This Sunday, I found myself reflecting on the power of words.
First, I was struck by the words of the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, as it was sung by the children's choir. This is a song that I know well – attending Catholic school as a child, I sang this song almost every time my school gathered for worship together. It still has the power to transport me back to the little gymnasium of my elementary school, where we often held our services – I can still see all of us in my mind's eye, arranged by class, sitting on floor and singing the words projected on the concrete wall. Those of us who could not yet read somehow already knew the words by heart. I still know those words by heart, and I was comforted to hear them this Sunday.
The second set of words that spoke to me in a powerful way were the words of Psalm 46:5 – "God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns." After the unsettling and surreal events that occurred in Ottawa this week – just blocks away from the doors of our church – these words gave me a deep reassurance, reminding me of God's presence at all times, and also his grace that gives us the strength and courage to keep loving our neighbour despite tragedy, despite fear.
Finally, and most importantly, on this Reformation Sunday, we were reminded of Martin Luther's radical belief that all people should be able to read the Word of God in a language they understand. His translation of the Bible from Latin into German was the spark of a new Christianity, one that wanted to experience God's Word for itself. Today, we still cherish this Word for its power, placing it at the centre of our faith experience, where it instructs, guides and comforts us.