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Share the prayer: grassroots ecumenism means praying together Share the prayer: grassroots ecumenism means praying together
Christians in Argentina, Brazil, Australia and many other places in the southern hemisphere have been engaged in responding to the joint call by the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church to pray for Christian unity this week. Lately I have been witnessing, mainly through social media, how groups from this part of the world are gathering to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU). But I also see how production and use of these liturgical resources and prayers bring to light the importance of these most basic elements in our common search for Christian unity.
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Walking to Emmaus Walking to Emmaus
After a long walk in the streets of Bethlehem, we finally had the chance to wander around in the market for a couple of hours. Each Palestinian had to be a leader for some of the youth that were in the group, so a South African, two Germans, and a Swede formed my group. While hanging around on the roads, we passed by some tourist buses. One of the youths who were with me said: “Wow, there are a lot of tourists in Bethlehem. I’m glad I’m not a tourist but a pilgrim!”
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On World Refugee Day, closed doors or a welcome for the stranger? On World Refugee Day, closed doors or a welcome for the stranger?
One generally thinks of a pilgrimage as a journey undertaken voluntarily, in an attitude of reflection, peace and serenity, and with its objective or purpose being internal and spiritual. But on World Refugee Day (20 June), we may consider that the unprecedented numbers of refugees around the world are also embarked on their own pilgrimage of justice and peace. Though forcibly and unwillingly displaced by war, violence, oppression and deprivation, refugees are journeying away from insecurity towards safety, recognition of their plight, and ultimately the restoration of peace and the realization of justice.
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A Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in Korea: Exodus from division and nuclear threats A Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in Korea: Exodus from division and nuclear threats
The summer in Korea is a lush and attractive season for vacationers. Yet it is far more than that. It is a period haunted by heavy historical memories. June 25 marks the day of the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950; July 27, the day of the conclusion of armistice in 1953; and August 15, the day of liberation from Japanese occupation in 1945, which immediately led to the division between North and South by the Soviet Union and the United States.
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What sights and sounds tell Hiroshima’s A-bomb story today? What sights and sounds tell Hiroshima’s A-bomb story today?
Hiroshima, 6 August 2015 - What sights and sounds told this city’s story today? A graveside scream at dawn? The penetrating gong that sounded to mark the moment the atomic bomb exploded 70 years ago? Candle lanterns floating toward the sea on the evening tide? Or a young pastor’s confession, “I feel guilty”, because his family was spared 70 years ago by a last-minute twist of fate?
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Indigenous peoples and pilgrimage: redeeming a concept once tarnished Indigenous peoples and pilgrimage: redeeming a concept once tarnished
The word pilgrimage is a linguistic double-edged sword. On the one hand, it connotes a kind of movement towards a higher, even spiritual or religious, end that one has in mind. When thought of in this positive sense, I think of the pilgrimages of the desert fathers who migrated into the sun and sand longing to be alone with God and who were eager to shed off the weight of this world so that they could experience His world more intimately. However, in our post-colonial context, the word pilgrimage equally stirs up mixed emotions, most of which might be negative, particularly amongst Indigenous peoples across the globe.
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Walking to Emmaus Walking to Emmaus
At our first meeting in South Africa, a few months before going to Sweden for the first part of the international youth pilgrimage “Walking to Emmaus”, we were exited to meet each other and to know that we would all be going on a plane. It was a first for all of us so I’m sure you would imagine the excitement you could see on our faces going down the terminal and into the aeroplane.
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Celebrating together during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Celebrating together during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
We live next door to each other. Have the same landlord. Shop in the same stores. Greet one another when we meet. We read the same Bible and pray to the same God, but have never shared divine service together. Not until now, that is.
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Reviewing the “travel security warning” for the world Reviewing the “travel security warning” for the world
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to travel widely (and freely). I’ve explored and experienced many different corners of the world and moved relatively freely between countries with my magic passport. But always before travelling I am advised to check the countries “security warning” to make sure that it is safe to travel there. If it is considered a level-four country, I cannot travel to it. This got me thinking, what are the factors distinguishing the levels? War, violence, terrorist threats, political tension? And how can these levels change? Justice and Peace.
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Playful pilgrims, changing the face of the Earth Playful pilgrims, changing the face of the Earth
Today is a travel day for me, journeying from Stuttgart, where many thousands of Protestants from all over Germany along with many fellow believers from other confessions and countries had gathered for a four-day festival of faith and action, to the venue of the European Christian Internet Conference in Helsinki, Finland. Being offline for a few hours of travel time is an opportunity to think about my work and how it contributes to the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.
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