2017 Church History Tour Reflection
Last year, we saw the tour advertisement in the Herald Monthly, but had not heard of the organization SAGOS nor familiar with the speakers. So, we filed it at the back of our mind and did not act. Until late January, somehow the tour came up in our conversation. So, in early February, we contacted SAGOS Canada to enquire joining the Cantonese group, the rest is history. A side story is that, when chatting with Rev. Chadwin Mak during the tour, I found out that they had given up their two seats in the Cantonese group to accommodate the late comers – most likely us. For that we are grateful to Rev. and Mrs. Mak.
Since I worried that I might not under some of the names and terms in Cantonese, I did quite a bit of research on the web on Reformation and the places we would visit – but probably not as extensive as brother Benny Lo. From my own study and from the teaching from the pastors on the bus, I started to piece together the links among the Renaissance, the building of St. Peter’s Basilica, selling of indulgences, the development of the printing press and Luther’s Reformation. I could see God’s hand at work to prepare the hearts of common people and nobles, the religious climates, the technologies to make the Reformation happened. Sometimes I wonder if Luther backed down at Worms, would Reformation still happen? I think the answer is yes, other people would have stood up to carry the torch as evidence from the vast support of Luther’s peers and the lay people.
I cherished Dr. Au’s teaching/talks on the bus – he called those talks 胡言亂語. It seemed he had no script or notes on hand and he just spoke from his heart on various topics. I also appreciated those members who are still in the workforce, because they were willing to take two weeks from their precious vacation time and spend a not-too-small sum of money to go on this learning trip. Their action is admirable. I found everyone were friendly, accommodating and willing to share – their talents (brother Kan’s loud-speaker voice, Rita’s singing, etc.), experience, and of course their snacks. Rev. and Mrs. Tsang were very caring and always looked after everyone under their watch.
My most memorable event was the walk from downtown Zurich back to the hotel after the Sechseläuten festival. The tram was not yet operating, so five of us (brother T. C. Lo, Cindy, Alice, Tina and I) decided to walk the 3.5 km. Fortunately the GPS on our phones were working, so we moved along. We were on our feet most of the day; but we figured that if brother Lo (a few years senior) had no trouble walking the distance so should we. At about half way, we noticed the trams were in operation again, but we persisted walking and finally made it to the hotel before dinner time at 7:30 p.m.
By going on this trip, I have a better appreciation of the church history in the 16th century. I can now associate the names, places and events a lot better. I admired the courage of the Reformation leaders, such as Luther and Zwingli, who (stubbornly) stood firm on their own convictions. I think we should always remember the five solas of the Reformation in our mind: a) Sola Fide, by faith alone, b) Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone, c) Solus Christus, through Christ alone, d) Sola Gratia, by grace alone, and e) Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone. If we hold true to them, other things such as worship style, preaching method and music style, etc., should not affect our faith in Christ Jesus.