On Wednesday evening, the Rev. Dr. Christopher Duraisingh breathed life into the gathering theme “together for the love of the world” for delegates at the 2013 Joint Assembly. Duraisingh, a presbyter of the Church of South India who is a visiting professor in applied theology at Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA, challenged the Joint Assembly to declare what he called, “the dangerous theme that you have gotten yourself into.”
He described the Assembly as a unique event unlike any other that provided an opportunity to declare a dream in the heart of God, “God’s intention is to draw all people together.”
Duraisingh urged delegates to be willing to be turned inside out for the love of the world. “An unmissionary church is not the church; is not the body of Christ.”
He chastised Western churches for making witness one more function. In other parts of the world, churches with no resources have made witness fundamental. “This is not an optional extra,” he said.
Reflecting on his own church in South India, he said that the motive for different denominations in forming one church was not organizationally driven but mission driven. He spoke about how mission is not a project but a posture of being, a style of life.
Duraisingh called for churches to provide a cultural critique that challenges a culture that is born of self-centered greed and the Western notion of the autonomous self. He said that a divided world needs the counter-cultural option of togetherness.
Among the many vibrant images that he left dancing in Assembly delegates’ heads was his description of the baptism of Jesus as “a solidarity plunge into the hopes and anguish of the people.” This posture of Jesus is now part of what his listeners must ponder as the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada meet together in the coming days and discern what it means to be “together for the love of the world.”