Decalogue for Ecumenical Discipleship
A Call to Daily Commitment
by Donald Charles Lacy
In a world that seems to be shrinking on a daily basis we are being led by the Holy Spirit into exciting and challenging areas and arenas. As disciples of Jesus the Christ we are no longer just witnessing in more or less carefully defined communities. Most of us discover ourselves in daily contact with persons seeking to be more than they are under the banner of Christ. In many cases our option is not the decision whether to relate to this one or that one. It is the option of helping to determine the quality of the relationships that by the sheer force of today’s living has brought them into being. Therefore, our ecumenism must be intentional and have the hallmarks of a practical discipline.
Dare we suggest a “decalogue”? Yes.
1. Daily affirmation that Jesus calls His followers to be one.
An early morning prayer time or a regular devotional period can be enriched by recalling and/or reading John 17:20–23 along with whatever else may be on the agenda. Just don’t put it in some secluded spot and give it the last 30 seconds! The memorization of this passage so that it can in fact be a part of our thinking and feeling processes should not be overlooked. We seem to place in our memories many other less significant ideas that may be a part of personal systems already overloaded with questionable items.
It is this daily affirmation of Christ’s call to be one that brings to the conscious level a sobering and magnificent acknowledgement: The Holy Spirit is at work in ways pointing to our Lord’s call being fulfilled. In short, He will no longer be denied a positive answer to His prayer. “Oneness” is not any longer one of the lesser lights on earth, merely shining brightly in the far away heavens. It is a light ever-increasing in brightness in the here and now, which shines in and through people, places, and things with or without their permission.
2. Daily praise for the infinite variety of religious expression evidenced in the Universal Church.
Too long we have sifted and sorted in order to be loyal to a narrow denominational and/or doctrinal image. Praise God for the infinite smorgasbord placed in our midst! Too long we have been bound by categories that have inevitably tended to bring us out of range of insights coming from traditions other than our own. How shall we escape in our time if we neglect a salvation coming to us in unlimited expressions and yet lifting up one Savior and Lord? The Holy Spirit enables us through all senses to share in the greatness of the Universal Church.
Such praise, while it ought to be a part of our personal worship and study, should never be limited to that. At a gathering of clergy and/or laity or even in a largely secular gathering praise God openly and forthrightly for the cornucopia always there but especially open to view in our time. The sheer hope and joy coming from such an orientation to life (and death) has a way of lighting candles in some of the darkest dungeons constructed by Satan to prevent Christ’s people from being united.
3. Daily study of the beliefs and/or organizational life found in denomination(s) other than our own.
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