24th October

A Universal Spirit

Christ has made a unity of the conflicting elements of Jew and Gentile by breaking down the barrier which lay between us …. so now you are fellow citizens with every other Christian – you belong to the one household of God. Ephesians 2: 13, 19

The churches in Celtic Britain were part of the one catholic and apostolic church throughout the world, yet they responded to direct promptings of the Holy Spirit in mission. Some people maintain that in view of later divisions it is no longer possible to be both Catholic and Pentecostal.

These words from a famous sermon by John Wesley on The Catholic Spirit suggest that it is possible:

Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? … Every wise person will allow others the same liberty of thinking which they desire they should allow themself … And how shall we choose among so much variety? No one can choose for, or prescribe to, another. But everyone must follow the dictates of their own conscience, in simplicity and godly sincerity. They must be fully persuaded in their own mind; and then act according to the best light they have. My only question at present is this, ‘Is your heart right, as mine is with yours?’… Learn the first elements of the Gospel of Christ and then you shall learn to be of a truly catholic spirit. While the person of a truly catholic spirit is united by the tenderest and closest ties to one particular congregation, their heart is enlarged towards all humanity, those they know and those they do not; they embrace with strong and cordial affection neighbours and strangers, friends and enemies. This is catholic or universal love. A person of catholic spirit is one who gives their hand to all whose hearts are right with their own,… who is ready to ‘spend and be spent for them’, yes, to lay down their life for their sake.
John Wesley

Give me a heart that is open to all
a heart that embraces every brother and sister in Christ
a heart that wills their wholeness as one family