Friday, May 14, 2010
Europe and New Creation
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful."
These moving words, describing the advent of the Messianic Age, were read as part of the liturgy for a special service conducted at Westminster Abbey earlier this month.
The service on Sunday 9 May, 2010, was known as “a Service for Europe Day” and commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the Schuman Declaration. The Declaration was made by the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950 and is viewed as the first step in the foundation of the present European Union.
In a strange synthesis of Christianity and state worship, the flag of the European Union was presented at the Communion Table while an extract from the Schuman Declaration was read from the Pulpit.
The congregation's amended Act of Penitence read “Let us bring before God our failures and weaknesses... our self-seeking, the opposition séculaire which has hindered our unity and harmed our people. (Séculaire is French for ‘centuries-old’, invoking the idea that self-seeking nations have long been harming their people by failing to seek unity.)
Towards the end of the service, Pascal Grégoire, First Secretary of the Embassy of Belgium (representing the Ambassador of Belgium) said, “Let us pledge ourselves anew to the service of peace and to the strengthening of the bonds of friendship and goodwill that unite the member states of this European Union.”
The audience were instructed to reply: “Lord God our Father, we affirm our commitment to the European Union as a force for good in your world.”
The service finished off by singing Thine be the Glory simultaneously in French, English and German followed by a blessing, the processing of the EU flag and the Anthem of the European Union.
Posted by Robin Phillips