VATICAN CITY, OCT. 8, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of the English-language address Reverend Samuel Kobia, secretary-general of the World Council of Churches, sent to the world Synod of Bishops, which is under way in the Vatican through Oct. 26. The theme of the assembly is on “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”
The message was read Tuesday by Orthodox Romanian Bishop Nifon de Targoviste.
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Your Eminences and Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates and observers,
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)The theme chosen for the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops holds the promise of deep spiritual renewal for the mission of the church. By centering the thoughts and minds on the living word of God, revealed to us in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, we open ourselves to the presence, of the Triune God and the energy of divine love through which this world was created, our sins were redeemed, and all life is sustained.
It is the living word of God that builds the church and transforms the lives of people so that they become credible and visible disciples of Christ through the Holy Eucharist, meditation on biblical texts, and the day-to-day witness of the faithful in their homes, on the streets and at the workplace.
How the word of God resonates in our lives, transforms us, and motivates deeds of love among us, is indeed central for the holistic mission of the church. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, according to the Gospel of St John: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).It is such discipleship so desperately needed in a world which is torn apart by conflict and war, divided between rich and poor, and haunted by communal hatred and violence.
Through Jesus Christ on the Cross, we see the suffering of this world and its despair. In the risen Christ, our hope is real. The deadly consequences of sin can be overcome. In this “hope we were saved” and we are waiting eagerly that not only us, but all of humankind and creation “will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom 8:21-24).
Remembering our Lord’s prayer for his disciples “that they may all be one … so that the world may believe” (John 17:21), we affirm that the search for the visible unity of the church is an indispensable dimension of the life and mission of the church. In the spirit of this affirmation, I want to assure you of our prayers for this Synod of Bishops.
May God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you and bless your deliberations.
Your humble brother in the name of Christ,
Rev. Dr Samuel KobiaWCC General secretary