It may seem a little ironic that given the diversity of Churches, their
incessant squabbling, disagreements, fallings out and even within the
Church of England, threats of schism over inclusive and exclusive
interpretations of Scripture and that response to marginalised
communities, that one of Our Lord’s principle prayers was that “they may
all be one”.
The book of Acts describes how quickly the Church started to factionise and if not directly break away from each other, at least have major disagreements on whether pagan converts to this new sect of Judaism were required to become, effectively, Jews with all the incumbent cosmetic changes and dietary laws. Paul and Barnabas saw beyond the adherence to these laws and focused on faith over form in their mission.
As Jesus painstakingly explains to his disciples over 4 whole chapters in the Upper Room, he keeps returning to his nature and the relationship of the Trinity: that they are one, and so therefore should we all be one. As we look over the next couple of weeks towards Pentecost and then the Mystery and Majesty of the Holy Trinity, we should remember this.
This does not mean, however, that Christ prays that we might all be homogenous clones of one another. Individuals, Parishes, Priests and indeed Churches are all unique and special, yet united. Each person and community has something to offer the world and the worship of God. As each context is different, so the Church is represented in many diverse forms of Spirituality, Worship style and Theology.
What unites us, however, is that we are one in Christ. Through the sacrament of baptism, and sustained by the sacraments of the altar, we all seek to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father. If we have the confidence to proclaim that, and to recognise that our brothers and sisters in other parishes, other churches do the same, then we see that the love God had for Christ is shared amongst all brothers and sisters in faith, without exclusion, without favour.
Let us pray…
Lord, as we pray for the growth of your Kingdom in this place and across our nation, may we recognise that which we share with our brothers and sisters in other churches. Together, may we be inspired to seek out those who have not yet come to know Our Lord and Saviour and pray together “May thy Kingdom Come”. Amen.