From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Overcoming All Obstacles on the Way to Bethlehem
"Frank Imhoff" <FRANKI@elca.org>
Wed, 12 Dec 2001 09:03:07 -0600
2001 Christmas Message from the LWF President
WOLFENBUETTEL, Germany/GENEVA, 12 December 2001 (LWI) - "We must
overcome all obstacles and reach the stable in Bethlehem,"
stresses the President of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF),
Bishop Dr. Christian Krause in his 2001 Christmas message.
Inasmuch as there is irreconcilable, deep hostility in the Holy
Land similar to that of the terrorist attacks around the world,
"This is the other way to Bethlehem, the Christmas road, along
which our hope for peace, and yearning for humanness and warmth
will reach their destination," notes Krause, bishop of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick, Germany.
The full text of the Christmas message from the LWF president
Christmas Message from the President of the Lutheran World
Bishop Dr. Christian Krause
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the worldwide Lutheran community,
Bethlehem is under fire, yet again. Accessing the city is
difficult. Roadblocks bar the way. Stones are being hurled. Tanks
are lined up. Not so far away, people are blowing themselves up,
their only goal to kill others in the process. This is what we see
today of what we call the Holy Land. There is the same
irreconcilable, deep hostility as that of the terrorist attacks
around the world.
Bethlehem is in the middle of it all. This is the place towards
which worldwide Christianity turns anew especially at Christmas
time as it is the place of Jesus' birth. Here, the savior who
brings great salvation to this earth was born. Is this something
we can trust? Or is crouching behind a wall, clutching a stone or
grenade, waiting until the steps come closer, a safer option? No,
we do not want to seek salvation that way. We must overcome all
obstacles and reach the stable in Bethlehem, at God's mercy amid
poverty, and at peace amid war. Christ the Savior is born!
This is the option offered again this year by the Christmas
message. God's option for mercy and for peace among those whom he
favors. These are basic values that we agree to take up anew.
Then, hope can grow, and we can encourage each other even in the
darkness of today's world as the shepherds urged each other to set
out together in the night some 2,000 years ago, "Let us go now to
Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord
has made known to us!" (Lk 2:15)
This is the other way to Bethlehem, the Christmas road, along
which our hope for peace and yearning for humanness and warmth
will reach their destination. This is the other story of
Bethlehem, the Christmas story of the birth of the savior Jesus
Christ, who brings his great salvation to the earth, irrespective
of our place in this world.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the worldwide Lutheran community, I
send you cordial Christmas greetings, and wish you strength of
faith and of trust in the message of God's coming!
Dr. Christian Krause
(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the
Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now
has 133 member churches in 73 countries representing over 60.5
million of the 64.3 million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on
behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as
ecumenical relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human
rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and
development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva,
[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the information service of
the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Unless specifically noted,
material presented does not represent positions or opinions of the
LWF or of its various units. Where the dateline of an article
contains the notation (LWI), the material may be freely reproduced
* * *
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