Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church (Ecumenical Sunday)
Today's theme of meditation is an expression of the mission and identity of the Church. As we celebrate the Ecumenical Sunday, we must comprehend the character and integrity of the faith community all around the world. The real meaning of ecumenism is far away from many of the present ecumenical agendas. The stage programs and ecumenical conventions are not the final objectives of ecumenism. “The word ecumenism is derived from the Greek words oikoumenewhich means the ‘inhabited world'. It emphasizes not only the unity of the churches but unity of the entire world. When we study the High-Priestly Prayer of Jesus in John Chapter 17 we understand that it can unite the whole humanity into one family in Christ.
Verses 18-19 indicate that Church is a Holy Catholic and Apostolic community. Nicene Creed affirms this faith. As a called-out community, Church should be away from worldliness but not away from the world. Holiness is defined as the character and objective of a person. In Vs. 19 Jesus’ prayer indicate that as Jesus was sent by the Heavenly Father, he also sends his disciples (the church) to the world. The faithful community has always been sent to intervene as Christ encountered in the historical events of His time. Church is called to manifest the love of God to the entire world. Every local Faith Community can meaningfully express the deepest meaning of its call but Jesus wants to build a universal (Catholic means universal) Church which is a cosmic Kingdom community. It should not be a club consisting of many local bodies. But it is one body in Christ.
Verses 20-26 communicate the real unity of the Church. It is not uniformity made by the external expressions of worships and rites. They should be one, as Father and Son is one in essence. The basis of unity between different communities must be derived from the character and identity of the Father and the Son. The aim of all ecumenical discussions should base on this affirmation. Church is also called to witness "the mutuality, intimacy and reciprocity" in Father - Son relationship. Interdependency should not be based on profit motives of world. But it should be centred around the divine love. Without love of God all expressions of unity are in vain. The continuity of Jesus' mission will be through this community which expresses the love of God through its action in unity.
O Lord of all unity, unite our hearts in you that we may manifest your love in this world. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Without love of God, all expressions of unity are in vain.
Rev. Joji K. Mathew
Hebron Marthoma Church, Thevalakara.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church