacles.
They named mountains in America after mountains in Israel: Herman, Ephraim, Gilead, Moriah, Carmel, Zion. And then there is
Lake Zoar. They called towns: Jericho, Jordan, Salem, Canaan, Goshen, Hebron, Bethlehem and Bethel and Bethany. They named their
girls: Eve, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Naomi, Ruth, Deborah , Esther, Anna. Joanna and Mary. They named their boys: Adam,
Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Jeremiah, Elijah, and David and many other names from the Bible.
Hebrew was taught in many schools and colleges. On the seal of Yale University appears the Hebrew words from the breastplate of
the high priest. On the seal of Columbia University the ancient Hebrew name for God. On the seal of Dartmouth University the Hebrew
words: 'the Almighty God'.
America's link to ancient Israel has undergirded our national identity, in one form or another. Ben Franklin proposed that the new
nations Great Seal should feature Moses parting the Red Sea.
Thomas Jefferson proposed an image of the Israelites journeying through the wilderness. The pattern of ancient Israel is embedded
in the 'DNA' of American civilization.
No Christian community in history identified more with the People of the Book than did the early settlers of Massachusetts Bay
Colony, who believed their own lives to be a reenactment of the Biblical drama of the Hebrew nation.
Ancient Israel and later America are the only nations that have been rooted sand founded in the sacred concept of Glorifying God.
How does this possibly fit in with the beginning of Lent - 2015 ?
God gave both of these nations a beginning in a Divine covenant. The Lord gave them an abundance of the goods in this natural world.
The Lord gave the people a moral and spiritual responsibility. Lands flowing with milk and honey! But at the peak of these blessings a
change began.
Consciously or unconsciously people turned away from the God of their foundation. They redefined what was right and wrong. They
created what they call a 'new morality'. Evil is now good and good evil!
People drove God out of their government and out of the instruction of their children - drove the beauty, love, wonder and commands
of God out of public schools. Ancient Israel grew and America grows increasingly carnal, materialistic sexually immoral and self- indulgent. So called culture is increasingly violent and vulgar. The ancient Hebrews brought in foreign gods, sacrificed their children to the
pagan god Moloch, and instituted 'sacred' prostitution.
Americans have glorified sexuality as a play thing, a public entertainment, and for the sake of avoiding responsibility and selfish convenience have, as a means of 'after the fact' birth control, killed millions of children inthe womb and even in delivery. Men are equally
guilty in this too.
The faithful people in both nations were and are mocked, marginalized, vilified and in ancient Israel persecuted; how long before
the persecution begins here? There are already many voices telling the Christians to 'shut up' - they have no right to speak for God's morality in government.
In 586 BC all forms of ancient Israel collapsed. The Jerusalem Temple destroyed. All, except the poorest of the poor taken, into slavery
in Babylon. God gave warning after warning to the people. All but the prophets refused to listen. These they killed!
The parallels with America are frightening. Since WW 2 we have been given warning after warning. Attack after attack. Terror after
terror. Many people simply will not see or listen.
At the root of all ohhis is plainly an attempt to separate self from all responsibility; to demand what I want for Me, NOW. I am making
myself into my own 'god'.
I know full well that you, dear faithful people are as concerned as I am. What can you and I do about it? Here is Lent. See and hope!
Our Lord, Himself, resisted the temptation to turn stones into bread. He would not allow Satan to subvert His real physical needs
into greed and lust. He would not allow Satan to induce Him to use His Glory for the sake of showing off; seeking the amusement of the
people by being a 'rock star.'! He would not allow Satan to get Him to use His omnipotence {His absolute power} to control people, to
control society by force.
In plain language, He was loving His people, His Father's 'images', in a complete love that will lead Him to the Cross.
The Cross on Calvary is a sign that ancient Israel did not have. It was yet in their future. But Jesus sacrificed Himself for all mankind
outside that very city, where ancient Israel fell. Accepting Him, obeying Him - He is the difference! What can you and I do about America? 'Work and pray and give for the spread of His Kingdom'. <>< <>< <><
Koinonia 3

Auschwitz
MAY WE NEVER FORGET
By Crystal Galles

Entry sign translation: Work Makes you Free

I

n December 2013, my husband Dan and I were approached by our friends Scott and Margaret Ayres to go on a trip to Poland.
A well known Casper photographer from Poland, named Jacek Bogucki was organizing a tour and was looking for five couples
to join him.

To be honest, it never occurred to us that we would ever want to go to Poland. When we met up with Jacek to discuss the possibility
of going on this trip, we were impressed by the itinerary. Auschwitz was on the schedule and for some reason this made the trip all the
more intriguing to us.
The two week trip was amazing! We started out in Warsaw, visited Jasna Gora Monastery, Ojcowski National Park, Krakow, Auschwitz
I and Auschwitz II Birkenau, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, Tyniec Monastery, Wroclaw, and finally Cresky Krumlov and Prague in the Czech
Republic.
We highly recommend this trip to everyone. The history, architecture countryside, etc. of Poland and the Czech Republic was amazing!
The day we spent going through Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II Birkenau was a very sobering and humbling day.
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German forces occupying Poland set up Auschwitz in 1940 as
a labor camp for Polish prisoners,
gradually expanding it into a vast
labor and death camp.
The complex contained three
camps and at least 36 sub-camps
which were built outside the town
of Oswiecim, on an isolated 15 sq
mile site, between 1940-1942.
Auschwitz I was built for Polish political prisoners in June
1940,

Auschwitz-I

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Auschwitz II or Birkenau, built in October 1941, held more than 100,000 and was the main site of mass killings. Gas chambers and
crematoria capable of disposing of about 2,000 a day were built at Birkenau. By 1944 some 6,000 a day were being killed.
Between 1.2-1.5 million people died at the camps, of whom about 1 million were Jewish.

Auschwitz II - Birkenau

Other groups of people who died included Polish political prisoners, Soviet prisoners of war, Gypsies, homosexuals, people with disabilities and prisoners of conscience or religious faith.
The camp was liberated by Soviet soldiers on January 27, 1945.
About 200,000 inmates of the camp between 1940-45 survived.
Out of a total of about 7,000 guards at Auschwitz, including 170 female staff,
750 were prosecuted and punished once Nazi Germany was defeated.

In conclusion, we have just celebrated the 70th year
since the liberation of this death camp. We are witnesses
to one of the most horrific times in recent history-mans
inhumanity to man. Anti-Semitism is on the rise. Christians are being persecuted all over the world! We have a
responsibility to never let this happen again. May we never forget!
All Photos of Auschwitz by Crystal Galles
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FEAR NOT

Caryl McAdoo

child doesn’t love you.”

“Fear not, YOUR NAME, I am your shield and your exceeding great reward!" Genesis 15:1

But God’s Word says He did not give us a spirit of fear, but of
love, power, and a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7)

Iniquity of the fathers are visited upon their children up to
the fourth generation. I’d suppose that works for mothers, too. I
came by being abnormally afraid legally according to scripture.
Mama lived in so much fear, so I grew up thinking—being taught
by example—that being scared was perfectly normal.

So, the world’s biggest scaredy cat got delivered from fear when
God revealed that I could trust Him. Completely, totally, and without reservation. He caused me to know that He constantly watches
over me, and that nothing touches me without His permission. His
love for me is so great! He has good plans for me! He’ll never leave
me or forsake me—all His promises in His Living Word are mine!
He put them there for me, for my benefit. I can live in peace without fear.

As a teen, some man in our neighborhood came to our house
at night. My bedroom was on the front, and I’d awake to our dog
growling and see him silhouetted against my curtained windows.
As a young wife, my fireman husband worked twenty-four shifts
at the station, I woke up alone one night to someone at my window again. I called my neighbor who came and checked, but no
one was there. However, tracks were the next morning.

In that same house, when Ron went to the firehouse, I
would get my firstborn, a pillow, blanket, and butcher knife and
sleep the night in the little space under our big desk where your
knees go. Though my experiences might explain why, and people
lean toward giving me a by for being afraid, fear is still a sin.

