Recognise one another as assets, not threats

“We have come together today as a Church, not based on race or language but on faith,” said Fr Edward Rayappan, Head of the Diocesan Ministry of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs on January 19.

Feb 08, 2020

By Vincent D’Silva
“We have come together today as a Church, not based on race or language but on faith,” said Fr Edward  Rayappan, Head of the Diocesan Ministry of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs on January 19.

“We must see and recognise one another as assets and not as threats,” he said, during the week of Prayer for Christian Unity service at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, with the theme They Showed Us Unusual Kindness (cf. Acts 28:2).

The main aim, he said, was to welcome people from other denominations to a meeting place to pray for Church unity, for peace in the country and the world, and for blessings on one another. Fr Eddie mentioned that the aim for the day was achieved as there was a visible sign of unity among the Christian churches.

“We hope to further work together on common issues and encourage many more to join us in this mission to be united as one people of God,” he said.

Present for the event were Pastor Andrew Goh from the Lutheran Church, Rev Edward John, Archdeacon from the Anglican Church and Rev Benammie John from the Anglican Church of Pasir Gudang and representatives from the Christian Churches.

He explained that the Epistles or the Letters of St Paul talk about the  reality of God’s action in our everyday life.

He said, “When we read the Word of God, we must find out our disposition. The Word of God  will never change as what is written is written,” he said, adding that it can be interpreted in different ways.

“If we are sad, we read the Word of God to find comfort. If we are happy, we read the Word of God to find joy,” he said.

He also went on to say that if we are angry, the same word that we read can become hard to accept.

Speaking in context with the gospel reading of the day, he said we come to hear how Jesus rebuked and reprimanded his disciples and followers for their lack of faith and belief in him.

Today, the priest said, we are also reminded that Jesus is truly Our Lord and Saviour who is the only Way, Truth and Life.

“Each one of us is unique as no two people are the same. In order for us to build up the kingdom of God, we must recognise and honour each other as unique,” he explained.

He made it clear that we must outdo each other in charity and not in jealousy.

He also said we need to recognise and accept the gifts and talents each one of us has so as to work together in synergy in building the kingdom of God.

He reminded those present that religion is not meant to be taught but to be caught.

“Let the people see our way of life and come to know the unity we have as Christians,” he stressed.

Touching on the gospel of the day, he said Jesus is inviting all of us, as his disciples, to go out and baptise the world.

Expounding further, he said the purpose of our baptism is two-fold. Firstly, when we are baptised we are elevated as sons and daughters of God.

Secondly, he said, we are called for discipleship to go forth and proclaim the good news to  the world.

“Our baptism becomes redundant if we fail to carry out our mission as Jesus did by building the kingdom of God,” he said.

He said whatever we have heard from the gospel of the day, let us put it together for the kingdom of God, adding that “together we achieve.”

“By this, let the people know and be surprised by the way we show our unusual kindness and may they proclaim ‘they showed us unusual kindness’ which is the theme of today’s Ecumenical Prayer Service.”

He concluded the service by thanking all the participating churches, the congregations and their pastors for making this eventful and blessed evening.

The event ended with a group photo after which everyone was invited for a simple fellowship dinner.

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