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We Are One in the Spirit

Much of my time this past week has been spent working with musicians from different communities to pull together choirs and choose music for the upcoming interfaith prayer service at the Basilica – One Baltimore: From Hope to Wholeness. If you are able to come, I encourage you to attend the service on Monday evening at 7:00 pm.

Our final hymn this weekend was suggested by one of the music directors as a possibility for Monday’s service. The verses present a wonderful vision of unity:

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, …
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand, …
We will work with each other, we will work side by side, …
The problem for an interfaith service comes with the refrain:

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

In the Gospel for this weekend, Jesus gives “a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13: 34-35) The song refrain clearly matches Christ’s call for us to be known by our love.

Expressing that love may mean finding our common ground and overlooking our differences. To ask Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists to sing those words with us would not be very loving. In order to fulfill the song’s refrain, we had to find something else to sing.

Forming or being a community requires finding common ground. Jesus gives us the key to that search in the Gospel this weekend: love one another. When we can do this, we will be one in the Spirit.

Glenn