“May they be one…”
CMS community member Dr Yvonne Craig has been reflecting on unity in Jesus after reading the summer 2023 issue of CMS Magazine
At the Lord’s Last Supper, he prayed for his devoted but disputing disciples that they “may be one… so that the world may know you sent me” (John 17:21). Will our prayer with Jesus help to heal the hurts of this divided world, and “absorb dissonance” as Alastair Bateman refers to in his editorial in CMS Magazine?
by Dr Yvonne Craig (author of Peacemaking for Churches, SPCK, 1999)
Prayer was central to the life of Jesus, bringing “beauty out of dark and challenging times” as Johnny Sertin sees in the Britain hub movement and we see in Patricia Wyard’s palliative care in DR Congo. These, like other CMS pioneer projects, bring hope, comfort and strength to people living at the edge.
Now aged 98, a great grannie still grieving the death of one child, I shared CMS’s concerns in my former worldwide work of mediation, conflict management and peacemaking. I contributed to research and activities attracting academic awards and which later led to peace missions in Sudan and DR Congo, where Grace Imani (CMS Magazine page 20) now suffers. Does such peacebuilding witness to the CMS mission?
Personal peacemaking depends on understanding diversity, listening and learning from those at the edges, and respectful relationships with those seeking spiritual transition and transformation.
Community and global peacemaking needs constructive co-operation, as evidenced in our ecumenical endeavours, fulfilling the prayer of Jesus that “all may be one”, so that those at the edges do not become extremists. But we are shamed by the dis-grace of competitive churches fighting for funds, excluding and exiling self-selected sinners, with a public profile that reflects stubborn separation rather than pressing collective challenges to persecution and FGM.
How can we improve safeguarding the abused and share responsibilities for restorative justice?
As our distinctive religious beliefs and church traditions are protected by human rights principles, could we at least share our buildings and resources, enjoy uniting in creative enterprises, and, as the Archbishop of Canterbury has urged, “disagree agreeably” so that “all may be one”?
Religious communities like the Franciscans are dedicated to shared peacemaking, although I as an associate member of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor personally fail “to pray as we ought” (Romans 8:26).
However, I was comforted by a recent closing prayer after the Eucharist: