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The Papal Visit

As we traveled through Great Britain, it was soon evident that the upcoming papal visit was a hot topic.  Our tour guides commented on it, and from Scotland to England we heard about how the head of the Roman Catholic Church was coming to the United Kingdom by royal invitation for the first time.  The building next to our hotel in London proudly displayed the flag of the Vatican City and was bedecked with yellow and white streamers, and each edition of the London Evening Standard during the time we were there had a story on the pope on the front page.

Of course the event fomented much controversy.  Many objected to the pope’s coming, but the fact remains that he came, and that alone is significant.  Every time I heard or saw an allusion to it, I thought about how Catholics have often been persecuted in Great Britain since the time of Henry VIII, and how ridiculous it would have been in past years for the head of the Catholic Church to set foot in the land where the Church of England held sway.  Such a thing would never have happened, and demonstrates how ecumenical people of all denominations—even traditionally conservative Catholics—have become.  After all, if it doesn’t matter what church you belong to, even once-hostile Anglicans and Catholics can unite.

Codex Alexandrinus

Codex Alexandrinus

Of the many significant documents on display at the British Library, Codex Alexandrinus does not catch the eye. There are no illuminations, no gold leaf or fancy calligraphy. All that it presents to the viewer is line upon line of uncial Greek text. Nevertheless, to me this document stood out from all the others, both because it was written in Greek, and because of its great significance in New Testament textual criticism. It is remarkable because it contains nearly all of the Septuagint and New Testament, unlike most other surviving Greek texts, and it is quite old, having been written in the fifth century.

The codex was open to the Book of Psalms, and as I read those ancient words of praise to God, I thought about how they were written in a time when Greek was still commonly spoken, and in a time when, perhaps, the scene of “Christianity” was a little less confusing than it is now. I was also struck by the precision of the lines and letters, and it was very evident that the scribe whose hand copied those sacred lines truly had concern for accuracy in regard to the Word of God—something that many people today care little about.

Hymn of the Week – Par la Foi

A. Humbert, 1907

Lorsque je mets en toi Dieu, une pleine confiance
Jamais je ne tomberai, complète est ma délivrance !

Par la foi nous marcherons,
Par la foi nous triomphons,
Par la foi mon Rédempteur
Me rendra plus que vainqueur !

Dans les jours d’adversité, quand je sens gronder l’orage
Je suis en sécurité, tu me donnes bien du courage !

Quand Satan veut me troubler, enlever mon espérance,
Mon passé me reprocher, tu me donnes ton assurance !

Par la foi je marcherai, en comptant sur tes promesses,
Par toi je triompherai, en tout temps de mes détresses !

Translation: Read More

My First Esperanto Encounter

Esperanto isn’t a language I talk about much, perhaps because it isn’t very well known among the general populace of the world, and perhaps because I haven’t had much occasion to speak it. But I have been learning it for more than a year now, and a couple of evenings ago I finally got to talk to some real live Esperantists in London.

They were very kind, and patient as I got into the groove of listening to and speaking Esperanto. I could understand better as we went along, and although I sometimes didn’t know a certain word, I was able to carry on a very reasonable conversation despite my occasional grammatical slip-ups.

One thing I found interesting about speaking other languages is how, even if I know the correct words for the language, it takes me a while to accustom myself to using them. For example, when I first arrived in Belgium and started speaking French, I found myself saying instead of oui, I suppose due to the fact that up to that point, anytime I wasn’t speaking English, I was speaking Spanish. And when I was speaking Esperanto the other night, starting out I kept unintentionally saying oui instead of jes! But if that is the greatest of my troubles, I’m doing pretty well.

To finish up this circuitous blog post, I just want to throw out an advertisement for Esperanto itself. I believe that the fact that I was able to speak it well the other night with so little previous practice shows how easy Esperanto is to learn. Stripped of the irregularities that frequent natural languages, Esperanto is very simple to learn, and once learnt, one can learn other languages more easily. Plus, Esperanto speakers tend to be very nice folks, and they may be found all over the world!

Thank You, Lord!

I am currently in Cardiff, Wales. This morning I was in Glasgow, Scotland, and unfortunately we were not able to meet with the local group of Christians, so our free travel group had a worship service at the hotel this morning. This is one of the songs we sang together.

Thank you, Lord, for loving me,
And thank you, Lord, for blessing me.
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole and saving my soul.

Thank you, Lord,
For loving me.
Thank you, Lord,
For saving my soul.

Let us all with one accord
Sing praises to Christ the Lord.
Let us all unite in song to praise Him all day long.

You’ve revealed Your will for me,
So I can serve You for eternity.
Use my life in every way, take hold of it today.