In the face of divisions in the church and the world, "no one has the right to exclude the other," says the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).
His comments, prefiguring the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU), which ended on Friday 25 January 2013 came during a recent sermon at the Ecumenical Centre chapel in Geneva, Switzerland, where the WCC is headquartered.
The Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit was invoking theological reflections on Colossians 1.15-20, a passage from the New Testament which speaks of the unity and purpose of God in Christ.
Dr Tveit asked in his sermon, which was titled “No one created to be excluded” for a deeper understanding of the words used in reference to Colossians. “All” he said is one of the “key words in the hymn conveyed in this letter (Colossians) to what was probably a tiny, vulnerable and marginal Christian church.”
The world churches' chief went on to say that the church was “challenged by their surroundings, the great social and political powers of great aspiration: the power of the market, the power of competing ideologies and faiths”.
He mentioned the realities of churches today faced with similar challenges working for justice and peace.
"In Christ, the word 'all' does not refer to any measure attained through colonial, imperial, globalised or geopolitical power, or anything like that; it means that no one who has been created is meant to be excluded from the love of God," Dr Tviet declared.
* The full sermon can be read here: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/sermon...
* More from Ekklesia on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/wpcu