One of the great characteristics of human history is disunity. It seems that century after century we see groups of men and women coming together disagreeing, separating, hating sometimes, fighting very often and we see unity followed by disunity – empires rise and empires fall, dictatorships come, dictatorships go and there are deep wounds left in human history and so you have tribes competing with one another, races distrusting one another, nations loathing one another.
Yet, we know that the way of Jesus is totally different to this. Shortly after the formation of the followers of Jesus as a body, they were quick to say in Christ there is no east and west, there are no rich and poor, there is no male and female – we are one in Him. Now, therefore, the mission of the Church must surely be to bring unity within and between nations, unity within and between the Churches. The sad truth is that this is one aspect of the prayer of Jesus in the 17th chapter of John which has not yet been fulfilled.
Let’s just see what Jesus said in the gospel – we read “just as He and the Father are one so must all his followers be similarly united, for it is this that will make the world believe that you have sent me.” I believe that may be the most embarrassing chapter or verse in the whole of the Bible because if we are honest, if we are preaching the gospel of reconciliation, of forgiveness and of peace and we like the world are divided, how on earth can we expect them to believe us and accept the Gospel? It is ludicrous.
And that’s why Christian visionaries and prophets have constantly pointed to the sadness of what is happening and I’ve got a statement here which I’ll read from Mother Teresa and Brother Roger and this is what they jointly say, one a Catholic and one a Protestant – “confronted with all that wounds humanity”, they say, “we find the division between Christians unbearable, may we no longer delay reconciliation in that unique communion called the Church, irreplaceable leaven set in the midst of humanity.”
Well you may say that there are deep divisions with some reason to which I will respond we have our individual viewers, we have our individual interpretations, we have our individual God-given traditions but there are central truths which are non-negotiable – there are central truths that unite Christians all over the world and throughout the centuries.
When we come together and affirm these we will see God’s power revealed mightily. For example, in the Maranatha community, members of virtually every Church have come together. That does not mean to say they have compromised, it means to say they loved one another. It means to say that in coming together a mighty power has been released and they have been able to say together Jesus Christ is Lord, they have been able to say to God together He is the hope of the world, they have been able to say together there is a purpose in life, contrary to what the atheists would have us believe. There are able to see, say, to a fallen world, there is a way forward – it is the way of love