I find myself in something of a dilemma here. As a Christian I am hurt and diminished by the divisions that exist within Christianity. Clearly the objective has to be the joining together of all God's people in His love.
And yet, the very existence of differences suggests there are factors that keep us apart. My own experience is one of examining such matters in my own life. As a 'cradle Catholic' I have spent 66 years trying to be true to my upbringing. But recent years have seen me struggling with various aspects of the Roman church that have given me major difficulties. Now I have been studying Orthodoxy (specifically the BOC) and finding that it meets my needs on the issues I have been upset by. Thus I am close to making a committment to the BOC and thereby severing my lifelong links to Rome.
Examining these matters over recent months has brought me to discern a distinction between unification of churches and unity in Christ. This has removed the sense of guilt and betrayal I have struggled with recently, easing my path into Orthodoxy. Furthermore, I have to consider the possibility that my searching has been a direct result of God's influence. I have placed myself in His service and allowed myself to be directed by Him as much as I can perceive His voice in my heart.
This means, nevertheless, that I have identified differences of view - things which keep us apart - and this means I am contributing to precisely the opposite of the aim of unity as commonly defined.
I have begun to rationalise this by considering myself a Christian first and foremost. (I actually came to this view many years ago.) I see this as more significant than which particular brand of Christianity is my spiritual home. I have no difficulty embracing Christians of other denominations - I see them all as my brothers and sisters in Our Lord. Thus while I can accept Orthodoxy as the true faith, that is the right place for me to be, I accept that others are 'different' Christians in good faith. This allows me to overcome my feelings of dilemma.
But where would all this take me if the BOC was to somehow move to Rome en bloc, thereby negating all my heartsearching?
I feel that redefining 'unity' can help to overcome the problem, without making me change either my difficulties with Rome or watering down what I see as the strengths of Orthodoxy.
I've probably said enough! Clearly I need some help with this (I am getting it from my priest, but any input will always be useful).
Please pray for me as I approach the point of making my committment.
With love and prayers,