Available also in Korean
Offering a keynote speech during the 68th General Assembly of the National Council of Churches in Korea in Seoul, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit reflected on the assembly theme, “Walk the Path of the New Commandment,” based on John’s account of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples.
“Ecumenism is really the dynamic, counter-inertial, renewing force of Christian love,” Tveit said. “It is, in fact, a movement of love.”
This means being mutually accountable to one another, he said. “I believe that wherever Christ’s pilgrim people and communities of faith are willing to test the boundaries, divisions, conflicts and hatreds of our world in the name of the authentic gospel, ecumenism lives and thrives,” he reflected. “When we love one another justice and peace become part of our reality.”
Tveit commended the National Council of Churches in Korea for being a prophetic voice and leader for peace, justice and human rights. “But today, as we meet, we must acknowledge that our most exuberant hopes of swift progress towards peace have not been realized, that some serious obstacles have been encountered, and that there is a growing fear that this window of opportunity for securing peace is at risk of closing again,” Tveit said. “I believe that our prayers and actions here on the Korean Peninsula and around the world will be essential to ensuring that this opportunity for sustainable and peaceful coexistence on the Korean peninsula is not lost, but that our long-held hopes for an end to division and conflict among the Korean people will finally be realized.”
The church cannot and must not be a place of distrust, hostility and enmity, urged Tveit. “It must instead be a place and a force for peace and reconciliation,” he said. “There are questions we must ask ourselves, because future generations will ask them of us: Are we moved by Christ’s love for the common good of all people and this world?”
Tveit also queried: Are we ambassadors of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation? “Are we fully committed to unity in Christ, so that the churches really become a prophetic sign and foretaste of the unity of humankind and all creation?” he asked.