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United Church of Christ

533 Route 28, Harwich Port, MA 02646 | Phone: 508-432-1668

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Waves of Faith-October 13, 2017

October 13, 2017-Waves of Faith

This month our sermons have all been on the topic of reformation. In our faith tradition we mark the 500th anniversary of the definitive moment when Martin Luther published his 95 Theses and led a new generation in questioning the power and theology of the Roman Catholic Church. 

It was Luther, and other reformers, who took his life in his hands to raise questions that started a whole seismic change in Europe that quickly changed national borders, politics, church customs and European culture. 

To the church’s credit the Roman Catholics and Lutherans have marked this occasion with a renewed commitment to peace and ecumenism. Pope Francis joined the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation to begin the 500th year celebration at in a church in Sweden. You may remember that  500 years ago Martin Luther called the pope the anti christ so the symbolism of the event was powerful.  in a big worship service celebrating their unity  Pope Francis walked down the center aisle of that cathedral in a plain white alb and a red stole. It was such a gesture of peace, reconciliation and humility. 

If that were not enough, the two speakers Pope Francis and Pastor Junge both preached in Spanish, as the two hail from Argentina and Chile, respectively. For his part, Francis said that our divisions were perpetuated by the powerful of this world, not the faithful. A similar event will take place on November 5th in a big cathedral in Fall River. A  3:00 p.m. prayer service of healing is planned at the Cathedral Church of St. Mary led by the bishop of Fall River. Clergy and all people of faith on the Cape and South Shore are invited. Sadly, I have to attend the Barnstable Association, but the Roman Catholic Church has gone to great effort for a holiday you might not imagine they have much stake in celebrating. It all bodes well for the future. 

So the question I will be asking in November is “Is the Reformation Over”?  As long as Catholics and Protestants cannot take communion together the answer is “No”. Most of us have had hard experiences of being refused communion at funerals and family events. Each time this happens it sets your teeth on edge and pours fresh salt on this religious wound. But the forces of ecumenism, which have been especially strong since World War II, have moved us all to closer communication with all people of faith. The things that defined us as denominations are not dividing us as much. That’s a good thing. 


Rev. Susan

Posted: Friday October 13, 2017