Bedford-Strohm offered reflections, “The World of God: Compass for our Time,” as part of the conference, and also gave a sermon in Brandenburg.
In his reflections, Bedford-Strohm spoke of the need for public theology. “Public theology is the attempt to provide orientation to the public in fundamental social and political questions of moral relevance and to work out resources of communication that show the relevance of religious orientations also in pluralistic societies,” he explained. “For me it is clear that as churches we cannot exclude the political horizon from our moral considerations and affirmations.”
He added that churches must engage in activities to overcome violence and injustice. “It is part of the calling that Jesus gave us, when he called his disciples to be salt of the earth and light of the world,” he said.
In his sermon, Bedford-Strohm spoke of a wounded world. “We are experiencing wars all over the world,” he said. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to so many tears, so much despair of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, of children who have all lost their loved ones.”
Those who desperately try to defend themselves have no other means than to fight back with weapons, he lamented. “In the end the powers of evil triumphantly celebrate their victory in destroying the rule of civility, of kindness, of mutual understanding, of love,” he said. “We see the powers of destruction at work in the poisoning of the air, in the massive loss of biodiversity, in the acceleration of global warming.”
And so the future belongs to lives renewed in the spirit of Jesus, Bedford-Strohm said. “Jesus has been lifted up from the earth,” he said. “And Jesus will draw all people to himself.”
The International Meeting for Peace: Religions and Cultures in Dialogue is being held 10-12 September, organised by the Community of Sant’Egidio.