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Xena L

The Passover Meal Explained: The Message of Seder

Passover is the ceremony followed by families of the Jewish faith on the eve of the Passover festival. It is a celebration of what the Lord (“YAHWEH”) did in freeing Israel from slavery in Egypt. That act of redemption was taken not just as history; every Jew considers the experience as personal: “This is what Yahweh did for me when / came out of slavery”. So this ceremony could equally well be called a Freedom Meal. Because of what Yahweh has done for us – for me – there is no more condemnation, no more guilt. There is joy and freedom and a new life of righteousness. The Passover Meal is centrally a banquet for, and with, the Messiah.

It was used by Jesus of Nazareth, worshipped as Messiah-Christ by his followers. Jesus, on the very night he was betrayed, took bread and broke it to show his followers how he would die and how they might find life through his death. And when he took the third cup he said to them, “This cup is the new covenant-relationship with God, made possible by the blood of my death.” He told his followers to be especially aware of his presence every time they ate together in this way.

The early Church met often to share the Lord’s Supper, all the while learning to discern his presence and to follow him in life and death. The meal has continued to be the central and most significant act of worship in the lives of the followers of Jesus.  They say, “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. Let us celebrate the feast, then, by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” This meal has been translated into the Holy Communion that many Christians share as they remember the sacrifice of Jesus and promise that came with his death and resurrection.

There is a huge amount of symbolism in the Passover meal and the words that Jesus shared with us during this time affirm the fulfillment of the Old Testament and Jewish prophesies. Because of this, many Christian’s follow the Passover meal on Maundy Thursday as part of the Holy Week celebrations before Easter weekend.

Lady Lee and Xena decided to invite two guests into the All Access Kitchen to partake in the Passover, to explore the rich meaning behind the old festival and to experience Jesus’ promises in a new way.
Have a listen:

This was our simplified Seder plate with the six symbolic foods: The zeroah – lamb (sacrifice), the betzah – egg (new life), maror – bitter herbs (suffering), charoseth – apple, spices, nuts (bricks/slavery/bitterness sweetened by faith), karpas – green herbs and salt – (spring/new life, with tears) and matzah – unleavened bread (the exodus from slavery).

The most significant of all the elements on the table is that there are three layers of matzah. There are 3 pieces, wrapped in cloth and placed on top of each other. The Master of the House breaks the middle piece, representing Jesus. And while the children cover their eyes, hides or “buries” that portion. It is called the aphikomen. After dinner the children search for the missing aphikomen. The adults play too (e.g. “You’re getting warmer”). Soon someone finds it and brings it to the Master. He ‘redeems’ it by paying a price – giving a gift to the child. This bread (symbolizing Jesus’ body) is redeemed, exchanged for a price, brought back into the light and the community. This is the bread we use for the communion, that Jesus breaks and gives to us to represent His new covenant, his atonement for our sins.

Jesus exchanged his life so that we may be redeemed. He was God’s son, sent from God, to take on the wickedness and depravity that all of us have inside, the selfishness, greed and hate that we all have in us, even if it is just a little.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that no matter how flawed you are, and no matter how unworthy you are, that you have someone who loves you so much that He would lay down His life for you, so that you would be able to have a life full of joy, peace and contentment?

Well, you have someone like that. His name is Jesus. And today we celebrate His sacrifice and our redemption.

 

Noah Movie: Comparisons and Opinions

Noah: Comparisons and Opinions

The new Noah movie, starring Russell Crowe, has sent the Christian world spinning on its head for the last few months. There has been much speculation, criticism, theologising and debating as Christians from all over the world try to formulate a personal opinion on the latest rendition of this biblical story. Justifiably, there have been many strong opinions aired, many scathing reviews, articles and video blogs posted from all sides. Those against the movie have called it blasphemous and disrespectful to the Christian faith while others who are for the movie say that it is deeply and passionately biblical.

When you are so overwhelmed with this onslaught of opinion it is hard for the average Joe to know what to think, so we decided to collate the information so that we could make some comparisons and try and make sense of it all.

