Thursday, January 18, 2007

Unity: Where we have been and where we are

Is there much behind us? Much that follows us? Years of regret and harsh words to each other? Yes. It can not be denied. It can not be ignored. But what lies ahead? Does the road ahead have hope?

Yes. This year has been a great year for unity. We can see the Holy Spirit pushing us forward. Pope Benedict has said:

"Theological dialogue is necessary, in-depth knowledge of the historical reasons of choices made in the past is perhaps indispensable. But what is urgent in the main is that 'purification of the memory,' so many times recalled by John Paul II, which alone can dispose spirits to receive the full truth of Christ."

"It is before him, supreme Judge of every living being, that each one of us must place himself, in the awareness of one day having to render an account to him of what one has done or not done for the great good of the full and visible unity of all his disciples."

Pope Shenouda II has said in the past:

"The whole Christian world is anxious to see the church unite. Christian people, being fed up with divisions, are pushing their church leaders to do something about church unity and I am sure that the Holy Spirit is inspiring us."

And there are more than words. In the recent Papal visit to Turkey the heads of many Churches laid more groundwork.

And Catholics, Lutherans and this year the Methodists have signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (link).

But there is still far to go. To me, the strengthening of unity will come where Christians of all kinds stand up for their brothers and sisters wherever they suffer. Christ will take us by the hand and lead us...but we must extend our hands to those who suffer. To those who need.

The Lord called to Peter and Peter walked across the water toward our Lord. But he became scared of the strong wind and began to sink.

Christ did not let Peter sink, He took him by the hand and saved him.

Our road ahead in unity is filled with stong winds.

The wind of regrets.
The wind of wrongs toward each other.
The winds of Pride.
The winds of those who do not want Christians united.
The winds of the enemy.
The winds of our own fears.

But there is also the Lord in the whispering wind, as He came to Elijah. Above all there is the hand of the Lord reaching out to us. He will take our hand. He will carry us. But we must clasp each others hands, so we go to Him together.

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