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Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, The Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
In this series of short posts, I plan to consider in turn each of the readings in Churches Together in England's collection of Bible readings, One Light: One World. My aim is not to present a full exegesis but to ask what each text is saying about unity.
This is a core text for Christians and even more so for Jews. It is also highly formative for Islam. Given the immense amount of scholarship about this passage, what more can usefully be said?
God is one but does it follow from this that the church must be one? I do not see how church unity necessarily flows from the oneness of God.
I argued early in this blog that the mark of oikoumene is conversation. Conversations need at least two participants. So, the whole of creation is premised not upon unity but diversity. And indeed the Christian witness has always been to the diversity at the heart of divine unity in the Trinity.
The challenge is not to become one like God but to be reconciled despite our differences. Such reconciliation requires love of the one God but also immersion in the generative activity of God.