Friday, April 18, 2008

Being "One"

An "earworm" I'm told, is a song that you can't get out of your head (Heaven help you if its a Joe Cocker or Kate Bush song). It may have been the first song on the way to work, or a song while attending to some other activity. Regardless, soon its lodged in your head all day.

Recently, I've pondered on whether this process occurs on other plains, in particular I'm thinking about our prayer lives and the way certain causes or concerns will frequently find themselves in our prayers. Are there moments when the Divine intersects with our spirits, injecting a concern or cause for prayer? Too, how is it so that a thing that doesn't appear to directly impact us, cause us to labor in prayer?

I am a man who prays and hopes someday to be remembered as a man of prayer. Too, I will be the last one to become a Scold, as I know I've squandered moments which could have been given to this privileged communication with the Heavenly. All this said, I've been given a burden or "prayer worm" if you'll have it.

In my prayers, I've been struck with the recurring intercession for unity in the body of the saints and the Church catholic. I'm not speaking of some gushy kumbayah ecumenism where we dumb it down to the lowest common denominator. I'm speaking of new, transformational unity; a unity of focus and purpose. This is a unity that recognizes our familial bond as brothers and sisters in Christ, and our covenantal relationship to the Almighty. This is a unity that recognizes that whether "Greek or Barbarian... Bond or Free", we are on in Christ, one in mission and one in purpose. I would contend gentle reader that without this radical unity, the resurgent Anglican churches will become yet another yapping, toothless old dog.

We first must be united in Christ. None (Save Christ himself) were natural-born heirs. We all were first children or wrath; withering sprigs without hope in this life or a home in the next one. Yet we've been grafted into the vine and now draw from the same source. United, our guilt was satisfied on Calvary. United, our old lives were buried at sea through our Baptisms. United, we will rule and reign with Him when he returns on that last day. Anglican or not, all true followers of the way are bound as one in God the Son to God the Father.

We must also be united in purpose. Unlike Admiral Stockdale's famous invective, there should be no doubts on who we are and why we're here. We're not here to speak the "truth to power", or make sure folk aren't brought to conviction over their own sins. We're here because the Almighty has foreordained us to be here, to be living witnesses of the Light in this coming darkness. Regardless of gift or vocation, we're united in the task of reflecting the light of Christ deep into the gathering night. We reflect the Almighty as the moon reflects the light of the sun. And, though the darkness may not comprehend the Light, there will be those who respond to the Light's overtures.

Finally, we must be united in focus. By focus, I'm speaking to that micro vision that our God gives to churches and fellowships. In other words, think of this as discerning just what direction would the Lord have a parish or mission proceed. This focus belongs to God and is entrusted to the local body. It's not the property of the Priest, Deacon, Warden or Vestryman, it's Christ's vision for his Bride, provided to be an object of local stewardship. Until we cause or agendas and plans to bow before the cross, we'll never truly obtain this third unity.

My prayer this afternoon is that all of the saints would come to apprehend what is truly is to be united in Christ, united in purpose and united in focus.

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