Pope Benedict XVI said that working for the visible unity of the Church will be a major goal during his papacy. Even though among the churches the rally cries are “unity in diversity”, “united in Christ despite our differences” or “we are united at the altar and baptismal font despite our profound differences”, we have a suspicious response: “On whose term are we united?”
Hence, we have been spending a lot of time dealing with the church internal conflicts until a point we have less time for evangelism. No wonder a famous radio broadcaster once said, “Too many Christians are no longer fishers of men but keepers of the aquarium.” We are lost in all of this Christian disunity.
The whole Chapter 17 of the Gospel of John is about the high priestly prayer by Jesus for His disciples and church to be united before His crucifixion. Jesus is most concerned about the unity of the Church.
The question is, how do we bring about and work toward unity?
1. Start with us: We have to stop doing and saying those things that lead to, cause and perpetuate disunity amongst us. The unity is not on whose term, but based on the mutual learning and maturing.
2. Pull together: We are living in an individualistic society. Living in the survivor mode, our focus is on getting through the day in one piece. And when we are in that mode, there isn’t a lot of space for words like “community”, “us” and “we”. There is only space for “I” and “me”. The Devil divides and conquers us. Hence, we need to learn to synergise and pull together with others.
3. Keep working on it: Even though we might not be able to achieve 100% of unity, we are heading the right direction. Jesus has been our role model for it, and He will continue to pray for all of us here in TMLC. Therefore, weed need to commit ourselves to the followings:
(a) We should always begin from the perspective of unity and not division in order to strengthen what is held in common even though the differences are more easily seen and experienced.
(b) We must let ourselves continuously be transformed by the encounter with the others and by mutual witness of faith.
(c) We should again commit ourselves to seeking visible unity in concrete steps, and striving repeatedly toward this goal.
(d) We should jointly rediscover the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our time.
(e) We should together witness the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world.
I believe, if all of us have the same mindset to work toward the unity of the church, it should not be pie in the sky. God bless!