This January, our Malibu Gathering focused on unity in light of the unhappy divisions that characterize our lives. We are members of the one Body of Christ, yet this Body bears bruises and scars reflecting our internal discord. Moreover, we swim in a deeply polarized cultural milieu which seems to believe the lie of being either “with us or against us.” Christ’s dying prayer was that we all would be one, as he and the Father are one; his parting command was to share the Good News with the world around us. Our time together allowed us space to reflect on how our disunity disrupts our ability to respond to this missional call.
This is not the sort of disruption God has in mind. We began by reflecting on how the Holy Spirit moves to disrupt the status quo, to disrupt our creaturely tendencies to focus inward and to lash out at others. We began to pray for disruption, not in our response to God’s call but that holy disruption to shake us out of our contexts and drives us toward God’s Kingdom. In our opening worship, we circled around the altar overlooking the harbor and joined our hearts, minds, and voices as we worshipped the one God in Trinity of persons.
Over the course of our two and a half days together, we explored important questions. Does unity require uniformity? How can we set aside differences in theology, liturgy, and context to serve together in the Kingdom? How have others worked within our divided Body to bring good news to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, release to the prisoners, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor? What a gift it was to have the space to retreat from the daily work of pastoring our churches to reflect on the bigger picture, to be restored by the beauty of God’s creation, and to reflect on our mission to the world around us!
The Rev. Rebecca Tankersley
Associate Rector, Church of the Transfiguration