My pondering today is about "unity."
I worked for 34 years in a national bureaucracy - a hierarchy, yes, but not connected to any religion. Often I had a great perch from which to view the overall movement of the whole thing. Where did unity come from?
Not from the policies & rules. For those doing the real work of the organization, those in field offices, the question with both policies and rules was always how to apply the rules in particular circumstances, and whether headquarters would let them have the flexibility to do so.
And what criteria did the field offices consider in advocating for exceptions to the rules? Ah, that's where the unity came in.
Our best performance as an organization - our most energized and effective years - and the source for requests for policy exceptions: all were the fruit of profound, shared commitment to a single, simple MISSION. We were the best we could be when we were utterly clear about why we existed as an entity.
Our mission fit into 10 words. Words everyone could remember. Words that sparked and clarified our thinking. Words that fueled our energy. Words that told us the ultimate impact we hoped to have on the world.
We still had lots of policies and rules. But we knew that conformity to the rules, obedience to the policies, was secondary to unity in our mission.
Today, when we talk about Church unity - are we talking about unity in God's mission?