One of the great things that Christians prize is unity. Looking around the Christian church you wouldn’t believe it! The squabbles and fighting show that often its the last thing that appears to be true.
Indeed the pope in his recent visit to this country attempted to pull ‘rank’ by indicating that he thought that he was Jesus’ senior representative on earth.
But for all the institutional bickering there is another story on the ground.
I have been struck by this forcibly over the last year on a number of fronts.
With one vicar, with whom I have little in common, we have shared a common high regard for a particular teacher. Both of us discovering Gospel insights.
Another, again from a different ecclesiastical tradition, has warmly and generously invited us to plant a new congregation in her parish. What an amazing answer to prayer. We are all praying and looking forward to God’s blessing of this.
On a personal level working with a wide range of clergy in recent years on various diocesan groups I have been struck by the differing ways our expression of love of Jesus have come out.
The main troubles seem to arise when you have to do things in the way that I think are right. This misses the fact that just as “they” get things wrong and miss things, so do I.
I am a work in progress. I need to have the humility to realise this. From this point I can start to listen and learn from others.
Unity is hard work. Its easier to retreat to our own certainties. But to do so is to miss the variety and enriching that God desires for us. True unity is not insipid; true unity recognises we need each other and the insights that we bring to each other. It challenges us and enriches us.