Unity in Diversity

Cross bearer Lori Bach from Nazareth Lutheran Church in Standard, AB, leads the procession followed by Pastor Daranne Harris of Hope Lutheran Church in Calgary carrying the Holy Bible, and candle bearers, Pastor Kristian Wold of Bethel Lutheran in Camrose, left, and Canon Jacques Vaillancourt of St. Andrew’s Anglican. Photo: Colleen McGinnis/Celebrations/Canada Lutheran Insert

The Feasts of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday are a celebration of unity within a positive context of diversity.

The First Christians reached out to other national and ethnic groups immediately following their Pentecost experience. Faith, in the Risen Christ, would emerge as the sole requirement for salvation.

Trinity Sunday is the biblical manifestation of God’s oneness, further revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are reminded that divine love binds the Sacred Three into the Eternal ONE. Love and faith become the biblical mathematics where one plus one equals one. Christian Churches have often failed this new math.

Churches in the Pentecostal/Evangelical camp and the so-called mainline churches on the other side of this local equation seldom mix with each other. It seems that faith and love, while enough for our New Testament ancestors  and for our Triune God, is nevertheless insufficient for us. We mechanically make bricks out of our theological differences, and employ as mortar the variance in liturgical/worship practices. Layer by layer an impenetrable Berlin-like-Wall rises: each group dead certain to be on the right side of that separation. What should be a scandal to Christian witness and mission becomes yet another example of passive collective resignation in response to an “it is what it is” pessimistic world view.

Can we, instead, strive to create unity from today’s chaos? Can we encourage respect and cooperation among churches that are presently content to be apart?

No one can, or should, compel others to choose a particular, denominational version of unity-within-diversity. To even consider this a viable option is sheer ecclesiastical arrogance and intentional spiritual narcissism. The liturgical Christian Feasts of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, provide an opportunity to reflect on each Church’s own voluntary complicity in ecumenical relationships.

We, the Christians of Camrose, must boldly dare, in the Holy Spirit, to reclaim hope. Hope that, through Christ Jesus, our Churches will embrace GOD’s unity-in-diversity; that faith and love will crumble dividing walls and send our souls heaven-soaring!