Peace with Justice for the whole Creation - The Faith we affirm - The Church - people of God and Body of Christ in the

37. We believe that God, from the very beginning, chose and called human beings as his people to testify to his love and mercy in the world. God established a covenant with his people Israel, which was called out from among the nations to be his possession (cf. Ex. 19:1-25, Ex. 24:8), to be a blessing to all nations according to God's promises to Abraham (Gen. 12:2 ff). In spite of the disobedience of his people, God remained steadfast and promised the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). The New Covenant is definitively established in Jesus Christ (cf 1 Cor. 11:25, Mark 14:24, Hebr. 8:1-13) and open to all (cf 1 Tim. 2:4 ff).

38. Through faith and baptism we have become daughters and sons of God. Because of the great gift of the new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17, Gal. 6:15), 'there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus' (Gal. 3:28). In the power of the Holy Spirit the Church is the Body of Christ, present in the world: 'For by one Spirit we are all baptised into one body -Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - and all were made to drink of one Spirit' (1 Cor. 12:13). The Church as Body of Christ is the "vision of peace" (Origen, or. 9,2 PG 13, 349), which can be real and universal only in the understanding that peace and justice are synonymous (Clement of Alexandria, Strom., 4,25).

39. While we are members of the Body of Christ, we Christens belong also to different churches and church communities. As a result of baptism and the response in faith to the hearing of God's word, we Christians are already one in Christ, even though we are not yet in full communion. We seek to overcome the differences which still exist in doctrine and practice in order to come to a full communion. In doing so, we have a vision of communion in which the different traditions are no longer a reason for separation, but enrich each other. All churches are already aware that they must travel the road to this communion together.

40. Also on our common path of inquiry and action in concern for justice, peace and integrity of creation the separation of our churches is made most painfully aware to us at the Lord's table, because there we receive and celebrate the New Covenant, which is also the covenant of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Thus the Eucharist, which, here in Basel we celebrate separately, is an impulse towards the unity of the church and humanity: "The eucharist embraces all aspects of life. It is a representative act of thanksgiving and offering on behalf of the whole world. The eucharistic celebration demands reconciliation and sharing among all those regarded as brothers and sisters in the one family of God and is a constant challenge in the search for appropriate relationships in social, economic and political life (Mt. 5.23ff; 1 Cor. 10.16f; 1 Cor. 11.20-22; Gal. 3.28). All kinds of injustice, racism, separation and lack of freedom are radically challenged when we share in the body and blood of Christ." (Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry § 20). This applies to all kinds of discrimination. God's reconciliation will become more clearly manifest through a community where the antagonisms between race, class and sex have been fully overcome.


© 2001 by Ulrich Schmitthenner • Bildschirm-Version