REGINA — Be the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World was the theme for the 2016 version of World Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It was also the topic of homilist Rev. Gary Kuntz Jan. 24 at Living Spirit Centre, but he also included ecumenism in his homily.
The Living Spirit Centre is one example of ecumenism among non-Catholic Christian faiths. It includes three churches: Eastside United, St. Philips Anglican and Bread of Life Lutheran.
Each year Christians in one country develop an order of service that is used all over the world. This year it was Christians in Latvia who developed the order of service.
The service included several readings and prayers performed by various members of Christian denominations interspersed with hymns that appeared to be familiar to everyone. Flannery Salkeld of St. Augustine’s Parish, Wilcox, Sask., sang the Psalm responses while Michelle Dickie of Living Spirit Centre provided the piano accompaniment. She played for all the hymns and provided music prior to and after the service.
Kuntz opened his homily by defining ecumenism as “the ability or capacity to move into a different world and become rich,” not referring to material wealth but enrichment of one’s self. “You come to know one another and become one,” as Christ intended.
He referred to the Reformation as an example of “how far off we had gone and the church’s response was to try and obliterate the ideas,” of the Reformation. “And what did the Christians try to do to our First Nations people? They tried to obliterate them and their spirituality.”
He then referred to the increasing presence of Islam and asked, how are we going to welcome them? Christ became flesh incarnate in all, said Kuntz. He suggested asking them, what have you learned about God? “Because you may experience God in a way that I don’t know.” Come to know God through them, he suggested. “If we want to be Light of the World and Salt of the Earth, we have to be ecumenical,” he ended.
Immediately after the homily Pastor Charles Kooger of Sonlight Christian Reformed Church invited everyone to come forward and take a pinch of salt to be placed on the tongue and light a small candle. It was called a Gesture of Commitment to be Salt and Light. The candles remained lit for the remaining prayers and were snuffed just prior to everyone sharing a gesture of peace.
The service ended with Del Bornowsky of St. Philip Anglican Church reciting the Beatitudes before the final blessing.
The service was followed by a reception.