Following in the footsteps of the Magi
Rev. Danielle Dokman, a young pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Suriname, preached on the familiar Bible story of the Wise Men travelling to find the baby Jesus after his birth in a stable in Bethlehem (Matthew 2: 1-12). Like those Magi, she said, “we have also travelled with a purpose,” to find out “where the incarnate One, the One Spirit of God and the One Hope for this world is growing today.”
Dokman, a former LWF Council member, noted that the incarnation took place, not only in a specific geographical location, but also in the “ordinary yet extraordinary dwelling” that is the body of a child, “the most fragile human existence there is.” If we believe that God took on a human body and its vulnerabilities, she said, “this has real implications for our lives.” It means that “we cannot ignore our bodies and ignore others,” because “we will encounter God in our neighbors, in those we call strangers or foreigners, and even in the whole of creation.”
In and through our proclamation we must stir up the status quo.
Rev. Danielle Dokman, preacher at the opening service for LWF Thirteenth Assembly in Krakow
Though we observe the many ways in which “bodies across the world are scattered and torn apart by discrimination, polarization and violence,” Dokman continued, we must not give up, because “we serve a God that is not afraid of our fragility, vulnerability or weakness.” Like the Magi, who asked: ‘Where is the child who has been born King of the Jews?’, Christians today must ask questions and “make ripples” that can unsettle those leaders who are only concerned with securing their power.
Dokman concluded by urging delegates to “stir up the status quo,” and to be “united in our proclamation, one in speaking up about injustice and living together from the sacraments.”
Worship and Bible study are integral to the Assembly, LWF’s highest decision-making body, with daily morning, midday and evening prayers. At the end of the morning prayer on 19 September, ecumenical guests will engage in a panel discussion on the message of justification for today.
Over the coming days, participants will discuss speeches on the Assembly theme, share hopes and challenges from their regions in “Village Groups,” discover the various aspects that shape the work of the Lutheran communion at “Jarmark” workshops, and visit the nearby Memorial and Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Photos from the Thirteenth Assembly Opening Worship