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Lent is “time for water justice”

Lent is “time for water justice”

Prayer service at the Ecumenical Centre ©Ivars Kupcis/WCC

20 March 2017

Lent is a time to think about justice, particularly water justice, said World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit during a sermon on 20 March at the Ecumenical Centre chapel in Geneva, Switzerland.

He preached at a service reflecting on the Lenten campaign of the WCC’s Ecumenical Water Network, “Seven Weeks for Water,” which is focusing on “Thirst for Justice: A pilgrimage of justice and peace in Africa.”

A basic lesson for us as human beings is about water, reflected Tveit. “When you play with it or try to swim in it as a child, you have to learn about the power in the waves and the depth of the sea, or the power in the stream of the river. You cannot cheat water. It is always showing the power of gravity, it is going downwards. Whether it rolls or flows or only drops, it will find its way.”

Lent is a time for justice to roll down like water, he added. “It is time for us who are here and all human beings to stop resisting justice. We cannot in the long run stop justice, as we cannot stop the water.”

Now is not  the time to give up on justice, Tveit continued, in fact just the opposite since we are called to transformation, to transformative discipleship as pilgrims of justice and peace who can be those who bring justice, those who let it roll down, like waters. “This can happen because it is not our efforts for justice; it is God’s plan for justice.”

Lent is not given to us to be self-critical with the purpose of being depressed or losing our energy, he added. “The period of Lent is given us to focus on what can be changed by listening carefully to the word of God. The word of God brings the clarity about injustices, but also how we are given a new opportunity to change injustices to justice. God has given that we in the death of Jesus Christ have been liberated from our trespasses as he was raised for our justification.”

We simply cannot live without water, Tveit concluded. “We cannot live without drinking clean, accessible, affordable water. We cannot be healthy without access to water to wash ourselves, our clothes, our homes. We cannot be strong to work and to love without the refreshing drops of water. Every day, many times a day, we need access to water.”


Read the sermon by the WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

Photo collection from the Prayer service at Ecumenical Centre

Learn more about Ecumenical Water Network

Lenten campaign "Seven Weeks for Water"