Monday, 15 June 2015

Return to the Reformation: Part Two

        As was mentioned in an earlier post, I and my family are traveling to Europe in two days(on June 17th).  I also wrote that I would tell you where I was going, but more importantly, why.  As I learned during the last trip I was on in Europe, there are two questions which were being asked in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, and which are still being asked today.  These two questions are very important ones, and ones which each of us must answer.  They are as follows: Can sinful man be reconciled and justified before a holy and righteous God; and, if so, how is that made possible?
        The Roman Catholic church, beginning in the Medieval Ages, had slipped away from the pure Gospel of salvation by grace, and faith in Christ alone, so that by the time of the late 15th century, there was a period of spiritual darkness across Europe.  The Church taught that in order to be freed from your sin, you had to do many different things to pay for your wrongdoing - things such as doing penance or paying money for an indulgence.*  Also, they did not read or allow the Bible to be read in the language of the people, which lead to a hiding of the Gospel so that the average person did not know, and to a degree, could not find out for himself the truth of the Gospel.
        The Reformers, on the other hand, spoke against this, saying that nothing we can do makes us acceptable to God, and therefore we must place our hope for salvation from sin only and fully in Christ.  They also realized the importance of having copies of the Bible in the language of the people so they could read and learn for themselves the truths contained in Scripture.  Men like John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and Martin Luther made great effort to translate the Bible into English and German, and other men did the same in other languages.
        The result of this was that, unlike the Roman Catholic Church, which answered the two questions with a "Yes, but . . ." ". . . you must work hard to be acceptable to God", the Reformers answered the questions with a, "Yes, because . . ." ". . . of the atonement that Christ made on the cross for your sins, you can be fully justified before God."  It is not by anything we can do that we are made righteous before God - it is upon the saving work of Christ we trust and thereby believing, we may have life in his name.
     So why are we going to Europe?  To trace the Reformation of the Church through the lives of men whom God called to preach the Gospel of Grace; to see how God works his plan of salvation throughout history; and to learn that nothing we do can save us from hell, but that God sent Jesus Christ to die once and for all who have faith in Him, and that when he comes again, if we trust in his work, and not our own, we will live with him in eternal happiness, for his praise and glory.

I will write again when I return - in a few weeks,

I Gogoniant Crist,
William A Moore

* An 'Indulgence' was a supposed remission of sin granted by a church official.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

In Remembrance of William Benjamin Moore ~ 1919 - 2015

        As my readers will know, I take great interest in the history of the world's military conflicts, in particular, World War II.  I gained this interest in part from my grandfather, who served with the Canadian Army in WWII.  He told many stories about his time overseas, showed our family many pictures and some films that he had collected, and was very pleased to speak to us about that part of history in which he was involved.  But on February 3rd of this year, at the age of 95, and after a short decline in health due to age, my grandfather died, and passed into eternity.  As it is now the 70th Anniversary of Victory in Europe this year, and today is what would have been my grandfather's 96 birthday, this is my short tribute to his life and his service in the Canadian Army.


