Going To the Chapel of Love

Everyone knows this song made famous by The Shirelles.  It’s iconic.  I don’t know how many countless brides have sung this song to themselves or have had it played at their rehearsal dinner or reception.

With all the disturbing stories out there I had to write something uplifting and I think I found it.  Last week I visited the campus of Notre Dame at South Bend, Indiana in the hopes of touring the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.  However, two weddings were scheduled that day so all tours were canceled.  As we were leaving the campus, the bridal party from the first wedding was just starting to leave the basilica.  Instinctively my girlfriend and I walked back to get a look at the bride.

As a mom, I’m patiently waiting for one of my daughters to get married.  There is just something about a wedding.  Every bride is radiant in her gown.  Some have long trains.  Some wear a veil while others do not.  The groom, always handsome in a tux or suit, and the bridal party is also equally beautiful in the color of choice.  Flowers are everywhere and the priest is forever waiting for them at the front of the church.  I never miss an episode of TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress.  I know exactly what kind of wedding gown each of my daughter’s would choose.  We all remember our own wedding.  It’s the one day we look like and are treated like royalty.  For the record—I cry at every wedding.

They say you can’t stop love.  Well this story proves it.  Nothing could stop Fadi and Rana from getting married at their local church.  I wish you could see the pictures.  The bride is gorgeous in her pure white, beaded, ball gown.  Her white rose bouquet is cradled in the crook of her left arm and with her right she holds on to her tall, dark and handsome groom in his dark suit.  The church is packed with guests (standing room only) and white flowers dot each aisle.  The maid of honor is striking in hot pink.  It was a traditional Orthodox Christian wedding, complete with crowns for the bride and groom.  The priest’s garments were robin egg blue and trimmed in gold and he donned the traditional tall, gold, domed crown in the orthodox style.

Sounds like any wedding.  So what is so special about this one?  I said nothing can stop love and nothing could stop this bride and groom from getting married in their local church.  Not a 4-year civil war.  Not the fact that they are a Christian couple in the Christian community of Hamidiyah in Homs, Syria, under attack by Islamist fighters.  Not that they were forced to flee their home town, but returned to get married in their church. Not even the fact that their church was destroyed.  Ah, now I have your attention.

St. George Church in Hamidieh Homs, Syria was among 10 churches destroyed in May 2014.  The church was reduced to rubble after countless airstrikes had destroyed it.  Although there is no longer a roof, there are partial walls and an intact foundation.  A folding table with a white tablecloth substitutes for an altar and that was good enough for Fadi and Rana.

Their wedding photos were featured on the church’s website and later picked up by several people on Twitter and shared around the world as a sign of strength and resilience.  One tweet from Bassem states, “U can destroy their church but u won’t destroy their spirit.  First wedding at St. George church Hamidieh Homs #Syria.”  Several people from around the world tweeted back, including The Christian Yahwist who tweeted “The church buildings might have been destroyed but it was in Syria that home churches were born 2,000 years ago.”  I’m sure this story is very inspirational for those Christians still living in Syria and other parts of the Middle East.  It’s also heartening for Christians in the US where religious persecution has not yet begun.

Love is indeed astounding.  Especially the love God has for us.  There is no doubt He was present at that wedding and for that matter, all of our weddings.  Many couples today choose 1 Corinthians 13 read at their wedding.  I also know that spousal love is not the same love that St. Paul speaks of.  For that we need to go to the root of the word.  The original word is the Greek – agape.  It was translated into Latin and kind of came out charity, but it doesn’t mean charity either.  Agape has no equal word in the English language, in fact it was a word that was not used much in Greek-speaking communities, however it is used 320 in the New Testament.  That tells you something right there.  This love is more like the love of God.  Think John 3:16.

Today while you’re sorting through all the evil and gut wrenching stories in the news, remember that God loves us like no other.  No matter what comes our way He will always be there.  They can destroy our churches, burn our homes, ridicule and ban our traditions and beliefs, even take our lives, but they can never take Him away.  They can never conquer the Spirit.  And one other thing—I’ve read the book, including the last page.  I know how it ends.

Congratulations Fadi and Rana on your wedding.  I hope you have a blessed and glorious life together that includes several children.  Thank you for sharing your joy with the rest of the world.  You prove God cannot be confined to one place.  He cannot be compartmentalized.   He is the great I AM.  He is everywhere and everything.  You also prove as Christians we don’t need decorative domes, roofs, or ornate walls.  All we need is a solid, intact foundation of faith—just like St. George Church.

From the USA to Syria with love.

#

If you’d like to view some of the pictures from the wedding go to:  http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/07/19/syrian-combatants-may-have-thought-a-churchs-destruction-would-stop-christian-worship-these-newlyweds-proved-them-so-wrong/

Sources:

Albawaba, The Loop, A Couple in Syria’s Homs Got Married In A Church Turned To Rubble.

Daily Mail UK by Caroline McGuire for MailOnLine, ‘Life Continues Despite Destruction and Death’ July 30, 2015

The Blaze, Syrian Combatants May Have Thought a Church’s Destruction Would Stop Christian Worship. These Newleyweds Proved Them So Wrong, by Sharona Schwartz, July 19, 2015

Patheos Christian Crier, What is Agape Love by Jack Wellman, May 2, 2014

Catholic Answers to Explain & Defend The Faith, 1 Corinthians13: Charity or Love? February 17, 2013

Advertisements

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Everyone knows this song recorded by The Tokens. The lion in my article is Cecil, a 13 year-old Zimbabwe lion. According to officials, Dr. Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, allegedly paid $50,000 to facilitate a lion hunt. Palmer was told permits were secured and the hunt was legit. Whatever the story, Palmer, with the aid of 2 Zimbabweans, tracked and killed the lion.

