WCC Pilgrimage Blog

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Mustard seeds

Yesterday evening, I extracted some mustard seeds for you from a jar of “Moutarde à l’Ancienne” to show you how tiny they are. I also found a picture of a mustard plant to illustrate how big and sturdy the leaves become, once it’s grown.

Racism, sexism and the pyramid of discrimination

On 24th December 2018 I was on a long queue to the pay point in a supermarket in Malawi. It was a hot day. The lights went off. Everything was now processed manually. Being a day before Christmas holiday, the shop was full of people. I had been on the queue for 20 minutes. In front of me was a black Malawian man. The teller was also a black Malawian man. After the person in front of me was served, I put my items on the counter for payment. In a flash a young Indian girl cut the line in front of me and the teller served her.

To communicate beyond words. It is spelled love.

Looking back on a week of grief. A week full of sorrow, tears, loss and anger. A week of grief that began with the air disaster in Ethiopia, when the life of our colleague Rev. Norman Tendis was taken too early. A question that surfaces: Why? Why this air crash, involving leading climate experts on their way to the UN climate meeting in Nairobi? So many dead and missing. So much grief.

Care enough to stop

About three weeks ago on my way to work two teen boys were walking ahead of me to school. But they stopped and made a detour. One pulled out a pack of cigarettes. They both lit up and began smoking. I kept walking and passed them by. As I sat at my desk, I felt convicted that I had behaved like the Priest and Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25 ff).

Love cannot come with harm and destruction

The reading from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 has long been one of my favourites. It calls to mind what perfected love would look like. Nonetheless, the phrase "endures all things" verse 7, has given me much pause for thought on many occasions over these long years.

Love is the action of unity

As a young person who finds myself passionately involved in human rights movements, I often wonder how people’s unity at a large scale is sustained and even strengthened. Most of us understand what binds our smaller and closer relationships, but our acts of unity among the larger society despite all our differences certainly goes beyond believing in the same cause and being well organised.

Love heals: it never hurts

Let us talk about Abuse and Love. Growing up as a child, I saw my mother being physically, emotionally, mentally abused by my father. She was beaten, violated, abused – but not once did she ever mention this to anyone. One day, I asked my mother why she had to take all the pain, the violence and abuse she was going through in the hands of my father all to herself. Guess what… She said, my daughter listen, “your father hits me, he beats me, he hurts me because he loves me.”

A harmful text on love?

“Yes, he abuses me, but you know, the Bible says I must bear all things” - “There are many signs that he is cheating and exposing me to HIV, but he says that he is faithful and I should believe all thing in love.” - And even: “My father/pastor/teacher rapes me, but my family says that I should just endure it and not bring disgrace on our family/church/school.” - This can never be the message that Paul wanted to send to the Corinthians or to those of us who read this today!

Prayer for unity in many voices

Indeed, the end is another beginning. The end of Bossey students’ itinerary, not only in Rome but also in their community life at the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, somehow coincided with the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which we celebrated at the Basilica of St Paul’s Outside-the-Walls. For the twenty-eight Bossey students coming from various nations, racial-ethnic groups, Christian denominations, geo-cultural locations, the study visit to Vatican and Rome was also marking the very last stage of their brief yet intense community life at Bossey.

Ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January

‘We call upon all the churches we represent to denounce antisemitism, no matter what its origin, as absolutely irreconcilable with the profession and practice of the Christian faith. Antisemitism is sin against God and man.’ This unambiguous WCC declaration in 1948 has been regularly re-stated over the last 70 years. In the same spirit, the annual commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an opportunity to be welcomed. It focuses a widespread commitment not to forget the Holocaust of the Jewish people (while not excluding remembrance of other genocides) and to help prevent such atrocities in the future.