Monday, 1 March 2010

Opportunity and danger all part of the crisis of kairos

The Ecumenical Prayer Cycle invites us this week to pray for Switzerland, among other countries. We had a wonderful service helped by a large group of visitors from the Focolari movement who sang and led our music. They were visiting the centre as part of a two week training seminar on ecumenism, they came from all continents of the world. One of them was even able to read in Romansch, Switzerland's fourth language, and her rendering of Psalm 140 had those of us who had never heard the language in public before all straining to see what we could understand - fascinating and very lovely.

The service was led by Rudolf Renfer, a Reformed pastor who works at the Lutheran World Federation as head of human resources. Rudolf speaks at least five languages. He preached a good sermon on opportunity and danger - or chance and risk. Starting with the idea of the Chinese characters for chance and risk producing the idea for "crisis" Rudolf began by telling a story, then encouraging us to think about what is opportunity and what is danger: in life, in a country like Switzerland, in the ecumenical movement. There is opportunity and danger in all decisions and crises that we face:

So let’s look at the chances in a context in Switzerland where economic and political networking is based on justice and transparency and not on fraud and evasion.
Let’s look at the chances to open new spaces for the ecumenical movement where collaboration, confidence building and concrete new steps will be possible.
Let’s take the crisis as an extraordinary occasion for new departures, even if each occasion implies a new risk.
Let’s be open to Christ’s call for a responsible way of using the opportunities in our lives.
Let’s repent, reorient ourselves, look ahead and start again, in order not to perish.
Not as a theoretical approach, but as a challenge for our daily important and nitty gritty work.
Those of you wanting to know more about the myth behind Chinese ideogrammes can visit this site. Crisis is nevertheless still made up of opportunity and risk.
Full text of Rudolf's sermon here.