Tveit: “Love is about the future: Where are we going from here?”

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit preaching at the Seong Eun Methodist Church in Seoul, Korea. Photo: Son Seung-ho/NCCK/WCC

In a sermon at the Seong Eun Methodist Church on 17 November, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit reflected on the theme of the upcoming WCC Assembly in 2021, “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.”

Tveit reflected on how, in the days after Jesus died, terrible days became happy days, and even days of reconciliation and restoration of the fellowship.

“The loving host, the risen Lord, the honest teacher and leader asks Peter: Do you love me? This is a tough question to hear,” said Tveit. “Maybe one of the toughest questions we can ask one another.”

The question itself contains a doubt that it is so, Tveit notes. “The relationship that raises the question is perhaps a broken one,” he said. “Still, the question also reveals a hope that love can be affirmed, even manifested in such a way that the question will not have to be repeated.”

Love is always about relationships, and love is about the future, Tveit continued. “This is the defining question to all leaders in the church,” he said. “Do you love me? The question comes from Jesus. Do we love Jesus?”

What does that mean? “Love for God must be shown in responsibility and care for those in need, all those whom God cares for,” said Tveit. “Children and young people are posing the same question in a new way.”

They are asking if we take  care of the creation in which we live. “Together the churches here in South Korea and your partners in North Korea continue to make efforts for peace, together with the wider ecumenical fellowship in the World Council of Churches,” Tveit said. “Today we hear this question as it pertains to this greatest concern of our time, climate change or global warming.”

To follow Jesus is always about being honest, just, and caring for the others and not our own interests first, said Tveit. “It is always about whether and how we respect and love each other in response to divine love,” he said. “This is our time: To be loved by Jesus Christ. To love one another.”