Praitha is heavily involved in the International Justice Movement working to rescue those who are trafficked and enslaved in India. She shared some powerful stories and encouraged us to demonstrate that God hears their cry and will rescue them as outlined in Isaiah 1:17.
Brenda Salter McNeil
Brenda spoke about how we live in a culture that wants to see morality and ethics improve but we have to model what we preach. Credibility suggests we have earned the right to share with them, therefore we as the church need to take seriously the pressing issues of the world.
Shadia Qubti and Dan Sered
Shadia (a Palestinian) and Dan (an Israeli) spoke of the tensions they found in the faith story. Shadia was very clear that both we and our enemies can be reconciled to God through the cross so we must reconcile with our enemies. God gives us courage to go against the norms in society.
Dan continued this theme talking about his heart to see Jews and Arabs saying “I love you in the name of Jesus” to one another.
Antoine spoke from his experience in Rwanda. The growing churches are in the global south and yet so are the worst genocides and civil wars. How has evangelism got it so wrong?
Antoine spoke powerfully on the context of genocide in Rwanda. By 1941 mass revival had happened across the country, and yet between 1959-1963 over 30,000 were killed and 100,000 became refugees. This led to the 1994 genocide against Tutsis where more than 1,000,000 were brutally massacred.
- As the church has reflected on how this happened, they have identified six key areas:
Divisions are the result of sin
- Christ crucified highlights that Christ is our pain bearer, our sin bearer, and our reconciler.
- A new perspective on our identity – as in Galatians we need to become a new creation.
- The mission of the Church –
- Social relationships: Galatians 3 highlights how ethnic, racial, and gender divisions are against the sprit of the gospel.
- A focus on unity – “it is when the church of Christ will live in love and unity that great things will happen in our nations.”
We have to be more intentional in our preaching and modeling of reconciliation and to accept the blame and criticism if we preach and our communities remain wounded and are full of hatred.
The key theme that jumped out for my table was that reconciliation really only happens on a one-to-one level – it is very difficult for organizations/groups of people to reconcile because it is about individual feelings, emotions and experiences.