The Baptism of the Lord  January 13 - 2019



                  The cause of church unity is commended to Christians for prayer and action every year around this time. This week is not so much to focus on the many divisions within the Christian family, but on bonds of faith and mission. Even though Christians have always shown an inclination to fracture, spin off, and mutate into new expressions, recent history shows some new points of convergence and agreement. Catholics are more firmly rooted in the word of God, for example, and many Protestants are more likely to celebrate Communion than in years past. Some denominations are merging and pooling resources, and people from various traditions are collaborating on projects.

                  The call of this week is to be mindful of the diversity of our traditions and customs while treasuring what we hold in common. The old advice to “lighten up” is good medicine, because sometimes our differences are delightful and amusing. If someone says, “Let us pray,” a Catholic might close the eyes, bow the head and fold hands; a Protestant reach out and clasp hands with the person in the next chair; and someone belonging to an Orthodox tradition might stand up with eyes wide open. Each has taken a different path, but the goal is always the same. This is a week not for focusing on the well-worn paths of divergence, but for mutual delight in a common goal.

—James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.