Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Mark 9:38 - ‘because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’

Reflection
One of us

I was told on good authority this week that there are now over 60,000 ‘Christian’ denominations in the world all claiming to know the Truth.
Only a few years ago it was 30.000; what is happening to the Truth?
It seems that, like beauty, Truth is in the eye of the beholder and if you don’t agree, then you are not one of the chosen; not one of us. People are being exiled or founding new churches on the strength of a translation, an idea, a tradition, a taste in music or prayer. As had been mentioned recently we are in danger of becoming church-ians.

How dreadful; how human.

Jesus warned us that our faith would mean that we would be criticised and persecuted; that our faith would set brother against brother but did he mean within the faith itself? Surely not? What happened to the communities of the early church who lived wonderfully together?

When did being a Christian mean judging other Christians?

It seems since forever; as the disciples did it; Paul’s communities did it. It seems that, except in fleeting moments of Divine Grace, that is how humanity operates. ‘Give us rules, Lord so that we may judge others by them.’

And didn’t God try that one for thousands of years before Christ. The Ten Commandments that turned into 600-odd precepts of ‘what if’s’ and ‘how about’s’. Wasn’t that why God became incarnate –to show ‘flesh and blood’ how ‘flesh and blood’ should behave.

Jesus gives us examples - be as children.
Love one another as I love you – without judgement, prejudice or barrier.
Be open to the Spirit who guides you through me to the Father.
Don’t let the world get in the way.

Jesus himself says ‘anyone who is not against us is for us’ – another simple phrase that we can choose to put limitations on by deciding who is ‘us’.

To belong to Christ we should try to love others as ourselves.
And when it comes to others; let Jesus decide who belongs to him.


Contemplation
What if God was one of us?

This week I was in (separate) conversations with a Methodist and a recently converted Catholic. It seemed ironic that I actually had more in common with my Methodist friend as in both conversations we were talking about division within Christianity.

Each of the conversations ended in very similar statements; with the Methodist I agreed with her saying ‘in the end it’s not about you, it’s about you in Christ.’ whilst the other conversation ended ‘it’s not about you, it’s about you in the Church.’ And I couldn’t agree, because as joined to Christ as we may be through the Church, there will always be personalities, opinions and teachings that divide people – that’s human nature. That’s really what keeps us apart from where Jesus wants us to be.

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