As the Guardian has Covid, this reflection is written by Christopher Belk who kindly took today’s service with his wife Ruth. Thanks to them as Advent and Year A begin – may both bring their blessings as well as their challenges.
Comment for ADVENT Sunday
Part 1 (Isaiah 2, 2-5)
The first purple candle is associated with the prophets, and there cannot be many greater than Isaiah. He is one of many whose prophecies would have been taken at that time (and probably still are by the Jews) to refer to the geographical city of Jerusalem, and to the restoration of Israel to that place after their captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. However they clearly extend far further than Jewish history alone can explain. It is true that many Jews still desire to go up to mount Zion (when the Arabs let them which largely they don’t) and that it is not unknown, though pretty rare, for Israel to mediate in disputes between nations, but certainly the nuclear missiles have not yet become plowshares or pruning hooks and Israel itself has plenty of disputes of its own to deal with. Indeed, Jews would agree that these prophecies will only be fulfilled when the Messiah comes.
Jesus knew these prophecies well, and continually identified himself with their fulfilment. That was the main reason why the Jewish authorities put him to death – they could not accept the possibility that the long expected Messiah might just have arrived.
This prophecy of Isaiah is an “in and out” prophecy – the nations will come in to seek the Word of the Lord and then the Word will go out. There is that rather strange moment recorded in Chap 12 of John’s gospel when some Greeks asked Jesus disciple Philip if they could see Jesus. Jesus reaction was not just to say “how nice to see you”, but it was to recognise this as the moment when Isaiah’s prophecy was going to start happening – other nations were beginning to seek the true Word of God, that is Jesus himself. He said “Now is the Son of Man glorified”, and that his hour had come, and that it was necessary for a seed to die in order to produce much fruit.
Another similar prophecy is in Ezekiel chap 47, where after very detailed visions of the design of a new temple (which was never physically built to that design) Ezekiel was shown a river coming out from that city which got deeper and deeper as it flowed through the lands and was lined with trees for the healing of the nations. Cut to John 7.37 where Jesus says “whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him”. So the company of believers, that includes you and me, have become the new temple from which the healing streams of the Spirit should flow to solve all the problems of the nations. Indeed I can see no solution to the Israeli/Palestinian problem, or the Russia/Ukraine problem, or the Irish problem, or American politics, except Jesus.
The temptation, in Advent, is to remember the history of Jesus coming birth and the visions leading up to it, with all the trimmings from wreaths to Christmas cards, while forgetting His presence right now amid the rush of secular Christmas, poverty and world problems.
Part 2 (Matthew 24 36-44)
Of course, if we remember advent properly, we may take a momentary glance away from the Christmas cards to look forward to the second coming. The same prophets also look far ahead to “the last days”, and people have been trying ever since either to put a timetable on the subject or conveniently to forget it. I can’t remember seeing many greeting cards illustrating that event, and anyone who parades a placard announcing the end of the world is usually written off as a fool. Even
my dear mother, who was no fool, used to say she was sure Jesus would come back in her lifetime, which ended on earth in 1994 though she can now go on waiting in heaven.
So Matthew’s gospel leaves us in the tension of being sure that day will come (and it could be today which at least would save Wales from possible relegation in the world cup) but also being forbidden to put timings on it. The only option is to say correctly that the end of the world is at hand and to behave as though it may indeed be today, though remembering that “at hand” in God’s planning and timing can be millennia or moments.. Jesus’ picture of the sudden separation of friends and colleagues is unnerving to say the least, and should be a wake up call to make sure friends and colleagues know Jesus, as well as to ensure we know him well enough ourselves, which will ultimately be proved by what we do and how we live. And we shouldn’t wait for Christmas as the dating of that is a human invention anyway.
One thing we can do perhaps, particularly at this time of year, is to make sure we mean what we sing. I am as guilty as anyone in churning out the much loved Christmas carols largely because they have nice tunes. It has done me good to have to learn carols and other hymns in Welsh, giving me new opportunities to think what the words are saying. Many hymns are directly addressed to God, and we should remember whom we are addressing, how unworthy we are to address Him at all, and how amazing is His grace in inviting us to do so in reliance on the sacrifice of His Son.
Reflection for Stir up Sunday.
“Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.” The Collect or prayer for Stir up Sunday, which gives the day its name.
The only dish the Chancellor was serving up was vast ladles of pain and misery, seasoned with generous sprinklings of doom and gloom.” Sketch writer Henry Deedes, of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
Today is Stir Up Sunday, the start of the week before Advent, which later led to puddings being made in time to mature for Christmas with each family member stirring the mixture and making a wish. Various customs began to develop, such as the pud having thirteen ingredients to represent Jesus with his disciples and then being stirred from east to west in honour of the Wise Men who travelled in that direction to find the Christchild. It became part of the preparations for the Christmas celebration at a bleak and dark time of year.
Originally the pudding was frumenty, a savoury type of pottage with grain, meat, dried fruit and spices. Later, it became more of a plum pudding and was banned as being too rich by the Puritans in England when they tried to do away with Christmas itself although this was reinstated by Charles II on his restoration in 1660. George I was said to have eaten a pudding at his first Christmas meal in England, becoming known as the ‘Pudding King’, and then Prince Albert made it fashionable in the Victorian additions which are so much part of Christmas today, with charms or coins being added to the mixture as tokens of good luck to come. It was also served with a sprig of holly on top, originating from pagan times as a sign of fertility but later representing Jesus’ crown of thorns with flaming brandy marking the Passion.
Nowadays, much of this has been forgotten and Christmas puddings are often bought rather than made at home, after which they would have been wrapped in a cloth and boiled for hours before being left to mature. This year, Stir Up Sunday may have a different significance with so much being stirred up by what’s happened since the new Prime Minister took office. Internationally and nationally, there was already disruption due to the war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, the increase in Covid cases and the loss of the late Queen. On top of all this, the severe fiscal policies announced since have been controversial and have stirred up further uncertainty and turmoil. What now lies ahead?
In the midst of it all, the collect for Stir Up Sunday this month reminds us that it originally asked for wills to be stirred up rather than puddings. If this present confusion leads to the will to make a difference for good when faced with such turmoil or shakes up what may have been taken for granted, then feeling mixed up about the situation may be part of this beginning to happen. So take heart from what evolved historically and remember as preparations are made at a bleak time of year for whatever lies ahead that at least Christmas hasn’t been banned. Yet!!
With my prayers; pob bendith,
Just before the battle of Mametz Wood in 1916, where nearly 4,000 men of the Royal Welch Fusiliers were killed or wounded, the memoirs of Llewellyn Wyn Griffith record an outdoor concert taking place. He writes that a piano was pushed into an orchard and 150 men lying about on the trodden grass “sang a chorus or two and then Corporal Jackson walked to the centre of the stage. It was a third-rate song, sung by a fourth-rate singer, followed by a second-rate clog dance, but in the remoteness of that green orchard in Flanders…..it claimed approval”. Another Corporal and the Sergeant Major sang, Private Walton played the mouth organ and Signaller Downs sang “Nevah mind”.
Never mind!!! In the midst of terrible uncertainty and imminent battle which they might not survive, those men were making the best of their awful situation and, together, helping each other through it. There are many parodies of it, not least about the sergeant nicking rum rations, but the original verse of the song is:
“Though your heart may ache a while, never mind
Though your face may lose its smile, nevah mind
For there’s sunshine after rain, and then gladness follows pain
You’ll be happy once again, never mind.”
Those words from 1916 come ringing down the years and seem, to me, to be still appropriate for the uncertain times in which we’re living today. We have much to learn from the lessons of the past and, at the height of the isolation and terrible anxiety caused by the Covid pandemic, the late Queen Elizabeth used similar sentiments. In a televised address, her words resonated with Vera Lynn’s songs in WW2, assuring those wanting to listen to her that We will meet again – one day, even though no-one at the time knew where or when.
All these years later, and as the fortieth anniversary of the Falklands War is commemorated, battle is still being waged as the war continues between Russia and Ukraine and as the conflict generated in our world today seeks its resolution. Still the struggle for peace with justice goes on, whether in living with painful memories, sending armaments and aid or offering homes and refuge to those fleeing. For we’re all affected by the ongoing consequences of war as the cost of living rises, supply chains are disrupted and possible power cuts may result this winter.
