Message of the presidents of the WCC at Pentecost 2002

 — Apr. 16, 200216 avril 2002

“Suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind….” (Acts 2:2; NRSV)

Holy Scripture depicts in simple language the event of the first Pentecost in the life of Christ’s Church: “After his suffering Jesus presented himself alive to the apostles by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4).

The apostles, together with Mary the mother of Jesus and the other women, were gathered with one accord devoting themselves continuously to prayer (cf. Acts 1:14). The journey from Ascension to Pentecost is a period full of expectation, hope and faith. This reflects the mystery every human soul experiences as we await the coming of the Paraclete, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that great day of personal Pentecost when a human being, through the church and in the church, suddenly becomes the “temple of God” and the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 3:16; 16:19). The world, too, through the church and in the church, suddenly becomes the place where the kingdom of God is revealed “on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:10).

The Paraclete, or Counselor, is present in the church and in the world. The Counselor’s presence is ever experienced as it was by the disciples during the first Pentecost, when .”..suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1-4).

“Like the rush of a violent wind!” It is obvious that this phenomenon was not “violent” in the sense of being evil, as violence is experienced in its usual forms. Normally, unexpected violence enters our lives in the most destructive ways: through brutality, terrorism, oppression of conscience, physical violence against young children, criminal passions, wars, cruelty, transgression of moral and social values, the humiliation of human being, dignity and personality, and all other manifestations of evil.

“Like the rush of a violent wind!” During these years that the World Council of Churches is observing the Decade to Overcome Violence, we are considering and coming better to understand what the presence of the Holy Spirit means in our lives. The “violent rush” of the Holy Spirit’s coming differs fundamentally from the brutally aggressive irruption of violence and terrorism in the world. The sudden rush of the Spirit strikes witnesses as violent, yet it does not violate consciences and lives. It is violent, yet it is neither crude nor destructive. It is violent, yet it honours the image of God in human beings. It is violent in the sense that it contains God’s Spirit, a Spirit that imparts enthusiasm and uplifts us, communicating joy and courage, offering ever new perspectives and strength. Indeed, the Holy Spirit inspires hope, faith and love: especially love for God and for our fellow human beings, a love that “casts out
fear” (1 John 4:18).

Only the Paraclete’s violent rush can overcome the brutal irruption of evil and violence in our lives and world.

“Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches” (Rev 2:7, 11, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).

WCC presidents:
Dr. Agnes Abuom, Nairobi, Kenya
Rev. Kathryn K. Bannister, Bison, KS, United States of America
Bishop Jabez L.Bryce, Suva, Fiji
H.E. Dr. Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of the Senior See of Ephesus, Istanbul, Turkey
H.H. Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Damascus, Syria
Dr. Kang Moon-Kyu, Seoul, Korea
Bishop Federico J. Pagura, Rosario, Argentina
Bishop Eberhardt Renz, Stuttgart, Germany

The tradition of the Pentecost message from the presidents of the World Council of Churches (WCC) dates back to 1950. The message is a joint effort of the eight WCC presidents who represent the different regions within the WCC constituency. The first draft of this year’s Pentecost message was provided by His Eminence Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Ephesus. “In this world of violence, we remember the Holy Spirit which came upon the apostles as ‘a violent breath’ and as fire, but brought peace to the world,” says Metropolitan Chrysostomos.

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.

Posted: Apr. 16, 2002 • Permanent link: Transmis : 16 avril 2002 • Lien permanente :

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