Exactly 100 years ago mission leaders gathered in Edinburgh, Scotland to dream and plan for how the Gospel might be spread throughout the world. Almost all of them were white, European or North American and male. Africa, Asia and Latin America were viewed places receiving missionaries. Few imagined them being senders of missionaries. Today in South Africa 4,000 mission leaders are gathered to dream and plan for how to complete the task of world evangelization. Most of them are Africans, Asians or Latin Americans, demonstrating that God has changed the face of world Christianity in the last century.
Among the speakers at this conference is Ruth Padilla DeBorst, a missionary with Christian Reformed World Missions, who serves in Costa Rica. As a woman and a Latina, she demonstrates the shift in mission leadership. Her exposition of Ephesians 2:1-22 inspired and encouraged the 4,000 delegates and, via the internet, was instantly available around the world. Padilla DeBorst declared " Jesus is our peace; Jesus makes peace; And Jesus came and preached peace."
She explained the historical and cultural background of the passage, which has signficant connections to our own situation. It is the grace and mercy of God alone that can bring life to those who are dead in sin, and recreate one new people in the midst of humanly created divisions. The Pax Romana of Paul's era was maintained only by ruthless power and oppression. Jesus' rule was very different. Worldly powers continue to use evil methods for maintaining control. The hope of the world is a Pax Christi, in which Christ rules all. Paul daringly preached mutual submission to all, including the powerful. The body of Jesus' followers formed, from the beginning, of people from many kinds of people who would normally be at odds. True unity is found in Christ, and in the community in which God chooses to live: The Church. She challenged delegates to be the Body of Christ that can be agents of Pax Christi in the world.
You can see her full address (in two parts) here. The video focuses on her speaking and does not show the audience. For that you will need your imagination.