In the face of this and the continuing consequences of bombshells from Brexit, Covid and the economic mess we’re in, we’ll also have opportunities to play our part and to help one another through, like those soldiers so many years ago. Today we honour all those men and women who, through following the orders they were given, have enabled the freedom we now share and shaped our democracy whether or not we agree with the outcome of decisions made nationally. And a battle still lies ahead for each one of us as we engage once more in the ongoing struggle for justice, peace and freedom. For, as we heard in the Bible reading (John 15:22,13) we too are under orders, commanded by Jesus to love our neighbour, not snipe at those around us when we disagree. Other faiths proclaim similar actions although at times war is unavoidable and, if that’s a daunting prospect in the light of strong emotions, take heart from Signaller Downs who, over a century ago, faced terrifying circumstances and yet sang “Nevah mind!”
There are, of course, many things that we should mind about. But there are also some things that we can do nothing about other than grin and bear it. So, today, what do we mind about and to what can – or should – we say nevah mind? Never mind that the world’s a mess or unfair – it always has been, as well as being wonderful. Never mind that other people aren’t what we want them to be – they may well think the same of us! And never mind that we have to live with so much uncertainty – many previous generations have had to do the same. If we want it to be otherwise, then the sacrifice of those men and women, in the services as well as civilians, may inspire us while we still have the gift of time.
That applies here, too, as we remember the sacrifice of three brothers born in Llangynog and their family. William Lewis was killed at the battle of Beersheba and buried there so far from home, Thomas died of flu on the day the Armistice was signed in 1918 and Richard seemed to have survived the war as he came home. Sadly, he died in 1919 after a landfall at the quarry here caused him head injuries and paralysis accelerated by tuberculosis after being gassed during the war. How poignant is that and what effect did such loss have on their families and loved ones, on all sides. As a German family wrote in the chapel at the Thiepval memorial in Flanders, “The living close the eyes of the dead and the dead open the eyes of the living”. After the trials of recent events with so much death and suffering from the battle waged against Covid, perhaps our eyes have been opened to the realisation that there’s still a job to be done and it needs to be done well as we play our part in shaping what will be handed on to the generations to come. But where to begin?
The voice of war poet Robert Vernade, killed in 1917, gives some advice on hearing birdsong after a battle:
The sun’s a red ball in the oak And all the grass is grey with dew,
A while ago a blackbird spoke – He didn’t know the world’s askew…….
Strange that this bird sits there and sings While we must only sit and plan……
But maybe God will cause to be – Who brought forth sweetness from the strong –
Out of our discords harmony Sweeter than that blackbird’s song.
So, keep listening for the birdsong above the strife – may its wordless beauty and the hope it represents be balm for aching souls and all who yearn for a better world.
And, if you think that’s a tall order: nevah mind!
With my prayers; pob bendith,
An opportunity to remember all those who have served and have been affected by conflict
There will be a short act of Remembrance at 10.55 am on Armistice Day Friday 11th November 2022. There will not be a service on Sunday 13th at this church as there will be a Remembrance service at Llangynog Memorial Hall at 10.45 am on that day.
Reflection for the Second Sunday of the Kingdom
‘Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, “……..In the resurrection, whose wife will the woman be?”
Jesus said to them, “They cannot die anymore….being children of the resurrection… He is God not of the dead, but of the living.” Then some of the scribes replied, “Teacher, you have spoken well.”Jesus, in today’s Gospel Luke 20:27-38.
”What I love…..is not knowing until half an hour before we record it what the questions will be. I love the risk and the jeopardy.” Fiona Bruce, Chair of BBC’s Question Time.
What an astonishing week Jesus has had. His lengthy journey has nearly reached its end and he has wept over Jerusalem before entering it and being welcomed by crowds of people. He has then overturned the tables of those profiteering from worshippers in the Temple and stayed in the Temple teaching whilst his enemies seek an opportunity to have him killed. His authority is under question (20:1-8) and so Jesus has told the provocative parable of the wicked tenants (20:9-19), has avoided a trap about taxes (20:20-26) and has now been approached with a tricky question from the Sadducees. He faces great controversy and conflict – many are plotting against him to try and bring him down, a situation that former PM Liz Truss and some current politicians might also recognise!
