Sunday, March 26, 2006

The difference is what you define as weakness

It is the difference between looking to the world and looking to God. This article explains what I'm kind of worked up about (link)

The sum up is that there is an Egyptian Orthodox Christian making a movie about Jesus. The first movie about Christ in arabic. There is muslim opposition because...get ready:

Christ is a prophet and you are not allowed to have images of prophets.

One of the quotes:

Abdel Moti Bayumi, a member of the Academy of Islamic Studies of Al Azhar, said the prophets cannot be portrayed “because that reduces their value in the human imagination,” and he pointed to recent Al Azhar fatwas on the issue. “Muslims hate seeing Jesus represented in human form and especially if they show him in moments of weakness."

Well, what is weakness? Was Christ ever weak? Weakness is sin, not suffering. Man may see suffering as weakness, but real weakness is sin. Christ was never weak.

The Agony in The Garden, where human will was made perfect by true submission to the will of God. It is not in the garden with Christ where humanity is weak, but in Eden. Two gardens frame the history of salvation, and the garden where our Lord accepts the will of God is not a place of weakness.

The Carrying of the Cross, an effort of perfect and infinite love and strength beyond measure to bear the weight of sin and death itself. This is not weakness.

His death upon the Cross. An act of pure, infinite and perfect love that in its' "weakness" conquered death and won for us salvation.

Give me this "weak" Christ. Let me see this "weakness" daily. This "weakness" that overcame all flaws, all corruption of nature and came forth from a tomb in Glory...still bearing the marks of that "weakness". The glorified body of Christ is perfect, and in that perfection are the wounds of the cross, not erased in the resurrection, but made all the more obvious. For it is in seeing that weakness that we, like Thomas, can be brought to believe.

The opinion of the screenwriter:

The screenwriter of the film, Fayez Ghali, said Al Azhar “has nothing to do with my film. That the depiction of the prophets is forbidden is an issue for our Muslim brothers, not for me.” “I am following my Orthodox Christian teaching. No human being ought to prohibit the movie, whether it’s Al Azhar, the church or even the state,” he added.

The producer said:

"Al-Azhar does not have the right to intervene in something which concerns the Christians, otherwise it would have to tear down the icons of Christ and the Virgin Mary from churches," he said. (link)

And don't think for a second they do not wish to do just that. They have in the past.

Christ...the Garden...the Cross, they are true submission to the will of God. They are not the Lord in his "weakness" but in an example of strength and love. For all, not for one. For us, despite the sacrifice He had to make and the pain He had to endure. To stand firm, not in hatred or vengeance, but for the love of another. Not to kill in the name of God. But to love in His name at the cost of everything. Give me this "weak" Christ. And show me His image, so I may never forget that love is not easy. But it is worth it.

Give me the strength O'Lord, to be that "weak"


Egypeter said...

Nice post dave!

So, wasn't the story of St. Simon the Tanner awesome?

Check this story out too. Talk about a seriously brave individual. God bless this kid!

Bent El Neel said...

Hi David
I can probably shed some light on what Muslims refer to when they say "weakness", as I have been following this issue in Arabic newspapers. They are refering to the normal things He would have had to do as a human walking this earth. They view humanity as weakness!! And that's why they can't come to terms with His could God be so "human" or "weak" they would say.

Also, another main point of interest in this subject, is that the Quran denies that Christ was ever crucified, and of course that He was the Son of God. The ongoing debate in Arabic newspapers has been focusing on whether this film will be form a Christian point of view or a Muslim point of view. Many have gone as far as saying that this movie should not be made as it "smells of prosyletising attempts".

And speaking of great Coptic saints (Simon the Tanner), Saturday was the memory of St. Sidhom Bishay who was martyred in Egypt in the 1800's because he refused to convert to Islam (I have a post on him on my blog, i think you'd like it Dave)

May their prayers and the prayers of all the saints and martyrs be with us all :)

Bent El Neel said...

Thanx for the links you gave David on St Simon, I enjoyed reading about him. Missing your presence on my blog, Pete...the discussion is heating up again :)

Egypeter said...

Hey sweet Neferteeti.

Don't worry dear. I am always there in spirit in your "discussions" with our muslim brothers.

It just gets really tiring and REPEATITIVE trying to debate with these people sometimes.

It's as if some of these people live in a made-up imaginary Egypt where there aren't any sectarian problems.

"yes there are problems being a Copt in Egypt"

"no there isn't"

"yes there is, here's what happened...."

"nah, it was just an isolated incident done by some who aren't true muslims"

"but they were screaming 'Allahu Akbar' and justifying their actions with verses from the Qur'ran and Hadith"

"Yeah, but, maybe you Copts are over-stating the problems. Do you guys want America to invade us? Don't you guys want to break up Egypt and create your own independent Coptic state and aren't you guys storing WMD's in your monastaries for the upcoming battle?"

"No, those are lies"

"No, that's the truth"

"No, they're lies"

And the cycle of mistrust goes on and on and on. Every now and then you get a free-thinking muslim but those are rare.

Oh well. I guess we just need to "keep fighting the good fight"
Jesus will never leave us and we will never leave Him!