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"Thirst for the wellbeing of others - a gift from God"

"Thirst for the wellbeing of others - a gift from God"

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. © Marianne Ejdersten/WCC

27 September 2017

Preaching at the Old Church of Helsinki on 27 September, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit congratulated Finn Church Aid on the occasion of its 70th anniversary, reflecting on the important calling the organization fulfils in slaking thirst among people in need, not only in a local context, but worldwide.

”We celebrate your life for others and with others,” Tveit said. ”We celebrate your contribution in the ecumenical movement. We celebrate your place in the fellowship of the disciples seeking to follow Jesus Christ together on a pilgrimage for justice and peace.”

Tveit stressed that the calling of the church is to act for justice and peace for all people, no matter where in the world they may be. “It is not only the thirst and hunger for our bodies and for the need we have ourselves that is a gift from God,” said Tveit. ”It is also the thirst and hunger for the wellbeing of others that directs our attention to what we need ourselves: righteousness and peace. Jesus says that the utmost expression of meaning in life, to be blessed, is a fruit of our thirst and hunger to slake the thirst of others.”

“The Church can never exist for its own purpose alone, it is always a call to follow Jesus Christ sharing his thirst and hunger for justice and peace,” Tveit added.

Reflecting on the concept of courage, which formed the theme of the celebration, Tveit then remarked, “the connection between our lives and the lives of others is not just a matter of co-existence, having the same address or passport. If we live only for ourselves and not for others we might miss the meaning of life, we might lose the blessing that can give fullness to our lives.”

”We live in a world that is getting divided, polarized, focusing on the differences and the dividing forces between us as human beings and between us and nature. We need the courage to live with a vision for unity, for the qualities of humbleness and longing, sharing the words of faith together,” Tveit concluded.

Other participants in the service included:
Bishop Irja Askola
Heikki Nenonen
Hanna Autio
Senni Valtonen
Taja Kantola
Antti Laine
Nina Silander
Kaj-Mikael Wredlund
Katariina Malkamäki
Aarno Lahtinen

Full sermon by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

Finn Church Aid

WCC member churches in Finland