The Sadducees were some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in Jerusalem but also amongst the most conservative in their thinking which meant that they and the more liberal Pharisees often disagreed. Jesus now faces their hypothetical question of remarriage after divorce, as was the custom to provide care for the widowed and orphaned. The Sadducees dream up a situation where seven brothers married the same woman when each of them died and they ask whose wife she would be at the resurrection. As the Sadducees don’t believe in resurrection, Jesus is able to avoid their trickery and tells them that what applies in this world will not be the case in the next. He reinterprets what Moses wrote about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in particular, and, as they disagree with him and are reluctant to change their thinking, the Sadducees melt away. His response even earns him the praise of the scribes, who tell Jesus he has answered well – whilst plans continue to try to trap him.
Tricky questions are often used to confuse as well as to clarify but Jesus continues to speak honestly and openly of new life and heaven even in the face of the plotting and duplicity he is experiencing. Eventually, even the crowd will turn against him and death will try but fail to claim him. Resurrection will prevail because Jesus is willing to risk everything for the sake of all humanity and so jeopardy is overcome. As the dilemmas and challenges of our situations are faced in these changing times, perhaps there is a need to reinterpret and extend some of our beliefs to enable us to look beyond the immediate. In so doing, we may find the new life and hope of resurrection of which Jesus then spoke as we seek answers to our questions today.
With my prayers; pob bendith,
Reflection for All Saints’ Day
”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” Jesus, in today’s Gospel Matthew 5:1-12.
“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” Nelson Mandela.
All Saints’ Day can be celebrated this Sunday, although it actually falls on the 1st November, closely followed by All Souls’ Day on the 2nd. In Judaism, a day begins at sundown so the festival starts on Hallowe’en, All Hallows’ Eve, when the powers of darkness are said to be at their height. The ancient word Hallowed, or holy, is still used in the traditional version of the Lord’s Prayer and there are three days of remembering the saints and those who have died, which can be extended to Remembrance Sunday in the month of Remembrance that November has become.
All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day marks the powerful link between the Church triumphant – those in heaven – and the Church militant, those in this world. As Wesley’s hymn puts it, “Let saints on earth in concert sing/ with those whose work is done/ for all the servants of our King/ in heaven and earth are one.”
As the reign of King Charles III unfurls, so these may seem old fashioned sentiments but the power of prayer is part of the validation of that link. The example and legacy of those gone before us has been the motivation for many people of faith and the prayers or prayerful writings of the saints are still frequently used. One of those that is particularly challenging is from St Teresa of Calcutta, who knew dark times in her faith. As we face poverty in living as well as in spirit and darkness in our own generation, a darkness which some fear may be overwhelming, then perhaps her words will hearten and enlighten us this All Saints’ Day:
Do it anyway – St Teresa of Calcutta, formerly Mother Teresa.
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.With my prayers; pob bendith,
Reflection for Bible Sunday and the political events this week.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor….. Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus in today’s Gospel, Luke 4:16-24.
“I am a fighter not a quitter.” PM Liz Truss, Wednesday 19th October.
“I cannot deliver the mandate…. I am resigning.” PM Liz Truss, Thursday 20th October.
It being Bible Sunday today, the Gospel portrays Jesus delivering what is, in effect, his manifesto as he is asked to speak in the synagogue and publicly reads from the prophet Isaiah. This passage is well known and speaks of freedom for the captive, recovery of sight for the blind and the proclamation of the year of the Lord’s favour. It‘s a message of hope but is being read at a time when Palestine is under Roman occupation and there is unrest, suffering, anxiety and inequality. When Jesus declares that it has been fulfilled as he reads it, such a controversial statement angers those present so greatly that they eventually drive him out of town to hurl him off a cliff, although Jesus leaves unharmed.
This week in British politics has also seen a leader causing great controversy and anger, with Prime Minister Liz Truss resigning after six weeks through being unable to deliver the mandate on which she was elected. During the leadership contest, some thought her manifesto had seemed to be bold and radical but, as she later admitted, her economic policies had gone “too far and too fast”. At a time of already great turmoil and hardship, the catastrophic consequences and turbulence were extraordinary, leading to what was described as the political disembowelment of the Prime Minister. She has been driven out of office and is now the shortest serving PM in UK history but the vast economic problems remain, amongst them the Government’s rating being downgraded by Moody’s from stable to negative. The truth of this is hard to bear and the instability of the situation as well as the challenge for whoever replaces Liz Truss is vast for the country as well as the Tories. As the commentator Beth Rigby declared, “We live day by day….. Actually, we live hour by hour. The party has had a collective breakdown.”
Clearly, there was also a breakdown in understanding between Jesus and his hearers in the synagogue when they experienced a truth too hard for them to handle. But as Jesus declared the fulfilment of the scripture he read that day, so the same is true in our lives – now is the moment, now is the time for God’s purposes. If that seems too challenging in the face of such consternation and negativity, then perhaps the collect for Bible Sunday will enable greater confidence as we ponder today what the present moment may be showing us and try to discern how hope can be fulfilled in the face of such adversity and transience: Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; help us so to hear, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that, through patience and the comfort of your holy word, we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
With my prayers; pob bendith,
Reflection for Harvest
Today is Harvest Festival at St Melangell’s when the Singing Farmer, John Hughes, shared songs and thoughts about harvest during the service. As his thoughts were related to those songs, which can’t be posted, today’s reflection is from the Farming Community Network and is followed by a children’s prayer based on the letters of the word Harvest.
Stuck behind a tractor!
Hoorah!! It is harvest time again!! There you are, hurtling through the lanes in your car on some mission of huge national importance, muttering venomously at cyclists in helmets shaped like wasps’ bottoms, inconsiderate enough to want a bit of your road (and hoping they can’t lip-read), rounding a bend and coming up behind the ponderous majesty of a tractor and trailer. On closer inspection over the next ten minutes you conclude that it is actually a convoy of three tractors and two trailers and the glory of the aforementioned ponderous majesty begins to wear a bit thin! Hoorah. It is harvest time again. And I would wager a considerable sum that most of you do not at this point start singing songs of everlasting thanks and praise to our great God for his generous provision, or blessing the farmers for the work they do to put food on our plates!
So here is your challenge for harvest and beyond. I’ve learned to do it and if I can manage it anyone can. If you get stuck on your travels behind a tractor or a combine or a plough or any other mysteriously shaped implement of the sod, (by which I mean, of course, the soil!) take it as an opportunity for reflection, for thanksgiving and for praise.
Why should you bother? Firstly because praising God for what he gives us should become a matter of habit in all of us and secondly because as a nation we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the farmers who are taken totally for granted by most of us who have become emotionally and practically detached from the source of our food.
We cannot and must not take national food security as a given. Climate change and population growth mean that it is more difficult to produce enough grain for the world’s needs. Global markets will sell to the highest bidder regardless of need. Political mismanagement and the power of global enterprise in the inherently local business of food production are putting countless family farms out of business.
So when you get stuck behind that tractor take a deep breath, smile and wave at the farmer and ask for God’s blessing on his family and work. Reflect on our corporate relationship to food and the land as the God given source of all our well-being and praise God from whom all blessings flow.
And if I rush in late to take your service on a Sunday morning you will understand why!
Happy harvest one and all.
Reverend Sarah Brown.
A Harvest Prayer, based on the letters of the word itself.
HARVEST time is here again.
We HAVE brought THE flowers, fruit and vegetables that we HAVE grown in THE summer HEAT.
We STARE AT THE HARVEST of EARTH and SEA. We RAVE over THE lovely flowers arranged in A VASE. Thank you, Lord God, for HARVEST.
We throw good food away as TRASH for RATS to EAT AT an alarming RATE.
We HAVE so much; while millions STARVE.
SAVE us from greed and selfishness.
Help us, Lord, to SHARE THE good things you HAVE given,
that everyone may HAVE enough to EAT, STAVE off THE pangs of hunger and AVERT starvation.
Take away all HATE from our HEARTS
and fill THE EARTH with your love from EAST to west and back again.
HEAR our prayer, Lord of the HARVEST.
Reflection for the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, Safeguarding Sunday
As today is being observed as Safeguarding Sunday in Wales, the service and sermon was specific to St Melangell’s and so today’s reflection is that issued from the recent gathering of the World Council of Churches. This was attended by Bishop Gregory who has sent it for general circulation.
The Message of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches
A Call to Act Together
“The Love of Christ urges us on.”
(2 Cor. 5:14, NRSV)
“Come, follow me!”
