Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Jan Hus and Jan Palach remembered as we celebrate truth not institutions

This morning we had an unusual treat for a Tuesday in the chapel. A very talented ecumenical Czech choir from Sumperk sang for the service and for invited members of the local Czech community and diplomatic corps. The service was led by Sarah Motley, an Anglican priest who has just finished the Masters in ecumenical studies at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute, and sisters who are part of the Bossey ecumenical spirituality project . Ms Belkys Teherán of the WSCF offered us a sung meditation on the reading from Romans 15. Belkys comes from Colombia which is one of the countries we are praying for through the ecumenical prayer cycle this week.

Towards the end of the service a Czech member of the congregation spoke briefly and passionately in memory of Jan Hus - many of the choir are from the Hussite Church - who was burnt at the stake on July 6th 1415. As he remembered Hus he said "we are here to celebrate truth not institutions" evoking also the memory of Jan Palach who chose to burn himself to death in 1969 to protest at the institution of Soviet communism and tanks following the crushed Prague Spring of 1968.
It was powerful to think that we were praying, singing and listening to celebrate truth ...