Fear is the opposite of faith. When fear operates in our
life, it usually comes in the form of a lie. We run with all the lies
flooding our brains and making our hearts beat faster. It’s a slap
in the face to God. Fear says, “You aren’t big enough, Lord.” It
says, “Nothing can save you.” And “You’re going to die.” Or “Your

Life changed for me that day, and I really didn’t have any fear
issues for a long while—other than in a ladies’ Bible study where
I semi got into it with the teacher who was saying ‘some’ fear is
healthy. I contended, “No. All fear is of the devil. It insults God, and
we should not accept any of it. We should deny it and fully reject it.”
In my prayer group, I said one day when fear came up, “I’m not
afraid of anything.” I wasn’t trying to be a braggart, only put forth
Truth, make a good confession (God creates the fruit of your lips.
Isaiah 57:19 and Hebrews 13:15) One lady said, “You have to be
afraid of something.” I answered, “No ma’am. I do not, and I will
not. God did not give me a Spirit of fear but power, love and a
strong mind.”
There’s so much more to the story, but I’m already over my five
hundred word limit! Y’all be blessed, and DO NOT FEAR!
Koinonia 7

Jonah & the Death, Burial, and
Resurrection of Jesus

I

By Brother Rodd Umlauf TOF

f you are like me, remembering back to when you were a
kid in Sunday School and hearing the many Bible stories,
the story of Jonah and the Whale was one of your favorites.
I remember thinking about what species of giant fish could
have swallowed Jonah whole and what it must have been
like to be in the stomach of a huge fish, and then to walk through
the whole action packed adventurous story. The prophet Jonah is
probably the most famous of the Old Testament prophets, especially among the minor prophets. Interestingly, Jonah’s calling is
unique among the prophets in that all the other prophets are commanded by God to preach to their own people. Jonah is set apart
from the others in that he is commanded to preach to Gentiles.
Koinonia 8

Prophet Jonah & the Whale by Michaelangelo in Cistine Chapel courtesy of Webart gallery

The book of Jonah is only four chapters long with a total of fortyeight verses and contains only one prophetic oracle, which in the
end, doesn’t come true because God does not destroy the city of
Ninevah. Yet although there is only one prophetic utterance, one
sentence in the entire book, when we look at the deeper meaning
of the entire story, we find that entire book is a typological and allegorical teaching about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus
Christ.

Jonah the Patriot

In a superficial hasty reading of Jonah, many often come
away with the idea that Jonah was a coward who was afraid of going
to preach to the wicked Ninevites, possibly fleeing for his life. So he
disobeyed God and took off in opposite direction. Nothing could

be further from the truth. Jonah was not a coward. If one looks at
the historical context of Jonah, and if we dig deeper into the text, it
can be shown that Jonah was a nationalistic patriot who loved his
country more than he desired to do the will of God. He was not
afraid of preaching to Ninevah, but he feared that Ninevah would
repent and be spared. He was not surprised that Ninevah repented,
but he was disappointed. For if they repented, the Ninevites would
destroy his beloved homeland, the House of Israel, as prophesied
by Jonah’s contemporaries, Amos and Hosea. Jonah loved his country so much that he would rather die than to cause Israel to be
condemned as a result of his preaching a message of repentance to
the House of Israel’s arch enemies, the Assyrians. Jonah’s is a case of
narrow-minded nationalistic pride leading to disobedience, for the
compassion of the Lord is not limited to the Israelites but extends
to all people. Jonah was not willing to embrace the universality of
God’s mercy, especially when God wanted to extend that mercy to
Jonah’s enemies.

from judgment that he would rather die than see his homeland
destroyed by his enemies. He tells God that that was the reason
he fled to Tarshish in the first place, because he knew that God
would be merciful and show his steadfast love to the Ninevites if
they repented. There was no city that Jonah would have liked to
have seen destroyed more than the capital of Assyria. Jonah did not
want God to have mercy and compassion upon his enemies. Do
we, like Jonah, desire ill and destruction befall upon our enemies ?
Or do we desire that our enemies repent, turn to God, and find His
steadfast love and grace ? Can we put aside our nationalistic pride
and truly ask God to have compassion on all men everywhere? As
our Prayer Book states in the Litany ( page 57)....” That it may please
thee to have mercy upon all men; we beseech thee to hear us, good
Lord. That it may please thee to forgive our enemies, persecutors,
and slanderers, and turn their hearts; we beseech thee to hear us,
good Lord.”

Jonah lived during the reign of King Jeroboam II who was the
Israelite king of the northern kingdom ( 790-750 BC).
The only other historical reference of Jonah, besides a brief
mention of him in 3 Maccabees 6:8, comes from 2 Kings 14:23-25
providing the historical context for the Book of Jonah :
“In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of
Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in
Samaria, and reigned forty and one years. And he did that which
was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from all the sins
of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. He restored
the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of
the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which
he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the
prophet, which was of Gathhepher” (KJV).
We see from this passage that Jonah prophesied to King Jeraboam, according to the Word of the Lord, that the king should
restore the border of Israel by a military campaign. And it was accomplished. We can imagine what it would have been like for this
8th century BC prophet, interested in his country’s military expansion to restore its borders, but who also knew of the prophetic
oracles of his contemporaries Amos and Hosea, that the northern
kingdom of Israel was doomed to be destroyed by Assyria. Imagine
then how he felt when God told him to go and preach to Ninevah,
the capital city of Assyria. He certainly wanted no part of that because he knew that if he preached a message of Divine judgment
to Ninevah, and they repented, then his beloved country would be
slaughtered by the brutal Assyrians.
I think Jonah 4:1-3 is key in understanding Jonah’s behavior
throughout the book; why he did not want to go to Ninevah. Jonah
has just learned that Ninevah would be spared from God’s wrath.....
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was
not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled
before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and
merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of
the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from
me; for it is better for me to die than to live”.
In other words, Jonah was so angry that Ninevah was spared

As we begin reading in chapter one we observe the Word of
the LORD saying to Jonah, “Arise, go to Ninevah, that great city,
and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” But
immediately Jonah disobeys. As soon as Jonah rose up to flee from
the presence of the LORD, ironically, he takes a downward path.
Read along in your Bibles and note the words which depict a descent.
First, he went down to Joppa and he found a ship going to
Tarshish and went down into it. The LORD sent out a great wind
and mighty tempest endangering the ship. The mariners were
afraid and called upon their own gods as they threw their cargo
overboard to lighten the load. But Jonah, verse 5, had gone down
into the “sides of the ship”, or as the RSV reads, “ into the inner part
of the ship”.
Second, we observe that after Jonah had gone down into the
inner part of the ship, literally the belly of the ship, Jonah falls fast
asleep. Meanwhile a great storm had arose, for God had sent out a
great wind into the sea. The pagan gentile sailors were afraid and
were calling out for help, each one to his own god. The shipmaster
came to Jonah, woke him, and told Jonah to call upon his God so
that they would not perish in the mighty storm. After casting lots it
was determined that it was Jonah’s fault that this dire circumstance
had come upon them. Jonah tells them that he serves the God of
heaven, the LORD who made the sea and dry land. Then the sailors
ask him what he had done to cause this displeasure with his God,
and then, verse 1:11, “What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may
be calm unto us ? “Jonah answers them and tells them to throw him
into the sea so that the sea will be calm, for it is because of him that
this great tempest had fallen upon them. After great reluctance, the
sailors finally agree to throw Jonah overboard and we see Jonah going down into the sea. Once again, a downward descent.
Third, we learn that the LORD had prepared a great fish
to swallow up Jonah. Again, we imagine a giant sea creature coming up from the depths of the sea to swallow Jonah and then take
him down deeper into the depths of the sea. Now, just as Jonah was
down in the belly of the ship, he is now even deeper in the belly of
a great fish in deep darkness.
Finally, in chapter 2:1, “Jonah prayed unto the LORD out of

The Descent of Jonah

Koinonia 9

the fish’s belly.” Chapter 2 is a recount of Jonah’s psalm prayer, and
in the prayer we find some striking imagery. Listen to parts of Jonah’s cry : Verse 2:2 “....I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the
LORD, and he heard me: out of the belly of hell cried I, and though
heardest me.” The term “belly of hell” is more literally translated
by the RSV, “belly of Sheol” which is the place of departed spirits,
Hades. Then verses 2:3-6, “For thou hadst cast me into the deep,
in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about....the
waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me
round about.....I went down to the bottoms of the mountains: the
earth with her bars was about me for ever.”
I’d like to make an observational interpretation. I believe that
Jonah going down into the belly of ship and falling asleep foreshadows his going down into the belly of the sea creature. His prayer
from the belly of the great sea creature prefigures a soul in the belly
of Shoel; a prayer of one who has descended into Hades, the place
of the dead. Could his falling into a deep sleep in the inner part of
the ship symbolically prefigure the possibility that Jonah actually
died in the belly of the great sea monster and actually descended to
the dead ? We can’t be sure. I think most of us have assumed that
Jonah was merely swallowed by the fish and miraculously survived
and did not die inside the fish. I know thats what I thought as a
kid and have continued to think. But the more I think about it
the more I believe it may be likely that he died but then was raised
to life, like Lazarus was. Maybe, maybe not. It’s true that Jonah’s
prayer psalm which speaks of going down to the belly of hell may
not but be literal because David used such language in his psalms
without having actually died. However, in the Old Testament deutero-canonical book of 3 Maccabees 6:8 (RSV) we read, “And Jonah, wasting away in the belly of a huge, sea-born monster, you,
Father, watched over and restored unharmed to all his family.” The
New English Translation of the Septuagint ( Greek Old Testament)
of the same passage reads, “When Ionas wasted away in the belly
of the sea monster....”. And finally, the Orthodox Study Bible, which
is also based on the Septuagint, reads, “Jonah was decomposing in
the belly of the deep-sea monster...” Although the words “wasting
away” and “decomposing” do not prove that Jonah really died and
his body was beginning to rot, I think there is good reason to believe that Jonah’s spirit did actually go down to Hades while his
body was in the belly of the great fish and that God raised him up
and restored him to his family.
Also, if one reads ancient popular Jewish and Christian literature, you find a close connection between the sea, sea serpents
and dragons such as Leviathan, and Sheol/Hades. One example of
this is in the Apocalypse of Baruch, or 3 Baruch. 3rd Baruch is a
pseudepigrapha apocalyptic writing which was not actually written by Baruch, the prophet Jeremiah’s secretary, but merely under
his name, and it is not canonical. Yet it was a popular work, in the
likes of the Book of Enoch or the Book of Jubilees. In 3 Baruch we
read this:
“And I Baruch said, Behold, Lord, Thou didst show me great
and wonderful things; and now show me all things for the sake of
the Lord. And the angel said to me, Come, let us proceed. (And
I proceeded) with the angel from that place about one hundred
and eighty-five days’ journey. And he showed me a plain and a serpent, which appeared to be two hundred plethra in length. And he
showed me Hades, and its appearance was dark and abominable.
Koinonia 10

And I said, Who is this dragon, and who is this monster around
him? And the angel said, The dragon is he who eats the bodies of
those who spend their life wickedly, and he is nourished by them.
And this is Hades, which itself also closely resembles him, in that it
also drinks about a cubit from the sea, which does not sink at all ....
And I Baruch said to the angel, Let me ask thee one thing, Lord.
Since thou didst say to me that the dragon drinks one cubit out of
the sea, say to me also, how great is his belly? And the angel said,
His belly is Hades; and as far as a plummet is thrown (by) three
hundred men, so great is his belly” ( 3 Baruch 4:1-7; 5:1-2).
Isaiah 5:14, “Therefore Sheol hath enlarged herself, and opened
her mouth without measure; and their glory, and their multitude,
and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.”
Just as there is a close connection between the dragon serpent, Hades, and the sea in this example from 3 Baruch, so is there
an intended connection of the sea, the giant fish swallowing up Jonah, being in the belly of the fish, and the descent to the belly of
Sheol, the place of the dead.

Sailors, Storms, and Sleeping Prophets

Lets back up and look at chapter one again and focus in on
some details and see if the storyline reminds us of another story
from the Gospels which might shed light on the likelihood of Jesus
being a new “Jonah” in a typological sense. In Jonah 1:3-16 we note
these features; Jonah gets on a ship ( verse 3), the LORD sends out a
great wind which causes a mighty tempest in the sea ( verse 4), the
mariners were afraid that the ship would sink because of the storm
and fearful for their lives ( verse 5), Jonah had gone down into
the ship and was fast asleep ( verse 5), the shipmaster wakes Jonah
seeking help from Jonah’s God to calm the storm (verse 6), Jonah
finds a solution and is instrumental in calming the sea ( verses 1112), and when the sea becomes calm the sailors amazed and turned
to God ( verse 16).
When we observe these points in the text, there should
be light going on in our minds reminding us of an episode in the
Gospels where Jesus is asleep in the boat, the disciples wake Him,
and He calms the storm. The Gospel story is short so I will quote
it in its entirety:
“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed
him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch
that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And
his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us:
we perish.
And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?
Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was
a great calm.
But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that
even the winds and the sea obey him!” ( Matthew 8:23-27; KJV).
Note the following parallels:
1). Both set sail on a boat (Matt. 8:23; Jonah 1:3)
2). Both are caught in a storm at sea ( Matt. 8:24; Jonah 1:4,11)
3). Both are accompanied by frightened sailors ( Matt. 8:24-26;
Jonah 1:5)
4). Both have a prophet found sleeping in a boat ( Matt. 8:24;
Jonah 1:5)
5). Both groups call upon the Lord for deliverance (Matt. 8:25;
Jonah 1:14)

6). Both Jesus and Jonah bring about great calm to the sea (
Matt. 8:26; Jonah 1:13-15)
7). Sailors in both stories marveled at the outcome ( Matt. 8:27;
Jonah 1:16) * 1 ( see footnote)
Some might think that these similarities are just be a coincidence. However, in light of other key passages in the Matthew’s
gospel, I think it was Matthew’s intention (or the Holy Spirit’s) that
we see Jesus’ identity as a new Jonah. We do see however, by observing these points of similarities, a contrast; that Jesus is a far
greater Jonah. In other words, the historical Jonah was a sign that
pointed to something beyond and greater than Jonah.
Consider Matthew 12:39-41( KJV); “ But he answered and
said unto them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after
a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the
prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the
whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights
in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment
with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented
at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here’.”
And Matthew 16:1-4 ( KJV); “The Pharisees also with the
Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew
them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, ‘When
it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And
in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and
lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but
can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous
generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given
unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and
departed.”
Now I’d like to tie in a couple more interesting similarities
in the texts from Jonah and the passages from Matthew 16. Notice
in Matthew 16:4 Jesus says “....and there shall be no sign be given
unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas”. Immediately preceding
is a statement about a sign in the sky. Jesus speaks of the sign of the
morning red sky being a sign of foul weather.... stormy weather.
Jump back to Matthew 8 where Jesus calms the storm. Tradition
tells us that it was Peter’s boat that Jesus and the disciples used.
The symbolism of Peter’s boat is known as “Peter’s Bark”, a ship
which is a symbol of the Church. Just like Noah’s ark is a symbol of
the Church and all those who board the ark will survive the flood
waters and enter God’s rest. St. Peter is an important part of the discussion here. In striking parallel to Jonah, like Jonah who is unique
in that he is a prophet sent to the Gentiles and first goes down to
Joppa and witnesses the conversion of the pagan gentile sailors to
the LORD, the God of Heaven ( Jonah 1:16), so Peter in Acts 10
goes down to Joppa and there receives the vision of unclean animals being made clean-- the meaning being that the message of the
Gospel is to go to the Gentiles as well to the Jews. The Gentiles are
no longer to be considered unclean and the Jews are no longer to
isolate themselves from Gentiles but offer the hand of fellowship to
them and to eat at one table. It is Peter’s vision in Joppa that opens
the gate to the Gentiles who are to made clean by repentance and
faith and are grafted into the Israel of God, the Church.
Next, in the same chapter of Matthew 16, after Jesus speaks of
the sign of Jonah, Jesus says to Peter in verses 17 and 18,
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon
Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my

Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of
hell shall not prevail against it.”
Catch what name Jesus gives to Peter, “Simon Barjona”. Barjona
literally means “Son of Jonah”. But there is a apparent problem here
at first glance. Simon Peter’s earthly biological father’s name was
not Jonah. Peter’s earthly father’s names was John. What Jesus is
saying is that He is the new Jonah and that Simon Peter is His spiritual son, the son of the New Jonah. And this spiritual son of Jonah
and his faith are the rock upon which the Church will be built,
and the gates of hell (Hades) shall not prevail against it. In Jonah’s
psalm prayer from the belly of Sheol he prays that the prison bars
of Sheol would not prevail and that his life would be spared from
corruption ( Jonah 2:2,6).

Jonah’s Todah Psalm Prayer
and the Cross of Christ

Chapter two of Jonah is Jonah’s prayer to God for deliverance,
“Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly,
And said,’I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and
he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my
voice’ “( Jonah 2:1-2).
As we read Jonah’ss prayer we find that it is composed largely
by knitting together various Psalms. We could expect this because
it would be natural for the prophet to pray the Psalms when in
distress.
Breaking down his prayer we can find the same phrases in the
Psalms:
Jonah 2:3 ; Pslam 69:1-2, 14,15
Jonah 2:3b; Psalm 42:7
Jonah 2:4b; Psalm 18:4,6,20
Jonah 2:5; Psalm 691-3
Jonah 2:6; Psalm 42:7-8
Jonah 2:7; Psalm 5:7
Jonah ends his prayer is verse 2:9 with these words, “But I
will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay
that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” I actually like the
way the Septuagint reads in the Orthodox Study Bible, “But with a
voice of thanksgiving and praise, I will sacrifice to You. As much
as I vowed, I shall offer up to You, to You, the Lord of Deliverance.”
This type of a psalm prayer is know as a Todah Psalm. Todah
is the Hebrew word for “thanksgiving”. Todah translated into Greek
is “eucharistia” which is where we get the word “Eucharist” for our
Sunday worship. A todah psalm is a prayer song which begins on
a note of lamentation with crys to God to be delivered out of distress or anguish but ends with rejoicing and a note of triumph and
thanksgiving. But it also ends on a note of thanksgiving and sacrifice. A todah sacrifice would be offered by someone whose life had
been delivered from great peril, such as disease or the sword. The
redeemed person would show his gratitude to God by gathering
his closest friends and family for a todah sacrificial meal. The lamb
would be sacrificed in the Temple and the bread for the meal would
be consecrated the moment the lamb was sacrificed. The bread and
meat, along with wine, would constitute the elements of the sacred
todah meal, which would be accompanied by prayers and songs of
thanksgiving, such as Psalm 116. *2 (see footnote)
Koinonia 11

Some examples of todah psalms are Psalm 16,18,40, 49, 50,
69, and 22. Psalm 22 is the most famous todah psalm for it is the
psalm our Lord prayed from the cross. It begins with lament, “My
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?” By siting the first verse
of the Psalm, the entire Psalm is brought to mind. The Psalm beings in agony and distress and continues in that vein for quite some
length calling out for delivery, but then in verse 22 there is a 180
change of direction to a voice of praise. Then is verse 24, “For he
hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor
hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he
heard”. Verse 25, “My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation; I will pay my vows before them that fear him”, and the Psalm
continues in praise until the end.
Those who looked upon the cross of Christ and His Passion
literally saw the fulfillment of of Psalm 22 right before their eyes.
The liturgy of the Passover todah sacrifice which began in the upper room with Jesus and His disciples ended when Jesus drank the
wine from the cross and said, “It is finished”.
Quoting Tim Gray, “ When Jesus takes the bread, breaks it,
and declares thanksgiving (eucharistia), He is performing the key
function of both the todah and Passover — giving thanks for deliverance. But here Jesus is not simply looking back at Israel’s history
of salvation, but forward to His death and Resurrection. In other
words, Jesus is giving thanks to the Father for His love and for the
new life to be granted in the Resurrection. Note that Jesus’ words
over the bread, His thanksgiving, is what the Christian tradition
has focused upon — so that they could call every re-enactment of
the Last Supper “Eucharist.” “ *3 (see footnote)
All this should be sounding off bells in our heads. When we
are gathered at the Altar of our Lord during our celebration of Holy
Communion the priest recites these words in our Eucharistic liturgy, our Thank Offering:
“And we earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness, mercifully to
to accept this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching thee to grant that, by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus
Christ, and through faith in his blood, we, and thy whole Church,
may obtain remission of our sins, and all the benefits of his passion.
And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our
souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto
thee, that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this Holy
Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and
Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly
benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us,
and we in him....”

Baptismal Imagery in Jonah

The last verse of Jonah chapter two, verse 10, “ And the LORD
spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land”.
Jonah’s deliverance from the belly of the great fish foreshadows
baptism. It is quite recognizable to see Jonah’s descent into the watery grave, symbolized by the fish swallowing Jonah and taking
him down into the dark waters of death and then being brought up
again out of the water and being restored to life anew as a type of
baptism. The Orthodox Study Bible has this note : “Jonah’s deliverance -- first, out of the ‘belly of the ship’ ( 1:5,6) and now from the
whale -- is a type of deliverance from death and spiritual rebirth in

Koinonia Page 12

the waters of baptism. Just as Jonah’s ‘rebirth’ makes possible the
repentance and salvation of the Ninevites, so our Lord’s Resurrection from the dead makes possible our salvation.”
When Christ was buried and descended to the dead in the
heart of the earth, St. Paul tells us the we were buried with him in
baptism. And we are now raised with Christ through faith when
God raised him from the dead ( Colossians 2:12). In the epistle to
the Romans Paul says, “ Do you not know that all of us who have
been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death ? We
were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as
Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too
might walk in newness of life” ( Romans 6:3-4; RSV).
As Jonah was in the sea in the belly of the fish for three days
and then raised, so was Christ three days in the belly of the earth
and then raised on the third day. We are raised from spiritual death
when we arise from the waters of baptism as a new creation in
Christ. The prophet Hosea prophesied, “ After two days will he
revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in
his sight” ( Hosea 6:2; KJV).

Ash Wednesday, Jonah 3& 4, and
a Lenten Penitential Season

On Ash Wednesday I attended an Ash Wednesday service.
At the end of the service I received the imposition of ashes on my
forehead. It was a sign that I was entering a period of self examination, repentance, and penitential reflection and action. In the
evening of Ash Wednesday, during Evening Prayer, I saw that the
lectionary of the Prayer Book gives Jonah chapters 3 and 4 for the
Old Testament reading. I found that reading Jonah 3 and 4 on Ash
Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, to be especially appropriate
and it made a striking impression upon my mind.
As we know, the second time the Word of the LORD comes to
Jonah, instead of fleeing, be obeys and goes to preach to Nineveh.
“And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey and he
cried and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”
(Jonah 3:4) * 4(see footnote).
The people of Nineveh’s response of repentance was incredible. They believed God, repented of their wickedness, proclaimed
a fast, and put on sackcloth. The king responded to Jonah’s preaching and took off his kingly robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes
as a sign of his repentance. The king called the entire city to fast
(even the animals) and pray to God, and to turn from their evil
ways and violence. God saw that they had repented of their sin and
turned to Him, so He recanted of the destruction that had been
foretold to them.
During our forty days of Lenten penitence, during our self
reflection and examination of our own lives, was our fast genuine,
whatever sign we choose to observe in preparation for Easter ? Can
we look to the Ninevites as an example for repentance ? What drastic or even minor changes do I need to make in my life ? How can
I better live a resurrection new creation life ?
What is so interesting is that the Assyrian Gentiles believed
God, repented, and turned to Him but the people of God, the
House of Israel and the House of Judah, did not repent and God
used Gentiles nations to punish them for their disobedience. Jo-

nah was a figure head for the House of Israel was angry that Ninevah repented. He did not want God’s merciful compassion to
be extended to the Gentiles. He was angry when God gave him
the signs of the goud vine which represented Israel and the worm
which represented Assyria that came and attacked the plant that
had given him shade. Jonah knew that the hot sun and scorching
east wind represented Assyria coming from the east and would ultimately destroy his homeland because of ungodliness on the part
of Israel (Jonah 4:6-9). As time passed Ninevah eventually returned
back to their evil ways ( we’re not sure how long their repentance
lasted) and God eventually judged them as well. Which should be a
reminder to us, that although we observe a Lenten penitential season before Easter, our repentance should not be short lived or half
hearted. Lent should be a time when we ponder how important it
is to live by faith day in and day out, month by month, year after
year, until our journey in the wilderness is over and we reach the
Promised Land.

The Gospel According to Jonah

The Book of Jonah ends with the LORD asking Jonah a question. “ And should not I spare Ninevah, that great city, wherein are
more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between
their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle ?”
God is a gracious God; merciful, slow to anger, and of great
kindness (Jonah 4:2b). His desire is that all mankind of every nation repent and come to the knowledge of the truth.
At the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry he gathers His disciples
and tells them, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy
Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you....”
The Gospel of the Kingdom is to be preached to all nations and
at the core of that Gospel is the sign of Jonah. One of my favorite
gospel passages comes at the end of Luke, chapter 24. Its the account of the Road to Emmaus. Two disciples were walking along
discussing the things that had happened the previous days concerning the crucifixion of the Lord when the resurrected Jesus
joins them; though their eyes kept from recognizing Him. He told
of how the prophets foretold that the Christ would have to suffer
these things and enter His glory. “And beginning
at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all
the scriptures the things concerning himself “ ( Luke 24:25-27).
Jumping to verse 46 we find a very interesting verse after He had
revealed Himself to them in the Breaking of the Eucharistic Bread:
“ And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved
Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.”
I think it is fair to ask the question; what Old Testament Scripture, “Thus it is written”, speaks of Christ suffering and being raised
from the dead on the third day ? St. Paul makes the same claim in
1 Corinthians 15:3-5:
“ For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,
how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And
that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according
to the scriptures:”
Again we ask the question; what Scripture reference is Paul
speaking of when he says that Christ died for our sins and rose

again on the third day ? He speaks as if its obvious and takes it for
granted that his hearers know what Scripture he is talking about.
When we recite the Nicene Creed each Sunday morning in Church
and we say, “....And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered and was buried; And on the third day rose again according to the Scriptures....” do we know what specific Old Testament
Scriptures are being spoken of ? The answer is the book of Jonah !
For Jonah is more than just a historical narrative about a stubdorn
hard headed prophet from the House of Israel. It is a prophetic typological oracle and its deepest truest meaning is about the death,
burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The sign of Jonah points to Jesus;
“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly;
so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart
of the earth” (Matthew 12:40; KJV). If we are studying and reading
Jonah only and simply from a literal historical-grammatical hermeneutic to discover the Biblical author’s original intended meaning
in the text, then we will miss God’s intended meaning and purpose,
which is to speak of Christ and His Church.
We can take many lessons away from the Book of Jonah, but
one is that we should never be stingy like Jonah was with who we
want to receive the grace of the Gospel. We should be quick to share
God’s goodness, kindness, mercy, and compassion with whoever
we meet, no matter who the person is or from what background,
no matter what their sin. Christ suffered and died and rose again
for us. He poured out His precious life for us. We ought to offer
ourselves as a living sacrifice and thank offering to God each time
we approach Christ’s holy Altar to Commune with Him, and try to
live a life of gratitude daily. <>< <>< <><
Foot Notes 1). Dr. Scott Hahn,”Exploring the Depths of Jonah”, CD disk two ( Saint Joseph Communications:
2011) 2). Tim Gray, “From Jewish Passover to Christian Eucharist: The Story of the Todah.” Lay Witness (Nov/Dec.
2002). 3). Ibid. 4). There is a textual variant between the Masoretic Hebrew text and the Greek Old Testament.
The Septuagint reads “Yet three days and Ninevah shall be overthrown”.

Thanks to Lawrence Journal World, Lawrence, KS
for the Ad!
Koinonia 13

W

ell, after that hymn, referring to the saints as
stars, that dramatic Gospel Reading, where
Christ is the centre of the show and welcomed
to Jerusalem like a star walking the red carpet
into the Oscar awards evening, and that prayer referring to interstellar spaces and galaxies, we are going to turn to the Stars … the
Stars of Hollywood and the movies.
Of course, not all who seek the limelight are role models, nor
should we forget those who are kept out of the limelight. But there
is a lot of deep spirituality, some deep spiritual messages, in many
movies. They provide interesting opportunities to raise spiritual
and pastoral concerns within the context of popular, secular culture, and they also teach us a lot about how to convey truth, values
and messages in successive generations.
I knew someone who said he had a great familiarity with the
Bible. I asked him how? Had he read the Bible thoroughly, from
beginning to end? Was he a daily Bible reader? I knew he had never
studied theology.
“No,” he told me. “Everything I know I learned from movies.”
Which movies, I asked.
“Oh, The Ten Commandments, The Robe, The Greatest Story
ever Told, Ben Hur, and Spartacus.”
How many of you have seen Exodus, the new epic movie that
was launched before Christmas with the hope of taking the place of
Cecil B De Mille’s Ten Commandments in our collective, cultural
consciousness?
Perhaps more of us by now have seen Noah, the new American
epic biblically-inspired film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written
by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel, and based – or supposedly
based – on the story of Noah and the Ark. The film stars Russell
Crowe as Noah along with Jennifer Connelly (as Noah’s wife, Naamah), Ray Winstone (Tubal Cain, Noah’s nemesis), Emma Watson (Ila, Noah’s daughter-in-law and Shem’s wife), Logan Lerman
Koinonia 14

(Ham, Noah’s son), Anthony Hopkins (Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather), and Douglas Booth (Shem, Noah’s son).
One reviewer has called the flood scenes in this movie “a bit
too Cecil B Demented for me” and wondered at the sophistication of antediluvian orthodontists given there are so many whitetoothed characters. I find it very peculiar that production was put
on hold late in October 2012 while Hurricane Sandy hit New York
with heavy rain and flooding, and I find it frightening to think that
Hannibal Lector may live as long as Methuselah.
But, joking apart, the movie has had mixed receptions since its
release in the US almost a year ago month (28 March 2014 in the
US; 4 April 2014 in Britain and Ireland).
On the day of its release on these islands, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, Justin Welby, was quoted as calling Noah “interesting and thought-provoking” and “impressive” after Russell Crowe
visited him at Lambeth Palace after the movie’s British premiere
for discussions on “faith and spirituality.” (Church Times, 4 April
2014.)
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a leading Jewish Orthodox Jewish rabbi, described Noah as “a valuable film, especially for our times.”
Indeed, Darren Aronofsky said he had worked in “the tradition
of Jewish Midrash” in order to create “a story that tries to explicate Noah’s relationship with God and God’s relationship with the
world as it has become.” For example, the name of Noah’s wife is
Naamah. Her name does not appear in the Bible but Aronofsky derives it not from the collapse of the Irish property market (NAMA),
but from the traditions of the Midrash.
Yet this movie makes no specific mention of God. Then, of
course, neither does the Book of Esther. But the official Vatican
newspaper, L’Avennire, labelled Noah a “missed opportunity” that
ignores God. The Guardian pointed out, however, that the Vatican
stopped short of calling for a boycott of the Biblical epic.
The movie became the subject of criticism by conservative religious groups in the US and was banned in many Muslim countries.

However, the director of the Damaris Trust, Nick Pollard, described
it as “wonderful gift for the Church.” Tom Price of the Oxford Centre for Apologetics, said Noah asks perceptive questions: “Is there a
God? Has God spoken? What is with human nature – are we good
deep down, or is there something broken about us?”
Tom Price made a very valid observation about movies in a
comment in the Church Times: “Ten years ago, most Christians’
reaction to cinema was generally much more negative and cynical.
They were either asking for censorship, or judging the film project
for having too much sex. Now I’m seeing audiences all over the UK
wanting to engage with the stories, the characters, and the question.”
Another new movie last year was Calvary (April 2014), an
Irish-made black comedy drama starring Brendan Gleeson, Chris
O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, and Isaach de Bankolé.
Brendan Gleeson plays Father James Lavelle, a priest who is the
flip side to Sergeant Gerry Boyle in The Guard. A good man intent on making the world a better place, he is continually shocked
and saddened by the spiteful and confrontational inhabitants of his
small country town. One day, his life is threatened during confession, and the forces of darkness begin to close in around him.
The recent movie Gravity (2013), starring Sandra Bullock and
George Clooney was a story about two astronauts involved in the
mid-orbit destruction of a space shuttle and their attempt to return
to Earth.
Some commentators have noted religious themes in this movie. Without destroying the storyline for those of you still want to
see Gravity, the film uses motifs from shipwreck and wilderness
survival stories about psychological change and resilience in the
aftermath of catastrophe. They signal that there is a dimension of
reality that lies beyond what technology can master or access, the
reality of God.”
The storyline deals with themes such as clarity of mind, persistence, training, and improvisation in the face of isolation and the
mortal consequences of a relentless ‘Murphy’s Law.’ The film incorporates spiritual or existential themes, in the facts of accidental and
meaningless death of Dr Stone’s daughter, and in the necessity of
summoning the will to survive in the face of overwhelming odds,
without future certainties, and with the impossibility of rescue
from personal dissolution without finding the necessary willpower.
‘The Passion of the Christ’ … released during Lent 2004, became the highest-grossing non-English language film ever
Eleven years ago, I brought my two sons to see The Passion of
the Christ (2004), Mel Gibson’s movie that dramatises his interpretation and synthesis of the passion narrative in the Four Gospels.
The Passion of the Christ is an appropriate movie to consider
as we prepare for Lent. It largely tells the story of the last 12 hours
of Christ’s life, from the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane to

(briefly, albeit very briefly) his Resurrection, with flashbacks to his
childhood, the Sermon on the Mount, the saving of the women
about to be stoned, and the Last Supper, with a constructed dialogue entirely in Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew.
When the movie was released on on Ash Wednesday (25 February) 2004, it stirred considerable controversy, with allegations of
anti-Semitism, the amount of graphic, if not exacerbated or gratuitous, violence, particularly during the scourging and crucifixion
scenes, and serious questions about its interpretation of the Biblical
text, narrative and message.
On the other hand, there were many claims of miraculous savings, forgiveness, new-found faith, and even one report of a man
who confessed to murdering his girlfriend although police had decided previously she had died by suicide.
The Passion of the Christ was a box-office success – it grossed
more than $370 million in the US, and became the highest-grossing non-English language film ever.
As we left the cinema, my then-teenage sons were not so much
shocked as stunned. They noticed too how everyone left the cinema in silence.
The success and attention of the movie, apart from the media controversies, raises many questions for us:
● How do we convey and proclaim the message of Christ?
Are we using means that are out-dated, not speaking to people
who are willing to listen and to learn?
● Where did we get the idea that no-one would come to church
after confirmation age?
● Where did we get the idea that no-one would come to church
and
sit in the dark in uncomfortable chairs?
● Where did we get the idea that no-one would hear the Gospel
story and still come out wanting to tell others and to share the
experience?
Sometimes when movies ridicule the Church, I wonder: do we
deserve it?
How many of you have bad experiences of weakly-thought out
ideas at school assembly?
The Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies are probably
important for conveying spiritual truths to many we never reach
because they tell us:
● The importance of protecting the innocence of children.
● That those who possess power and authority (including par
ent-figures and religious leaders) are not always right, and don’t
always possess a monopoly on truth and wisdom.
● That religious power and authority can be misused.
That beauty and goodness are not always to be equated.
● That ugly are not bad because we see them as ugly.
● That simple people can be wise.
● That life is a journey, and a pilgrimage.

Koinonia 15

That we must continue to hope and believe that, in the end,
good will triumph over evil.

The Mission was the No 1 movie on the Church Times Top 50
Religious Films list

● Why am I here?

● Where am I going?

● What is the meaning of beauty?

● What is the meaning of work?

The Awakening (1990): This movie is about a doctor workThe Mission (1986), starring Robert de Niro and Jeremy ing in the Bronx in the 1960s working with people with chronic

Irons, was chosen as the No 1 movie on the Church Times Top 50
Religious Films list. This movie provides us with:
Challenging images of the
church,
● Questions about the role
of the Church in political
issues,
● different models of the
Church,
● a variety of models of
ministry,
● different models of mis
sion,
● a way of discussing the
Church’s engagement with
social justice issues,

Some other movies you could use in your ministry include:

Amadeus (1984): This movie gives an important background

to the life of an important composer for Church music (Mozart’s
Requiem, Coronation Mass, &c.). It can be used to discuss:
● Why is jealousy a sin?
● Why does God bestow genius on apparent fools?
●What happens when art becomes competition?
●How do we make peace with the gifts we are given instead of
letting envy of others destroy our souls?
● What happens when we reduce prayer to bargaining with
God, as in Salieri’s case?
● How do we cope when it appears God does not answer our
prayers?
● The dangers of binge drinking among young people.
● Parental discipline.

Scripture passages that can help in the discussion group:
● Acts 7: 9-10, The Patriarchs are jealous of Joseph;
● James 4: 1-3, Jealousy and raving lead to conflict;

mental illness. We can use to discuss:
● Great moments of awakening.
● When did you glimpse the transcendent and experience fullness of life?
Bladerunner (1982): This is based on a novel by Philip K. Dick,
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), and set in the year
2019.
It is a story of the alienated and the marginalised, the androids,
with a limited lifespan, who seek to know the meaning of life, who
question their place in society, want to have life and have it to the
full, and question their ‘maker’, Dr Eldon Tyrell.
● Is it a grim story?
● Is it is a story of life and death, self-sacrifice, and of giving,
emptying love?
● What is the meaning of life?

● How do we plan for the future?

Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001):

● Look at her desire for lasting relationship.

Her search for her identity and self-worth.

Dead Man Walking (1995):

Discuss the role of chaplains (prisons, and schools, hospitals,
churches.)
● Discuss the death penalty.
● The role of the church and pastoral figures in influencing
public policy and morality.
● The value of individual life.
● Ethics in crime and punishment.
● Could be used to introduce a group to more serious, “high
art” literature, such as Dostoevsky’s ‘The Grand Inquisitor’

in The Brothers Karamazov.

ET (1982):

The incarnation,

God’s intervention in our lives,
Self-giving (see also Schindler’s List).

