Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 17: Year 2
“I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10: 16)
This is an undeniable ecumenical statement by our Lord Jesus. In spite of this pronouncement John will come and say to Jesus that he tried to stop someone from casting out demons in Jesus’ name because he was not following Jesus in their group. But Jesus rebuked him and said do not stop him (Luke 9:49).
We Christians often get wrapped around the axel when it comes to denominations. All Christians are on the path that best suits them. Given this, I do feel that some experimentation is necessary. Christianity is not “one size fits all.” Our Presiding Bishop of our Episcopal Church says that we are on the Episcopal path of the Jesus movement. I like that explanation.
Pretty much any path is better than no path. But even if we encounter someone who is on no religious path we are still called to love them as if they shared a pew with us. Christianity is about our personal relationship with our Lord Jesus and that faith is demonstrated in how we love and treat others without regard to what they believe or do not believe.
Much good work is being done through ecumenical organizations. It saves precious resources when we don’t try to build and maintain staffing networks to feed the poor or provide health care when a Christian organization already has it in place, right?
As an Episcopal priest, my most ecumenically challenged time is when I am asked to conduct a marriage between a couple of different denominations (or even different religious affiliations). I am thankful that they have a faith path but really wish they were the same. My Prayer Book only requires that at least one of them be baptized. However, I want more. Please don’t judge me. I’m still a work in progress. Besides, later on, according to our Lord Jesus, there will be one flock and one Shepherd. Thank You Lord Jesus.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John