July 2017 Convocation Newsletter
For the past 2 years, the former bus driver from Portland, Oregon, has been forced to recycle his life in Germany, a country he’d not stepped foot in for almost 60 years. He didn’t even speak the language. In 1956, when Harry was 4 years old, his mother decided they should leave their German homeland in search of a better life. One week later, America was their new home. In all that time, Harry had never sought U.S. citizenship. He never thought he would need it. But after a brush with the law, on paper and in the eyes of U.S. Immigration, Harry was German and his destiny already set. Christ the King Episcopal Church in Frankfurt helps people like Harry rebuild their lives through a ministry called Heimkehrer, which means homecomer.
Dedicated church musician sought for director of music at Christ-the-King, Frankfurt, Germany. Christ-the-King is an international, active, English-speaking Anglican-Episcopal church with a long-standing tradition for music.
One of the things that I have been involved in is the welcoming of refugees to France, principally from Iraq but now also from Syria, those refugees who are persecuted . . . threatened with death directly and personally because of their faith. Most of them are Christians, but some of them are Muslims of minority persuasion, Alawites and so forth. I want to just start today by telling you a story from one family of refugees. A couple and their children came to the Cathedral in September. They had just arrived in France, in August, from Mosul.
Silence is difficult to bear – and God seems to be good at it. In fact, it appears that silence is God’s preferred language. Before anything else existed, before God spoke anything into being, there was silence. Before the first sounds of cleansing fire, the whisper of wind in the trees, the murmur of water or the groan of rocks shifting with time, there was only silence. There was only God.
In today's reading from Romans, Paul raises the issue of the law versus faith. And, this of course, is a theme of the Protestant Reformation, and in particular, the thought of Martin Luther. The law seems to be in the writings of Paul, a way of death, something that condemns us, as we cannot keep it. And, on the other hand, justification by faith gives us a new way to live…a way forward that is open to us by believing and accepting that Christ died for our sins that we might be free from them, that Christ rose from the dead, that we might be free from death. All of this, I don’t want to deny, but I want to go a little further in the question of law versus faith.