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Taizé Greetings WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit 28 December 2018

Taizé Greetings WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit 28 December 2018

27 December 2018

Taizé Greetings

Olav Fykse Tveit

28 December 2018

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.—Ephesians 2:20

It is a pleasure to greet you, fellow pilgrims on our journey of faith, in the name of the worldwide fellowship of Christians and Christian communities that is the World Council of Churches, as you gather in Madrid for Taizé’s 41st European Youth Encounter.

For many decades, the ecumenical movement has drawn sustenance, momentum, and inspiration from the Community of Taizé and the larger movement it has nurtured.

With Taizé we see that ecumenism is not only about navigating differences or overcoming longstanding divisions among Christians.  It is also about building community, a fellowship or koinonia grounded in our relationship with God in Christ, eager to do what is right in the world. It is about fully experiencing the grounding that comes with shared faith, shared living, shared prayer and song and silence.  It is about renewing and revitalizing our churches and transforming the world through loving solidarity.

In so many ways, Taizé embodies all that is best in the ecumenical movement.

May these days be for you a time of glad meeting and growing friendship, a time of gracious sharing, a time of fellowship and spiritual learning, a time of inspiration and renewal. May they be, in other words, an encounter in which you receive and offer hospitality, so that, as the Bible says, you are no longer strangers but friends, members of the larger household of God.

For the hospitality you experience here, and that Taizé exemplifies, is more than a form of politeness. Hospitality denotes not just a virtuous trait in us but a relationship into which we enter—of gracious and trusting welcome, mutuality and friendship, as we share food and shelter. It inevitably involves vulnerability, too, and sometimes even risk. We invite others into our homes, and thereby into our hearts.

Hospitality is the widest, most all-encompassing form of love. It is the special gift or charism of Taizé.

It is also a fundamental biblical mandate and a clue to God’s own being: God’s unconditional, indiscriminate love means that God is our host in this world, and in Christ we share that blessing, living in God’s household, with others.

Indeed, God is our home—no matter where we live or roam—and so we become God’s home, “a dwelling place for God,” as Ephesians says, here on earth.

Never has such hospitable love—freely given, humbly received—been needed as it is today. Whether in offering welcome to immigrants, safety to refugees, sustenance to the homeless and needy, or understanding and dialogue and empathy to those who are different from us, our loving hospitality can rescue lives, create community, and even redeem the times.

You are the vanguard of this ecumenical movement of love, not just in the future but now, and so I pray that your encounter in Madrid may strengthen your hearts and widen your loving commitment to God and God’s world.

Yours in Christ,


Olav Fykse Tveit

General Secretary

World Council of Churches