13th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (Lyon, 15-21 July 2009)
Young delegates, stewards and others share their views, experiences and ideas
Sunday, 12 July 2009
The magic of meeting
Greetings from Northern Finland light nights and bugful marshlands. I’m preparing for acting in the assembly as a young delegate sent by the Evangelic-Lutheran Church of Finland. Early tomorrow morning I will start my journey across Europe (mostly by train) to get to Lyon on Wednesday. I’m expecting to see work of the Holy Spirit, common hope in Christ and a colourful sample of God’s creation, which we all are beatiful parts of.
When I was an anxious teenager – not so long ago – I used to think that assemblies with much talk and not much action are useless. Moreover, I would see them harmful, as dozens of people fly to the venue, each producing more greenhouse gases than their parents or grandparents in a lifetime. I couldn’t believe such gatherings might change anything or anyone, at least not the way I thought was necessary for getting our lifestyle on sustainable tracks.
I have had a gradual change of heart on that. We need more human encounters of all types, from casual chats with our neighbours to worldwide assemblies of political leaders. The worst-case scenario is not a world of many useless meetings but a world of no meeting. I don’t think we could get anything done without sharing our views with each other and encouraging each other to thrive for common goals. The key point for me is that where two or three come together, there is always something more present, something that can transform our lives.
What we need is openness and eagerness to take our talk into action. Even when it seems impossible and hopeless from an individual perspective.