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Pentecost message 2014

Message of the presidents of the World Council of Churches at Pentecost 2014

02 June 2014

Pentecost depicted in an Armenian Gospel book, 1455 A.D.
Photo: Walters Art Museum’s Works of Art

To our many friends and relatives in Christ,

We send our Pentecostal greetings of love and peace in the Name of Jesus. On this holiday in the Christian calendar, the feast of Pentecost, there is much to be celebrated and seen, through our Ancient Faith, in the living Word in our midst, in the urgency of a World that has great threat and promise woven into every particle. We are being asked, anew, to join in the Liturgy of Creation.

In the Gospel proclaimed to the whole Creation, we begin to see the Pentecostal hope and promise with clarity: God will renew the face of the earth. It is hard to imagine any moment in history that could give this hope the breadth and relevance that we experience today. We are speaking of more than just environmental enhancement or rehabilitation. No age has ever revealed so clearly the intimate connection between the groaning of Creation and the brokenness of human life and community. The life of humanity, its peril and possibility, is demonstrably one with the life of Creation.

God’s purpose, so dramatically displayed in the miraculous tongues of Pentecost as described in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, is to unite all things, in heaven and on earth, in Christ. "He who scattered those who conspired on the tower through division of tongues, today reunites the divided tongues of the nations in the holy upper room" (Armenian Hymnbook, St. Nerses the Gracious, 12th c.). The vitality of this promise is a sharp contrast to the alienation of human life and the life of Creation in our age. God’s Creation, the necessary and God given context for our holiness, development, and identity, is now standing witness to the brokenness and sin that distorts and destroys human life and fouls the very matrix of that life.

There is revealed, in Christ, a Pentecostal reality of Creation. Maximus the Confessor, as His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew has reminded us, describes our world as “a burning bush of the energies of God.” This insight, in this moment of Pentecost, gives new depths of meaning to the prayer of our gathering at our Busan assembly last October and November - God of Life: Lead us to justice and peace. We cry for the promise and power of Pentecost to come upon us, to be revealed in us, to make us one! Come, Holy Spirit, come!

Amen.

The Presidents of the World Council of Churches

  • Rev. Dr Mary-Anne Plaatjies van Huffel, Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa
  • Rev. Prof. Dr Sang Chang, Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea
  • Archbishop Anders Wejryd, Church of Sweden
  • Rev. Gloria Nohemy Ulloa Alvarado, Presbyterian Church in Colombia
  • Bishop Mark MacDonald, Anglican Church of Canada
  • Rev. Dr Mele’ana Puloka, Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga
  • H.B. John X, Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East
  • H.H. Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians