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Friday, May 5, 2017

The Reformation in Wittenberg: Part II

While at the Wartburg, Luther wrote to Melanchthon, among other things, these lines which hint at the reception Luther’s reforming efforts were receiving among the populace:
   I have not abandoned the hope of returning to you, only God must do what is good in his eyes. If the Pope will take steps against all who think as I do, then Germany will not be without uproar. The faster he undertakes this, the faster he and his followers will perish and I shall return. To read the entire piece by Dr. West, click here.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Reformation in Wittenberg: Part I

In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Christian History Institute is publishing a three part series of essays by Dr. Jim West on how the citizens of Wittenberg regarded Luther’s reforms, as well as Luther’s remarks about Wittenberg.
   Whilst it is fairly well known how Calvin felt about Geneva and the Genevans, and how they felt about him, it is less widely known what Martin Luther’s attitude towards Wittenberg was.  Yet the town and the Reformer are eternally and everlastingly intertwined.  What was Wittenberg like when Luther lived there and how did the people of the town look upon the new Professor of Bible and his fight with Rome?  How influential were Luther’s efforts and did they make any difference to the townsfolk or were they just more academic churchly squabblings which had little impact on the citizens and their daily lives? Read more here.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Prayer of the Day/Collect Easter Day Year A

Image by Eclecticity
Blessed are you LORD God of all creation: On the dawning of this day you acted in a surprising and powerful way to raise Jesus the Messiah from the dead. Grant us the awe and joy of the women who met you Jesus on the first Easter day, that we may live and speak the message of resurrection and new life; through the same Jesus Christ our risen Saviour, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, through all ages of ages.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Prayer of the Day/Collect for 4th Sunday in Lent, Year A

Lenten cross by Eclecticity
All-seeing God: Long ago Jesus healed a blind man on the Sabbath as an act of compassion. Remove the blindness from our eyes, hearts and minds, that we may be able to see you at work in our lives and world physically, mentally and spiritually; and help us to be faithful disciples; through Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.    

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Prayer of the Day/Collect for 1st Sunday in Lent, Year A

Cross by Eclecticity
LORD God, your Son Jesus was able to resist the temptation of the devil after fasting for forty days and nights in the wilderness. As we follow Jesus during our Lenten wilderness journey, grant us your grace to resist the temptations we face each day; through Jesus Christ our Saviour; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit; one God, now and forever. Amen. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Church and State, Canada and U.S.A. Relations

The recent election and inauguration of a new president south of the 49th parallel has got me thinking a wee bit about church and state—or religion and politics—and Canada-U.S.A. relations.
   I, like a lot of people in the U.S., Canada, and around the globe am rather upset about the election results and inauguration of the new U.S. president. It still seems rather surreal to me that our American neighbours would choose the person they did to be their president for the next four years. Someone who has no political experience, and his moral-ethical standards are at best questionable and controversial, and at worst downright dangerous.
   For example, there have been folks who have monitored what he has said publicly on social media claiming that he has lied a lot; and there have been alleged incidents of sexual abuse. Yet, his agenda to “make America great again” seems to have appealed and still appeals to a lot of Americans.
   What disturbs me most and perhaps others is the polarization of Americans, and of everyone really, into “us” and “them,” and the blanket demonization of “them,” so as to feed the fires of fear, hatred, xenophobia, sexism, and religious discrimination, etc. Civilized political debate seems to be abandoned, and the value of the common good: that we as human beings are all in this together, and I may disagree with you adamantly, yet I still respect you as a human being and want to continue to dialogue with you, and remain your neighbour, friend, fellow citizen—which is a bedrock principle of any healthy democracy seems to alarmingly be in grave danger of becoming an extinct freedom.
   Where is the church in relation to what is going on in the state these days? Well, as a follower of Jesus I cannot in good conscience be an open promoter of any particular political party or candidate. However, like Jesus, like the Hebrew prophets of old, like those who signed the Barmen’s Declaration during the Nazi regime in Germany, like such leaders as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a host of other less famous people of faith, I am compelled by conscience to speak out against whatever powers and principalities that would divide every human being into either an “us” or a “them.” Jesus the Messiah of all humankind and his gospel, along with the Hebrew Bible prophets give us our marching orders. As God’s people we are: forgiven sinner-saints, called and gifted, graced and freed to speak truth to power, to transform division into unity, to see every human being as a sister and brother created in God’s image, to, in the words of Micah, “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God,” to in the words of Jesus, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” to boldly proclaim with Peter and the other apostles our ultimate allegiance to the highest authority, saying, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”
   Therefore, it is with all of this weighing heavy in the minds, hearts and lives of many that I, along with a host of other members and advocates for Amnesty International appealed to our Canadian prime minister to speak out for justice and peace, unity and the common good, and respect for the human rights of everyone when he meets with the U.S. president.
   I shall also be remembering them both in my prayers.