Saturday, January 24, 2009

On Christian Unity (day 7)

Day 7

Christians face to face with a plurality of religions

“that they may become one in your hand”
Is 25: 6-9 This is the Lord for whom we have waited.

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces; The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.
On that day it will be said: "Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the LORD for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!"

Ps 117 :1-2 Praise the Lord, all you nations.

Praise the LORD, all you nations! Give glory, all you peoples!
The LORD'S love for us is strong; the LORD is faithful forever. Hallelujah!

Rom 2:12-16 The doers of the law will be justified
All who sin outside the law will also perish without reference to it, and all who sin under the law will be judged in accordance with it.
For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified.
For when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law.
They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them
on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people's hidden works through Christ Jesus.

Mk 7:24-30 For saying this, you may go home happy.

From that place he went off to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice.
Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
He said to her, "Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs."
She replied and said to him, "Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps."
Then he said to her, "For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter."
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.


Nearly every day we hear of violence in different parts of the world between followers of different faiths. We learn that Korea however is a place where different faiths – Buddhist, Christian, Confucian – mostly coexist in peace.

In a great hymn of praise, the prophet Isaiah speaks of all tears being wiped away and a rich feast for all people and nations! One day, asserts the prophet, all the peoples of the earth will praise God and rejoice in the salvation he offers. The Lord for whom we have waited is the host at the eternal feast in Isaiah’s song of praise.

When Jesus meets a non-Jewish woman who pleads for healing for her daughter he initially refuses to help her, in surprising terms. The woman persists, in similar terms: “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs”. Jesus affirms her insight into his mission to Jews and non-Jews alike, and sends her on her way with the promise of healing for her daughter.

The churches are committed to dialogue in the cause of Christian unity. In recent years, dialogue has also developed between people of other faiths, particularly those ‘of the Book’ (Judaism, Islam): encounters which are not only enlightening but also help promote respect and good relations between neighbours, and build peace where there is conflict. If our Christian witness is united by virtue of our faith in Christ, our opposition to prejudice and conflict will be all the more effective. And if we listen carefully to our neighbours of other faiths, can we learn something more of the inclusiveness of God’s love for all people, and of his kingdom?

Dialogue with other Christians should not lead to a loss of a particular Christian identity but to joy as we obey Jesus’ prayer that we become one, as he is one with the Father. Unity will not come today or even tomorrow; but together, with other believers, we walk towards that final, common destiny of love and salvation.


Lord our God, we thank you for the wisdom we gain from your scriptures. Grant us the courage to open our hearts and our minds to neighbours of other Christian confessions and of other faiths; the grace to overcome barriers of indifference, prejudice or hate; and a vision of the last days, when Christians might walk together towards that final feast, when tears and dissension will be overcome through love. Amen.

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