In St John’s gospel chapter 21 Jesus prayed that his disciples might be united. He says, “The glory that thou hast given me I have given to them , that they may be one even as we are one”. During the celebration of Holy Communion the priest breaks the host and the acclamation is made with the words, “Though we are many we are one body because we all share in one Bread”. The unity of the Church is something that Jesus prayed for before he was arrested and we are still working on it two thousand years later. Indeed a lot of Christian folk get on pretty well and that is fantastic but it would be naive to imagine that the whole of Christendom is united – it is not. There are barriers and walls and lines of demarcation that keep people both in and out of their tribal hinterland.
The same all too sadly and indeed tragically is the case in the wider world. The United Kingdom has only managed to keep united by the skin of its teeth and still there is a demand for our society to be divided up. I really wonder what this will result in and what country will emerge in fifty years time – more united or more divided? Who can say and I am no political analyst able to answer that question with any real sense of certainty.
Within our own Church community here in Tottington we must continue to work hard in maintain our unity and our common aim as a Christian presence. We must continue to ensure that newcomers are welcomed and that our door is always wedged wide open for all who may seek to cross the threshold; we must continue to pray for one another, to seek out those who have fallen off from Church life and remind them that they always belong in this place and that their absence diminishes the life of the Church and its witness in the world.
When we are united as a Church our witness is much more effective and maybe this explains why so many are turned off from Church altogether – “You Christians are always bickering between yourselves” is a genuine complaint.
As we reflect on a broken and divided world let us commit ourselves to be focuses of unity not division, healing rather than injury, hope rather than despair, joy rather than sorrow, tolerance rather than bigotry and acceptance of all rather than exclusion.
With every blessing Vicar