To do this there will be a fair amount of secrets from the film revealed. Be prepared for spoilers!

 

Here are some who are blatantly AGAINST the movie:

Glenn Beck, the America television and radio host, calls Noah the ‘Babylonian Chainsaw Massacre’ in his review of the film on www.theblaze.com. After a screening of the film he was recorded to say “If you are looking for a biblical movie, this is definitely not it … It’s not the story of Noah that I was hoping for. If you are going for that, you will be horribly disappointed.”

Out of all the issues Becks main problem was Noah himself: “I always thought of Noah as more of a nice, gentle guy, prophet of God … and less of the homicidal maniac that Paramount found in the Bible,” Beck said. “More of the man [that] loves God, and less of him trying to break down the doors inside the ark to kill his whole family.” He also states that the film “treats a prophet of God like a lunatic,” Beck said simply. “There’s no redeeming value in Noah, none. He hates people. I’m sorry. No prophet of God hates people … He tries to kill his own family. To me, a prophet receives direct communication from God, and Noah is wrong about everything.” In conclusion, Beck thought Noah was a $100 million disaster.

Cyrus Janssen, a PGA professional and blogger, shared on www.travelwithcyrus.com some issues he had with the film. Besides the irk that the cast of the film wears clothing that would have been considered modern, the main issues were that there is an alluding to evolution rather than creationism, the fact that Noah “decides that God actually meant to kill everyone. While on the ark, Noah decides to end the human race by killing his family” and “The film’s villain successfully sneaks onto the ark by using an axe to cut a hole, befriends Noah’s son Ham to plot against his father and kill Noah”.

One of the biggest things that annoyed Janssen were that the main builders of the ark are angels who fell from heaven and became giant rock creatures.

There are some even more startling claims that Noah has Gnostic undertones and draws inspiration from Kabbalah, a mystical tradition closely related to Judaism and made popular by the singer Madonna a decade ago. Some of these key features have been identified by Dr Brian Mattson as Kabbalistic in origin:

1 – The glowing appearance of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

2 – A highly-valued mineral identified as “zohar”

3 – The redemption of the fallen angels (identified as the Watchers in the film)

4 – The serpent skin which has been passed down through the line of Seth and is stolen by Tubal-Cain

You can read more from Dr. Mattson at www.drbrianmattson.com

 

These are some who are IN FAVOUR of the movie:

Cathleen Falsani, an award-winning religion journalist and columnist who specialises in the intersection of faith and culture, says that Noah is deeply and passionately biblical. She writes this: “Nothing in the film contradicts the Bible’s account of Noah and the Great Flood, either in spirit or detail. Yes, Aronofsky (who directed and co-wrote the film) takes poetic license in creating a cinematic antediluvian world, includes characters (such as Noah’s adopted daughter, played by Emma Watson, or the murderous Tubal-Cain) that don’t appear in the biblical story, and pulls in other characters from the Bible (Methusaleh, portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins) who don’t appear in Noah’s story in Genesis.”

In regards to poetic licence and additions to the storyline she states that they: “don’t detract from the film’s reverential, respectful retelling of the Bible story. They enhance and expand it, which is the prerogative of a fictional feature film. After all, Aronofsky wasn’t making a documentary.”

Steven D. Greydanus, a film critic for the National Catholic Register (www.ncregister.com), writes an article that addresses some of the most heated issues surrounding the contents of the Noah film.

In regards to the giant rock creatures, who become Noah’s ship-building crew, he admits that it is a little tricky. Greydanus says that “the giant Watchers of the film are derived from the Nephilim of the Book of Genesis, thought of as human-angel hybrids by some scholars, and the Watchers of the Book of Enoch in the Torah. In Aronofsky’s version, the angels crash-land on Earth and, because of their disobedience to God, are punished by having their bodies of light merged with the rock,” Greydanus says. “So The Watchers of the Book of Enoch become the Nephilim in Aronofsky’s telling.”

And in response the question about Noah temperament and the misrepresentation of prophets Greydanus states that “the Bible doesn’t give us insight into Noah’s disposition or personality.

