Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper12: Year 1
The disagreement became so sharp that they parted company; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and set out, the believers commending him to the grace of the Lord:” (Acts 15: 39 and 49).
Splitting in the Christian Church is as old as the Church is. There is a little evidence of this at the Resurrection of our Lord when Thomas was not with the eleven and had to be told that they had seen the Risen Jesus. If we look closely we can see a little divisiveness in many places.
As our Church grew it split more and more. I have traced the thread that leads to the Episcopal Church of the United States. The Church starts at the foot of the Cross. From there it moves to Rome. But for some who doubted the first leadership, that path never made it to Rome but rather went to Egypt, Asia, and other places.
From the Church in Rome came the Western and Eastern Churches. From the Western Church came the Roman Catholic Church and from this Church came the Church of England. From the Church of England came the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.
Even our Episcopal Church has had a split as those of us who opposed the leadership of women; and also could not accept the full embrace of our brothers and sisters whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual, and felt that they could no longer worship with us.
Many of our splits are not well thought out. While is sounds old fashioned to say “What would Jesus do?” there is truth in it. Any step away that encourages us not to love another is not Christ-like. Women had leadership positions with Jesus and we have no language from Jesus regarding homosexual rejection. I feel like, sadly, we look for reasons (any reason), to separate from the main body of Christ.
My hope and prayer is that at some level, no matter how small, we began the process of coming back together. It may take another thousand years or more. But I would like to see a Christian body reject the notion of splitting because something didn’t go their way. I would like to see something like a Lutheran, Methodist, and/or Episcopal merger. Wow! This would reverse what Paul and Barnabas did 2000 years ago. If we could let our love of Jesus hold us together regardless of our selfish desires for the path of the Church, we would indeed be more Christ-like.
Let us live to love, rather than just live 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