“Let us keep looking together, to see where we can do something together for the people here in Geneva who are excluded, marginalized and stigmatized,” said Pastor Christian Ferber, from the German-speaking Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva in his sermon.
He was preaching on the Biblical parable of Jesus about the “Good Samaritan.”
The parable recounts how a person from an estranged religious community, the Samaritans, binds the wounds of a man left for dead after being attacked, but whose plight was ignored by upstanding religious figures from his own religious community.
The theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2024 is “You shall love the Lord your God ... and your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10:27), a verse that precedes the parable of the “Good Samaritan.”
In his sermon, Ferber recounted how churches in 2024 are facing conflicts and challenges all over the world, such as the climate issue, the wars in Ukraine and Israel, and a public opinion that is becoming increasingly secularized.
“Following in the footsteps of Jesus and in the story of the Good Samaritan, let us accept and take up the common challenge in this New Year 2024,” he said. “Let us find a common prophetic voice where we have to denounce blatant injustice - relentlessly and courageously. “
The ecumenical celebration on 17 January was organized by the committee of the Fellowship of Christian Churches in Geneva, known by its French name, the Rassemblement des Eglises et Communautés Chrétiennes de Genève (RECG), and which currently includes 28 churches and communities.
Music was provided by organist Katharina Mainberger-Dellweg and the choir of the Geneva Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The liturgy was based on the texts for the 2024 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, prepared by Christians from Burkina Faso and published by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches.
Welcoming people at the beginning of the celebration, the RECG president, Andrea von Maltitz, invited representatives of different churches to share in drinking water together.
The act recalled how in Burkina Faso a host shares water from a traditional water vessel, a calabash, with guests who arrive tried from their journey.