The outrage against Dr. Palmer is rabid and viral. The death threats are so intense Dr. Palmer has gone into hiding. His home and dental practice are besieged by protestors dressed as dentist hunters who toss stuffed lions at the buildings. PETA wasted no time calling for Dr. Palmer’s death by hanging. Tributes to the fallen lion include celebrities calling Palmer a ‘poor excuse for a human being’1. Jimmy Kimmel, on his ABC talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, choked up while speaking about it. News agencies are plastering pictures of Cecil the lion on front pages of their papers and internet sites.

I love my cat, but in light of what’s been uncovered here in the United States with the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood butchering and selling unborn baby organs—it’s ridiculous. I’ve been furious, waiting for the Spirit to move me to write about the evil of Planned Parenthood (PP); an organization that exists solely for the slaughter of innocent babies, and then I read about Cecil. Cecil is one lion. PP slaughters hundreds of babies every day2 and harvests their organs, yet where is the outrage? Where are the protestors dressed as doctors, tossing bloody dolls at PP? Where is PETA, since we’re all animals, calling for the hanging of every abortionist? Where is Jimmy Kimmel weeping on television? WHERE IS EVERYBODY?

The same news outlets that couldn’t wait to broadcast the murder of Cecil are silent on the holocaust of the unborn. The life of this lion is more important than the lives of millions of unborn babies. That is the unspoken proclamation of the people of the United States. It’s concluded by their absolute silence in the face of evil.

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the force behind the undercover videos, recently released a video of Planned Parenthood “procurement specialists” pushing away tiny hands, arms, legs, and feet of a freshly murdered baby on a pie plate so they can extract its organs. It’s gruesome. In its first video, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director of Medical Services, Planned Parenthood of America, talks to a would-be buyer of baby organs, while munching on salad and drinking wine. She describes how she and other abortionists manipulate the ‘tissue’ otherwise known as a baby, via ultrasound, to ensure a breach birth so as not to crush above the legs or under the head to harvest the organs. A breach birth can aid in obtaining an intact head. Dr. Nucatola gleefully told the buyer about the ’17 weeker’ she just aborted. Imagine what the going rate is on the black market for a 4+ month baby? Dr. Mengele would be proud.

When I ask acquaintances if they’ve seen the videos of Planned Parenthood pulling apart the body of a dead baby on a pie plate, they look at me like I’ve gone mad. No doubt since the same news outlets that couldn’t wait to break the story of Cecil the lion, remain silent on the extermination and selling to the highest bidder of the unborn. The Blaze uncovered a letter from Planned Parenthood to news agencies warning them that the undercover videos from CMP “the material should not be aired”. 3 How can anyone remain quiet? I hear black lives matter. I hear blue lives matter. Former Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley, who is running for President, recently was booed and heckled for saying all lives matter. He later apologized—for what? Gov. O’Malley was right. All lives do matter. No one life is more precious than another. Have Americans forgotten the Declaration of Independence and what it says? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

WHO ARE WE? While we go about our day, sipping our non-sugary drinks and eating gluten-free pizza, doctors at Planned Parenthood kill and haggle over the price of livers, hearts and lungs of babies. I see protestors waiving signs that read, I Can’t Breathe. The unborn child doesn’t have the chance to breathe before being crushed, vacuumed, shredded, or in the case of late term abortions, ripped limb from limb. Oh, but some do breathe if they are unfortunate enough to be born alive. Nurses and midwives report babies born alive after abortions are suffocated, injected with poison, or left to die alone. Others report uncomfortable mothers hearing their child scream and realize the child is alive and being killed. In one hospital a nurse reported a child born alive took over an hour to die. Later, in the same hospital, another child was born prematurely, the same age as the aborted child, but this infant was brought to the neo-natal unit because its mother very much wanted him and that child lived.4

It’s just tissue? Have you seen an ultrasound? If not, take a look at the gruesome video of that murdered baby in the pie plate—the same pie plate on sale at your local Wal-Mart. By 8 weeks in the womb, unborn children react to touch. Pain receptors are present throughout the unborn child’s entire body no later than 20 weeks. When surgery is performed on unborn children they are given anesthesia.5 Sound like just tissue to you? What about cases of rape or the mother’s life? 1.7% of abortions are performed because of health or life of the mother and a whopping .3% for rape or incest. 98% of all abortions are performed for personal reasons.6

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, must be dancing in hell while Americans sacrifice infants to a pagan god of convenience and unveil statues of Satan in their cities7. Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter ~Isaiah 5:20.

The lion may sleep well tonight. But can you?

#

1Daily Mail, UK, Article 3178135

2According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 43.8 million babies die from abortion annually worldwide. That’s approximately one baby being aborted every two seconds.

3Live Action News, Investigative, Nurses Share How Babies Born Alive After Abortions Are Killed Or Left To Die, June 26, 2015 by Sarah Terzo

4The Blaze, Health, Read the Letter Planned Parenthood Sent News Outlets Warning Them Not to Air Undercover Videos, July 28, 2015, by Oliver Darcy

5Doctors on Fetal Pain, 2015, Fetal Pain: The Evidence www.doctorsonfetalpain.com

6Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (last updated November 2014)

7The Detroit News, Video Captures Unveiling of Satanic Statue in Detroit, July 27, 2015 by Tom Greenwood