I'm not even sure how to get into this. It will probably sound a bit corny. Folks have noted for a long time the divide that runs straight through the various jurisdictions between the modernist (post-modernist, post-post-modernist - whatever) and the traditionalist. It's generally true that traditionalists of various jurisdictions end up being actually closer to one another theologically than they are to any modernist (etc.) within their own "tradition" (well, using the same name as they). Dr. Tighe is a traditionalist Roman Catholic history prof (who kindly sends me books from time to time) and I'm more at home with him or Fr. David (an Orthodox priest whose father is a member of St. Paul's) or Fr. Steven Tibbetts (an ELCA pastor), than with some of my own fellow LCMS clergy who are on the post-modernist side. Traditionalists operate, if you will, in the same thought world even when we disagree with one another. Is there hope for unity among us?
Actually, I find precious little if that's all there is. For JUST being in the same thought world - sharing the same or quite similar perceptions and understandings of the Church - leaves one in the sphere that St. Paul characterized like this: "Knowledge puffs up." We can be rather ratty in our treatment of those with whom we disagree, whom we regard as heretics of the first rank, even while we respect fellow traditionalists...to a degree. That's not the way toward unity.
But I've noticed something else. I see it in some of my humblest parishioners. I don't know what else to call it but love. Love that doesn't ignore theological differences. Love that realizes, after all, I'm a Lutheran and that other person doesn't share the same confession - we don't commune together. And yet. And yet these folks seek after holiness, they desire to grow in conformity to the image of the Savior's self-giving love, to do to death the impulses of the old man, and to live in the freedom that becomes the children of God. I see these folks - and they don't judge others, they don't put them down, they don't delight in winning arguments just to show that they're in the right. Instead, they know some disagreements won't be settled short of judgment day, but are confident that the Lord will sort it all out then. Meanwhile, even those we believe to be wrong about this or that, we are called to love and forgive. And so they do.
My hope for manifesting the true unity of the Church rests more in the second group than the first. For the unity that we are given in Jesus is finally a shared love: a love that can believe all things, hope all things, endure all things, a love that finally does not fail. That's because it's our Savior's love living within us. I wonder if we can grow in being the sort of traditionalists (of whatever our conviction) who truly manifest the Church's unity as a unity not in "rightness" but in love? For truth, not spoken in love, isn't true at all; it's a lie.
"If I have not love, I am nothing." And being nothing, will be of precious little use to God or to my fellow men. Lord, make us men and women of love - whatever our confession - and bring your Church at last to the fullness of concord and manifested unity here upon earth!