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Reclaim the rainbow

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
June 19, 2023

PRIDE MONTH: The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the LA Dodgers ... an activist transgendered drag queen baring his breasts at White House Pride event ... transgender child mutilation ... Dylan Mulvaney and Bud Light ... Target and women's "tucking" swimsuits ... Pride flags flying from White House portico and the U.S. Embassy at the Vatican ... Episcopal and Catholic churches celebrating Pride Masses ... triple X-rated Pride parades ... debauchery and the sin of lust openly celebrated ...

There is much for Christians to hang their heads over in shame and humiliation.

I have prayed many tearful prayers and shed many prayerful tears. Sometimes it seems almost hopeless. Do my prayers even reach the ceiling much less go to the ears of God? But a Roman Catholic priest in Arizona has given me hope and a Messianic Jewish rabbi helps me refocus on a hijacked part of God's creation.

The priest delves deep into the Bible and found a teaching -- a Truth -- by Jesus.

Fr. John Muir writes: "In the backyard of the house where I live with other priests, there is a lemon tree which produces a huge amount of fruit. One evening in the spring I needed some lemons for a chicken dish. I glanced from the kitchen and saw the tree bursting with large, bright, gorgeous lemons, hanging thick on seemingly every branch. Turning to Fr. Bob (I'll change his name to protect the innocent) who sat on the couch, I said, 'Father, could you pick a few lemons for me?' He said sure and into the backyard he went. He returned a few minutes later empty-handed. 'John, there's no lemons. Sorry.' I said, 'What are you talking about?' I looked again and saw the grapefruit tree on the other side of the yard, which had recently been picked clean of fruit. He didn't see the abundant fruit because he was looking in the wrong place!

"Like Fr. Bob, we sadly don't see the fruit all around us. We think that the culture is spiraling down, young people avoid church, and the future looks bleak. Why go out into the world and work? The world looks like a fruitless tree.

"Jesus doesn't see things that way. He tells us, "The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few." Look again: there is spiritual fruit hanging all around us! The lonely ready to be visited. The sick ready to be healed. The forgotten ready to be remembered. The poor ready to be treated with dignity. The sad ready to be consoled. The young ready for the Gospel. So, let's ask the Lord to send laborers to get to work. And He will. He might send you and me. Just remember to look at the correct trees."

Fr. Muir is the Vicar General of the Diocese of Phoenix-- Canon to the Ordinary in Anglican parlance. He's zeroed in on Jesus and gave the negativity of the present culture a positive spin based upon Jesus' teaching ... Jesus' Truth.

"And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His Disciples: 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'" (Matthew 9:35-38 -- ESV)

Nowadays the throngs and the crowds are "harassed and helpless," and they are "like sheep without a shepherd." They are diseased and afflicted needing healing and the Savior.

Indeed, the "harvest is plentiful ..." The world's population is 7.8 billion and growing especially in the Global South. The population of the world when Christ walked the earth was estimated at around 300 million, less than the current population of the United States. That is a 2,500 percent population increase in two thousand years. Many of whom, 5.3 billion of them, need to be evangelized with the Good News of Jesus Christ and the Gospel.

... and "the laborers are few." The number of clerical and religious vocations are falling.

There are Roman Catholic dioceses which have not ordained any new priests for years. The same holds true for some Episcopal and Anglican dioceses.

Episcopal seminaries have closed because they cannot draw enough of a student body to keep the doors open and the lights on.

This year General Theological Seminary joined forces with the Virginia Theological Seminary just to try and stay viable.

In 2017, the liberal Episcopal Divinity School hooked up with ultra-progressive Union Seminary. That "marriage" lasted five years. The "divorce" came this March. Last week, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City offered office space to EDS for one year.

But Juicy Ecumenism's Jeffrey Walton describes the Episcopal Divinity School as "formless and devoid of campus, faculty, and accreditation" following the cutting of ties with Union.

In January, Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) announced it will no longer admit new residential students, and will end its on-campus residential program when the Class of 2025 is graduated.

CDSP's Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Fr. John Dwyer explains. "Applications for our residential programs have steadily declined and are approaching unsustainable levels."

The Episcopal seminaries that are faltering are turning to on-line and hybrid programs to continue training future Episcopal priests. Currently, there are not enough Episcopal clergy to fill empty pulpits.

Last week, the Executive Council learned that Churchwide there are 622 congregations looking for priests and only 87 clergy actively searching for an altar and pulpit. Last year, 400 priests retired but only 225 were ordained to replace them. The gap between priestly retirements and new ordinations is widening.

Of the nine operating Episcopal seminaries, fewer than half have residential study programs. They include: Nashotah House (Nashotah, Wisconsin); Seminary of the Southwest (Austin, Texas); University of the South School of Theology (Sewanee, Tennessee); and Virginia Theological (Alexandria, Virginia).

Not only are the seminaries facing decreased student bodies, the Religious Orders, too, are drying up. For example: the ANCA Sisters of St. Mary are now down to three following the recent death of Sister Mary Jean, CSM. And there is only one living Sister in the Community of St. Mary -- Western Province, and she is 103-years-old.

So, the harvest indeed may be plentiful, but the laborers are definitely few. But there is still much to do other than stress over the state of affairs with the LGBTQ crowd. There are the lonely and widows who need to be visited, the sick who need to be cared for and healed, the forgotten who need to be remembered and prayed for. The poor and homeless need to be fed and treated with respect and dignity, the sad need to be loved and consoled, and the youth need to hear the Gospel and be taught their prayers.

Let us change our focus from the chaos of Pride month and turn it to Jesus' powerful Red-Letter words of encouragement in Matthew 9.

"Then saith He unto His Disciples, 'The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.'" (Matthew 9:37-38 -- KJV)

Come to think, as Bible-believing Christians, WE are the laborers who Jesus is sending out. Let us go forth.

Not only do Christians need to go labor forth, we also need to reclaim the rainbow which is being hijacked by the LGBTQ agenda.

Rabbi Kirt Schneider, a Messianic Jew, says that the rainbow belongs to God and it belongs to God's people.

"The rainbow is a sacred symbol which was put in the sky by God declaring that God had made an everlasting covenant with humanity," the Rabbi explains.

And God said: "I have set My rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." (Genesis 9:13-16 -- NIV)

"Now people are afraid to be associated with that rainbow," Rabbi Schneider says.

He urges Christians to reclaim the rainbow for the glory of God and to stand up and resist the LGBTQ movement.

Happy Pride Month. Jesus is our PRIDE, our only true PRIDE.

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline.

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