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Hope Beyond Barriers
A Christmas Message from Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo
CEYLON 061220-1
December 20, 2006

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] The heart of the Christmas message is the initiative taken by God to cross barriers and bring liberation and hope for all. God does this by revealing Himself in the human Jesus, transforming us from selfishness to self-denial and community.

Today numerous barriers exist in our beloved Sri Lanka, dividing us, depriving us and destroying us:

** Security barriers on our roads remind us that we are a people prone to hatred, violence and revenge.
** Regional barriers between North and South, East and West remind us that we are a people who are fast loosing the gift and right to integration and co- existence.
** Transport and supply barriers remind us that cruel political agendas take precedence over basic human need, even when food is freely available.
** Militarily strategic barriers remind us that war within the Sri Lanka family totally disregards the safety and welfare of civilians.
** Cost of living barriers remind us that in-spite of the rhetoric we do not really care for the poor.
** Class barriers remind us that extravagance in our conflict ridden, poor country knows no limits.
** Wage and subsidy barriers amongst plantation workers and farmers remind us that neo-colonisation trends still exploit those who sustain our economy.
** Ideological barriers remind us that we have still to learn that dialogue and negotiation distinguishes realism from arrogance.
** Racist barriers both personal and institutional frighteningly remind us that we are sinking to the very depths as a people.
** Barriers to peace and justice remind us that the stress of the past decades threatens to undermine creative values and courageous initiatives within us.

The inspiration and teaching of God in Christ calls us to acknowledge and overcome these barriers. All communities, all leaders and all democratic institutions must collaborate in this task. To do this we need to shift from our respective entrenched positions. We cannot see the sea from Kilinochchi or Sri Jayawardenapura. To do this we all need to climb Sri Pada, the mountain sacred to all communities.

It is my earnest prayer this Christmas that God who journeys with those who seek new life and new community, will bless Sri Lanka.

I wish all our people and leaders of all communities, grace and peace this Christmas. May the servant of peace born in a stable be born in our midst, so that we might rise from the depths of despair to a new and shared life of understating, sharing with unity.

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo