A Day of Hope As Churches Grow Together – Tuesday 31st October
Around the world over the past 12 months there have been commemorative services led by leaders of Catholic, Lutheran and other protestant churches. The commemorative activities began in Lund, Sweden on 31st October 2016, where the leader of the Lutheran World Federation, Bishop Dr Munib Younan and Pope Francis came together to hold a common prayer service, which built on the ecumenical work that has been taking place. In Australia, a joint statement between leaders of the Catholic and Lutheran churches has been released and across the country next Tuesday, Catholics and Lutherans will be coming together to commemorate the anniversary of the reformation, which changed the western world.
In creating new hope for the future, in any context, there needs to be an acknowledgement of where hurt has been caused, seeking forgiveness from each other and God and then moving prayerfully forward with God as our guide. These are the themes of the commemoration, which aims to bring people together in service out of love for people and for God across the world. These themes are outlined below in the excerpt from Bishop John Henderson’s sermon for the day, which has a strong theme of unity and hope.
There are three dimensions to our commemoration: we are deeply aware of the past and of the damage that was a consequence of conflict and division; we thank God for the healing of the relationship between Catholics and Lutherans that has taken place in recent decades and for the impetus for unity that we share; and we look forward to walking a common path in the future, witnessing together to the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world. (Bishop John Henderson, 2017)
The full text of his address, which speaks of the strong hope that we receive through God’s grace, can be accessed by clicking here.