Daily Office Readings for Saturday, of the 6th Week of Easter: Year 1
“John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49 and 50)
I understand these words from Jesus as a lesson in ecumenicalism, specifically, dialogue and action between different Christian denominations resulting in good works for a community.
What makes Christians Christian is the belief in, and use of, the Name of Jesus to bring about good. John, in our Luke reading for today, is upset that a Jesus believer is someone whom he does not know. But he is making good use of the Name of Jesus. Jesus tells him to let him be. Ironically, the Gospel of this same John records Jesus saying, “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).
I think different gatherings of today’s Christian Church focuses on different agenda. Some are concerned with the forgiveness of sins; some on equality of life; some are about the afterlife; some are about our historic church; some are about who Jesus is and what he wants of us. some are about inclusivity and love for all. None of the Christian Churches, that I can see, have a perfect program. Perhaps the ecumenical approach is best. But in no way am I saying the “Non-Denominational Church is the perfect answer, or for that matter, my own faith choice, the Episcopal Church. While we all are trying to follow the Jesus path, we all have stumbling blocks.
I pray that as we all mature spiritually, that we evolve in a way that looks like “devolving.” That is, we begin to look and act more and more alike. It seems to me that we got where we are today by “splintering” over divisive issues. We must learn to have dialogue rather than debate; consensus rather than election where voting makes winners and losers. For the most part we all have something good to do in the Name of our Lord Jesus. And we are all called by him into one fold, under One Shepherd.
Let us live to love, more than just love to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John