“We should be perfectly united in the drive to spread the message of the cross to all people,” Bishop Horst Müller, President of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA), said in his sermon at the opening worship of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Pre-Assembly in Africa.
Preaching on 1 Corinthians 1, 10-18, the bishop emphasized the need to perceive and proclaim the word of God in its entirety, and to address differences from a perspective of unity. Selective hearing, to focus on what divides us instead on the unifying element as described in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, was “a very big problem amongst Christians, in the Church,” he said.
“When Paul speaks about us being perfectly united in mind and thought, he does not mean: We should agree on everything,” the bishop pointed out. He underlined that the church could address conflict without losing its unity in Christ. “Why does Paul emphasize this unity and then still address the issues that cause conflict? It is because when we agree that we are united in Christ, then we can deal with conflict, ” Bishop Müller elaborated.
In conclusion, he encouraged the churches to work together to “proclaim this message of the cross to the world,” adding that the themes of the Reformation anniversary and the Assembly of salvation, creation and human beings not for sale need to be addressed globally. They reflect “a global crisis which needs the attention of all Christians, of the total Church of Christ,” he concluded.