The Exorcist (1973): There was strong criticism of The Exorcist at the time it was first released in 1973 from conservative
● I Corinthians 7: 7, God’s gifts vary;

Christians, and cinemas were picketed. Some scenes are shocking,
● Luke 13: 30, Jesus warns the disciples about competition.
even today, almost 40 years later. But the author and the director
American Beauty (1999): This could hardly be described as were Roman Catholics seeking to open people’s eyes to the reality
an overtly religious film. Yet it resonates with deep questions about of God and to highlight the awful nature of evil that distorts God’s
creation. This movie could be used to discuss:
the human condition:
● The reality of evil, and the objectivity of God.
● Who am I?
● I Corinthians 2: 12, Different gifts;

Koinonia 16

relationship.
Coping with psychiatric cases presented during pastoral
work.
A River Runs Through It (1992):
● Bad images in movies of the “other”: e.g., the opening scene
● Can we love without completely understanding?
conveys the impression that Islam inhabits a world of evil;
● How do we cope with others rejecting our offers of help/
there are similar portrayals of Islam as evil in Aladdin (Disney)
friendship/love?
at the introduction of Jaffar.
● How is faith passed on in families?
● How will you convey faith to your own children?
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994):
● How can painful memories be healed? Can we come to terms
● The relevance of the church and ministry (the character of
with them?
Rowan Atkinson).
● How does remembering the past weaken/strengthen relation
● The funeral scene in terms of coping with death, grief and
ships with God?
funerals in the course of pastoral ministry.
● Do all things lead to God?
● Talking about sexuality and church membership, or the pas
● This movie can be used too in ministerial formation and
toral responses to HIV/AIDS.

preaching programmes.
● Talking about faithfulness in marriage and relationships.

Saving Private Ryan (1998) and The Thin Red Line
(1998):

Gladiator (2000):
● A strong theme of belief in the afterlife.

● The horrors of war.

● Sacrifice and what we owe each other
● Compare Private Ryan with the story of the Good Shepherd

Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies:

● The importance of protecting the innocence of children.
● That those who possess power and authority (including

parent-figures and religious leaders) are not always right, and
don’t always possess a monopoly on truth and wisdom.
● That religious power and authority can be misused.

● That beauty and goodness are not always to be equated.
● That ugly are not bad because we see them as ugly.

stroying societal values.

● That life is a journey, and a pilgrimage.
● That we must continue to hope and believe that, in the end,
good will triumph over evil.

Shadowlands (1987):

● A good one because it is relatively short (89 minutes)
● There is the obvious Christian interest in the writings of CS

The Mission (1986):

Lewis
.● A story of love and death and of Christian hope.
● Suffering and how we understand pain.

● Images of the church,

● The role of the Church in political issues,
● models of the church,
● models of ministry,

Monty Python’s The Life of Brian (1979): Be careful of

who you choose to use it with, if you use it, and their sense of humour. But this movie may be used with some groups to discuss:
● Making the Gospel relative rather than relevant.
● Hermeneutics and Biblical literalism: ‘Blessed are the cheese
makers’.
● What difference does the incarnation/cross make?

● What role has the church in criticising political life?

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) or Bend it Like Beckham(2002):
● The place of ethnic minorities within our community.
● Inter-church and inter-faith marriages.

Scream (1996): This cult movie is about a teenage murderer
in Paris in April 2000 dressed in the cape and mask that was the
hallmark of this movie.
● Discuss the role of movies and the media in upholding or de-

● That simple people can be wise.

models of mission,
● The Church’s engagement with social justice issues,
● The relevance of liberation theology today.

and the Lost Sheep.
● Pastoral responsibility for the weak and the lost

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962):This is an obvious movie to
use with mid-teens because it is on the reading list for the Junior
Certificate. It can be used to discuss Christian values applied to:
● Compassion;

● Compassion for outcasts;
● The value of truth;

● The misuse of power;

● Understanding human weakness;
● Racism;
● Truth;

● Innocence and childhood;

● Ethics and crime and punishment.

Trainspotting (1995) and Traffic (2000): A useful way

with a youth group to discuss the dangers of drug misuse and the
consequences of the narcotics trade.

Love as the basic ingredient of long-term commitment and
Koinonia 17

The Passion of the Christ (2004):
● How do we convey and proclaim the message of Christ?

Closing Prayer (Collect of the Day):
Almighty Father,
whose Son was revealed in majesty
before he suffered death upon the cross:
Give us grace to perceive his glory,
that we may be strengthened to suffer with him
and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. <>< <>< <><
Some reading and resources:

Corley, Kathleen E., and Webb, Robert L., Jesus and Mel Gibson’s The Passion of
the Christ (London/New York: Continuum, 2004).
Denizen, Norman K., Images of Postmodern Society: Social theory and contemporary cinema (London: SAGE Publications, 1991).
Dickerson, Matthew, Following Gandalf: Epic Battles and Moral Victory in the
Lord of the Rings (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2003).
Egan, Joe, Brave Heart of Jesus: Mel Gibson’s Postmodern Way of the Cross
(Dublin: Columba, 2004).
Johnston, Robert K., Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue (Grand
Rapids: Baker Academic, 2000).
Leonard, Richard, Movies that Matter: Reading Film through the Lens of Faith
(Chicago: Loyola Press, 2006).
Maher, Ian, Faith and Film: Close Encounters of an Evangelistic Kind (Cambridge: Grove Books, 2002, Grove Evangelism Series Ev 59).
Marsh, Clive, and Ortiz, Gary (eds), Explorations in Theology and Film (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997).
McLaren, Brian D., The Church on the Other Side: Doing ministry in the Postmodern Matrix (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000 ed).
McMillan, Barry, in Michael Breen, ‘The Future Is Now: The Matrix as Cultural
Mirror’, in Eamonn Conway and Barry McMillan (eds), Technology and Transcendence (Dublin: Columba, 2003, pp 22-35).
Mraz, Barbara, Finding Faith at the Movies (Harrisburg: Continuum/Morehouse, 2004).
Neal, Connie, The Gospel According to Harry Potter, spirituality in the stories of
the world’s most famous seeker (Louisville/London: Westminster John Knox Press,
2002).
Pecklers, Keith (ed.), Liturgy in a Postmodern World (London and New York:
Continuum, 2003).
Wright, Alex, Why bother with theology? (London: Darton, Longman and
Todd, 2002).

● Are we using means that are out-dated, not speaking to people, who are truly willing to listen and to learn?
● Where did we get the idea that no-one would come to church
after confirmation age?
● Where did we get the idea that no-one would come to church
and sit in the dark in uncomfortable chairs?
● Where did we get the idea that no-one would hear the Gospel story and still come out wanting to tell others and to share the
experience?
Conclusions:
If you find yourself using movies in pastoral, parochial, youth
or spiritually-focussed groups, do not leave your humour outside
the Church door. Reinhold Neibuhr once observed, ‘Humour is a
prelude to faith, and laughter is the beginning of prayer.’
Or, as Conrad Hynes says in The Comic Vision and the Christian Faith: “If humour without faith is in danger of dissolving into
cynicism and despair, faith without humour is in danger of dissolving into arrogance and intolerance.’ And Psalm 2: 4 notes: “Who
sits in the heavens laughs.”

Koinonia 18

Regular film reviews in the Church Times, &c.
Web resources: www.hollywoodjesus.com – “Visual movies, reviews, with explorations into the deeper more profound meaning behind film, music and pop culture.” www.damaris.org.uk – “Helps people relate Christian faith and contemporary
culture.” www.word-on-the-web.co.uk – Includes monthly film reviews.

Handout: For reflection:
● What would your three favourite films of all time be, and

why?
● If you could be one character from a film, who would it be
and why?
● Which film has had the most powerful impact upon you,
and why?
● Can you recall a film that has challenged, disturbed, or
strengthened your faith in God in any way?
● If you have seen any film portrayals of Christ, how realistic

do you think they were?

(Revd Canon Professor) Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism, Liturgy and Church History, the
Church of Ireland Theological Institute. These notes and handouts were used in a presentation in the series of
Monday morning reflections on Spirituality with MTh students on 16 February 2015.

