Most of the music in the congress verges on the charismatic choruses for which I lost all taste lately. I long for the more reflective, creative and complex music in my church.
Ruth Padilla DeBorst was brilliant in her exposition of Ephesians 2. Fr. Tofana, a specialist in New Testament studies, agreed with me on this. She was sound exegetically, persuasive in terms of the need for justice to women in the present world, including the church, as well as the need for a new vision of the purpose of God for the Church.
The second plenary was titled ‘Building the peace of Christ in our divided and broken world’. Of the people who spoke, I was impressed especially by Promitha Timothy, a small, low voice young Indian lady fighting slavery in her country, and Shadra Qubti, a young Palestinian lady from Nazareth, working with Musalaha, an organisation dedicate to reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians in the Holy Land. The ‘share of the lion’ in this plenary was attributed to Antoine Rutayisire, from Rwanda, who presented four neglected aspects of the Gospel that led to genocide in this one of the most Christianised countries in the world and six things that Christians there learned from this traumatic experience. In time I hope to be able to share them with you, as some of them are quite relevant for Romania.
During lunch, together with my friend Corneliu Constantineanu, the new rector of the Pentecostal Theological Institute in Bucharest, we met with the Langham scholars present at Lausanne II( (quite a large group, as you can see above).
Christ Wright ( whom some people call ‘OT Wright’ – he is an OT scholar – as opposed to NT Wright, the famous NT scholar who teaches now in St Andrews) presented the situation of Langham, the charity created by John Stott, who supported until now over 300 scholars from the developing world, through scholarships. To this Langham Literature provided books to pastors around the world, and Langham Preaching trained pastors in the expository method or communicating God’s word.
The dialogue session in early afternoon in which I was involved dealt with the issue of reconciliation. Dr. Celestin Musekura, a Hutu minister from Rwanda, presented his traumatic experience during the genocide in this country and his spiritual pilgrimage from bitterness and anger to forgiveness and restoration: a very powerful message that I hope will be available on video. This was followed by a small groups session in which we all shared shortly some personal reconciliotion stories.Very powerful. A number of Romanians, including Vasilica Croitor, were present. He wrote an impressive post on his blog during this session. You may find it HERE (in Romanian; use Google Translate if you do not speak this language and want to make some sense of it).
Vasilica has also created a blog especially dedicated to this event. Since he is not as busy as I am with meetings (and has much mire energy, being much younger, he has already published a number of very interesting posts there). I highly reccommend it. You find it HERE.
During dinner, many of the Romanians have been involved in the special dinner organised by World Vision International, in which the new President, Kevin Jenkins, presented his testimony and the perspectives of the organisation. Doug Birdsall, President of the Lausanne Movement spoke very highly of WV’s conribution in the history of Lausanne.
The evening session, after some Jewish inspired music and dancing (not my cup of tea, as the English say), we had some testimonies from the Middle east and the evening ended with a moving message from Valdir Steuernagel, Theologian-at-Large with World Vision international and two testimonies, of Christo Greyling, World Vision, initiator of Channels of Hope and Princess Kazune Zulu, from Zambia, a Christian activist in the area of HIV & AIDS.
After the programme, I have met with Chris Rice, from Duke Center for Reconciliation and my friend Silviu Rogobete, Consul General of Romania in Cape Town,for a late meal, some good jazz music and a serious discussion about the need for reconciliation in post-communist Romania. At the right time, I will, talk more about the outcomes of this important meeting.
Quite a full day, I would say. You understand, I hope, why I am writing this at almost 2am in the night and, also, why I am tempted to sleep later tomorrow. I will see how I feel when the alarm rings at 7.30am (which, is anyway, too early for me, a night bird by nature, in any conditions), May God have mercy. Tomorrow will be, I hope, a lighter day, even if I will have to find time to edit about 40 pages of a text on a Christian view of communist for a WV publication. Life and professional responsibilities are going on, in spite of Lausanne. Thank goodness, I have an extraordinary assistant who is keeping things moving while I am away at this meeting. Thanks, Ekaterina.