Old wounds run deep, my boy.
When I was your age,
The Church was not as it is now.
Ah! I can see the question in your eyes,
And I shall answer it.
We are all subject to the wrath of time, you see.
Some things we cannot see
Because we are not old enough to see,
And other things are changed by time,
So that now we see them differently
Than our fathers ever dreamed we would.
My fathers were good men,
Sons of God indeed,
But they never saw—nor wanted to see—
The unity that you and I have, my boy.
My fathers worshipped in wooden churches
Where the pulpit was in the center
And the Bible always open on that pulpit.
Your fathers worshipped in cathedrals,
With the altar in the center
And upon it the Beautiful Sacrament.
Both loved Christ,
But neither truly loved the other.
Ah! But fear not—
They shall have all eternity to learn that love,
And it will be a lesson rich in laughter.
Oh, it’s true! Do you doubt me?
There were many days when missionaries
Would plant only their own little churches,
Even if the soil was hard indeed,
And ignore the good work of the Spirit
Already begun by another church.
Another Church, you ask?
Can there be such a thing?
My boy, I am glad you live in an age
Where such questions seem reasonable.
True, we still have differences of opinion, don’t we?
We can’t all be right.
But that which divides us is not as important
As that which makes us one.
In my day there were men of fervent faith on both sides,
With righteousness as their raiment,
And grace in every word.
And I remember the joy of it all,
When we first began to realize
That we were no longer enemies.
It took a long time, it’s true.
But it was the Spirit who led us here,
He who convicted us of truth,
And He who made us one.
You see all these steeples, my boy?
These are the houses of your family.
Some things are worth fighting for,
And some things are not,
And we must discern carefully
Between the two.
But rest now, my young friend.
My ramblings have made you weary.
Oh yes, I shall see you tomorrow.
I am your neighbor after all,
And your brother
And your friend.