This past week is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and you may have noticed last Sunday that we prayed for the leaders and people of churches across the world, for people of different denominations and traditions.
The week for Christian unity has always felt (to me) like a time for acknowledging the differences that Christians around the world demonstrate in their worship and traditions, and giving thanks for our common faith in the risen Christ. I find it incredibly beautiful that despite our differences, through our unity as the body of Christ, made real to us in the Eucharist, we are one body with Christian peoples, who celebrate and worship in completely different ways than we do, and that all of us take the time to pray for one another.
St. James’ has become an increasingly welcoming and diverse space, and I was reflecting on that whilst in Portland a couple of weeks ago.
Walking around the city, I saw many posters and signs in business windows that reflected the commitment of the people of Portland to welcome and respect people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, nations and abilities. It was as though unity and acceptance spilled out onto the streets. It wasn’t just talk either. Everywhere Tara and I went, the people we met were open and genuine in their interest in us as visitors and neighbours. The people that we met were actively modelling what their posters proclaimed. This is what we are to do at St. James’ and beyond the walls of our church in our daily lives: model our faith.
How do we do that day by day? What is one new way for each of us to show someone else who Christ is by how we live? Remember, we have the support of our brothers and sisters around the world, our friends departed and all the saints in prayer. I find a lot of comfort in that. We can always ask for help.
[Jesus said] “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”