In a closing sermon at the ACT Alliance Assembly in Uppsala, Sweden, Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, vice moderator of the World Council of Churches Central Committee, spoke on the theme of the ACT Assembly, “Hope In Action - Putting People First.”
We need to serve those in need, and we also need to change the systems and policies that keep them oppressed, Swenson said.
“We have to walk on both feet - justice, mercy, justice, mercy - keep on walking,” she said. “We are called to serve, all of us, not out of some title, but with the identify and self-awareness that we are the children of God.”
When we know who we are, and recognize our brothers and sisters for who they are, we can meet them where they are and offer to help meet their needs, Swenson continued. “In the beginning, we are sent as children of God, nothing more, nothing less,” she said. “And it is only when we are in right relationship with one another, and with those we serve, that we are in right relationship with God.”
We are sent into the world seeing the world in a different way, Swenson concluded. “We go into the world knowing that mercy and justice go together,” she said. “One cannot happen without the other.”