For fifty years we have gathered in the assemblies of the World Council of Churches, in response to the prayer of Jesus, that we may be one.
In Amsterdam we recognized the disorder of humankind
in the face of your design for the world. Your design is the glory of a world reconciled to you and signed by the harmonies in all creation. We wait in hope for it still.
Evanston lifted up the one who is forever our living way: "Christ -- the hope of the world." We claim this hope again, a costly hope, crucified and risen in power before us. Hail to the Christ, the name beyond all names!
In New Delhi we celebrated the flame of your life among us: "Jesus Christ -- the light of the world." The light is now flickering, now flaming bright, challenging the shadows, forever warming the cold souls of our despair.
In Uppsala we lifted up our hearts and proclaimed your promise:
"Behold, I make all things new." The vision of a new heaven and a new earth, arising in grace before us, called forth before the starkness of our life.
"Jesus Christ frees and unites" we sang in the midst of Nairobi's life: people from around the earth, standing before God in our captivities and disunities and naming a divine possibility.
In Vancouver we gathered in faith before you, "Jesus Christ -- the life of the world." We stood in wonder before the defeat of death,
determined as now to reveal your victory, made real before the eyes of all people.
"Come, Holy Spirit -- renew the whole creation" was the longing prayer in Canberra. You, and you only, O God, are the source of our renewal. We bowed in humble faith before you, offering ourselves to work with you, in the power and truth of your Spirit.
We give thanks and praise to God for the journeying of our past. Great is your faithfulness, O God!
A celebration of gathering from the opening worship of the eighth assembly of the World Council of Churches, 3 December 1998.