United in Christ
Sometimes I just dread family gatherings. The family chef is always stressed, there’s the elder aunt who smothers you with kisses, and private awkward topics that a parent always brings up when they shouldn’t. But once Grace is said, and the butter basted turkey and sweet pumpkin pie are ready to be devoured, I can't help but wonder how we manage to commune in harmony despite our misunderstandings and differences. The love God put in our family surpasses boundaries, and of course the feast doesn’t hurt.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the church was a family overflowing with love. Over time, the church has been divided due to different perspectives. Presently, if we were to compile a Christian phone book, it would be categorized as name, number, address and denomination. However, even if we have differences, since we have God as our Father and Jesus in our hearts, we are still one family.
United in Christ is an organization headed by Professor Matteo Calisi, a Roman Catholic Vatican Council member, whose purpose is to reunite the church in preparation for becoming the Bride of Christ (Eph 5:25-30). Matteo believes we have one Father and one Spirit; therefore we are all a member Christ’s church.
When visiting Catch The Fire Toronto recently, he shared news with us about the charismatic movement within the Catholic Church which has lead 150 million people to be born again. The same raging revival that consumed Catch The Fire by the Holy Spirit in 1994 is reviving the Catholic Church.
Matteo recounted a story from Christmas of 1972 about Jesuit priest Father Rick Thomas. Father Thomas and his ministry were prepared to feed 125 people but were horrified by the surprising attendance of over 300. Miraculously, there was a multiplication of food to the point where Father Rick had to distribute the rest to nearby orphanages and shelters(1). The fire of our Father is everywhere!
“Signs and wonders is the language of God’s love” – Matteo Calisi
Matteo went on to describe how signs and wonders are evident in many denominations, through the healing of body, spirit and soul. He emphasized that the Spirit of God pierces through the barriers of religious doctrines. God’s love is a language that all may understand.
Bruno Ierullo and his wife Naomi, lead pastors of Catch The Fire Newmarket, have been working together with Matteo Calisi in order to fulfill the goal of convergence of church denominations. Pastor Bruno says, “Reconciliation must begin with a conversation”. The wall of prejudices and stereotypes can be removed if there is willingness for communication. Convergence can open the door for God’s divine love to enter.
Catch The Fire have already stepped through the door by holding a Reconciliation Day in Toronto for both the Catholic and Evangelical church. Naomi declares through Psalm 133 “God’s blessing resides where there is a unity of love for one another.”
United in Christ urges us to pray for convergence between churches. Get involved in God’s calling for a unity through love.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” John 17:20-21