St. Mary-the-Virgin, News for Sunday 19th January 2020: Christian Unity.
As we begin the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, we think of Christians in our local community and our relationship with them as partners in the worship of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Historically, churches have always been very “parochial” – in both senses of the word! When we talk of parochial matters, it is normally to do with the Parish and what we do as The Parish of St Mary the Virgin and what happens in our church and in the Parish of Kenton. But, like many organisations, we can also become very parochial – that is, having a limited or narrow vision or scope. If you were new to the area, it would not take long to notice the diverse cultures and religions that form our local community. But Kenton is certainly not an isolated case, and many countries have been built up from immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, those seeking employment and life in a different location to their family home.
Unfortunately, we are too quick to look for differences between us – rather than identify common ground. The churches that comprise the Kenton Group of Churches have all been united in the celebration of the Birth of Christ. We all proclaim Christ Crucified and in the belief in His Resurrection. Admitedly, we all do things in slightly different ways and an act of worship at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Panteleimon will be quite different to the Communion Service at Kenton Methodist Church. This week, as we begin our Prayers for Christian Unity, let us try to find those common threads and listen to the words of Saint Paul as he writes to the people of Corinth: “to the holy people of Jesus Christ, who are called to take their place among all the saints everywhere who pray to our Lord Jesus Christ; for he is their Lord no less than ours.”
A short ecumenical service will be held at St Mary’s at 10.00am on Monday to which all are invited; and at which we will welcome members of The Kenton Group of Churches. It would be great if some of us were able to be present (in addition to Fr Matthew); and if one or two could get to the various Prayers for Unity Services held at the other churches in Kenton through the week. We are notoriously bad at stepping outside of our comfort zone and talking to our neighbours, including those in other Anglican churches in Harrow. Perhaps this needs to be a New Year Resolution for us all. After all, Jesus did not die for Roman Catholics, or Methodists, or Anglicans (whether in Fulham Parishes or not). He died for all of us. As John the Baptist proclaims in John’s Gospel on Sunday: “Look, there is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” Happy are all of those who are called to His supper.