Jason Angelo Iruthayarajah is a Grade 11 student at St. Augustine Catholic High School in Brampton, Ont

Jesus calls Christians to stand united as one [2012 Friar's Essay 3rd place]

By  Jason Angelo Iruthayarajah, Catholic Register Special
  • February 15, 2012

Editor’s note: This is the third place entry from the Friars’ essay contest for high school students on how to achieve Christian unity. You can view the other entries here.

Since Jesus’ death and Resurrection, the Christian Church has gone through a number of changes and has branched off to many other sects and divisions. This is the result of many disagreements and historical conflicts between different Christians. However, did Jesus want His followers to be divided over arguments about who is right and wrong? No.

Jesus calls us to stand united, as one people, serving one God. Religious leaders should not have been so quick to branch off and dismiss one another when their views clashed. Rather, they should have worked together to build a lasting and unified Church that would withstand anything. Nonetheless, there is still time for change to unify all Christians so that we may continue to do God’s will without any disagreements.

Many people would argue that Christian unity is not important and that the current system of different divisions within Christianity works just fine. On the contrary, all these different sects of Christianity only end up causing conflict among Christians who want to follow Jesus’ teachings and worship God.

Jesus said, “Any kingdom divided against itself will be destroyed; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25). What this means for us is that conflicts between Christians will only alienate us from each other and will weaken us as a whole. Christian unity will help establish us as a tight-knit community which is important for any organized religion.

We need to stay strong and united especially in today’s society where religion is becoming increasingly irrelevant in people’s lives. A unified Church is necessary to reach out, not only to other Christians, but to people of other religions or lack thereof as well.

Furthermore, if someone does want to turn to God and become Christian, they may be overwhelmed by the number of different sects and may not know which one to choose. What if they think Christianity can not help them since it is divided amongst itself already?

Achieving Christian unity, like many things in life, is easier said than done.

However, if religious leaders are willing to co-operate, remain open minded and work towards this goal, Christian unity is a task that is very much attainable. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he brings up the point that our worship and work for the Lord are not in vain. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). This means that as long as we are working in the name of God and doing His will, all of our toil and struggles will be worth it in the end.

However, Christian division is counterproductive and in vain since all it does is separate us from one another, when instead, all Christians could be working together to fulfill God’s will and preach His Word to all people.   

So, is it possible to truly achieve Christian unity and put an end to all the segregation within the Christian faith? Absolutely. In fact there have been times before in which people have settled their different opinions and views by discussing the matter in ecumenical councils.

One of the most famous of these, the Council of Nicea, settled the issue on Jesus’ divinity and established the Nicene Creed. Gatherings such as these, but on a much larger scale, involving all the different branches of Christianity could be the key to establishing true Christian unity. While there has been dialogue between denominations, it hasn’t been enough to reach the goal of Christian unity. If we can settle our differences and build bridges across the gaps that separate us, then the unified Christian Church will be much more influential in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is not a task that can be completed overnight, but it is definitely possible with time and patience. After all, Christians all share the same foundation on which we base everything in our lives on — our faith in God.

For these reasons, there needs to be change within the Christian divisions to embrace one another and settle their differences so that we may stand united. All Christians, regardless of their denomination, believe that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour and the way to God. Since we all share this central belief, we can work together to settle our differences and come together as one.

A change like this may be necessary in today’s society, where people are changing everyday and are always being misled on the path to God. We are all followers of Christ and we should all be united to serve Him by performing good acts and spreading the Word of God.

(Iruthayarajah is a Grade 11 student at St. Augustine Catholic  High School in Brampton, Ont.)

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