Laudate, omnes gentes, laudate Dominum!
...Short, clear, concise. One message, one simple tune filling the room as the stewards of the 13th CEC Assembly stand up to praise the Lord at the evening prayer session.
The Assembly itself still lies ahead and the stewards are getting to know eachother, preparing for the upcoming busy days. Expectations, hopes, and also fears.
Laudate... the melody flows on and on. Whatever disagreements we may have had to face throughout the discussion that preceded, the voices have now all joined in one gentle chant. This moment, to me, is unity at its best.
The feeling of peace and understanding, however, is amplified just by the above mentioned: the different views that have come to light during the discussion.
Contemplating a Biblical text or quotations taken from famous philosophers and writers, one suddenly realizes that the word "tradition" bears quite different connotations for an orthodox and for a protestant. That the words one considers crucial for a text's message may indeed differ from the "key words" somebody else has underlined.
Listening and opening one's mind to these unexpected differences brings - an unexpected insight. And an unexpected pleasure when hearing the voices first collide in possible conflicts and then join in common praise.
The assembly has just begun.
Our expectations, hopes and fears are about to be fulfilled, turned into new experiences, or maybe prove totally wrong and inadequate.
In any case, one of the hopes of the steward currently sitting at the computer and writing up this blog has much to do with the paragraphs above. The feeling of unity, or if not, of a genuine attempt to reach it, only comes with true discussion: talks which do not only concern topics we all agree on. May the debates be lively, touch controversial topics, may they go deep and not try to avoid potential problems.
And may the evening prayers be filled with the spirit of the One common Hope, which remains One, however distant the various approaches may seem.
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