I always love being at a book launch. To see a healthy baby after long gestation and perhaps difficult labour is always special. It was even more so this week in Helsinki when the World Council of Churches launched the report of the Arusha Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, which I was heavily involved in organising last year.
The book being launched is a Devotional Guide to the Arusha Call to Transforming Discipleship. This is a resource that will enable ordinary people and local church congregations around the world to hear and engage with the Call. It has urgent contemporary relevance.
Reckoning with death-dealing forces that are shaking the world order and inflicting suffering on many, the Arusha Call urgently summons us to the Christ-connected way of life that is discipleship. We are called to follow the way of the cross, which challenges elitism, privilege, personal and structural power; and to live in the light of the resurrection, which offers hope-filled possibilities for transformation. Moving in the Spirit, we are called to become active collaborators with God for the transforming of the world.
The Arusha Call concludes with a prayer:
Loving God, we thank you for the gift of life in all its diversity and beauty. Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, we praise you that you came to find the lost, to free the oppressed, to heal the sick, and to convert the self-centred. Holy Spirit, we rejoice that you breathe in the life of the world and are poured out into our hearts. As we live in the Spirit, may we also walk in the Spirit. Grant us faith and courage to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus: becoming pilgrims of justice and peace in our time. For the blessing of your people, the sustaining of the earth, and the glory of your name. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.