by Alexei Laushkin
The Gospel of John gives us some real glimpses into the life of the Holy Trinity. On the night he was betrayed St. John gives us a glimpse into the heart of our savior Jesus Christ, before he has his anguish at Gethsemane his hope and desire is for the church to be deeply and lovingly connected just as the Holy Trinity itself is. That love that animates and strengthens his life he is praying that it would animate ours. That we would be one as they are one and that they would enter into us to strengthen us.
It’s a theme that St. Paul also takes up in 1 Corinthians.
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (1 Corinthians 1:10-17)
Having the same mind, having the same spirit, these are gifts we grow into. They are signs of our deepening trust of God and our peace-ability with others. As much as it depends on us we are to be at peace especially with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Sometimes Christian unity, and its ministry of reconciliation is misunderstood as an odd combination of forgetting differences, it’s not the forgetting of differences it’s the purification of dross. How to see what is truly of Christ in us and in the other. How to put aside foolish and childish ways and how to focus on the mission and unity that God has called us to, the rich variety of mission, as Lausanne puts it in the words of Dr. Chris Wright:
evangelization requires the whole church totake the whole gospel to the whole world
At the very center of the Lausanne movement is the tension between traditional evangelism and the social ethic that comes from our mainline separated churches. Lausanne tries to heal those division in its theology. What is the result?
In its best form a richer evangelicalism, a richer and deeper Christianity, not a move away from the truth or the scriptures. In the same way by healing what has been torn apart by culture and history and misunderstanding and raw politics, we are beholding a marvel. A richer and fuller Christianity, one that Jesus prayed for, not one free of variety, but one well equipped for mission and the true evangel. This faith still requires a really grappling with tradition, and structure, and understanding, but even in that grappling we can develop a richer understanding of the mercies of God.
This piece of art (featured on this post). Caught my attention. It contains Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox themes, imagine a church that is able to not lose its sense of orthodoxy but deepens in its understanding of how grace has worked among different people.
In this ministry of reconciliation that you will see so frequently in posts and focus, we are looking for ways that we might see each other more clearly and understand the sort of mission and hope and fruitfulness that a deepening love for Christ in the other brings.