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September 2021
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Speeches

M. Younan: Address to Rally of Hope II

Address to Rally of Hope II
September 27, 2020

 

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God the Father and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all evermore. Amen. St. Paul writes, “For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” (Galatians 5:5) Dear friends all over the world, first, I thank the Universal Peace Federation and its chairperson, Dr. Thomas Walsh, for organizing this Rally of Hope. My thanks also extend to the founder of UPF, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, for initiating and hosting this important rally.

The Christian hope is founded on Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection and opens a life in the light of God’s word. Christian ethics of hope anticipate the universal coming of God in the potentialities of history. This is the reason that the biblical story, both in the Old Testament and New Testament, is always a renewed message of hope in a hopeless situation as God works in history. The Reformer Dr. Martin Luther said, “Faith is the dialectic, which conceives the idea of all things that are to be believed; and hope is like rhetoric, which develops, urges, persuades and exhorts to steadiness, so that faith does not collapse in temptation but keeps the word and holds firmly to it.”

Today we are witnessing a culture of fear and anxiety that promotes hopelessness. Covid-19 has shown us the weakness of human beings. Although it has painfully created uncertainties, suffering and death, it reminded us of our common humanity, which is seeking a common hope from God our Savior. In this neo-culture of fear and anxiety, the prophet Isaiah gives a word of hope to the people of the Exile: “Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do new things; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

God calls us to work together

Dear friends, God does not want us to stay idle and only hope for the end times and create unrealistic eschatological scenarios. God wants us to keep our living faith in him in this broken world. God also asks us to heed to his promises, trust him wholeheartedly and to boldly work in the power of his hope to transform our world to become a safe haven of justice, dignity, equality, freedom, reconciliation, harmony and peace.

God calls us as states, nations, religious followers and agnostics to be a beacon of hope and to work together to implement God’s agenda of justice and dignity in our broken world. As we celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, we are called to work together so that this organization will not be a platform for the powerful but a platform for the power of truth, justice and equality for all.

God also calls all faith-based organizations and followers of different religions to more frequently work together for our common equal humanity and find the common values of love, hope, dignity and sustainability. God calls us today to behave responsibly in caring for his creation and for the suffering environment.

Our nations are looking for signs of hope at this crucial time of history. Do we dare to work together for these signs of hope? I often say, “A human being can live three weeks without food, three days without water, and three minutes without air, but a human being cannot live three seconds without hope.” God calls us to be prophetic today at this time in history in being agents of hope in a hopeless world.

Let us pray:

Our God of hope, we are living in fear and hopelessness. Thank you that through the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you created hope in us in the midst of hopelessness. Send us Your Holy Spirit to implant Your hope in us. Send us Your Holy Spirit to mold us, change us and transform us. Send us Your Holy Spirit to transform the darkness into light, the injustice into justice, oppression into freedom, hatred into love, the culture of fear and anxiety into a culture of trust, hatred into love, tensions among religious groups to harmony, inequality to equality and equal opportunities, racism into seeing God’s image in every human being regardless of their gender, color, ethnicity, political or religious affiliation.

Make us to be your agents of hope in a hopeless situation. Empower us with your Spirit so that with St. Paul we can pray, “May the God of Hope fill (us) with all joy and peace in believing, so that (we) may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Amen. God bless you and make you agents of hope wherever you are. Amen.

Bishop Munib A. Younan is the bishop emeritus of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. He served as president of the Lutheran World Federation from 2010 to 2017. He is a 2020 Sunhak Peace Prize laureate.


 

 


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