Famagusta

We visited the tomb of Saint Barnabas near Salamis. I tweeted (@praycelticdaily) 'May you be encouraged and encourage others from the tomb of Saint Barnabas the Encourager.'

Margaret Thatcher once said during The Troubles that to say anything about Northern Ireland was like walking on egg shells. It is like that with the North/South dispute in Cyprus. I have listened much to the heart-break of Greek Cypriots who focus on their refugees from the north and on Famagusta’s derelict buildings. I have listened much to the fears of Turkish-Cypriots who focus on why the Turkish Army felt they had to come to protect the safety and equality of Turkish Cypriots. I feel deeply for all concerned and pray for them, though it would not be appropriate to comment. I can, however, report a piece of good news. Paul Maybury and I visited the normally closed Nestorian Church in Famagusta, near to the derelict and United Nations areas. Recently, we learned, the key, which was in the hands of the university, had been handed back to the Greek Orthodox Bishop who currently resides in the south. This church was open because volunteers were preparing it for a Good Friday liturgy when they expected large numbers to return to it.

On Sunday evening I spoke to the mainly African service at St. Mark’s from the university in Famagusta. Their venue (on loaned from the Orthodox Church of St. George) is used by varied groups almost continuously throughout Saturday and Sunday in two hour slots. Pentecostals preceded and Roman Catholics (with a UN chaplain) followed us. I described how our community seeks to recruit and resource ‘spiritual athletes’ on every continent. Spiritual athletes are those who are willing to ride with Jesus on that donkey and learn from him four things: 1. To leave behind family, fame and fortune (e.g. Prosperity Gospel); 2. To become aware of the intimate relationship between Christ (the Divine Source) and creation (‘the stones will speak’); 3.To relate the Gospel to the symbols and dreams of their people (the Jews had a saying that their Messiah would come on a donkey); 4) To give all (even if it means death) in Defenceless Love (in contrast to an enforced Caliphate of God) – transforming the world from inside out through love. Through the resurrection little Bethlehems, Nazareths, Calvaries and Places of Resurrection can be planted in every land.

Posted at 01:58am on 20th March 2016
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