Last week was the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This is a time the ecumenical community sets aside for prayer and focus on the oneness of the Church. Our world continues to change rapidly. Globalization and ready information via the internet, smart phones, and social media, have exposed us to the challenges of war, famine, drought, climate change, gender and racial discrimination, and political unrest. Our 24-hour news cycle is limiting in its scope, and yet access to information is right before us. We know a lot and have access to portals of information, but we are also in many ways more disconnected than we have ever been. The same sources that inform us also limit our personal engagement with each other.
As Christians, we continue to be committed to the ecumenical movement and to living into the witness of Jesus’ prayer “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). This commitment binds Christians together globally, connecting us to one another in tangible ways that challenge us to pray one for the other, to fight for peace and justice, and to find ways to walk in solidarity so that all can live with human rights and dignity.
Our global ecumenical relationships are rooted in historic witness, some that started under colonial imperatives and now live within parameters of mutuality, respect, and partnership that afford opportunities for our congregations and members to grow spiritually together. The global commitment to partnership allows us to learn with each other, strengthens our commitments to be Christians together in the world, and lays us open to the possibilities for a world where all God’s children can live without violence and war.
Our prayers continue with and for the Christian communities that live with persecution and violence. We pray for those who live with less than they need to survive, knowing that while we are separated geographically, the love of God through Jesus Christ unites our hearts and motivates us to desire the best for all people.
The body of Christ is one. This oneness connects us across time and space, across differences that would seek to divide us. We are united in our diversity. Theologically, racially, ethnically and in many ways we can point to our differences. We celebrate our differences, because these point to the rich diversity of the global ecumenical community and the miracle of God who transcends and unites us through Jesus Christ. The global ecumenical family continues to live in hope for a future where we will be one, united in heart, minds, body, and spirit to the glory of God.
Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson serves as Minister for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in the national setting of the United Church of Christ.