The Holy Scriptures inform us of the following request of Jesus,
"Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose," (Philemon 2:2).
The current problems faced by the world which have catastrophic consequences if not resolved, such as the threats of nuclear conflagration, the breakdown of global peace and security, terrorism, conventional wars, the destruction of the environment and combating of diseases such as HIV/Aids and Malaria, inter alia, are an invitation to us all to become involved in facing the challenges ahead, but more importantly are a calls to us play make a very important role in seeking their solutions. Ecumenical engagement is absolutely essential if we are be effective witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our Christian teachings as promoted in the Holy Gospel, call on us to be vigilant and face all problems with fortitude and agape between us so that we may carry out our role in the world. For this to happen we need to strengthen our Christian bonds so that we are able to be victorious as we make our presence felt even more in the modern world, but also with the best possible results and meaningfully. When we become divided, the love of God in our hearts is sacrificed to our pride. Instead of possibly being negative with other Christians and believing that we are right and they are wrong, we should be seeking a common biblical standpoint on all matters. We must seek to work in harmony and in unison to glorify God and expand His kingdom. This approach may seem to be too simplistic, but it does demonstrate an attitude of humility that will help us to bring unity closer.
It is the saving work of Jesus Christ that unites all of us as we have a common heritage, namely, the blood of Jesus Christ that has been shed for the forgiveness of all of our sins. We have been redeemed by God Himself through His Grace. Our Holy Scriptures inform us of the essentials of our faith and if we act outside these essentials then we are divorcing ourselves from Christ. Romans 14:1-12 speaks about accepting Christians of differing opinions and to not judge them because, "To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind...But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God," (Romans. 14:4-5,10). The entire point and focus is that we need to be united as we seek to serve humanity and promote His Kingdom. We need to move beyond the barriers that separate us into the common area of what bonds us all: Jesus Christ!
We need to carefully examine what it was that protected the unity of Christianity in the first centuries of our historical journey and we should then apply the same spiritual principles as we seek to once again have a dynamic role to play in furthering the Christian gospel in the modern age in which we live.
A sign of apostasy (falling from the truth) in the Christian Church of today is the bickering and disunity that is in evidence among many Christians. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that the world would know that we were His disciples by the love that we have for one another (John 13:35). We also read in Colosians. 3:14, that love is the only and the perfect bond of unity. The New Testament speaks about us all being united in and through Jesus Christ (Ephesians. 4:5). St Paul tells us that Christ is not in any way divided (1 Corinthians. 1:12-13). But sadly, we as believers are often divided for whatever reasons.
As is done by the Community of St Egidio, all Christians are obliged to cooperate with one another and have ongoing dialogue with all other religions so as to strengthen the resolve of all our members of Christ's body to face the daunting tasks that lie ahead in combating many problems facing humanity and our fragile planet.
Christians need to cooperate in and with international organizations, governmental bodies and non-governmental bodies, universities, a wide range of academics in many disciplines and in many other global fora in which we can unite our efforts in striving to maintain peace and security, the further combating of global poverty and in the protection of basic human rights and the environment, as is striven for by the Community of St Egidio. Love is the perfect bond of unity, (Col. 3:14). In this regard, His Beatitude, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodoros II, and his clerics, are working tirelessly towards the objectives of peace and security. Apostasy is a sad occurrence and it starts in our hearts when we distance ourselves from our brothers and sisters in Christ because of a difference of opinion. This Apostasy then means that we fall away from the truth. Let us not by abandon the truth of God's call of unity and love within the body of Christ.
We need to look at our own hearts and our own minds and compare these to Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures. Where the two are not in accord, it is we who need to change our mindsets. We need to pray for God to give us many more opportunities to work with other Christians across denominational lines. We need to recognize that we may have differences of opinions and worship styles. But, agape should prevail and we should support and lift each other up and be united in Christ, for the glory of His Kingdom.
We should be encouraged by many new developments, such as the Global Christian Forum, which brings together the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians to share our faith in Christ and through which we are able to learn more about each another. Only by such actions in which agape prevails can we be in a position to bring peace and justice to the world.
Congratulations to all involved in, and our gratitude to the organizing committee for the excellent organization of this joint Christian academic symposium of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and the Community of St Egidio in Alexandria, with the theme 'The theology and diaconia of the Apostle and Evangelist Mark.' This has enabled us to further witness our commonality in Christ and to share in His mission.
It is the basic element we have in reaching the world with the gospel before Jesus Christ returns. As the body of Christ we must seek to put behind us the issues that create division within the church. If the church was united it would be much better able to play a role in resolving the very many and serious issues that are plaguing our world; Issues that are gradually becoming critical to solve It is my burning passion and desire to witness the church united in agape, and working together to reaching our afflicted world with the Grace of Jesus Christ.
In John 17:20-23 we read "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
May the Lord guide us all as we seek to serve Him.