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Weekly Reflection - Imagining Unity

18 June 2021

Fr Tim Carroll

There have been some interesting global leadership meetings in recent days. At the G7 summit we’ve had ‘smiley photos’ of global leaders walking on beaches together, eating breakfast and earnest greetings; while at the same time also locking horns on big issues that affect how we live our everyday lives. Nothing new there, although you do you wonder if genuine unity of purpose, one that puts everyday citizens at the heart of discussions is possible? Is it just too complicated and difficult? I’ll let you answer that one.

The question that the church must ask is what is God’s purpose and mission in the world at this time is, what is the Spirit doing and how can the church can unite behind it, despite our differences.

In ‘Acts chapter 4’ we hear of a church that is living as ‘one heart and soul’ and that a ‘great grace was upon them all’. Some commentaries are divided on this passage, especially when private property is mentioned, however this passage allows the church today to have high expectations and imagine a Christian community which is united in purpose.

Unity is hard. There was a man named Seamus whose sailing boat capsized and he was washed up on a desert island. After years of living and adapting to island life all by himself, by chance some sailors arrived and rescued him. Before Seamus got on the rescue boat, they said ‘Seamus, show us the house you lived in here’, so Seamus took them to a cleared area that had three buildings. He points to the fancy middle one and said ‘that’s my house there’, and sailors agreed it was lovely.‘What about the others’ asked the sailors, ‘Well’ Seamus said ‘the one on the left is my church’ The sailors said ‘Ok, what about the other one?’ Seamus replied ‘Well, that’s the church I used to go to.’

Only God’s great grace can help us to begin dreaming of being a united Christian community. A world of division and injustice needs a united community of believers in the resurrection to join with God in his mission of true reconciliation.

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