Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The Ecumenical Movement of the Cross

This evening the chapel at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva hosted the service for the official installation of Olav Fykse Tveit as general secretary of the WCC. We had two wonderully talented and energetic musicians from Denmark leading our music and singing - Peter and Betty Arendt. There were songs from around the world particularly from Norway and a very lovely solo of a song from China about the coming of the springtime of faith sung by Betty. As it is Lent we are not singing Alleluia but sang instead the glorious anthem "El mensaje que hoy proclamamos" to proclaim the gospel.
Our new general secretary preached a profound and very spiritual sermon on the ecumenical movement of the cross, illustrating this by pointing to the various very beautiful and powerful crosses which are found in the chapel and grounds of the Centre.
Here are some extracts from the beginning and the end. Full text here. Full liturgy here.

The cross is and will forever be the sign of the church. This is the symbol that we have together, the symbol of what we have together, the symbol of what the churches have to give to the world. From the beginning to the end.

How shall we, then, best give shape to the ecumenical movement of the cross in our time? And how can the ecumenical movement be a movement of the cross – the tree of life? Perhaps we should emphasize what some of the early teachers of the church tell us: when Christ stretches out his arms at the cross, he is stretching out to the whole world, embracing everybody. One example is the colourful and powerful Latin-American cross in front of this pulpit, with images of daily life and a woman stretching out her arms to everybody and to God, in worship. Reminded of what the cross is, we see that the exclusiveness of the cross is precisely that it is inclusive.

The gift of the cross binds us together. Our open arms can be a sign of the ecumenical movement of the cross, showing that we need one another, that we want to share God’s gifts in this beloved world with all.