|JANUARY 2009||DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE||
ECUMENISM: THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION
The need of reconciliation had come for this world. Removal of God from the center of individual life and giving way for our selfish motivations had caused the world to loose God. It is not that God has gone out of the world, but the world had gone away from God. Thus the world which lost the God should come back to God. This is what we achieved through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. This Christ event has reconciled the world with God. Undoubtedly this is the basis of the movement towards ecumenism. There can be no ecumenism worthy of the name without reconciliation with God and the co-beings in this world. This reconciliation takes place with a change of heart and from renewal of the inner life of our minds.
In a broad sense, ecumenism is not only the unity of Christian Churches, but it is also the return of the entire creation to the creator God. Each and every aspect of this Universe needs reconciliation with God. The whole creation was perfect when God created it. But the selfishness of human had caused to defile the world. Greater religious co-operation can be achieved only if the man recognizes the call of God and purpose of the creation.
Ecumenism is an act of God and not that of man. It is the cooperative movement of man with God in this world. It is not mere the consultation or assembly or wisdom or planning of men. Now we have many various international and national ecumenical dialogue, institutional set ups like World Council of Churches etc. with the great aim of a wider co-operation among Christians. In order that these ecumenical associations may produce the fruits of the will of God, man should involve, recognize and produce the will of God as a first step. While working one way in these associations and behaving in another way outside association will not produce the fruits and will of God. We should bring a passion to the ministry of ecumenism through the divine ministry of reconciliation in its theological, pastoral and spiritual dimensions. Every activities of the religious unity or cooperation should essentially be grounded in an increased fidelity to our personal calling.
Growing unity and communion among Christians can only flow to the society by following Jesus and becoming witness to this world. Christ is first identified as the faithful witness to the mystery of reconciliation and unity and the Christian faithful should learn the ways of communion through Jesus in His discipleship.
Secondly, after coming back to God the man should go together to world along with God. The way the incarnated God had walked on this earth with man, the man should walk on the world with God. As the God left the heaven and came to the world, man should go to the world with the incarnated God in this world. Similarly man should come inside the Church and church should work for the world. Church should be equipped for the service of the World.
Church being the crowd of the believers it should recognize that mission of Church is to reach to the people and the world. So the ecumenism is not only the return of man to God, but also the return of Church to God and brings back the nature and Universe to the pure state of what God created it in the beginning. This particular state of universal reconciliation is the Kingdom of God. God is for the world and the creation should remain to be for the God.
Though we are in the world and we try to go to the world, we are not going to the world with God. We are going to the world with our own motivation and that motivation is not exactly the intention of God. The responsibility of all the problems in the world is this approach of man. With out God the actions produce more problem and complications in the world. The conduct and operation of man in the world without God is an imperfect mission and vision. It deforms the nature.
When we look from a spacecraft, the world is seen as an insignificant planet. The places and persons in the world are not all seen by them. What ever man boast of himself or of his materialistic achievements are insignificant considering same as a part of universe. But when we join with God who is all above the space and nature, with Him we too become lofty in the cosmos and we become significant in the universe. So the man who is insignificant on his self existence, he becomes very significant when he joins with God and walks in this world. We should come out of our motivations which limit us with our human limitations. The world Salvation, heaven etc. are the synoptic concept of entering to the expansiveness. By this approach, the human limitations will not restrain the Godly intentions on this world.
In a nutshell, with regarding to the ecumenical vision, I would like to put forward two steps:
God calls us to accomplish these two great services to the World. Responding to this call is the greatest worship to God. All the churches should join together in this worship.
What Jesus Christ had done in this world? What Jesus would like us to do in this world? Same should be the work of the man and Church in this world. Let God help us to accomplish the will of God in this world. If we earnestly wish and cooperate with God to accomplish the will of God, it will create a new earth and new sky in this world itself.
Prayer: O Lord our God, You are our father, You are our savior, You are our hope, You are our blessings. We raise our eyes towards You. We know that there are many things in this world which destroys us and let them not ruin us. Instead, fill us with the understanding of Thy word and Your great mercy and let them be with us to defeat this world and to establish the glory of Your kingdom. Make us to be the heir of your kingdom of God and inheritors of eternal life. Make us worthy to be the blessings of this world. Let Your word be for our blessings and benedictions in this world. O Lord, Have mercy upon us to grant our suppliants with kindness.
May the Triune God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you all, now and for ever; May the Lord safeguard you in the unity of Jesus Christ; and also bless and benedicts this world by His divine peace.
[Extract from Inaugural Address delivered at Ecumenical Session of Maramon Convention
Original in Malayalam : Translated for LOL by Editor Dr. Rajan Mathew Philadelphia, USA]
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