How are we to serve and act in a world wounded by the COVID-19 pandemic? How are we to overcome the problems before us and survive together in this critical period?
"Serving a wounded world in interreligious solidarity" co-published in August 2020, by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) is a joint ecumenical appeal to all Christians, including the young and people of all beliefs, to reflect and act during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
This short document in 24 pages poses a question: "What does it mean for Christians to love and serve our fellow human beings in a world in which the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted widespread suffering?" And it invites us to regard the current crisis as an opportunity to discover new forms of solidarity in five parts: the current crisis, solidarity sustained by hope, the basis for interreligious solidarity, principles, and recommendations.
The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) is a good example to ponder on the meaning of service and solidarity. "Whom are we called to love and care for?" The Good Samaritan invites us to reflect on the need to transcend boundaries, religious prejudice, and cultural biases in our service to the suffering.
The current crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic has a grave impact on the global community with much despair, anxiety, and insecurity. The whole of humanity, rich or poor, the elderly or children and especially the sick are gravely wounded by the coronavirus.
Healthcare workers, many kind-hearted Christians, and people of goodwill have collaborated with compassion and solidarity. In this way, we are called to work together and collaborate with others with goodwill to fulfill our hope and dream for a better world of justice and peace.
This document shares the basis for interreligious solidarity in our belief in God as follows: First, all human beings are creatures of the One God with a plan for all. We are sisters and brothers, connected by love and we are responsible for one another. Second, our trust and hope are in Jesus Christ who heals by His wounds, love, compassion, and mercy. Third, we see Christ in the wounded man by the wayside. In the suffering of people, we encounter the face of the suffering Christ. Fourth, we are connected by the work of the Holy Spirit when we are in solidarity with others. It is the Spirit that sends us out into the world to be the good news in it and to be the hands of Christ caring for all who suffer.
The common principles in walking the path of solidarity are highlighted as humility and vulnerability, respect for each individual, community and compassion and the common good, dialogue and mutual learning, repentance and renewal, gratitude and generosity, and love. We are all called to live God's love.
All Christians are invited to serve others based on several recommendations: find ways of bearing witness to suffering; promote a culture of inclusiveness which celebrates difference as God's gift; nurture solidarity through spirituality, widen the formation of the clergy, religious communities, laypeople and pastoral workers; engage and support young people; create space for dialogues; and restructure projects that promote interreligious solidarity.
"Be through my lips to unawaken'd Earth/ The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,/ If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" (Percy Bysshe Shelley).
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