I noticed a political cartoon with a couple out for a walk. One says, “None of the election signs have parties on them.” “It’s a municipal election. There are no parties,” the other replies. “Then how do we know who to vote against?” asks the other.
In a time when all too many politicians, and others, stir up anger, hatred and division, and refuse to enter into any meaningful dialogue, and when outrage, hatred, bigotry, prejudice and violence are the preferred choice of all too many, it is encouraging to know that many others do not follow that path and chose a different way.
Our feature article reports our church’s active engagement in finding that way in the company of the vast majority of Christians around the globe through the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC).
The relationships that grow through our participation are absolutely fundamental according to the moderator of the WCC, Dr. Agnes Abuom. She says, “We encounter one another—in all our uniqueness—and recognize a neighbour in the stranger, unity in the midst of our diversity.”
As I worked with the material for our feature article about our church’s global engagement, these words from Hebrews 12 kept coming to mind:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith….
A great cloud of witnesses does indeed surround us and include us as we engage with others. We all become stronger witnesses through our relationships with each other as we focus on Jesus and together learn ways that strengthen, console and support one another, opening possibilities for a future filled with hope and promise.
Such engagement may be under-reported or not reported at all. Many Christians may not be aware of how our global encounters are shaping and strengthening our common witness while growing an appreciation of the rich diversity that we have to offer.
When you learn where to look, you begin to notice results in how we worship, pray, witness, serve, live and love, in our churches and beyond.
He is often called “doubting Thomas” but, as you will learn in Voices from Scripture (p. 31), he had more going on than you might imagine.
We are reminded of the strength and hope that comes as we hold each other when we are weak (p. 9).
Church and society must be always reforming in ways that all experience the life-giving gospel (p.15).
Our synod sections continue to overflow with encouraging examples of a church reaching out in a wide diversity of ways that build community. You might even spot this gem from Martin Luther, “A person who… does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed.”