Would you answer some questions for me?
Questions from our lives, the challenge is not to become questioning certainly not cynical but to carry relevant questions. To be people always learning though enquiry, being challenged educationally as young child, with dyslexia and all it brings in being different, trying to survive in an education system that was developed to demand regurgitated answers when requested. Although there is still the requirement of this mode of learning today, I wonder how many get a cold shiver when we her the word invigilator, followed by visiting in your mind to the place of the sound of loan footsteps in a hall or gym given over to examination when the invigilator walked between the desks. Thousands of 16 and 18 year olds have just began a season of examinations in the UK and are listening to the haunting foot steps of the lone invigilator meandering through their exam hall.
I am thrilled to see some changes in education that make much of enquiry rather than the regurgitation of information at set times. I trust it will be a world of people who know how to ask questions not beach questing. Cynics love questing and undermining, learners ask questions for understanding.
Let us get back to questions, here is one, ‘why is the body of Christ so separated?’ Do you not think something scandalous has happened when the aim of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is UNION. To bring humanity into the experience, realisation and enjoyment of UNION with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Everything I read and see through the narrative of scripture declares union for me.
Union is the background to every word, action and deed of God toward creation, heaven and earth, creation and creator. I would even suggest its the backstory of all God does.
We have been reconciled with God though Christ to be a community, a family demonstrating reconciliation. The community of God, the ecclesia is to be a reconciling people, is it not?
If union, reconciliation is a foundation nature of the body of Christ is it not scandal that in Christianity doe snots Eem to find it which these separations and division have become a great scandal, has it not?
We find so many reasons to justify separation whether it is due to practice difference, style preference, theology difference, eschatology differences, all giving reasons to separate rather than having an overarching guide to all the differences union and reconciliation. Perhaps we have not fallen out but we are still separate.
The challenge is that we might first begin with thinking, theological differences however it never remains there but journeys into the personal lives of groups of people. I would suggest the worst divide is produced when insecurity is threatened and causes people to break with each other. When some one is threatened and becomes defensive in causing others never to have anything to do with certain other people. These are explained and justified but are we not to be in union with God and with each other. Love your brother and sister, loving God is expressed in loving them even those that are different even our enemies are given to bring us to love union. Challenging or what?
I would suggest the division produced is an effective way of disabling and silencing our effectiveness by taking our voice away. We have a message of reconciliation, yet we break relationships.
Today more than ever we are realising God is a relational God and we are to demonstrate this, yet we still need the breath of God to enable union with each other.
I am challenged with Jesus’ desire to express our union to each other though the “communion”, “breaking of bread” the scripture tells us it was Jesus “fervent desire” to sit and eat together. A fervent desire in traumatic times, a covenant meal before and in the middle of challenging events. This meal will change history. A Covenant extended to all not just a few revealing Gods love as the Son looked through the immediate, for the “joy set before him”. He said do this in remembrance of me, it was not a little wafer or piece of cubed bread, neither a thimble full of wine, but it was in the face of eating, sharing table together, do this be together be as one, even if one would deny me, another betray me be together in my remembrance just as I am making my self one with you, be one together see beyond the issues, be the love of God that people may see and taste that God is good (Luke 22:7-39; Matt 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-16, John 13”:1-17; 1 Cor 11:17-34).
The context of the upper room is some times lost as we fix our thoughts on what happened from there, the departure of Judas, the Garden, along with the betrayal onward to the cross and resurrection. Let me pull you back a little with a thought, this Covenant meal was set in the context as people around them gathered in families, they re-enact history, the journey that would make them a people from captives. They would be formed and transformed, this was the context of Jesus taking bread and wine to establish a New Covenant. As others meet to eat a meal while dressed for a journey the upper room became a journey into union.
From our participation with God we declare Christ is not divided, this gives us space to have differences in understanding and practice yet we are one with Christ which makes us one and takes away divisions, we must live accordingly.
Unity so often becomes a goal rather than living in the light of the union Christ brought about through the resurrection. Every thing we received, our healing, our new life, our union with Chirst personally, all happens at the cross and resurrection yet we go on trying to be one, yet we ARE ONE THROUGH CHRIST, the need is to live in the light of being one rather than trying to get there we are in union with God and with each other therefore enough of the scandal of division on a personal, one a church community, on denominational and national levels, we are one.
We can take the instruction of 1 Cor 11 then jump into 1 Cor 12 and be so gifted, or so we think then jump to how to use the gifts but we must go through the “Love is and is not” chapter to realise love is the foundation of every practice and love motivates and is our motive therefore how can we be divided?
Union with God, union with each other, reconcile through Chirst, reconciling our environment….