We are steadily moving into this new year, with the uncertainty and challenges of daily life during the pandemic, with societal and economic uncertainty within the community and the globe. The challenges of environment, of society, and within our world are legion: vulnerable persons face this winter, persons are not afforded dignity due to their age, gender, sex, culture, or ethnicity; The world seems to be spinning out of control with the Covid19 response, the climate crisis, political change and instability, with warmongers urging for destruction. There seems to be so much that divides and despairs humanity.
Into this the Christian community steps boldly into the third week of January. It is a time when we observe the healing and reconciling relationship between Peter and Paul – two early Christian leaders who didn’t always agree.
So many times Christian leaders and Christian communities have disagreed, divided, and caused destruction in their wake. The legacy of many Christian communities is one of colonization, oppression, and the subjugation of peoples, ideas, expressions and cultures.
This is not a monopoly for Christianity, yet in the western world it is one of the realities of the imprint of Christian leaders and communities on our shores.
This week – this third week of January, between January 18 and January 25, we are reminded that Christian persons are called not to divide and subjugate, oppress and destroy. Instead, we are called to reveal the Holy One in our midst, and celebrate the Holy One that is between each of us, and the other.
Christian communities are divided – we pray, we sing, we live, we observe a rule of life each in differing ways. We are called by the Holy One to mend our division, mend our brokenness, so that we can bring the Holy One, and bring holiness to the world.
And yet, Christian communities are each trying their best to be faithful to the Holy One, and to share with humanity the care, dignity and love that Jesus has offered us.
I give thanks these days for the friendship and companionship that I witness within my context. The differences that are present within Christian communities here are not destructive. The faith communities that I encounter, and their leaders, offer the love and the presence of the Holy One. Yes, we do not do everything together; yet we come together and work, and worship, and witness, because in each others eyes, hearts, and actions, we see the presence of the Holy One.
This week, each of the days, I will sing and give thanks for the entire Christian community, for its brokenness, for its solidarity. I will sing to move my heart and my actions closer to the Holy One, and closer to others for whom is the call for dignity, love and care.
The Broken Body
How can we live as Christians here, untouched by one another,
lip service paying to the name of sister or of brother?
Christ is the one who calls us one, who leads us to each other;
His voice we hear, His Word we read and yet his will we smother.
One is the water by which sign our lives for God are chosen;
One is the grace with which our Lord from sin ourselves can loosen.
But not in bread and wine as yet are hearts and hands united,
Though each can hear the banquet song to which all are invited.
If our still hands no body take, still bind us in intention:
Communion must come first through you and not by our invention.
O Christ of vision and of hope, without whose food we perish,
Show us the way by which, as one, we’ll share the One we cherish.
© 1989 The Iona Community.