Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week of Christian Unity, Day 7: Tyler Paradis

This last reflection for the week comes from Tyler Paradis. I roomed with Tyler for two years at the University of Portland, and we had lots of opportunities during and following that time to grow as roommates and together as Christians.  Tyler participated in the Praise and Fellowship event at UP's University Village for two years running, the second year of which he helped to lead it. The event was ecumenical, incorporating people from multiple Christian denominations. Tyler's reflection offers some insights into the commonality Christians have in their struggle to grow with Christ, and the rewards and challenges of seeking further to build our relationship with Christ together, particularly in charity and common worship.

Dan has asked me to write a commentary on Christian Unity for the week of Christian unity. I must say that when first asked to do this, I was a bit surprised. I don’t consider myself to be well versed in theological topics. Consequently, my commentary may be a somewhat raw testimonial of my experiences with both the challenges and payoffs of Christian unity. It also may be somewhat short given the fact that I have been sick all weekend and I am burdened with what seems like un endless tasks.
The challenge of Christian unity to me seems pretty simple. We are challenged to shed our differences and come together to worship the center of our faith, Christ. The denominations of Christianity each have split off over the centuries due to differences which to this point have seemed irreconcilable. However, I would like to think that at the heart of all Christian faiths we all have the same goal in mind: to grow closer to Christ and to let this relationship shine in how we live our lives. I also would like to think that on judgment day, these differences will not matter and that our love for Christ will be the basis for our judgement. You can correct me if you think I am wrong. Despite anything my faith might say, this is the number one goal I have when I pursue a relationship with Christ: to better my relationship with him. Thus, while we may have theological differences, I think it is safe to say that we all hold this same goal. To do this is the challenge of Christian unity. We are challenged to look past our differences and come together. The hope is that one day we could all worship together as one church of Christ, a church without divisions or denominations.

I think the payoff of seeking Christian unity is well worth it. There are payoffs along the way. The ultimate goal may be Christian unity in a worldly sense, but we can also seek this in our own everyday lives. We can seek union with our Christian brothers and sisters by choosing not to discriminate based on denomination. Additionally, we can seek to understand the differences we have and learn from them. And ultimately, we can seek to come together to worship in an ecumenical fashion. I have been involved in several ecumenical events in my college years. I have both participated in them and led them. What I have found is that the experience different denominations bring to these events is very rich. I feel inspired by the community we held and the friendships I gleaned from the experiences. It was enlivening to be a part of a community that was not bounded by denomination and whose only focus was coming to better know Christ and to worship him.

Thus, there is immense value in Christian unity. It has potential to enrich our daily lives and Christian unity throughout the world has infinitely more potential.  Thus, I would urge you to look past the bounds of denominations. See the value in the practices of your church and utilize them to grow in your faith. But also see the value of community both inside your denomination and outside of it in the worldwide Christian community. If we all make an effort to establish relationships in this fashion, perhaps someday we could obtain worldwide Christian unity.       

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to join the conversation!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.