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D O E S H I S T O R Y M AT T E R ?
Fr. Jimmie Dean

The mosaic on top shows the arrival of St. Augustine in England in 494 A.D. being received by King Ethelbert. Christianity was already flourishing in England. In the center piece Pope
Gregory who recognized young men from Anglia as Angels and sent St. Augustine toas A missionary to England flanked by St. Augustine. This mosaic adorns the side altar of Westminster Cathedral, London. Photo by Bishop Leo Michael

Here is the "out of order test to re-arrange chronologically
-- Fall of Jerusalem to Romans “No More Masada
-- 1st Ecumenical Council - NicaeaPentecost
-- Emperor Constantine embraces Christianity
-- Martyrdom of Peter in Rome
-- Conversion of Saul (Paul)
-- Fall of Rome to Barbarians Paul’s 1st Mission

-- Council of Whitby - Settled date of Easter between Scotts I Irish I
and Mainland England
-- Paul’s arrest - Sent to Rome
-- Division of E & W Church (Constantinople & Rome)
-- Revelation to Apostle John - on Island of Patmos
-- Veneration of Icons (“Bible of the Poor”) upheld at Nicaea
-- Books of the Bible accepted
-- The Way (believers) = 1st called Christians - in Antioch, Syria
-- St. Patrick’s Mission - Ireland
-- Beheading of Apostle James, John’s Brother
-- Stoning of Stephen (1st Deacon)
-- St. Augustine sent to Britain & became Bishop of Canterbury
-- Coronation of Emperor Charlemagne - “Charles the Great”

We have looked at a very small portion of church history. There was
courage, conviction, setbacks, anger, sacrifice, and pain. There was
also achievement, reward, answered prayers, and promises fulfilled
just to name a few. Without a doubt, history has made Christians
stronger and more committed. Today, we see history repeating itself. Faithful Christians standing up for their belief in Jesus Christ
with newspaper advertisements letters to the editor and opinion
editorials to “flash mob” singing of Christmas hymns in shopping
malls. We have volunteers in food banks, the “Way of the Cross” in
the Plaza Kansas City, and much more.
Answer below:

1--Pentecost
2-Stoning of Stephen (1st Deacon)
3-Conversion of Saul (Paul)
4-The Way (believers) = 1st called Christians - Antioch
5-Beheading of Apostle James, John's Brother
6-Paul 's 1st Mission
7-Paul's arrest - Sent to Rome
8-Martyrdom of Peter in Rome
9-Fall of Jerusalem to Romans "No More Masada"
10-Revelation to Apostle John - on Island of Patmos
11-Emperor Constantine embraces Christianity
12-1st Ecumenical Council - Nicaea
13-Books of the Bible accepted
14-St. Patrick's Mission - Ireland
15-Fall of Rome to Barbarians
16-St. Augustine sent to Britain & became Bishop of Canterbury
17-Council of Whitby - Settled date of Easter between Scotts I Irish I and Mainland
England
18-Veneration of Icons ("Bible of the Poor") upheld at Nicaea
19-Coronation of Emperor Charlemagne - "Charles the Great"

F

or several years now, our men's club has been getting
together once a month on Saturdays at 7:00 a.m. We
take turns cooking and always have a good (healthy?)
breakfast that we really enjoy. After getting all of the
world’s problems solved, we get down to the business at hand,
which is learning more about the church. For the past several
months, we have discussed just a "smidgen"of some of the significant events of the the first 1000 years.
We don't get into a lot of detail to avoid losing interest. An over
view of some important pieces of history that formulated and built
the church is what we latch onto. I know the guys would agree that
our discussions about how the church grew along with the setbacks
and difficulties has given us a greater appreciation of the faith, especially for those who stood firm no matter the cost.
Several times I knew our meetings were paying off when the
guys were verbal regarding the sacrifice that so many gave in establishing doctrine and spreading the Gospel.
After discussing the first millennium, we had a quiz which involved arranging twenty events of history in chronological order.
Some of the events happened close together in time, so it was difficult to arrange them perfectly. Often the resources used would
quote as "approximate" date. The point was in most cases was not
knowing the exact order, but just OF the event and its importance.
The guys first worked on the exam individually without discussion. Then they did it as a team. That's when the sharing of ideas
and the facts really became fun and meaningful. I sat, listened, and
really got pumped up at how well they sorted it all out together
revising their previous answers. It wasn't an easy thing to do. They
did very well as a team and I was proud of their effort.

Koinonia 19

What’s So Good About Good Friday?
Bty Rich Maffeo

T

his was not simply disappointment. It was gut-wrenching tragedy.

Their hopes, like precious china, lay shattered. Their dreams hung
limp on a splintered cross. Glancing over their shoulders in fear with
each step, the disciples wondered who would be next. For those who
loved Him, darkness smothered Friday like a cold, damp woolen blanket. And
what was that Friday like for Christ?
It began with flogging. Roman soldiers fashioned a leather whip, studded with
small rocks and bone. Every blow against Jesus’ back ripped open new strips of
skin. His muscles and tendons quickly turned into a mass of quivering, bleeding flesh. Many prisoners died of shock and blood loss long before being nailed
to the cross.
After the beating, Jesus dragged his cross to the execution site where soldiers dropped it on the ground and threw Him onto it. The spikes hammered
through His wrists and feet tore through exquisitely sensitive nerves. Electrifying pain exploded along His limbs.
As He hung between heaven and earth, breathing became an all-consuming
struggle. Gravity pulled inexorably on His diaphram, forcing Jesus to repeatedly push against His feet and flex His arms just to breathe. Yet, every movement heightened the strain on His ravaged nerves, and each breath forced His
back against the splintered wood, reopening the raw wounds.
Every breath, every movement, every moment on the cross inflamed His torture.
For Jesus, for His disciples -- for anyone standing at the foot of the cross, Good
Friday seemed anything but good.
What, then, is so good about that Friday 2000 years ago?
That Friday proved God’s faithfulness. As early as Genesis 3, the Lord promised
the human family a redeemer, someone to set us free from the Serpent’s grasp,
someone to take “captivity captive” to Himself.
On that Friday, Satan bruised God’s heel. But through Christ's cross, God
crushed Satan’s head. The Serpent forever lost the authority to enslave anyone
who wants to be free. His power is nullified by the blood of Christ (Revelation12:11).
That Friday tore through sin’s impenetrable barrier between us and God. As the
prophet Isaiah wrote, “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and
your God and your sins have hid His face from you, so that He does not hear”
(59:2). But that Friday, God shattered the barrier. He rescued the prisoners.
Laying our sins on Christ’s shoulders (Isaiah 53:5,6), the Father threw open the
gates of reconciliation between us and Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19).
That Friday proved God’s love for us. It is easy to read quickly over John 3:16
and not sense the searing emotions the Father suffered as He watched His Son
agonize on that cross. But when we meditate on the Roman scourging, the
spikes in His limbs, the flesh wounds -- perhaps we can better understand the
personal nature of that verse -- “God so loved me . . that He gave.”
That Friday clothed us with Christ’s righteousness. The harlot, the thief, the
murderer, the adulterer . . . think of it! There is no sin that cannot be cleansed
by Christ’s blood. There is no sinner who cannot be made as righteous before
God’s eyes as Jesus Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Stations of the Cross Groom Texas photo by Bishop Leo Michael

Publication of the Anglican Province of the
Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite
St.. James Anglican Church
8107 S. Holmes Road Kansas City, MO 64131

Finally -- if there can be a final point about Good Friday -- that Friday challenges us to repentance. When the crowds in Jerusalem learned it was their
sins that nailed Jesus to the cross, “they were pieced to the heart.” In unison
they cried out, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?” St. Peter responded, “Repent,” and
three thousand were born into the kingdom (Acts 2:22-41).
Standing at the foot of Christ’s cross, nothing about Friday looked good. But no
one knew Resurrection Sunday was coming . . . and with it, God’s redemptive
plan conceived before the foundation of planet earth.
Good Friday? It could not have been any better.