Witnessing to the gospel and discerning the heart of communion
(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has published a Study Guide for its Thirteenth Assembly. It is a resource to equip participants at the organization’s highest decision-making body with material to explore the meaning of the assembly theme, “One Body, One Spirit, One Hope,” for the member churches and LWF’s work around the world.
The Study Guide is meant to inspire reflection on how the global communion of churches is called and equipped to be a sign of hope in the midst of God’s creation, as it proclaims the gospel and participates in God’s holistic mission. Structured around the three aspects of the theme, namely body, Spirit and hope, the guide presents “cries” that emerge from contemporary challenges; a theological interpretation of “seeing with new eyes” and examples of gifts and promise in a spirit of “thanksgiving.” Each chapter concludes with a set of questions for reflection on “what is this?” that lies at the heart of the theme.
The concept of “unity,” an underlying theme, is presented in the repeated use of the word “one,” explained Prof. Dr Dirk Lange, LWF Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations. “The unity we desire is not uniformity. When we human beings want to create or construct unity based on our own cultural or ethical standards, we always end up excluding someone or some group.” Referring to some of several biblical citations in the resource, he pointed out how “the gospel addresses all peoples in their diversity” and that “through baptism, we grow in communion and are reconciled.”
The Study Guide is one of the key Assembly publications. While prepared for participants at the assembly and pre-assemblies, the resource can apply to local church settings. “It could be used in parishes or in faith communities and small groups, or other contexts where it can easily be a source of discussion and exploration,” added Lange.
It is available in English, and translations into German, French and Spanish will follow.