John Snowden, the Biblical Consultant to filmmakers on the Noah movie, responds to recent criticism surrounding the film.  He was initially surprised when they first approached him and had mixed emotions, as he knows that Hollywood had an ability to take liberties with stories and values in Bible stories. He says “Paramount was adamant about having a practical, integrated adviser in the process from start to finish, which impressed (and surprised) me.

Snowden lists 10 main reasons why a Christian should watch this film:

1 – Noah has a relationship with God
2 – Noah acts faithfully yet isn’t perfect
3 – Noah sees and acknowledges his own sin
4 – It keeps closer to more of the text than you might have imagined
5 – Noah speaks, and the women have names
6 – Noah focuses on his family
7 – The story depicts (and personifies) evil humanity in Genesis 6
8 – The film embraces some really good, important theology
9 – Bible stories are back – in a big way
10 – Twenty-something’s are disengaged from faith, and this can engage

These points are unpacked on www.newreleasetuesday.com

Snowden states that “Throughout, the film explores Noah’s understanding of God’s justice and mercy, held in appropriate tension with one another. It really wrestles with the question: “Does Humanity Deserve to be Saved?” It may not use those words, but the important question Noah wrestles with deep in his soul is whether God wouldn’t be better off just cutting bait – letting Noah and his family die off, too — and saving the animals. Of course, Noah isn’t God, and God knows exactly what He’s doing – both in the text and in the film.”

OUR OPINION:

We loved this movie. Honestly.

It is true that it is merely inspired by the biblical story – it was not written to be historically or theologically accurate – you have to resign yourself to that fact before you can enjoy the movie. But, for us, the raw humanity and struggle story of Noah outweighs the adaption of the plot. In fact, the plot change intensifies and drives home the themes of mercy, justice and the provision of God.

It is uncomfortable for any Christian to see an adaption too far removed, yet so close, to the original story. When things happen in the film that you know did not happen in the biblical account, it can put you on the defence. But you cannot go into this movie thinking that it is a true account or an evangelical movie. It is not.

What the story twist does do is give you a great insight into how good is so easily twisted into evil, it gives us a new understanding of what the family dynamics could possibly have been, and it asks us to consider the great emotion that Noah might have gone through in obeying God’s commandment.

This film did drive home the absolute heartbreak. Noah’s family must have heard or seen people dying outside the ark. They must have felt the panic and desperation of people trying to save themselves. Noah and his family really did suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. No wonder things went awry.

It is important to remember that mainstream media will always take the middle ground when it comes to controversial topics such as evolution, creationism and even calling God “God”. They will always incorporate various religions and beliefs so as not to segregate anyone and attract as large an audience as possible. So, as a Christian, you can either curse the details or you can marvel at, and identify with, the personal struggle of Noah. The spiritual crisis prevalent in this movie are: self-doubt, unworthiness of salvation, being devastated at the cruelty, greed and selfishness of humanity and wanting desperately to be righteous and getting it wrong. Are these not themes we all have shared with Noah?

There is one point in the plot when you are crying out for redemption. You start to panic that this story can never be redeemed, that this plot twist can never be undone and you fear where it will lead to. To be honest, the redemption isn’t strong enough. Perhaps this is something that only a Christian with an understanding of God would pick up and feel lacking. It is an opportunity lost.

In any event, I’d wager thousands of viewers will, like us, return from this film with a desire to explore this incredible story. Many people will be curious about the real ending of this film and may pick up a bible for the first time in years to read the Genesis account of Noah for themselves.

Isn’t that a great opportunity to share the truth? The truth of the redemption that has been offered to us all.

So, do you agree with what we are saying or do you have another view point on this film? Let us know. If you do agree, how are you going to use this redemption story? Do you think redemption is for everyone? 

 

Here are the reviews that this information was sourced from:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/24/beck-saw-noah-over-the-weekend-and-hes-calling-it-the-babylonian-chainsaw-massacre/

http://travelwithcyrus.com/2014/03/28/why-russell-crowes-film-noah-has-touched-my-heart-for-all-the-wrong-reasons/

http://sojo.net/blogs/2014/03/27/noah-deeply-passionately-biblical

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/sdg-reviews-noah

http://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/movies/animals-arks-how-noah-movie-compares-bible-n63926

http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/article.php?article_id=1286

http://drbrianmattson.com/journal/2014/3/31/sympathy-for-the-devil

http://seenthatmovietoo.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/is-darren-aronofskys-noah-gnostic/

 

The Seduction of Inadequacy – Lupita Nyong’o

The Seduction of Inadequacy – Lupita Nyong’o

The name of Lupita Nyong’o has become famous over the last few months both for her amazing acting and great style but also for her great acceptance speeches.

One of the first times we heard Lupita talk she gave an excellent speech when she took home the Black Beauty Essence Black Women In Hollywood Award

This is what she said:

“My one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first.
And every day I felt the same disappointment as I was just as dark as I had been the day before. I tried to negotiate with God. I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted, I would listen to my mother’s every word and I would never lose my school jersey again. If he just made me a little lighter.”

I think many people think the troubles of Lupita are superficial and not important but the truth is that there has not been a single girl, or guy, who has not been affected by this same difficulty. Perhaps not all in regards to the darkness of their skin but with the shape of their nose, the shape of their eyes or the extra rolls around their middle. The rate of suicide, teenage bulling, depression, cutting (or self-mutilation) and a string of psychological issues all point back at low self-esteem and self-loathing.

So who is our hope, who can save us from this seduction of inadequacy?

How do we regain our dignity, pride and self-esteem and how do we cure this disease embedded in our souls?

Is our only hope people like Lupita, who are lauded for beauty, compassion and honour and who pioneer alternative ideas of beauty? Can we only rely upon role models and celebrities to forge the way?  Who can show us that true beauty and worth is not based on what we look like on the outside but what we look like on the inside?

The perpetual fear of not being good enough is something that goes much deeper than superficial cares about appearance and popularity. It hits deep in the soul and causes a decaying disease to fester in the soul. Every single comment, observation or criticism from this point on is over-analysed and crushing to the individual.

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Addressing Africa’s Gun Problem: Ralph Ziman

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“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people…”
“Cain killed Abel with a rock: we have a heart problem not a gun problem.”

If anyone would open a conversation with me using these slogans or sayings, I would have quite a few words for them. Those that have tried before have found that the conversation continues for a few hours, let alone a few words.

My main argument against these kinds of statements is not connected to the theories behind them but more the lack of a solution to the problem. What is the point in saying that “guns aren’t the problem, it really is a soul problem” or things like, “It is an individual’s responsibility and choice but don’t blame the manufacturers for the fact that guns are offered as a solution to some of society’s problems”?

Can we really blame people for killing, for using protest, violence and war to voice their opinion when we give them no other alternative?

It is ludicrous to me that the world sees the supply of arms as a form of trade. Is is also deplorable that our governments use this trade as a preferred means of corruption. Corrupt leaders paying for weapons with state funds AND receiving enormous kickbacks from weapons dealers. It seems that bloodshed and strife are just an unfortunate side-effect of a few getting richer and the money gained outweighs the sacrifice.

How can we change the face and image of our continent if we keep on fueling conflict?

Arms deal

Chigwagwagwa Changu.“My Machinegun” (Shona)

Ralph Ziman was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is an artist,writer, director and producer who has directed over 400 videos for artists as diverse as Ozzy Osbourne, Toni Braxton, Rod Stewart, Michael Jackson and Shania Twain, winning numerous MTV Awards. Zimans public art also includes five murals in Venice, California, USA.

In response to his alarm at the accessibility of guns in his home country and the obvious obsession that Africans have with the AK-47, Ziman set out to create his newest collection of artwork entitled “Ghosts”. This collection aims to capture the unseen traffickers and the nameless faceless people who are killed.

Hondo “War” (Shona)

 I had six Zimbabwean artists use traditional African beads and wire to manufacture several hundred replica beaded guns like AK-47s, and several replica beaded general purpose machine guns (GPMGs), along with ammunition

Isipokwe iButho “Ghosts Regiment” (Zulu)

 In response to the guns sent into African culture and to subvert the destructive cycle of the international arms trade, the mural represents a purely aesthetic, anti-lethal cultural response, a visual export out of Africa. Furthermore the beaded guns themselves, manufactured in Africa, will to be shipped to the USA and Europe. 

 

Mabara Enyu. “Bullets,Respectfully Yours”

 We often see stereotypical images of Africans, soldiers, rebels, fighters, with guns but somehow this is different, it’s non-lethal, brightly colored, strangely beautiful and sad at the same time. It became sort of like a Vogue fashion shoot, but different. A subverted fashion show. Shocking, beautiful and sad. 

The beaded guns took about 6 months to complete after which, Ralph Ziman had a photo shoot in Johannesburg, South Africa, using the artist as his models. Surprisingly none of the models needed prompting or direction, each knew how to stand and pose with the AK-47’s in their hands.

The “Ghosts” collection will be on exhibit from 8 February to 2 March 2014 at the C.A.V.E Gallery in Venice, California, USA. http://cavegallery.net/

Read more and view the complete collection online at http://rz-art.com/

Murarabungu Chigwagawag 1 “Rainbow Machineguns”

 

Murarabungu Chigwagawag 2 “Rainbow Machineguns”

Umholi ”Leader” (Zulu)

Africa is marred by violence and defined by war, in fact if we had a continental symbol is would be an AK-47. In fact, if you look closely, you will find it on the national flag of Mozambique.

Again I ask, what is the solution we are putting forward to combat this insatiable addiction to guns, bloodshed, violence and war? How will we learn to behave any other way, use anything else as a means of communicating out frustration and anger if we only have guns at our disposal? What is the alternative?

Comment below and let us know if you think there is a solution to hate, anger and warfare. Or if there isn’t…

The Voice of All Access Africa

Whenever you hear a voice on the radio you imagine what the person should look like, right? Today in the Hot Seat we finally show you the face behind the voice of All Access Africa! Introducing Tafadzwa ‘TJ’ Njovana, the smooth, deep voice that sets the scene for the AAA show!

Although TJ has not told us what the ‘J’ in his name stands for we have to presume it is something amazing like ‘Jeremiah’, ‘Joshua’ or ‘Just-awesome’!

Take a look at the video:

“We (Africans) are actually a fresh, vibrant, modern people”

I really do sound like a crazed fan as I interview TJ! But who cannot be excited and enthused as we listen to his wise words:

Be persistent. Pursue what you believe you are meant to be here for. Don’t wait for someone to hand your dreams to you and one day it will pay off!

Do you believe this? Do you believe that if you keep pushing forward you will achieve what you desire?

The VOICE of All Access Africa

 

Changing the World by Changing Myself

CHANGING THE WORLD INTRO

Nickelodeon Magazine released a list of several annoying songs to sing in the car, one of them went like this:

In the back seat, down the middle

Is a line no one can see.

It divides this side from that side

And this side belongs to me.

Don’t you cross it, don’t you cross it,

The imaginary line,

Stay on your side, stay off my side,

That is yours and this is mine.

This song, sung to the tune of ‘Oh My Darling, Clementine’, tells a lot about how we live our lives. Whether we are fighting to keep our siblings off our side of the back seat in a car or trying to keep people off our property, out of our space or out of our hearts.

There are dividers all over the place. Lines that separate you from me, your side of the road from my side of the road, my house and your house.

If this divide isn’t kept in check it can morph into a barrier that breeds contempt, greed and pride. That hateful line then divides my suburb and your suburb, my part of the country and your part of the country, my money and your money, my importance and your importance. So very quickly we separate ourselves from the things we do not like. And the further away we are, the more distorted the reason for disliking them becomes.

