Given by The Right Reverend Purely Lyngdoh Bishop of North East India and Deputy Moderator
We are meeting here as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has entrusted to us the responsibility to carry on his Mission: the Mission which was God’s Plan and Purpose of establishing His Kingdom here on earth. It is a Kingdom where Love, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Justice, Peace and Salvation are received, experienced and lived-out. As his disciples and His Community – the Church, our Mission is to extend this Kingdom and open it to others to come in.
Surely, the Anglican Communion has and does play a big role in this Mission of God for his people. He calls us to make known his love and purpose to all those around us. We praise God for the various ways in which he has been using us in this journey of fulfilling that divine plan; and we all look forward to that time when, in the words of the prophet Habbakuk 2:14: “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
Therefore, as God’s co-workers and “ambassadors of Christ” in this noble task, we need to regularly examine our own lives, our relationship with him, and with one another. In John 8:31: Jesus said, “If you remain or abide in my word, you are truly my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will make/set you free.”
As we sit and meet and reflect together in small Groups, in larger Groups and as a Communion, let us be conscious of this – our need to remain/abide in his word. Which means, we need to believe in, to listen, learn and obey his word. Our being together, reading the Bible together, listening to each other and learning from one another will surely strengthen our faith, help us understand our mission better, and encourage us to obey and do his word; thereby deepening our discipleship.
Our true discipleship brings about freedom in our lives, services, attitudes and relationships; freedom from the physical, mental and spiritual bondages that keep us from becoming the people we ought to be.
It is true that there are serious and difficult issues and situations facing our respective Churches/ Provinces and the Communion as a whole. This reminds us of that situation which the early Church had also faced and experienced, and which had resulted in the first Church Council, in Acts 15. The message that came out of that Council was: the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all, irrespective of who we are or what opinions we hold. May our Communion, in and through this Conference 2008, once again re-affirm and in a louder voice, proclaim this message to the world.
In the Gospel passage we read this morning, John 8:31- 59, we find Jews questioning Jesus, and his very identity. ‘Who Jesus is?’ is basic to the Church. In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asked his disciples: Who do you say that I am? In our mission of extending God’s Kingdom on earth, this question comes to us time and time again. It is not simply what we know about him, but our personal experience of him and with him. At one time, John 6: 68-69, Simon Peter said: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God (the Christ the Son of the living God).”
Friends, at this juncture of history, at this crucial and critical time of our Communion, let us re-affirm our faith in the God revealed in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us know our Lord, welcome him into our lives, into our Churches, and do the best we can to serve him and glorify him as Abraham did, in Genesis 18:1-15, when God’s messengers came to him and Sarah.
I believe that as we do this, we will see and experience that:
i) “there is nothing too wonderful/hard for the Lord to do (Gen.18:14; Jer.32:27)
ii) “the Lord’s power is not limited (Num.11:23)
iii) “the Lord’s hand is not too short to save and deliver (Isa.50:2; 59:1)