Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Unity in Diversity

As so often happens, when I read Forward Day by Day, an illumination of the daily readings in the Lectionary, I think “Oh! This is meant for me.”

My heart is heavy as the Syrian peoples in Homs and Hama are bombarded, and babies, children, mothers, non-combatants – all are killed, whether they are fighting or not. I remember the shivers as we would pass the headquarters of the Mukhabarat, or secret police, which we called ‘the fingernail factory’ and I am shamed at our shallowness and callowness, as the reality of people tortured and damaged just for the example of it. While I know that the troubles are political, they are following religious lines. Homs and Hama have always resisted the rule of the Alawites, and have suffered horribly, 30 years ago, at the hands of Bassam Al-Assad’s father, who almost leveled Hama. I know, because I visited there shortly afterwards. It was a silent ghostland, a beautiful city, deserted and haunted.

Who is next, Assad? After the cities of Homs and Hama – oh, and don’t forget Deraa – will you start hitting the Christian villages, even though the Syrian Christians are at the very least, neutral, and many support you? The monster of tyranny is not easily sated, and to survive, there must be constant sacrifices to keep the people in fear, or else they won’t be obedient.

This is all heavy on my heart. I lave loved Syria, all of it, not just Damascus. When will we learn to live in peace with one another?

(Image of Hama from WikiMedia)

John 17:20-26. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me.

This verse is taken from the so-called high priestly prayer of Jesus for the unity of the church. What is our understanding of unity in the church? From the outset there was a great diversity of Christian groups. Diversity arose from differing practices and religious customs as well as from the difficulty of interpreting authentically the mystery of the person of Jesus.

What is meant by the unity of all Christians? An imposed uniformity in which everyone must bow their heads and obey without freedom of expression and cultural variations? That would be more harmful than beneficial. That idea persisted for a long time and led to the imposition of strict uniformity in religious practice worldwide. It was pernicious.

Today we realize that there can be unity in diversity. It is important to highlight the diversity of cultures while maintaining unity. The unity that Jesus wanted was based on love, compassion, and mercy—not uniformity.

PRAY for the Diocese of Bukuru – (Jos, Nigeria)

Ps 30, 32 * 42, 43; Ezekiel 39:21-29; Philippians 4:10-20

February 25, 2012 - Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Community, Crime, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Political Issues |


  1. It is heartbreaking, indeed, to sit here in the safety of our homes and learn of what’s happening in Homs. We never got to Syria, and now likely never will. I appreciate your insight as one who has lived there.

    Comment by Grammy | February 27, 2012 | Reply

  2. No! I never lived in Syria. We lived in Amman, Jordan, but travelled often to Syria. Twice, I was able to go on archaeology trips, and was able to see Syria from East to West and North to South. It was an amazing adventure. Little Diamond, my niece, actually lived in Damascus for a time, and visited there often.

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 27, 2012 | Reply

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