Sunday, 26 July 2009

The result of the assembly

I photographed a spectacular sunset on tuesday on the Baltic Sea, quite close to the area the very first CEC assemblies were held on a boat. I took a ferry from Germany to Denmark on my way to Finland. I returned home in the evening yesterday after a long journey feeling - as probably most of us - a little empty. Did our shared experience leave anything new to our lives? Well, new Facebook friends at least, but didn't we expect something more? At the end of the day, did we change the world?

We were sorry to see a weakened CEC. The absence of our orthodox brothers from the Russian Patriarchate, lack of contributions from member churches, and bridges hardly built to growing Christian communities, like the Pentecostal congregations; these facts give us an alerting sign of ecumenism being marginalized in Christ's church today. It is a challenge to continue working on a local level to make stronger connections between Christians from different backgrounds. It is not just churches moving apart from each other, but also people.

In Lyon we experienced the opposite. We got new friends, strengthened our unity and solved conflicts. We saw God taking care of those who pray and put their trust on Him. We heard witnesses that opened our eyes and expanded our worldview. We grasped that unity is something that exists regardless of our doings, on the mere basis of being Christians. Of course we keep longing for more visible unity, but we must not forget that we are one in Christ no matter what. We are never starting from nothing. Even with other religions, we have something common giving ground for our dialogue and cooperation.

I don't think we are able to see the most important results of the past assembly. But I do think we can feel it and cherish it in our churches, our communities and our personal lives. Indeed, we all gave a contribution to CEC and each other and were more or less grown by each other, by the assembly and by God. Let us keep growing in faith, hope and love.


  1. Hermanni
    Thank you for the beautiful photo and for such a thoughtful and reflective post. I am glad that you have arrived home safely.

    I feel that the spirit of the assembly was good but you are right to point to those areas which remain challenges to ecuemnism not just in Europe but everywhere.

    I hope you will write some more for us hear as you reflect further on the experience of Lyon and what ecumenism means for you as you arrive home.
    I'm jealous of you being in the land of the midnight sun!

  2. A great reflection Hermanni! :-)