>A green place in a burnt land

> Tomorrow’s the begining of what is called “The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” when we take up Jesus’s prayer that God’s people should be one. I discovered in my run the other day that when we see how far we still have to run to reach our goal that we may be tempted to step on the gas and rush, failing to take care of each step taken, finishing up getting nowhere. Maybe that’s what I have felt about the quest for Christian unity – that we are getting nowhere. It becomes frustrating – and frustration leads to anger, and we all know that anger is no good for any sort of unity.

Perhaps it is better to recognise the small steps we take, and to celebrate them – to take care over each step taken.

Timothy Radcliffe (in What is the Point of Being a Christian?) mentions a convent in Burundi. Six of the nuns are Tutsis and six are Hutu. All lost their families in the fighting between the two ethnic groups. Radcliffe asked how they managed to live in peace with each other. They replied that besides their common prayer, they always listened to the nes together believing that nobody should be alone in their grief. Radcliffe writes: “slowly people from all the ethnic groups learned that the monastery grounds were a safe place, and gathered in their church to pray and grow their crops. It was a green place in a burnt land.”

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