Beloved in Christ,
Greetings to you in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
We celebrate November 2nd Sunday as Unity Sunday. The High Priestly Prayer of Christ in the gospel of John 17:21 is made to the Father with a plea that all that believe in him may be one just as He and the Father are one. The prayer comes at a crucial time just moments before the arrest of Jesus and consequently his trial and crucifixion. The call to unity has been constant with the church as far as church history goes. The Scripture also speaks about unity with varying perspectives. Love, for example, becomes an important bonding ingredient for unity. In John 13:35, Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. ” In Colossians 3:14, Paul says, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” The traditional understanding to this call of unity has been overcoming divisions within congregations and denominations and ecumenical organizations. This view point holds its merit but the church which was responsible for bringing about this unity has remained divided.
In response to Christians who follow after individuals rather than Jesus, Paul says that Christ is not divided? 1 Cori. 1:12, 13. The central purpose of Christ’s coming into the world is to reconcile the world with God, that is, Jesus becomes the bridge between God and the whole cosmos.
Firstly, the call for unity is to be found in communion with the communities that are found beyond the four walls of the church. United with communities that are discriminated against in the name of caste, colour, region and language. Paul thinks of his call as an apostle to the Gentiles to break the wall of partition and barriers of division between the Jew and the Gentile, male and female, the slave and the master and “to bring about obedience of faith among all nations.” Just as love was a bonding ingredient for the early Christians, it is justice for all communities in our context.
Secondly, the call for unity needs the church to be found in communion with all of God’s creation. The plan of God was to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as its head. In the context of ecological degradation and environmental concerns, the call is to become good stewards of the resources that God has given with in the cosmos.
The prayer of Christ . “That they may be one” will be fulfilled when the Universal church strives to move beyond from being a “united church” to a “uniting church” embracing one and all through love, justice and peace.
May God bless you all.
Yours in Christ
C Y Thomas Achen