1. From the time he journeyed on earth, and even in this present moment, Jesus unceasingly addresses these words to every human being. Jesus’ life, words, and actions are a constant invitation to movement – from one physical place to another, from one group of people to another, from one mindset to another. Above all, amid the problems of the world, Jesus calls us to come to him and to abide in his love, a love which is offered for all the world (cf. Matt. 11:28).
2. The very last book of the Bible, Revelation, speaks of ancient forces of human suffering at work in the world: war, death, disease, and famine. As the assembly of the World Council of Churches gathered in Karlsruhe in 2022, we were conscious of their manifestations in the world today. In their wake come injustice and discrimination, where those who have power often use it to oppress others rather than to build inclusion, justice, and peace.
3. Individuals, peoples, and countries also face catastrophes arising directly from an irresponsible and broken relationship with creation that has led to ecological injustice and climate crisis. As the climate emergency accelerates, so does the suffering experienced by impoverished and marginalized people.
4. Yet continuing our pilgrimage together as an assembly of the World Council of Churches, our mood has been one of anticipation and hope, and even joy, because through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ´s invitation remains open to everyone, in fact to the whole of creation.
5. “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.” This love, in answer to the cries of those who are suffering, compels us to come to him in solidarity and to respond and act for justice. We are summoned to be reconciled in God’s love, and to witness to that love revealed in Christ (1 John 4:9-11).
6. Reconciliation is a movement toward God and toward each other. It implies a readiness to listen to God and to one another. It is a conversion of the heart, from selfishness and apathy to inclusion and service, acknowledging our interdependence with creation. We confess that, even as we desire with our whole hearts to serve God and our neighbour, we have found ourselves failing, disagreeing, and sometimes walking in opposite directions. We confess that we need the transformative power of Christ’s love to move to a world truly reconciled and united.
7. Christians, and the structures that we have built, have been complicit in the abuse of others, and we must repent and join in this movement of reconciliation. In the face of war, inequality, and sins against creation today, Christ’s love calls us all to repentance, reconciliation, and justice.
Our journey together
8. Amid all our diversity, we have relearned in our assembly that there is a pilgrimage of justice, reconciliation, and unity to be undertaken together.
· Meeting together in Germany, we learn the cost of war and the possibility of reconciliation;
· Hearing the word of God together, we recognize our common calling;
· Listening and talking together, we become closer neighbours;
· Lamenting together, we open ourselves to each other’s pain and suffering;
· Working together, we consent to common action;
· Celebrating together, we delight in each other’s joys and hopes;
· Praying together, we discover the richness of our traditions and the pain of our divisions.
“Go into the whole world”
9. From the time of his ascension into heaven, and even in this present moment, Christ unceasingly gives this command to all who follow him.
10. As reconciliation brings us closer to God and each other, it opens the way toward a unity founded in God’s love. As Christians we are called to dwell in Christ’s love and to be one (John 17). Such unity, which is a gift from God, and which arises from reconciliation and is grounded in his love, enables us to address the world’s urgent problems. We will find a strength to act from a unity founded in Christ’s love, for it enables us to learn the things that make for peace, to transform division into reconciliation, and to work for the healing of our living planet. Christ’s love will sustain all of us in the task of embracing everyone and overcoming exclusion.
11. We have tasted the experience of such love as we gathered from 352 member churches with our ecumenical partners, friends from other faith communities, and from all regions of the world to seek unity amid our diversity. Together we have listened to voices often marginalized in the world: women, youth, people with disabilities, Indigenous peoples.
12. We long for a wider movement, the reconciliation and unity of all humanity, and indeed of the entire cosmos. This would be a unity in which God establishes justice, an equal place for all, through which creation may be renewed and strengthened. We rely on Christ’s love as we act and advocate for climate justice. We join our voices with the Amsterdam assembly (1948) that “war is contrary to the will of God,” and the Nairobi assembly (1975) that “racism is a sin against God.” We lament that we have to repeat these statements.
13. In our assembly, we have used many words, but from these we have fashioned a new resolve. Now we ask God’s assistance to transform our commitments into action. We commit ourselves to working with all people of good will. As we reflect on the fruits of our work in Karlsruhe, we invite all to become pilgrims together. For in Christ, all things will be made new. His love which is open to all, including the last, the least, and the lost, and is offered to all, can move and empower us in a pilgrimage of justice, reconciliation, and unity.