But never forget that there is a second half to that prayer: so that the world will know that Jesus was sent by God because of his love for all people.
We must be focused inward on unity but simultaneously outward on introducing the real Jesus.
Once again, I believe Pope Francis gets it, and I continue to pray for the chance to meet him.
According to news reports just this past week, he said that the “Catholic Church must now allow its bans on gay marriage, abortion, and contraception to dominate its teachings. He does not say the bans should be lifted. But he says that the church must be a more welcoming place where priests are understanding pastors and not ‘cold, dogmatic bureaucrats.’”
Francis goes on to say that the church has “locked itself up in ‘small things, small-minded rules. It must find a new balance between upholding rules and demonstrating mercy, otherwise the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards.’”
I believe Pope Francis would agree that, while honest disagreements across the Christian church regarding certain social positions are best resolved looking inward with truth and grace in a spirit of unity, we must not let them divide us as we face outward, welcoming all to meet the real Jesus at Streamside, not the cold, dogmatic bureaucracies of nearly all branches of Christianity.
It took great courage for Pope Francis to illuminate the bigger picture. The winds of unity are beginning to stir in new and exciting ways.
I believe the timing of the election of Pope Francis and the release of Streamside – Finding Peace through Perfect Unity are not by chance.
Be thinking about how you can spread the “tidings of great joy” this holiday season when the book is released!