A couple of big services this week

It is not every week that you'll see not one but two church services broadcast in full on numerous cable news channels.

This strange week, so filled with dramatic and sad events, has also seen a couple of high-profile and (inter)nationally televised church services.  The first of these was the funeral for former British Prime Minister, "the Iron Lady," Margaret Thatcher at St. Paul's (Anglican) Cathedral in London.  Much discussed as been her evangelical Christian grand-daughter Amanda's reading from Ephesians 6.  I thought the Bishop's blessing on Margaret herself toward the end was pretty awesome:

Go forth upon thy journey from this world, O Christian soul,
Go in the name of God the Father Almighty who created thee,
In the name of Jesus Christ his Son who suffered for thee,
In the name of the Holy Spirit who strengtheneth thee,
Aided by angels and archangels and all the armies of the heavenly host,
may thy portion this day be peace, and thy dwelling place in the heavenly Jerusalem.  

Naturally a Charles Wesley hymn made an appearance, the preacher gave a "shout out" to the importance of the Methodist movement for the UK (Thatcher was herself Methodist).  You can watch it in full here:

The other prominent service this week (see the video below) was the interfaith prayer service after the Boston attack; the service was held at the (Roman Catholic) Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.  The leaders of the service were mostly Christian pastors, Jewish Rabbis, and politicians - with one Muslim Imam as well.  So there was something of a mix of messages: Trust in God, trust in Christ, trust in America; but the dominant tone for most of the service was generally Hebrew and Christian.  Indeed, as the choir sang: "Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing...?"
The President of the United States was in attendance with, and spoke to, the crowds gathering to mourn those injured and killed and to pray for our nation.  Some reports told of people standing in a line 10 blocks long to attend this service in Boston's cathedral.  No doubt those people have all sorts of beliefs and questions and motivations in their attending, but I think that the fact that people in our country do turn to the churches whenever deep questions and anxieties assail us represents a hopeful opportunity for the Church.  There is always the danger that a service like this will be felt by some to be "just enough religion" to make them feel better in the midst of tragedy, but my hope and prayer is that this will serve to invite those mourners to come and see, to discover the faith and the life that marks disciples of Jesus, and the joy and hope that comes with commitment to him.

May God have mercy upon us all and give us grace to turn away from everything false, towards Him who is Life.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home