Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Proper 8 BCP 230)
Unity. It is interesting to me that this prayer for unity always comes the week before Independence Day. It is almost like the Prayer Book compilers were looking at the national calendar and thinking about the problems of our nation. Unity is something we seem to lack most of the time. With all the intensely polemic political debates, social unrest over issues of injustice, oppression of specific groups of people, and simple normal common everyday difficulties with our neighbors, we don't seem to have a lot of unity in our communities.
Not only on a national level or civic level, the church is full of unrest and discord. For a community of people who strive to be in relationship with and imitate a God with unity of different persons at the core of their being, we don't always do a very good job. Of course, unity doesn't mean we have to agree on everything with everybody. Unity means being joined together, and being joined together means that we spend the time and energy to listen to each other, to discern together, to move forward together. Sometimes our failure to remain in unity is simply a failure of patience. Because moving forward together after listening to each other and discerning together can take more time than some of us are willing to wait.
However, we continue to pray for unity. We hope that in the kingdom to come, God's kingdom, we will be united by Love. We pray that even here on Earth we will be joined together with patience and kindness and just that little extra God-something which changes our hearts and minds in the power of Christ. Let us join together this Sunday in pray for peace and unity in this world.
See you in church!