“Jesus is with us” is our DNA – Archbishop of Myanmar preaches closing sermon of Global South

abishop-oo

These notes of the sermon by Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo taken at the time do not claim to be verbatim.

Christians in Myanmar have shined the light of the Gospel there for 200 years. Myanmar has one hundred and thirty four ethnic groups, but Buddhists are the majority community.

Through Christians the light of world shines. By doing social missions, health and education, many ethnic minority groups have become Christians and the life of the people of Myanmar has been lifted up.

During the 1950s this light was covered up by the then government who announced that Buddhism was the state religjon. Many ethnic groups stood against this. This triggered the world’s longest civil war. It has lasted for 65 years and is not over yet.

Myanmar has experienced tears and blood for 65 years. Christians have been reduced to being second class citizens. Christianity was regarded as being an expression of neo-colonialism. Light was covered by darkness.

How did Christians shine their lights under this thick cloud?

I turn you to the Great Commission in Matthew 28 verse 18: “All power is given to me in heaven and earth.” We cannot compete with the world as we are weak and imperfect. Christians form 6.2% of the population of Myanmar. We have no power or authority economically, politically, or socially. Yet Christianity has never been damaged by weakness in the last sixty years. Rather it has been growing gradually with nothing to rely on except God and his power.

Christianity has been growing gradually in very difficult situations only because of the power of Jesus Christ who is ruling and guiding every event and circumstance. Even though our light is covered by the basket of poverty and discrimination, we can still serve God as light to the nation. Light given by Christ did not disappear only because of the power and love of Jesus Christ and his commission: “Go and teach all nations baptizing them in name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

We note the suffering we have been passing through. But God is everything. The mission of the church is God’s mission led by God himself. We are just instruments of God, God teaches us to have a mindset of total dependence on Him, not on other resources, so that the power of Jesus can flow through us in the right way. In the process of our struggle, Christ assures us he is with us.

Sometimes we cannot even worship together because of our church’s plight. All that is left is to make personal deep prayers. Mostly God gave us answers which are beyond our prayers. Christ keeps his promise. He also teaches us to keep his commands.

‘Jesus with us’ has become the DNA of church of Province of Myanmar. By this DNA God helps us uncover the basket and that we be found faithful. God never lost sight of his people to be the light of the world. The key is his promise – to be with you even to the end of the world.

When people of the world lost the knowledge of God, God called Abraham and Israel.

When Israel lost its calling, God called through Holy Spirit a new people to be the light.

When the Catholic Church broke with the teaching of Scripture, there appeared protesting churches – the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

When darkness descended again – God called GAFCON and the Global South to establish his kingdom and his light.

How will we be found faithful among all the challenges we face?

Satan has been trying cover Christianity with the basket of human egocentric desires. We are not able or called to address this with our own skills and resources. The answer according to the experience of Myanmar is found in Matthew 28 18 – all power is given to Jesus who promises “I am with you always.”

Jesus Christ is with us in every time and everywhere in every circumstance and so is his power.

Let us work together as Global South and GAFCON to uncover the basket and to be the light of the nations.

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