Transcending All Divisions in Christ
It almost sounds like you are saying something along the line of "In the End, the Beginning."
And, as we do consider what you have well shared about the Alpha and the Omega in addition to:
It was, after all, our failure to be able to define our common Christology which began the divisions which plague us to this day.
and also as Kirk has shared:
"we human beings have set up internal barriers and behave as if the Church is disunited,"
we see in a most glaring way the causality of the divisions and barriers which are antithetical to a generous Orthodoxy.
I'm not sure how many different ways this can be illustrated.
But, what can we do here other than provide a continual/perpetual restatement of the problem? It does not take a Rhodes scholar to see what lies at the source of our weakness. What remedy can we offer to attempt to stamp out this plague or to actually bring about a healing?
In the Cincinnati, Ohio area there is a town called Mount Healthy. This city was named Mt. Healthy because it provided a refuge from the Cholera epidemic of 1850. Mt. Healthy was a higher ground that provided a place of health, safety, and welfare during a time when it was needed most. The residents of this city seemed to be unaffected by the epidemic, and for others who were not consumed by the Cholera, who took refuge there, this was a true 'place of blessing; (berachah
!). During this point in history, those who found themselves abiding in Mt. Healthy, on this higher ground, found a true remedy to the problems of their day.
And, as it relates to our present conversation, whether we may choose to speak of a higher ground or a common ground, or whatever[!] . . . it seems more than apparent to me that in order to not ignore the priestly prayer of Christ, or the imperatives found in the Scriptures which speak directly to Unity (as well as those passages which speak to those who promote division in the Body of Christ), there must be a turning from the methodology of those who seek to perpetuate division in the Body of Christ. And, I am not saying there is to be an outright rejection, but a turning from . . . which is followed by a turning to nothing more or less than a Christocentric Ground.
This place, this Christocentric Ground can be the only true refuge in our day, in our point in history. But, this is a very abstract way of thinking isn't it? This is really to be up in the clouds, as if one is taking an imaginary hot air balloon ride to visit his imaginary friend somewhere, isn't it? Or, at best possibly this is viewed by some as what has been called the "Religion of the Future" by some, or a design-it-yourself religion, or a New Age pick and choose cafeteria style way of being
and worshipping the Divine, or the Ultimate Cop-out? BUT . .. who would think these things? Why would they think these things? What emotions or motives would drive these kinds of thoughts as it relates to the suggestion of a generous Orthodoxy which sees a mystical abiding in Christ as both the vehicle and the goal of the the Life in Christ above ALL else--above even branches of systematic theology!/?
And, possibly, I find myself in a minority position, or standing alone here. Possibly, this way of knowing, this way of being pushes the envelope too far for some. But, as we speak of the Way or the Bridge, as it relates to our individual sanctification and our corporate Unity at the same time, there is no other way than the way of experience/encounter. Who is the learner? Who is the follower? Who is the disciple of Christ? Is it a prerequisite of these that one abides in a certain place? Is it a prerequisite of discipleship and genuine experience/encounter that one is under the 'authority' of a certain pope? . . . a certain bishop? If so, which one?
Who determines where this place of blessing is to be found. Who determines when and where one genuinely encounters and is consumed by the Spirit of Life, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit of God.
Or, for that matter, even though some do not like the word 'validity' used in this way, who determines the validity of any particular ministry?
Well, I realize now that this has become too preachy here--sorry 'bout that. So I'll try to just find a place to land by stating that the individual members of the Body of Christ can no more bring about genuine structural unity in our day than those individuals who found themselves consumed by Cholera in 1850 could heal themselves. But, today, as in the past, I would like to suggest that there is a refuge and there is a place of blessing, a place of agape, a place of healing, a place of genuine Union/Communion which is in reality the Unity that our Lord prayed for, and this can be experienced and manifested in reality regardless of what hinders and plagues us structurally in the here and now.
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.