The Rev. Prof. Dr. Jerry Pillay

The Rev. Prof. Dr. Jerry Pillay, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), delivered the sermon titled “Live into Hope” during the Ecumenical service of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on July 2, 2024.


The key thing to understand as Christians is that our hope is tied to Jesus Christ,” he said. This hope is real and now, even though it is something of the future.”

It is Christ Jesus who gives us the strength to overcome, said Pillay. We are set free,” he said. Freedom does not mean that we are without ties and obligations.”

Pillay also reflected on the ways in which we are attached to Jesus.

As long as we remain attached to him, we are safe!” he said. This consequently requires that we live according to what God desires.”

Our love for others causes us to suffer with them, Pillay continued. Setting forth each day, advancing each moment, our discipleship commits us to renewal—personal, ecclesial, societal,” he said. It sets us on a sacred journey with Jesus and each other as we learn to give our lives over to God, to loves imperatives, and to the flourishing of humanity and the earth.”

The Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity aims to capture this opportunity, he noted. 

My sisters and brothers, we cannot afford to abandon this hope for transformation, for ourselves and everyone else,” he said. 

Each person is uniquely endowed with dignity, Pillay said. 

We must recognize and support that dignity in everyone and in every venue,” he said. That has enormous implications for our collective commitment as communities of faith.”

In todays world, we can all agree, we are in a heap of trouble, Pillay said. 

Climate change and disasters, steep economic inequality, societal divisions, wars everywhere, persistent racism: they defy hope and threaten the very survival of the human endeavour and the planets health,” he said. 

Even the churches themselves are challenged by declining numbers, real divisions, and the betrayal of religion by abusers and demagogues, Pillay said. 

How can we offer solutions to the world, when we have such problems ourselves?” he asked. As Christians, our hope stems from our trust in the promise of Christs resurrection, from a more profound engagement with the central mysteries of our faith, and from an ever-deeper discipleship in and for the world.”

Pillay is attending the Presbyterian Church (USA) 226th General Assembly, convening under the theme Live into Hope” in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, from 29 June to 4 July.

Homily by Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, WCC general secretary at the Presbyterian Church (USA) 226th General Assembly