Unity in Christ empowers us to fight for justice

To build good relations, Christians must first “pray for love, courage and wisdom to rejoice as witnesses of the truth,” said Fr Edward Rayappan, Head

Feb 01, 2019

By Vincent D’Silva
To build good relations, Christians must first “pray for love, courage and wisdom to rejoice as witnesses of the truth,” said Fr Edward Rayappan, Head of the Diocesan Ministry of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs on Jan 24.

“As we pray together, we are reminded that our calling as members of the body of Christ is to pursue and embody justice,” he added, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Service for Johor at the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

He also mentioned that our unity in Christ empowers us to take part in the wider struggle for justice and to promote the dignity of life.

The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity chosen by the churches in Indonesia is Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue.

He said this theme is imperative due to the recurring situations that bring divisions and conflicts.

He urged those gathered to foster greater communion to achieve Christian unity.

Present for the event was Bishop Bernard Paul, a number of priests from the Catholic Church, representatives from the Lutheran and Anglican Churches and a large number of Christians.

The night began with the Prayer of Repentance led by Bishop Bernard Paul followed by representatives from the Lutheran and Anglican Churches proclaiming the Word of God.

In his sermon, Fr Rayappan told the people that once we are baptised, we should not remain as ordinary people but we should behave like children of God.

“Baptism is a new way of life. Baptism invites us to a new way of life with Christ.”

Jesus lived a live worthy of God and that is why only he can proclaim that the spirit of the Lord anointed him.

Christ brought back justice for the people especially the poor, the marginalised and the despised. He then posed a question to the congregation, “Do we allow the spirit of God to work in our hearts?”

In reply he said, “If we want the Spirit of God to work in our hearts then we need to first begin by bringing justice into our own way of life and sharing it with our family and society.”

He pointed out that we cannot bring justice without sacrifice or suffering and we cannot bring justice if we are not at peace with others.

“No one can give a command until they themselves has first learnt to obey it.” He made it clear that the love of God does not see race, colour, creed or religion.

“Christ loves everyone and in the same manner, our gathering also reminds us not to see the difference in each other and not to see each other as a threat but rather as an asset.”

Expounding further, he said the Eucharist or the prayer that we make is not of Christ unless it chooses the side of the poor, the marginalised and the despised.

“We as Christians are called to be in the forefront. Where we see there is injustice, we must voice for justice. Let us not rise up but rather wise up and stand up and speak out for justice.”

He made it clear that the first justice that all Christians must do is to give respect and honour to the word of God.

There is no forgiveness if there is no love.

The Catholic priest said that Justice is about giving back a human its dignity.

He said, “Jesus doesn’t hold our hands to show us the way. It is we who hold his hands in trust and follow him.”

“We are indeed very blessed to have the Week of Christian Unity which is an opportunity for all Christians to work together in building our communities.

“For Christians there is no unity in diversity but rather we should move to unity in conformity to the word of God. “

If we want to bring justice into this world then we must have peace in our hearts.

“When we have peace in our hearts we will have joy and once we have joy we will bring justice into this world beginning with ourselves and sharing with our families then bringing it into society,” he added.

The service saw representatives from other Christian Churches taking part in prayers, reading passages from the Bible, reciting the Nicene Creed and singing in praise to God both in English and Mandarin.

Closing the service, Bishop Bernard gave his blessings to the congregation. All adjourned to the hall for fellowship.

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