7 May

One Body, Different Parts

Delegates and stewards participating in the intercultural training session at the LWF Youth Pre-Assembly 2017 in Ondangwa, Namibia. Picture by Johanan Celine Valeriano
Delegates and stewards participating in the intercultural training session at the LWF Youth Pre-Assembly 2017 in Ondangwa, Namibia. Picture by Johanan Celine Valeriano

The Youth Pre-Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation has brought together 106 individuals from 45 countries. From my perspective, I see this first bit of time together as each person in the room becoming aware of each other and what gifts that we all bring to the table.

Being relatively new to the LWF, I have not experienced this kind of diversity in a church setting before, and I am aware that I am in a sacred space. The stories I have heard so far from the people I have met have made it obvious to me that the Church is bigger and more complex than I could have ever imagined.

On the morning of the first day at the Pre-Assembly, we went through an intercultural training led by youth. I really appreciated that we were encouraged to lift up the uniqueness of where we come from. We as the church claim to be the body of Christ. Anytime there is a claim that we are together as one, there is the possibility that could mean that people must give up part of their identity to be the same as everyone else. But the reality is that the body has different parts that has different responsibilities.

This day at the assembly has brought to light the idea that a group of people does not have to give up their individual identity or culture to come together as one. We were a part of a devotion led by the Latin American and Caribbean region, heard stories from the people in Namibia, and joined in songs brought to us by the youth from Northern Europe. In bible study with people from other countries, I could see perspectives that I would be unable to see by myself.

On this day at the Pre-Assembly, we were all made aware of the gifts and abilities possessed by the different people in our church, and we realize that without all these unique gifts at the table, we cannot be fully one church together. I cannot wait to see what else happens this week and what else is possible when a bunch of different people, so enthralled by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ come together in community.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.