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Theme for the Month: Reformation towards Transformation "You shall speak all that I command you.... " (Exodus 7:2)


Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), the Inventor, developed many devices in the fields of electric power generation, mass communication and motion pictures. One of the famous stories is related to the electric light bulb. He tried two thousand different materials in search of a filament for the light bulb. When none worked satisfactorily, his assistant complained, "All our work is in vain. We have learned nothing." Edison replied confidently, "Oh, we have come a long way and we have learned a lot. We now know that there are two thousand elements which we cannot use to make a good light bulb."

Our life as individuals and as a community is continually determined, shaped, reformed and transformed by the ability we possess, and the willingness to receive the gifted ability and the humility to learn. One of the highlights of the month of October is to remember several th th events and movements that came together between the 14 and 17 centuries that altered Western Christianity, which is broadly termed as the Reformation, more specifically, the Protestant Reformation. We are also preparing to celebrate our Annual Harvest and Thanksgiving with the theme, "Harvest of Righteousness," and the Youth are preparing to celebrate Youth Sunday, also in preparation for Arpith 2022.

Our focus passage is Exodus 7:1-7, where God asks Moses to speak as commanded (Exodus 7:2). Moses, not only receives God's word and is asked to speak, but gets a new perspective. Moses was hoping to get the attention of Pharaoh, who considered himself God, but God tells Moses, "I have made you like God to Pharaoh" (Exodus 7:1). This word is a reminder that this is God's doing in word and deed. Moses realized that speaking God's word is more important than getting the attention of someone who is in power and who represents hierarchy and domination. The Reformation echoes similar experiences, because Martin Luther had to face challenges in speaking to Church hierarchy, Kings and Princes. One of the outstanding features is the Bible, God's word became the focal point of any discussions, and further resulting in translations and work that provided opportunities for people to read and understand in their own language. One of the essential ideals of the Protestant Reformation is that that God's word has the ability to reform and transform.

The Reformation resulted in multiple transformations in Worship, Theology, Music, Culture, Language, and so on. One of the most powerful Hymns of the Protestant Reformation was Luther's "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," based on Psalm 46, written originally in German (English Translation – Frederick H. Hedge). This Hymn became a great source of strength and inspiration, and has been translated into practically every known language. It enabled God's word to be celebrated and shared, and singing the Hymn provided courage to a lot of people and communities. Karen Armstrong, in her book, The Lost Art of Scripture, 2019, observes, “…When the Renaissance humanists and Protestant reformers sought to return 'to the wellsprings' (ad fontes) of Christianity, scriptures were routinely revised, updated, and their message dramatically reinterpreted to meet the demands of the present" (p.11). Hope that the very purpose of the Reformation Movement will strengthen us to revisit our foundations as to envision goals of transformation in Church and Society.

May God Bless you

Your Presbyter,
Rev. Dr. Dexter S. Maben

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