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In Fiji, “time to go beyond the reef”

In Fiji, “time to go beyond the reef”

Photo: James Bhagwan/WCC

14 August 2017

At a Welcome Service on 13 August for the 2017 Annual Conference at the Centenary Methodist Church in Suva, Fiji, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit offered a sermon that reflected on what it means, spiritually and ecologically, to exist in deep water.

With today’s challenges, we need courage to go beyond our limited perspectives and ideas, to be together in the “deep water and big waves of the world,” he said.

As the winds of change face Fiji and its community of faith, people feel they can no longer sail a takia, a type of canoe. Instead, they need a drua - a bigger boat - to take them beyond the reef, to become a missional church.

“It is time to go beyond the reef, to go from the takia to the drua,” said Tveit. “You need this for your own unity, so that you can go together, to be one as church.”

We are called to unity in our mission and service in times when there are rough and adverse winds, Tveit continued.

“The circumstances do not change our calling, rather to the contrary: The call to serve is even more significant when there are severe challenges and dangers for our world and our fellowship as human beings, and not less when the creation as a whole is suffering,” he said. “You know a lot about the threats to God’s creation in this region of the Pacific.”

People in Fiji might see themselves in the margins, so far from many others in this world, he concluded. “However, you are in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of life, in the middle of the threats to life,” he said. “If we shall sail together in harsh weather and rough seas, we need to be coordinated, committed to the same course and the same destiny.”

Finally, Tveit said, we should remember that the call to go out into the deep waters comes with a promise: “There will be a catch, a result, a blessing, a meaning. One day. But today, as well.”

Read the sermon by the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

WCC’s Tveit meets Fijian president ahead of Bonn climate change conference (WCC press release 14 August 2017)

WCC general secretary visits the Pacific region (WCC press release 31 July 2017)