Sri Lanka

Visits in 2012

"I wonder whether you would be able to include Colombo, Sri Lanka in your mission next year? Please let me know if it’s possible … ? We are a nation that has been torn apart by civil war and ethnic strife. Your community involvement could be a great boost for those who are involved in the work of healing and reconciliation."

These words that we received by email at the end of last year were so direct that we could only take them seriously and accept the invitation. We were invited to meet together with some young people for a day of prayer and sharing. The Saint Thomas College at Mount Lavinia had taken the initiative to invite schools and colleges of different denominations. Five different colleges, three Anglican and two Roman Catholic ones, responded to the call and took part very seriously.

The day before the meeting a small group of six young people, all members of the college choir, came along to learn the songs from Taizé, which they had never come across before. It was wonderful to watch as they played and sang them better and better. Thanks to their keenness, these six young people were able to lead eighty young people in prayer, all of whom were completely new to this style of prayer although very much open to it. The sharing on the letter Towards a New Solidarity was very powerful and a confirmation that it is good to reflect more in that direction.

This trip to Sri Lanka was also the occasion to visit, among others, some church leaders (the Council of Churches, the Anglican bishop, religious communities). Each time I was told: Oh, come back, the war is finished but the war is still in our hearts. A simple prayer, accessible to young people, can really help us.

That helped to understand better the essential role that Christians can play together in restoring a true peace to the country.

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