CHANGE THE WORLD

It is sometimes easy to see this line when it is physically marked on the ground but often this line is invisible. In a marriage this line says: I am in a relationship with you but I am going to do my own thing regardless. I am going to be independent, so if you say no, I will do it anyway.

In a parent-child relationship this barrier says: when you advise me or give me an instruction I will say yes to your face but I am going to do my own thing. And I will never be honest with you about what is going on in my life, I will pretend everything is okay.

In relationship with other people, friends or strangers, this barrier says: I will show you kindness and concern but only to a point. I will stop short of really getting involved, I’ll give you some money, maybe some food, but that’s as far as I will go.

These barriers say all sorts of things. Things like: I see you but I don’t want to interact with you. I know you are there and that you are suffering but I am not going to try and change anything. I don’t want to try to learn your language, I don’t want to try and pronounce your name, I don’t want to find out about you because then I have to care about you. I am not willing to let you in, I am not willing to be vulnerable and I don’t want to be uncomfortable.

I always say that the more you know about someone the more compassion you can have on them. They are no longer just a number but a person.

So why is this so hard? Why is vulnerability seen as weakness?

Brené Brown says “Vulnerability is not weakness. I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty. It fuels our daily lives and I have come to the belief that vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.”

In the Southern parts of Africa we live by a code of Ubuntu (I am because you are), similar to the ‘no man is an island’ way of thinking. None of us can survive in isolation so why do we try so hard to keep everyone at arm’s length.

CHANGE THE WORLD

Obviously everyone is entitled to have a personal bubble, everyone is entitled to have their privacy and their personal space. We are all allowed to be free to choose who we want to hang around with or who we want to speak to or who we want to share our resources with but let me challenge you today to look further than your own personal comfort. Live beyond yourself and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, don’t be afraid to pull down the barriers.

The Producers

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Meet the Producers!
Over the last few months we have been systematically introducing to the people behind the scenes of All Access Africa. Today we introduce you to Alistair and get some inspiration from him about pursuing our dreams!

Ali: If you have the opportunity to study, do it. Financially I was unable to study… we just couldn’t afford it. But don’t give up on your dreams.

Life is hard. Let’s not pretend it is not. There are many circumstances that make us want to give up on our dreams and so many obstacles that can prevent us from achieving our goals. What do we do in these times: give up or find another way to achieve them?
Are there things in your life that you would like to do but are unable to do?

The All Access Africa Hot Seat

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It’s the All Access Africa Hot Seat once again and today we are having a lot of fun in the studio as we chat to TC, our African Child.

We like to call TC our correspondent for All Access Africa. She is always bringing fresh interviews and ideas to the show and ensuring it is full of flavour and fun.

 

TC: Keep on conquering those challenges that you are facing, circumstances that you may be going though. Rise above those challenges for it’s possible to do so. Keep the hope alive!

 

How do you keep your hope alive when you are feeling frustrated and how do you rise above when you find yourself in difficult situations?

We would love to know and encourage you, so leave a comment below.

Music and Lights

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This is Music and Lights! It is time once again to introduce you to one of the great people you get to hear on All Access Africa, this time it is Brad Kirsten
Here is his interview with Lady Lee:
Brad says music is all about self-expression but is also one of the biggest influences in our lives.
So if most musicians aren’t afraid to be themselves and to express how they feel, why is it so hard for us to share our feelings and our true selves with others?
How do we gain the confidence to be ourselves?

What Motivates and Encourages You?

What motivates and encourages you when you feel gloomy, when your world seems like it is falling apart or when you feel like you just can’t catch a break?

G, our motivational man on All Access Africa, joins us on The Hot Seat to speak about his insert and where he finds his inspiration and motivation.

 

So, G says that his inspiration comes from his strong belief in God and Jesus as well as the messages of encouragement that he gets from speaking to God and reading the teachings of the Bible.

Does that work for you?

Do you think that just believing in God and reading His Word can keep you motivated?

 Is that where your motivation come from? How do you get motivated?

Let us know by commenting below.

WHAT MOTIVATES AND ENCOURAGES YOU 2

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