Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I love the Book of Common Prayer and the focus it provides for worship. Today's collect places our focus on unity within God's Holy Church. Consider the thought rolled up within this prayer... Our Lord's Holy Church, speaking in one voice, praying as one body and worshipping as one heart, that they would become a conduit and channel for the Spirit of God to become manifest within our world. BOO-Ya!!!
There is a tenet of Islam which I find highly admirable (OK youse, just settle down a minute.) This tenet is the concept of the Ummah. Like Christianity, Islam is not a monolith. There are at least three major veins of Islam, Sunni, Shia, and Sufi that have tenets and teachings that differ greatly. These schools have debated tenets of their faith for centuries and are at loggerheads over many issues. Yet, at the first sense of an insult or blasphemy against the faith, they will set aside their issues and demonstrate a united front against the offender.
Like Islam, Christianity is no monolith, having many factions and flavors that vary in ways beyond the scope of the Catbird Seat. Now, work with me for a moment... What if Christ's church could for a moment, speak with one voice? When an "atheist du jour" or some blasphemous artist purposefully offends the collective soul of Christendom, that we could respond to that affront in one voice?
Face it church, we're a group that shoots its own wounded and can't abide sitting next to another saint who might hold a different Bible translation, or sings from a different hymnal. Let's not even touch skin color or heritage...
As long as we cling to petty shibboleths, we will not acquire the Spirit's Fire. We'll be nothing more than toothless old dogs in the eyes of the world.
If ever there was a time to rise and stand shoulder to shoulder, and heart to heart, that time would be now... Selah