• Week of Prayer for Christian unity begins today, international observance
  • “How has ecumenism made a difference in your life?”

Ephesians 4:1–6

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

  • Reading a passage like that, it’s hard to imagine that there could ever be divisions in the church: one Lord, one faith, one baptism…
    • Yet, there are. 
    • Not only the rise of many distinct denominations, but the existence of prejudices and misconceptions (Catholics worship Mary). 
      • We haven’t been humble or gentle. We haven’t made every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit.
      • Also been spiritually opposed.
        • “Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly relationships than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation.” – Charles Spurgeon
  • At the same time, “There is one body and one Spirit.”
    • “Believers are never told to become one; we already are one and are expected to act like it.” – Joni Eareckson Tada
      • God of course sees our divisions. But he only has one church. In heaven, people from every tribe, nation, and tongue will worship together.
      • “Acting like it” is the call and work of ecumenism.
  • According to Raniero, the work of ecumenism happens on 2 fronts
    • “The doctrinal and institutional level to ecumenism”
    • “An ecumenism of personal encounters and reconciliation of hearts”
  • I believe the Sword of the Spirit has a very special call to show the church that there is one body.
    • Most of what we accomplish is on the level of personal encounters. Grassroots unity.
      • There are quite a few places in the world where Catholics and Protestants worship together
      • But I’m not aware of another movement where Catholics and Protestants are covenanted with one another, living the same way of life, committed in relationships. 
        • It’s just very rare. We kinda stumbled into it, we weren’t the masterminds!
        • Really, masterminded by Jesus who has poured out the Holy Spirit. 
        • Francis admonished Catholic charismatics that they had a “special grace to pray and work for Christian unity, because the current of grace goes through all the Christian churches … ‘But Father, can I pray with an Evangelical, with an Orthodox, with a Lutheran?’ … You must! You have received the same Baptism.”
  • “How has ecumenism made a difference in your life?”
    • Ecumenism has been present since the very beginning of my spiritual walk.
      • Conversion at a large evangelical worship concert
      • Baptism in the Spirit with Catholic friends
        • Saw the Spirit move in them just like in me
      • Committed to this community
        • Which has experienced some turmoil due to ecumenism, losing a number of people in our early days. But we made it through
        • Learning curve: I remember in the early days someone would spontaneously lead us all (except me) in a Hail Mary
        • Never felt looked down on because of my Protestant faith
      • Defended the Catholic faith on a number of occasions among friends
        • One friend who “Pope is the antichrist” because he was establishing contact with Muslims…
      • Have an ecumenical marriage (never would have guessed as a 16 year old!)
      • Gained things from Catholic spirituality
        • Lectio Divina, praying in silence

Week of Prayer For Christian Unity – sending them out each night for the following day

In person next week

Ministry time – Right knee, headache, right ear problems, stomach issues, excessive fear