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Peace and Goodwill for All - Our Collective Gift to the Nation
A Christmas message from the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo
CEYLON 091222-1
December 22, 2009

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] At Christmas we remember Godís unique gift to humanity Ė Jesus Christ. Jesus is Godís gift of the way to peace and goodwill for all people, everywhere and at all times.

Peace is possible when there is a proper balance between political integrity, economic justice, social security and personal dignity. Goodwill is what sustains relationships of trust and interdependence within and amongst communities. Peace and goodwill, together, eliminate discrimination and violence and lead to justice.

But God does not force these gifts on us. Our human initiative and co-operation are also necessary for peace and goodwill to happen. Just as human effort in digging a well is imperative if we are to receive the gift of water, human effort is also imperative if we are to receive these gifts of peace, goodwill and justice.

As we celebrate Christmas this year we are more than aware of the very crucial forth-coming Presidential Election. It will have immense repercussions for future stability and well being. Consequently the people, candidates and officials are obliged to think and act sensibly. We serve our nation best to the extent that we rise above self-interest to give priority to peace, goodwill and justice.

For this to happen most effectively, we will all have to engage in a process of self-scrutiny and self-correction that recognise our dependence on each other.

The people of our country will need to demonstrate our appreciation of democracy by voting wisely and thoughtfully.

All candidates and all political parties owe it to the people to refrain from false promises. The people are tired of decades of political rhetoric and long for a culture of dialogue and service in which their voices are heard and their needs are met. Good governance is the primary responsibility of those who govern to meet the legitimate needs and rights of all citizens of this country. The cries of the poor and the displaced need immediate and visible answers. Ethnic and religious tensions need to be addressed and courageous initiatives taken to build trust. Minorities cannot be ignored and treated as outsiders.

All candidates and political parties should remember that a post-conflict nation like ours cannot afford to engage in divisive and confrontational politics. An assurance is required that there will be no post-election violence or revenge, and that healing and reconciliation of the nation will receive priority attention.

The IGP and Elections Commissioner are equipped to ensure that the elections are free, fair and non violent. They mostly can make this happen by remaining impartial and conscientious.

With Peace, Blessings and Goodwill to all.

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo