I’VE BEEN PONDERING the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I don’t want to let it go again just yet, don’t want simply to consign it to next January, Sunday’s having come and gone, and having made a happy visit to “someone else’s church”, because the question, the important question that such a week begs is to do with what kind of “life in all its fullness” do we think we’re looking for? What might the Divine will for unity be? What’s the ‘theme for 2011’ really asking us to see? –
One in the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. Acts 2 : 42-47
– what kind of teaching were the apostles one in? What kind of fellowship? What’s the breaking of bread about? What kind of prayer? Why does anybody care? What has any of this got to say to me, about me? Because it must be first about something that matters to, that speaks to me, before I can hope to know, to feel in another human soul, any kind of real unity. And yet I do know and I do feel real unity between me and many another human person who calls me beyond my “I” to a life-enhancing “We”. And not all of them by a long chalk walk the spiritual paths that the Church would always recognise as Christianity.
And I’m becoming more and more sure that a great deal of that knowing and a great deal of that feeling emanates from my quietly growing ability to “let it be”. The repenting, the metanoia, the turning around to look at life – and at this and that – from a different angle keeps confronting me with “let it be”.
The apostles’ teaching encourages us to follow in The Way of Jesus whose life was an essay in being free from anxious thought about anything. “Behold the birds of the air and the lilies of the field which neither reap nor spin, yet your heavenly Father cares for them”. The fellowship the apostles shared arose from their attendance at the same school of life. The bread they broke and shared spoke of hospitality given and received by a whole humankind that simply wouldn’t be alive without it! And then there was the poetry of their prayer. That which lay within them, “in there”, that every human being on earth is – one might almost say – pre-programmed to need to share. For ever and ever Amen. Even unto martyrdom if necessary.
Where’s our unity? How shall we love God and one another more beautifully? Over thirty years ago Brother Roger Schütz of Taizé and many hundreds of young pilgrims from every part of the globe sowed a seed that’s still alive in me. A seed that has flourished and been nurtured and watered through years of ensuing worship. And the gentle breeze of the Spirit that now wafts through her leaves and branches whispers “let it be” … that’s how you’ll come to know life in all its fullness, that’s where you’ll find your real self … “let it be” … that’s where you’ll find real unity.
What was it that Rachel Mann was “saying” to me over the weekend? And Giles Fraser, too:
I WONDER what it might be like for us religious types to let go of our need to matter, and to embrace our irrelevance. I suspect that we might be more relaxed and a little more attractive. – Rachel Mann
Forget church politics. The wilderness – even an ecumenical one – is an opportunity to discover what is most important: to search out the source of life, and to share that life with others. This is what all baptised Christians are called to do. – Giles Fraser
What might the Divine will for unity be? What’s the ‘theme for 2011’ really asking us to see? And what’s any of it saying to, what’s any of it got to do with me? And (in this year of the AV) with thee?