Division or Unity? — Sunday of the Holy Fathers

Sermon delivered to our cathedral community of St George, London

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen.

My dear brothers and sisters, division is everywhere.  We come together to discuss an issue and for every five people present there are six opinions!  Bosses disagree with workers, but more tragically husbands disagree with wives, children with parents, and even we Christians disagree.  What are we to do in the face of such disunity?

The first to sow disunity was the Devil.  In Paradise he was successful in separating humanity from God, “You will not surely die,” he tells the woman, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4f)  The Accuser’s role is to cause division, to separate one from another, which is precisely the meaning of diabolic—separating, throwing apart.  When we participate in a division we participate in the work of the Devil.

So from the extreme of division, dear brothers and sisters, we move to the extreme of unity at all costs: we will “agree to disagree,” we will overlook all disagreements for the sake of looking united.  But such a union is a false union, a broken union, a sinful union.  The Lord calls us, every day but particularly today, to unity according to God, “that they may be one, even as We are one.”  Christ prays to the Father that you and I are united together as Christ is united to the Father and the Father united to the Son.

How can this be?  How can we be united to one another in a perfect union?  We come together and we each have differing opinions, our own suggestions of what we must do.  This union seems impractical, seems unachievable, seems impossible.  Yet the Lord gives us the means elsewhere from today’s reading, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:26)  Do you want to be united to your wife, to your husband?  Then unite yourselves to Christ because this can only happen through Christ.  Do you find division between you and your children?  Then come together to Christ.  Is there separation between you, your boss, your workers, your neighbours, your friends, your relatives?  Then unite yourselves to Christ.  Because with Christ, and only with Christ, can we come to a perfect union.

Come to him.  He is here waiting for you.  Come to him through the Church, through prayer, through the Scriptures, through service to others, through divine services, through the Mysteries, through Communion.  Be united to him and invite all into that unity, “that they may be one, even as We are one.”  Division can never be the ultimate solution, the solution we should seek—the only solution which leads to eternal life is in Christ.  “And this is eternal life,” says the Lord, “that they know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent.”  For out of union comes life, an abundance of life, a life where we become divine.

That we may be united with our incarnate, risen and ascended Lord and come to know God the Father through him in the Holy Spirit, Amen.