“God’s grace is given to us as a free and unconditional gift,” said Bishop Dr. Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, in his keynote address to delegates, special guests and visitors to the 16th Biennial National Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
“The theme Liberated by God’s grace did not come out of our heads but was taken directly from the theological writings of Martin Luther,” said Bishop Younan, who offered a glimpse into his views on grace.
“We live in a world of wealth,” he said. “Everything costs and everything has a price. My relationship with God is not built on my merits but on liberation by God by grace through faith.”
“It is our responsibility to let the light of God’s free gift of grace shine for the sake of our neighbours.”
Salvation – Not for Sale
We have come a long way in 500 years, said Younan, “but there is still work to be done.”
“While we may like to think of slavery as a thing of the past,” he said, “the reality is the exploitation of workers is done in a quieter less visible way today. We can call them migrant workers, temporary workers or undocumented domestic help but in the end, it is still slavery.”
Pointing to the plight of the thousands of refugees that seek safety and welcome outside their war-torn countries, Bishop Younan thanked those who have lent a hand already but said more needs to be done.
“Many refugees are seen only as political commodities or considered to be economic liabilities.”
Human Beings – Not for Sale
The Bishop urged delegates to speak up for the human rights of all.
“God created all of us in God’s image,” he said. “Those who are liberated by God’s grace are those who are working for the dignity of human beings.”
Creation – Not for Sale
Creation is a gift from God, said Younan. “We did nothing to deserve such beauty, such diversity and such abundance.”
“We are all caretakers of the precious gift of our earthly home and of every creature that lives upon it,” he said. “This is God’s creation and human beings are to care for it. We are to tend to God’s beautiful garden.”
“If we are able to be like trees planted by the streams of living water, we must do our best to preserve the climate in which those waters flow,” said Younan.
The full version of Younan’s keynote address can be viewed online: https://youtu.be/HZeCgOrVjTw
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 114,592 baptized members in 525 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
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