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Issue 131 - The Way of Peace - November 2015

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The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
Father, forgive.
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
Father, forgive.
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Father, forgive.
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Father, forgive.
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
Father, forgive.
The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
Father, forgive.
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Father, forgive.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Past Issues


2-Creating Sacred Space

3-Leaving Footprints


5-Ordered Life

76-Vanier Visit

87-Wondrous Fear, Holy Awe

91-Crater Lake


101-On Reflections 

102-Morning Moments

108-NBA Championship

110-On Freedom 

112 Robin Williams 


116-Kentucky Epiphany 

119-Christmas Mystery  


121-Radical Amazement 

122-St.John's Bible 

124-Botanical Garden 

126-Call of the King 

127-Living Our Stories 

128-Pope Francis 

129-Saint Francis 


Link to all past issues     


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This issue focuses on our recent Danube River cruise through Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic. 
Love Not War
       It was only one day after the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, when we embarked on a journey to Central Europe, an area now fraught with watchful caution and fearful tension. As we predicted, armed police were visible in airports and in public squares. But this was nothing new to an ancient continent with a storied war history.
       During our cruise up the Danube, we enjoyed feasting our eyes on the shore's beautiful castled landscape and our taste buds on the elegant gourmet multi-courses. Excursion guides on land, in contrast, fed us with grim stories of generations whose history is steeped in war - war after war.* Yet the stories also reflected the beauty of a people strong and resilient who loved life, expressing beauty, truth, and goodness in art, architecture, literature, music and dancing. And beer.
       The most impressive story, for me, was a wordless one.
Lennon Wall
Standing on a grey cobblestone street in Prague, a reverent hush came over our walking tour group. On the right side of the street, thousands of messages of hope for peace were strewn all over the John Lennon Wall, layer upon layer. On the left, fresh flowers and candles covered the portal floor of the French  Embassy, row after row.  More than one of us stood there and silently wondered, why can't we just get along?!
       War is a storied history in many
French Embassy, Prague
nations perhaps because of the internal wars going on in the individuals responsible for the wars. Why can't we turn to love, peace, and compassion in order to change our personal histories as well as our national histories?!
                              --by Jan

* (A glance at Wikipedia lists 458 European wars during the previous millennium.)
Our Responsibility
"Remembrance of the past brings with it a responsibility for the future."
I read those words last week in St. Sebald's church in Nuremberg, Germany.  Nearby were photos of the church as it stood, heavily damaged, after a British and American bombing raid on January 2, 1945. In that one night more than 1800 residents of Nuremberg were killed, and an astonishing 100,000 were left homeless.
Also nearby were earlier photos of the courtyard beside the church, buildings festooned with Nazi flags. "Remembrance of the past brings with it a responsibility for the future." Toward that end, the congregation of St. Sebald's has joined with the congregation of Coventry Cathedral in England for a Partnership for Worldwide Reconciliation.
After Coventry Cathedral was destroyed by a German bombing raid on November 14, 1940, Cathedral Provost Dick Howard had the words "Father Forgive" chiseled into the stones of the partially destroyed wall behind the altar. In a sermon broadcast from the ruins of the cathedral on Christmas Day, just six weeks after the horrific bombing, Provost Howard pledged himself to a ministry of forgiveness and reconciliation.
That ministry continues today, not only in Nuremberg and in Coventry, but in some 170 communities in 35 countries.  But it is especially moving that in Nuremberg, a city where Hitler and his supporters spewed forth so much hatred, people gather in St. Sebald's every Friday at noon to pray the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation (see left column).
Let us join our prayers with theirs. In this season of Advent, in this terror-threatened world, let us sing with renewed commiitment:
O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven's peace.
After all, "Remembrance of the past brings with it a responsibility for the future." 
                                               - Bill
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Sincerely,  Bill Howden & Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries