Tag Archives: ecumenical

Martin Luther and #Reformation500

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 29, 2017

Martin Luther stained glass

Martin Luther and #Reformation500

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran minister, theologian and seminary professor. I am not certain, but I suspect he might have been pleased to celebrate with much of the Protestant world this year. Celebrate what? Martin Luther and his posting of the 95 theses, of course.

Today is a festive day in the church. Reformation Sunday, the last Sunday in October every year when we remember the bravery and determination of Father Martin Luther, Professor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg in Germany. He was brave and determined for nailing up the 95 theses (or, grievances) against the Catholic Church on the door of the Wittenberg chapel on All Hallow’s Eve, October 31, 1517.

500 years! A huge anniversary, indeed. I care very much about this celebration. I was baptized and confirmed a Lutheran and spent two full years studying Luther’s Small Catechism in confirmation preparation. Yes, Martin Luther and his theology are important to me and to my personal history of faith.

I’ve preached on the five “Solas” (or, “onlies”) of the Protestant Reformation throughout the month of October. I started the month with Sola Scriptura, then Soli Deo Gloria on October 8th. Solus Christus on October 15th, Sola Gratia on October 22nd, and today—Reformation Sunday—my text was Romans 3:28, and I preached on Sola Fide. These phrases are the hallmarks of the Reformation! I was so pleased to research these important scriptural ideas and preach messages on them to commemorate such a foundational event.

The posting of the 95 Theses was not supposed to cause a rift in Christianity. No, Martin wanted to reform his beloved Church from the inside. However, due to many internal and some external reasons, it did not happen. Luther founded the denomination that bears his name to this day. (Also, several other streams of Protestants sprang forth at this turbulent time of the 1500’s. Sadly, many bloody battles were fought over religious and theological differences. This has not stopped today. However, new cries for ecumenism have been heard for the past few decades. After several hundred years of separation, now, at least, there are also calls for joining together.

Perhaps fractured Christianity might come closer together, in our time. One can dream. One can hope.

Let us pray, using the words of President Abraham Lincoln (adapted): “Grant, O merciful God, that with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as You give us to see the right, we may strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the world’s wounds….to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all the world, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”



Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Peace and the Library

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, June 6, 2016

Peace and the Library

Peace is - different neighbors, MG library

To get ready for the Morton Grove Peace Vigil last week, the Morton Grove Public Library was kind enough to provide some wonderful resources for children and families. The Youth Services section of the library made a special display of books related to peace. Plus, the youth coordinator and librarian had a self-directed opportunity for youth and their families to create their own definitions of peace.

Yes, the library gave everyone an opportunity to make personal definitions of peace! Plus, some of these sheets with definitions were quite artistic, even innovative. I keep marveling at the marvelous ideas that keep bubbling up.

I think back to the initial conversation that Janine, Dilnaz and I had, back in April. We all agreed that young people—youth—were not often seen at interfaith and ecumenical gatherings. So, we set up the Peace Vigil for hope and harmony especially to get youth participation. And—it happened, just as we hoped. Just as we wanted.

A great big thank you to the Morton Grove Public Library, and especially the Youth Services section! Janine, Dilnaz and I all appreciate everything the library was able to do for the Peace Vigil. (Plus, there is talk and movement about the 2nd Annual Peace Vigil for Hope and Harmony in May 2017! Let’s keep the conversation about peace going.)

Young people not only have great ideas, but they often have excitement and enthusiasm, too. I wanted to tap into all of that. Get loud, and make some noise! Yay, peace!

Dear God, it is awesome how everything fell together for the Peace Vigil last Wednesday night. Thanks for everything involved with coordinating and organizing this wonderful event. Amen! (Yay, peace! Again!)


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Pray, Celebrate, Keep Coming Back

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, August 29, 2015

keep life simple

Pray, Celebrate, Keep Coming Back

Once more, I prayed through the Evening Prayer from www.dailyoffice.org on my laptop this evening. Just like last Saturday, I noticed one piece of the service, in particular. In the Collect for Saturday: “Grant that as we sing your glory at the close of this day, our joy may abound in the morning as we celebrate the Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

I particularly noticed this sentence last week, it seems, out of the clear blue sky. Last week, I subbed for a pastor friend of mine, who was on vacation. And, celebrated Communion. This week, I led a Communion service at my church. A special Communion—or, Eucharist Service, for people who have a Christian concept of God as their Higher Power.

Higher Power? Isn’t that a Recovery concept? Well, yes, it is.

This Communion Service was (and is) for those in Recovery and for those who find the 12 Steps useful in their personal lives. And, who also have a Christian concept of God as each one understands God. (I have led this service on three occasions, and we’re planning for a fourth, next month, on Saturday, Sept. 26.)

The Paschal mystery part of the prayer? That part intrigued me, again.

As someone who finds the 12 Steps useful to my way of living life, I tried to incorporate these principles and way of life into an ecumenical Communion service. All the while, the Paschal mystery was bubbling away, on the back burner of the stove in my mind.

I remember what I found out last week. The Paschal mystery hearkens back to the narrative of manna in the wilderness. God was faithful in supplying the manna for huge numbers of the nation of Israel! As well, God is faithful in expressing love, caring and help for all those who are on the path of Recovery.

I’m keeping it simple. One day at a time.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Day #6 – Saying Thank You? Praying, As Well!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 24, 2015

THANK you flowers

Day #6 – Saying Thank You? Praying, As Well!

Today’s suggestion of generosity is one I can really sink my teeth into! As the 40acts post says, gratitude is one of the best catalysts for generosity. Gratitude and thankfulness are closely related. When you and I are thankful, isn’t it natural to wish to share that gratitude? Sharing the blessing(s) we received is often natural, too.

I have been on a journey. A multi-year journey, in which I have traversed emotional mountain ranges, huge spiritual deserts, and rocky denominational terrain. In the midst of it all, I have finally found a home in the Federation of Christian Ministries, an ecumenical, non-denominational association of Christians. This community encourages all of its members in their personal and individual ministerial activities.

After much prayerful consideration and discussion with some trusted, mature spiritual mentors and companions, I put my name (and a whole lot of paperwork) in for consideration with the FCM Circle of Directors. The Circle prayerfully considered me and a group of other members, and I received the joyful news that I—and a number of other FCM members—have been approved for commissioning. That’s the equivalent of ordination. So, in just a few weeks, I and several others will joyfully have a commissioning service at my church in the Chicago suburbs. Thank God!

You better believe I have sent out a number of sincere “thank you notes” to my many friends, colleagues and mentors in the past two weeks! This occasion is a radically joyful one for me. The beginning of a whole new stage in ministry. And, an occasion to let many people know how grateful, thankful and humbled I am for their constancy, friendship, encouragement and support.

So, I am advised to take some time to express my gratitude. (Oh, yes!! Abundant, even overflowing gratitude and thankfulness!) And, I am advised to let someone—even a lot of people!—know they are fully appreciated.

Thankful. And grateful. And so appreciative, too.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .