Remain Committed to Sharing God's Love
LWF President Issues Pastoral Letter to Nigeria’s Lutherans
The President of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Bishop Munib A. Younan has urged Nigeria’s two millions Lutherans to continue to struggle for justice in the midst of violence against Christian and Muslim worshippers by extremists.
Since Christmas, dozens have been killed in attacks apparently by the Boko Haram Islamist group,according to media reports. There has been at least one report of retaliation. The government has declared a state of emergency in the affected regions, mostly in the northern part of the country.
In a 16 January pastoral letter to the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria and the Lutheran Church of Nigeria, Younan said the churches must continue to work for forgiveness and reconciliation in the troubled nation.
“Remain steadfast in your calling. Remain committed to sharing God’s love with all. Overcome evil with good, so that extremism is given no opportunity to control or intimidate,” wrote Younan.
The LWF President urged the churches to continue to strengthen the weak hearted, bind the wounds of the suffering and work for interreligious cooperation so that Nigeria can prosper.
Younan, who is the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, pledged the support of the worldwide communion of 145 churches in 79 countries.
He noted that in Jerusalem Christians and Muslims had learned to respect each other over 1,400 years because they share the core values of loving God and loving neighbor as ourselves.
“Such horrendous attacks that use religion for political ends show disregard for the universal human right of the freedom of religion and are opposed to all standards of international law and stand in opposition against the teachings of all religion,” the LWF president said.
In the pastoral letter Younan reflected on the words of the psalmist, “The Earth is the Lord’s and all its gifts” in Psalm 24. “Through our worship of God, we dedicate ourselves to the sharing of those gifts by all, for the benefit of all, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender or political affiliation.”