The Pope and the Patriarch

Tonight I sit in a hotel room in Claremont California after a day of connecting with staff, faculty and other students at Claremont Lincoln University. I have recently started a Master’s Program in Interfaith Action that is designed to work alongside the work I am doing as the pastor of Covenant. This is one way I have committed to growing as a Spiritual Leader, and I have to say, I made a good choice. The work that is being done here is groundbreaking and vitally important to the world we live in today.
Not so sure about how vitally important it is? Well check this out. For nearly the last 1000 years the Christian Church has been suffering from something called the “Great Schism.” Long before the Protestant Reformation, in 1054 there was a split between what became Western Christendom (Roman Catholic and Protestant) and Orthodox Christendom. This divide has been profound and deep within the fabric of the Christian faith (I won’t go into details about the theological implications). This division was so nasty, that the Fourth Crusade by Western Christians never made it to the Holy Land, but instead focused on sacking Orthodox Constantinople! The point being this has been a long-standing and nasty division.

However, this week something miraculous and long overdue happened—the pope sought to mend the relationship! Check it out:

Should we protestants be ready to engage this kind of healing with the Roman Catholic tradition as well? Just sayin’…

This week’s scripture speaks to part of our calling as God’s people to work for this kind of healing and wholeness: “They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.”

We have a long way to go, but part of the vision that Isaiah has shared with us is that each of us is being called by God to work for this kind of peace in the world. Of course, these recent events with the pope are just within Christianity, and Isaiah’s vision is clearly one of all nations and peoples. But it’s a start… Thank you Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew I.


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