5 I am the vine, you are the branches.
Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become[c] my disciples.
9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
John 15:5-9 NRSV
Yesterday was the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and, needless to say, Christians won't be gathering to acknowledge that they are people of "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." Then again, my experience has been that even in the best of times there has been an indifference to this initiative to unite Christ's people in prayer which began in the early 1900's. I would refer to it as the Week of Prayer for Christian Apathy" because even in the ecumenical ministerials I was involved in there was limited interest in coming together. I always felt it was vital to find common ground with those who chose to express their allegiance to Christ differently, and that there could be strength in our diversity.
This year is challenging, and not only because of COVID-19 restrictions. In recent days we have heard and seen supposedly devout Christians give themselves over to the false god of nationalism in the neighbouring United States, with the culminating image of domestic terrorists joining in prayer in the rotunda of Congress after an unprecedented violent invasion of the seat of government. To me this was a deeply offensive expression of idolatry, the worship of Mars, the god of war, rather than Jesus, the Prince of Peace. I feel totally disconnected from the cult-like devotion to a person and principles which have nothing to do with the gospel. I know I should pray for unity but I'm so aghast and, honestly, angry that I am finding it next to impossible to do so.
This year the theme for the week is Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit