Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reformation Day
by Fred & Gloria Strickert

As children we remember Reformation Celebrations the last Sunday in October-- often with messages explaining why we should have felt superior to the Catholics.       In Jerusalem we follow the practice of Reformation Day on October 31, Sunday or not, and this year on Wednesday.  For us an official holiday, church offices closed, Lutheran Schools on vacation, and a 4:30 afternoon service attracting nearly 500 people.

The message is Christian Unity.  Here representatives of Coptic, Syian Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Armenian, and Ethiopian Churches stand in prominent positions.
As also Government diplomats

 Bishop Younan's Sermon:                              "For Freedom, Christ has set us free."  Gal 6:1

The Eucharistic Cup: The new covenant is Christ's Blood.
For the forgiveness of all your sins.

A Blessing of Peace
 --Beautiful Music by The Brass for Peace
All the way from Germany.
Free to travel.
In the space behind where we are sitting, we had hoped to show a photo of our Choir -- the Children's Choir from the Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah which was scheduled to sing,   treating us to their usual upbeet, enthusiatic, hope-filled music-- songs of freedom.  However, at twelve noon we were informed that their travel permits from just 8 miles away were all denied. 

Today my waste basket is filled with 80 Arabic bulletins we had reserved to no avail for West Bank Christians to join us, leaving a feeling of disappointment.

Last night, we joined together, nevertheless, in fellowship at our community reception in the refectory, celebrating that we have removed some barriers that once separated us, yet committed to the realization of that we must remain committed to achieving that first part of our Reformation text:"For freedom, Christ has set us free."
Photo Credits:  Michael Younan
by Fred & Gloria Strickert