By Dennis Frado, Director of Lutheran Office for World Community

After spending many years here at United Nations headquarters in New York, I suppose I could be excused for expressing disappointment – disappointment that governments tend to give priority to their national interests instead of the global common good, disappointment that the Security Council all too often is unable to end barbarous conflicts that leave innocent civilians as casualties in their wake.

But, thinking about Lenten renewal, each year around this time I find my spirit renewed and refreshed as we welcome women — and some men — to the annual session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Our office is fortunate to be able to host these visitors each year with the generous assistance of the Lutheran World Federation, including our member church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  

These folks do not disappoint. These people of faith – almost all Lutherans – look at the UN with fresh eyes and speak to those who would hear a word of hope and excitement about the work they are undertaking in their own contexts.  They may be acting to prevent gender-based violence, holding accountable the perpetrators, seeking justice and comforting the victims of gender-based violence or telling the stories of the empowerment and resilience of rural women and girls who too often lack access to capital, education, services, health care, etc.   It is the spirit, active engagement and advocacy of these sisters and brothers in Christ that renews my faith and, despite a shattered world, underscores a Christian word of hope for a better future for humankind.