The word charis, charism and charismatic really means grace, or gift. I write and speak a great deal about Christian unity. The norm, in our time, seems to be disunity, schism and brokenness. We seem to make peace with this norm, which in reality is sin. We see very few Christians living out our Lord's call to unity. In fact the number seems so small that at times it would seem that all calls to unity are hopelessly unsound and ludicrous.
When I began to walk in this direction, one which I now call missional-ecumenism, many told me I was not only wrong but that this new way was dangerous. I was warned that I would begin to work with Christians who were unsafe, ill-taught and even dangerous to my spiritual health. Yet the more I have shared my Christian life and experience with others, across a great array of Christian expressions, the more I've experienced grace through God's gift. Unity now stands out in an entirely new light in my mind and heart.
In unity with others the gospel has come alive in my heart as never before. I love Jesus more than I ever did before I was given this marvelous gift. It is hard for me to believe that this is the fruit of Satan's work. The goal that I continue to strive toward is expressed by our Lord when he said, "That all may be one" (John 17:21).
Recently I learned from some Catholic friends, in a movement called Focolare, that the key to fulfilling this goal is "Jesus Forsaken." By this they refer to Jesus on the cross when he said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46). By complete self-effacement, out of divine love, Jesus re-established deep communion with the Father and his people. Maria Voce, the president of Focolare, is right when she says, "If we encounter Jesus Forsaken and choose to let him become everything to us, we could say that putting the word of God into practice reaches a higher peak in the discovery that the Word of God is completely explained in Jesus Forsaken. He is then understood as 'the Word completely unfolded; the Word completely open, as Chiara Lubich 1920-2008), the founder of Focolare, affirmed. 'Whoever lives out Jesus forsaken, lives out the entire gospel.'"