Last week (I think) was the week of Christian unity, where we acted and prayed for Christian unity, or something like that. Which is a big step in the right direction, since it means that most of us aren’t killing each other anymore. This can only be a good thing.
Anyhow. Like we usually do at Grace Menno, we did diddly squat about it. Not that we’re against Christian unity, but rather,
- We forgot
- There are days and weeks for everything, and we simply can’t do them all (I’m looking at you, World Fellowship Sunday and Mennonite Heritage Sunday).
But after last weekend, maybe I have a better reason why we didn’t mention it:
BECAUSE WE TRY TO DO IT ALL THE TIME!
Okay. That may be a bit of an overstatement (although our faithful Women in Mission group do invite other women’s groups for a Christmas tea every year).
But let me explain.
Through Mennonite Central Committee, our church made an application to sponsor a refugee family. In preparation for their arrival, we hosted a “cultural awareness” day last weekend.
Despite the weather being -30 degrees Celsius, we had 80 people gather in our ugly church basement on a Saturday morning to learn about Syrian culture. It was great, but what really excited me was WHO was all there.
Our organizer was a Roman Catholic who attends a Mennonite Church. She had invited a Syrian Orthodox priest to share, who flew in from Toronto. The Syrian Association of Manitoba sent two young Muslim women from the University of Manitoba to share a presentation. Seated at the tables were Mennonites from a variety of churches, a Ukrainian Orthodox woman, some women from the big Evangelical church down the road, some non-church attenders, some Catholic men from a French town next door, a few United Church of Canada folk, and even some strangers who came and left and we still don’t know who we are.
And we had a blast learning and laughing and eating hummus.
We still may not all agree on how to interpret scripture, whether or not the Roman church should have inserted the filioque clause into the Nicean Creed causing the East/West schism of 1054, or the roles that Jesus or Mohammed play in revealing the character of God (or, for my secular friends, the invisible sky god).
But it was nice that we could put aside our differences and unite around our common humanity for a bit, as we try to find homes for the ridiculous number of displaced people in the world.
So yay for “Christian and Muslim and whomever else” unity! We’re not only not killing each other, but we’re actually working together to relieve suffering! Better late than never, right?
I hope you all enjoyed Christian Unity week as much as I did.
PS – After our session, some folk from our church, the Syrian Orthodox priest and the Muslim women went out for a stone-fired pizza lunch. I would have paid money to see people’s looks as they walked in to the restaurant.