“God wants to restore God’s world. God calls us to stand up and work for justice, peace and reconciliation, bringing the fullness of life to all,” said Jerry Pillay, World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) president, in his message at the opening worship of the WCRC’s executive committee meeting.
“We are glad to be in your presence, to get to know more of you and your experiences,” Pillay said in opening remarks. “We are here as the WCRC to be in solidarity not only with our fellow Christians but with all people who continue to suffer.”
Besides addressing its mandated responsibilities, executive committee members will immerse themselves in the context of the region, hearing both from church leaders and regional experts.
Pillay explored “the agony of Gethsemane” in his sermon, preaching from Jeremiah 29:10-14, Mark 14:32-41 and Romans 8:18-25.
“Gethsemane is not an easy place to be in, yet it is a place we often find ourselves in, especially if we want to remain faithful and true to the purpose of God in our lives,” he said.
Pillay went on to say, “Gethsemane is a place of struggle, a place in which we have to navigate and negotiate the tension between self-will against God’s will.
“Gethsemane is a place of surrender—to the will of God. This does not just mean that we must simply leave it to God. It means that we must become the instruments and agents of God, seeking justice, peace and reconciliation in the world.
“Gethsemane is a place of security. Gethsemane tells us that we can trust God. In spite of his anxiety and fear, Jesus was willing to confront the cross because he knew that a crown of victory awaited him. We, too, should be confident enough to launch out in faith and hope.
“God calls us to stand with the poor and oppressed,” stressed Pillay. “God calls us to stand up and work for justice, peace and reconciliation.”
Also participating in the worship service, held in both English and Arabic, were members of the WCRC executive committee and leaders from the WCRC’s member churches in Lebanon.
Following the worship service WCRC member churches hosted the executive committee at a dinner and cultural evening which included a performance by the award winning composer and pianist Johnny Hachem.
On Sunday, executive committee members will worship in nearly a dozen churches, bringing messages and greetings to Lebanese sisters and brothers.