Just some random notes from Jakarta before I go to bed.
During the opening worship this morning, the CCA remembered significant leaders of the Asian ecumenical movement who have died since the last Assembly. It was good to have some well known leaders from Australia remembered: Rev Harvey Perkins and Deaconess Margaret Rogers. It made connections between today and the past that seem important.
Then we remembered the victims of the 1915 Armenian genocide – the oldest Christian community in the world, decimated by Ottoman Turkey. It’s an historic crime that still has repercussions today.
And as I thought about this further link between the past and the present, the prayers brought us right up to today by remembering the Rohingya people of Myanmar – victims of an intolerance, racism and violence in their own country and which is now being expressed regionally, including by Australia.
The D.T.Niles Memorial Lecture was delivered by Prof Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, the WCC’s Associate General Secretary for Public Witness and Diakonia. At one point she said, “Inequality has no theological or biblical basis, since the suffering of the children of God mars the image of God. Inequality is magnified by natural disasters… Then there is the issue of migration, which is putting the lives of people in danger as they travel on seas in unsafe boats and ships. Unfortunately, hospitality is not granted to all who need help, as we also see in the story of the Good Samaritan”.
I’d not made that connection before. Australia’s “Nope. Nope. Nope.” (It doesn’t matter which politician said it, he said it as our representative.) identifies us with the priests and Levites who passed by on the other side – fully aware of our obligation to help but just not willing to get involved.
Lord, have mercy.