World churches' Christmas message stresses justice and peace

By staff writers
22 Dec 2013

In his Christmas message, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches says faith should encourage help people journey together towards justice and peace.

The Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit writes: "In all honesty, we mortals need to be led by God to find the way to peace and justice, reconciliation and life in abundance. We need the lamp of God’s word to guide our feet in God’s ways.

"And so, at the recent 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, Republic of Korea, we joined our voices in the recurring prayer that was the assembly’s theme: 'God of life, lead us to justice and peace'.

"One of the images we carry with us from Busan is that of a pilgrimage. We travelled symbolically in services of common prayer, workshops and institutional deliberations, and we engaged in actual journeys through weekend explorations across the length and breadth of the Republic of Korea, from southern shores to the verges of the deceptively named 'demilitarised zone' between South and North Korea.

"We realised that the way to justice and peace must overcome the boundary at the heart of Korea, as well as the many walls of hostility that divide nations, cultures, classes and families. As an Assembly, we expressed particular concern for displaced persons, refugees and migrants, for regions such as the Middle East and the Great Lakes region, particularly Congo, in Africa, and we condemned the politicisation of religion as a means of attempting to justify violence.

"Most of all, we have issued an invitation to all people of good will to join us in the pilgrimage to Just Peace throughout the earth. We intend to move together, and in our common journey to display unity and love for one another.

"We are inspired by the shepherds and the wise to seek the Prince of Peace in unexpected places, even in what might be seen as the 'wrong' places," said Dr Tveit, rooting his message in the Christmas gospel stories in the New Testament.

* Full Christmas message from the WCC General Secretary here: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/messag...

* Christmas on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/christmas

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