Thursday, 21 May 2009

Stepford Christians, Dolly the Sheep & the General Assembly

The Lectionary Gospel reading for this coming Sunday - John 17:6-19 seems beautifully timed in light of discussions taking place at the General Assembly. Thinking particularly here of the verse:

‘So that they may be one, as we are one…’

I’m possibly about to utter heresy. Talking about the Trinity can lead to that. Talking about ‘unity’ can also apparently lead to it, as well. And so, some inarticulate rambling, and possibly poorly teased out theology.

There’s a great deal of talk in some sections of the CofS at the moment about ‘church unity’ – church unity in this case seeming to mean unity only if you agree with ‘my’ point of view [otherwise you’re on the side of Hitler?!]. Does unity mean a kind of cloned conformity – we are all the same? Christian versions of Dolly the sheep? Or even ‘Stepford Christians’?

As I read the prayer of Jesus in John 17, especially ‘so that they may be one, as we are one’, my sense is that unity / oneness here takes in the diversity of the persons of the Godhead. Different, yet one: different ‘persons’, different roles, but yet still one. Eternally pre-disposed to be relational, eternally co-existing in love. And it’s this kind of unity in diversity, and disposition to lovingly relate and co-exist which we are to model - we who are in the world and who belong to God.

So, as General Assembly kicks off again – the trumpets have been sounding in the New College quad as I’ve been thinking – let us pray for unity:
that all-encompassing generous unity which takes in the myriad views held in our broad church.
And let there be graciousness and gentleness and love as we try to relate and co-exist with one another, for it's in this way, we glorify God, One yet Three.

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