        William Benjamin Miller Moore was born on June 2nd, 1919*, in the town of Portage-la-Prairie, Manitoba, Canada.  He lived there with his family and brother Jack until the beginning of the Great Depression when they moved to Toronto between 1932-33.  He and his family were nominal Anglicans and attended services occasionally.  Growing up he enjoyed building working models and mechanical devices out of Meccano.  This interest was later transferred to working on full-size vehicles when he was part of the Engineers with the Canadian Army.  He also corresponded with a pen-pal whom he had met through the Meccano Club who lived in South Africa.  Many of the pictures and letters sent and received are still kept in an old box.
        Bill, as William was known, began university studies in mechanical engineering at the University of Toronto in 1938.  War with Germany soon loomed on the horizon, but Bill graduated with a B.A.Sc.** in 1942.  One of his cousins was in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and provided security for the King and Queen when they came on their tour of Canada in 1939.
        Then, in April 1942, Bill Moore signed up for the Canadian Officers Training Corps at the University of Toronto. Over the summer he and his fellow comrades were trained as officers until September ‘42, when, having been commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, Bill embarked on the Queen Elizabeth which was docked at Halifax harbour and arrived five days later in Scotland. He was placed with 6th Infantry Brigade Workshop, Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps(RCOC) and was stationed at the RCOC's Headquarters at Petworth in the south of England.
        Bill was promoted to the rank of Captain in the middle of 1943 just before 6th Brigade Workshop moved to Bekesbourne, Kent. The hangers at the aerodrome in Bekesbourne were requisitioned by the RCOC for space needed to waterproof vehicles for the Normandy Invasion and install special equipment, such as flame-throwers, on vehicles, and convert open lorries into senior officers mobile command posts by installing plywood boxes on the backs of the lorries to provide shelter – these converted vehicles were known as caravans.
        One of the many stories that he told was how, when overseeing the building of the caravans, he allowed 10% extra material on the order of wood for waste.  Then the adjutant managing the supplies told him he had added 10% as well.  Then the officer ordering the construction of the vehicles mentioned he had done the same.  So with the extra 30% of material there was enough for the junior officers, including Bill, to get caravans too.  Then just before the Invasion of Normandy, the name of the RCOC was changed to Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME) on the 15th of May, 1944.
        D-Day, with the assault of the Canadian 3rd Division on Juno Beach, came and went, and a month later Bill sailed from Portsmouth with the 2nd Canadian Division across to Normandy - landing in France on Juno Beach, near Bernieres-sur-Mer, on July 7, 1944.  One of the stories he often told was how, during the landing, he could have waded through the water onto the shore and told others he did so, or kept dry by standing on the running board of the truck.  He chose to keep his boots dry!
        Bill and his RCEME unit were soon in action moving up the Falaise road in the campaign to defeat the Germans and prevent them from escaping from Normandy. After these actions, the 6th Infantry Brigade Workshop, RCEME, followed the main body of the British and Canadian Armies south through Falaise, and then north and east up through France, through Holland and finally into Germany. On 8 May, 1945, when Victory in Europe was declared, Bill was in Nijmegen, Holland, and celebrated with his brother officers at an “It’s All Over!” dinner.
        Captain Bill Moore returned to England in October 1945 and boarded the "Queen Elizabeth" ocean liner home to arrive in New York on December 7th, Pearl Harbour Day, in time for Christmas at home back with his family. In 1951, when Bill moved to Quebec with his wife Gwen, he was promoted to Major just before he helped start 25 Tech Squadron, Reserve Army.  For four years he worked with the Reserve Army in Quebec, leaving it and Quebec in 1955 to take a job in Toronto, Ontario.
        A few years after returning home from the war, Bill met and married my grandmother, Gwen Elizabeth (nee Owen).  After living in Quebec for the first few years of their marriage, they purchased a home in a beautiful part of Toronto known as Guildwood, where my father and his sisters grew up; and where my grandmother still lives.  In 1966, Bill purchased a 1/2 acre of land two hours north of Toronto on a beautiful lake in the County of Haliburton, and built a summer cottage there which he and his family visited for much of the summer each year.  Bill worked for a bulk materials company handling coal and iron ore known as Valley Camp from 1959 until he retired in 1984.  He spent his time reading, working on his scale models of trains, and visiting the cottage in Haliburton.  He found joy and comfort in those things, but they were not things that last forever.
        As time went on, Bill's knees began to give him pain, enough that he could not get to his basement to work with his models.  A few years later, he wasn't able to travel up to the cottage very much, and made his last visit there three years ago.  I believe it was then he began to realize that these things do not give pleasure indefinitely.  He still took joy in telling his grandchildren stories about his early life and service in WWII, and I greatly appreciated his telling of them.  My sister and I used to play music for my grandparents whenever we went over to their home, and that is something which they greatly enjoyed.
        My sister and I were also each able to speak to our grandfather about everlasting things once during this time, but he would speak only with reserve to us about them.  Then in the fall of 2013, my Dad asked my grandfather what he found comfort in, in both life and death.  My grandfather had a hard time answering that question, and there were not opportunities to speak to my grandfather again until after Christmas 2014.
        In early January 2015, we believe my grandfather suffered a minor stroke. and was not able to get out of bed.  It was at this time that we began to realize that he was dying.  My grandfather wondered what was going on - why was he not able to get out of bed?  And when would this illness be over?  My grandmother asked my dad to speak to my grandfather and tell him that he was indeed dying.  My dad did so and said to him, "Dad, you're dying.  But Jesus saves."  My grandfather then began to recite John 11:25: "I am the resurrection, and the life, he that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall he live," which he had learned a long time ago as a young man.  My dad then asked him if that gave him comfort, to which my grandfather replied, "Wonderful comfort."
        Over the next couple of days, some things which we had never heard before about my grandfather, he told us himself - such as when a young officer in the Canadian Army overseas, he knew he needed a Bible, so he went to a little shop in England and purchased one in 1943, which we still have; how he and a fellow officer, when on leave in England, went to Westminster Abbey and had tea with the Dean; and how verses such as "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" memorized a long time ago, were what gave my grandfather comfort in his last days.
        My sister and I were also able to, for the last time, play some of my grandfather's favourite music while he rested in his bed - Be Thou My Vision, and Highland Cathedral, which are very special pieces of music to me now.  We all had the great privilege of being able to pray with my grandfather quite a few times over the next few weeks, knowing now that even though my grandfather was dying, from the evidence that he gave, he had the hope and comfort of eternal life.
        Finally, in his home, with my grandmother beside him, on February 3rd of this year, William Benjamin Miller Moore passed from this life to the next - knowing where he was going, and that he had nothing to fear.  His funeral and memorial service was held on the 14th of February and my brother and I had the privilege of being two of the pall-bearers chosen to serve my grandfather one last time.  I will conclude with some Scripture that my grandfather had chosen to be read at his funeral:
        "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death...
        ...Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
                                      “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
                                      “O death, where is your victory?
                                      “O death, where is your sting?”
        The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God,who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.***"
Major (Rtr'd) William 'Bill' Benjamin Miller Moore will not be forgotten.

Written and Posted By William A. Moore

* 96 years ago today, June 2
**Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Engineering
***1 Corinthians 15:20-26; 51-58.