A personal reflection by Karen Jordan
Jesus calls us to love God and our neighbor. In my Christian journey I have always found it easy to love those who are like me, whether it be it in personality or things we have in common. I find it more challenging to love those who are different from me.
Ecumenism in Christian community presents an opportunity to meet people I would not have met otherwise. It has given me the opportunity to grow in love and understanding of other Christians. It has taught me mercy, love and forgiveness in new ways, and led me back to the Lord, and to lean on His understanding. The reward has been lifelong close relationships across the world and a new, deeper knowledge of the Lord through it.
Another unexpected aspect of ecumenism which I have experienced is the strength in our unity particularly in evangelism. The love, understanding and trust shared between brothers and sisters of different denominations draws people in and allows them to feel accepted and allows for steps in their faith.
I come from a Catholic family and, as a student, lacked understanding and occasionally was even wrong about other Christians. Living in a Koinonia (UCO) student household in London with other Christian women was a major turning point in my ecumenical journey. We had our fair share of arguments, but there was lots of discussion and prayer. It set the foundation for very strong relationships, focusing on the ties that bind us, rather than those that divide us. One of the things I learned then and still use today is “dialogue and communication done in love.” I’ve learned to avoid assumptions but rather communicate even when it’s the hard things. My experience is that there seems to be tremendous grace and love for all those conversations possibly because being united together we are more powerful in God’s kingdom.
This article was first featured in The Sword of the Spirit Week of Prayer and Reflections for Christian Unity January 18 -25 2021.
Karen Jordan grew up in one of our Sword of the Spirit communities in Mumbai, India, but then came to study and work in London where she met her husband Tommy. They now live with their children as members of the Community of the Risen Christ in Glasgow, Scotland.