December 2015 / January 2016 - Vol. 83

people of God
. Living Together as an Ecumenical People
in the Sword of the Spirit

The Sword of the Spirit is a growing network of more than 75 lay Christian communities around the world that have a common vision, way of life, and spiritual culture. Recent estimates put the numbers of those involved at around 9,000 people worldwide. We sometimes describe ourselves as a “community of communities.” Each community within the Sword of the Spirit is self-governing, but receives help in living out its life as a community from the sharing of resources with other communities around the world.

The Sword of the Spirit has a strong common culture that transcends our international differences. As a result, when members of different communities get together, even though they may be from different parts of the world, there is a very strong sense that we are part of the same international community of communities.

The Sword of the Spirit is ecumenical. Some of our communities are ecumenical in their make-up, with members who belong to various churches – Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox. Other communities are all one denomination. But the call of all our communities is to foster the unity of all Christians. While recognizing our differences, we look to see how we can share in the riches of one another’s Christian traditions and work together for Christ.

We believe that God has called us together from many Christian traditions and churches to be a living testimony today to God’s purpose for his people of “uniting all things in heaven and on earth” in his Son Jesus Christ (Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 1:10). We live as brothers and sisters united in a common commitment and a common way of life which allows us to support one another in living a zealous, disciplined life in Christ, and at the same time to respect those differences among us which reflect our various church backgrounds and Christian commitments.

We believe that we can discern in this time in history a great working of the Holy Spirit to draw together the Christian people in a mutual recognition of their common “sonship” in Christ, a recognition which can form a solid foundation from which to deal with the many important questions which still divide the Christian people.

We believe that the Lord desires to overcome the divisions among the Christian people (Gospel of John 17:22-23). We therefore join ourselves to one another as brothers and sisters both as a response to the way God has worked among us and in the belief that it furthers the Lord’s work of unity and contributes to the life of the various churches and the Christian people as a whole. We do so humbly, recognizing that our efforts are only a small part of what God is doing in the world today.

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