On Hilarion

2002, 21st July

A priest begins a sermon with the words 'In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit'. And ever since I have been a priest I have used these words with the sense of fear, almost with horror. Can I – how can I, being who I am? – address you in the name of God Himself?

And yet today I have said these words with the feeling that I can use them as the beginning of what I have got to say.

In the name of God I can say now: let us look at the past months in which we all have been divided, opposed to one another, lacking understanding, lacking feeling. Let us, in the name of God, look at one another and see in each other a person whom God has so loved that He gave His only-begotten Son unto death that this person might live.

We have been divided, very deeply. A storm has broken us – and when I say that I speak very realistically about many of us and about myself- a storm that can destroy what has been built in the course of fifty three years by mutual trust, by mutual confidence, by friendship, in the name of Christ our Lord. Let us look at one another not in the context of our disagreements but in the context of God's will, who says that He wishes us to be one as He is one with the Father and the Spirit.

One: ready to sacrifice ourselves, to let go of what is dear to us truly, in order to build a body of people, a place which is already Heaven on earth, to which people will be able to come and find people who have fought against evil, fought against dividedness, fought against every thing that destroys, and who have conquered in the name of Christ, built a place which is a place of mutual love, of acceptance at a cost, but not a cost paid by the other – a cost paid by myself.

Christ gave His life that we might be one. In the name of Christ I address myself to myself and to you. Let us build that oneness, that mutual acceptance, that common life which God gave us in the course of more than fifty years now and which has been so tragically shattered in the last months – rightly or wrongly is not the point. We must build in the name of Christ a oneness which is a revelation of the victory of God over us and over evil. Amen.

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