God’s gift economy is key to churches’ mission

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC at the Council meeting of the Lutheran World Federation. Photo: Albin Hillert/LWF

28 June 2018

The WCC general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, told the new Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Council meeting that its stated theme—“Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8)—not only “points to the most significant contribution of the Lutheran tradition” to the ecumenical movement but also “goes to the heart of our shared mission as churches.”

At its first annual meeting, from 28 June to 2 July in Geneva, since being elected at the LWF’s assembly in 2017, the 50-person council is joining in worship, prayer, and Bible study, and listening to an address from LWF president Archbishop Dr Musa Panti Filibus and a report from LWF general secretary Martin Junge, before tackling a host of business matters.

Tveit said “I am deeply moved to see you here all, as members of the ecumenical family, but even more for me personally to see the gift of the Lutheran communion – as a member and pastor in one of your member churches, the Church of Norway.

Tveit warmed to the classic gospel passage, echoed in Lutheran theology, in his greeting.

“When they  ‘cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers (and) cast out demons,’” Jesus’ disciples “are not to take gold or silver but are to share the power they received without any condition, freely, as a gift to those in need,” Tveit said.

This gift economy, Tveit said, “is the logic of discipleship in mission…. Those attitudes stand in stark contrast to the realities of our time. We see around us continually growing inequality of wealth and income, focused primarily on profit, resulting in a globalization that leaves many people in poverty.”

Among its most important items, the council is settling on a new strategic plan for the LWF, as well as one for its service arm, the LWF World Service.

Resident in the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva, the LWF is a global communion of 145 churches in the Lutheran tradition, representing over 74 million Christians in 98 countries.

 

Read the WCC general secretary’s greeting

Learn more about the LWF Council meeting

Follow the meeting via livestreaming

 

 

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 350 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 550 million Christians in over 120 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.