The Vision of the Council on Christian Unity:
Mapping Christian Unity in the 21st Century
Crafting Unity: Our Calling and Journey as Disciples
In an era marred by mounting disagreements and social disintegrations leading to injustices and incivilities, the world needs the clear witness of Christ toward the unity of the human family.
As Disciples, we find this witness always at its most sublime and radical when we come to the Lord’s Table. With the simplest elements of daily life, it is at the Table that Jesus draws the disparate into one. Diversity of thought and background among the early followers of Jesus was gathered around that first Table. The ministry of Jesus mirrored this as well. He was accessible to all: people from various stations of life or ethnicities, women, the disabled, Romans, Samaritans.
His invitation to the Table displays the openness of God. At the Table, Christ continues the healing and consolidating work of redemption.
It was so in the beginning of the Church, when Christians of diverse backgrounds, understandings and experiences broke bread and drank wine in a spirit of unity crafted by their shared faith and common witness in the world. It has continued to be so even as the world has propounded new concepts and technologies that tend to separate people into splintering fragments of self-interest and points of view.
It must also be confessed that the Table had been a source of pain and division within the Church. The celebration of the Lord’s Supper becomes a sign of our division and disunity as Christians when we cannot all come to the Table together. Our present gathering for Communion is seen to be a witness to our brokenness, and yet, it is also a reminder of and witness to the oneness that God intends for the whole human family.
The future frontiers of ecumenism require us to pursue this work of reconciliation — this ongoing crafting of the spirit of unity — so that we can truly manifest God’s gift of oneness in Christ as a multicultural and inclusive church with a deeper and more dynamic ecumenical spirituality, thriving in the ever-changing landscape of pluralism and interfaith relationships.
The unity we are called to seek will be made known so that more people can come together in love and acceptance in the face of differences; so that times of stark polarities nonetheless do not increase the distance between people; so that the opposing contrasts that divide groups from one another do not prevent meaningful reconciliation; so that the continuing act of resurrection itself is never overshadowed by rising tensions within the growing divisions of society.
In the search for new approaches to this crafting of unity, we return to where we began: to the simple act of the Lord’s Table. Here our differences do not divide. Here our divisions do not define. Here, we are imbued with renewed energy enabling us to bridge discord and disharmony.
As from the very beginning of our faith, our reconciling journey begins, and ends, at the Table.