In our current times, only ignorance denies the various and fragmented facets of Christian expressions and identities within the larger mysterious and majestic corporeal of Jesus Christ. This fact is most obvious when one looks at the latest local church directory.
Listed in the directory, we have Presbyterian, Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Anglican, Bible-Presbyterian, Reformed, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Evangelical Free Church, and etc. And we still have not include the hundreds of independent churches, the Eastern Orthodox church, and the Roman Catholic church. Besides, not to mention the existence of innumerable piecemeal and divergent groups within each of these traditions.
Let's take the Roman Catholic Church as an instance. It has been popularly presumed that the Roman Catholic Church is the one church that is still harmonious and united without much variances within its body. But that is far from the case.
Within the Roman Catholic Church, there are groups such as the Sedevacantists, the Conclavists, and the Palmarians that disagree with current Roman See. Some believe that the seat of St. Peter is still empty even though Pope Benedict XVI is already occupying it. These Roman Catholic groups have been, since the Vatican II (some even earlier), condemning the institution and it apostolic succession. Some have even declared their own popes. Some individuals from these groups were deemed heretical and excommunicated by Vatican. But many still identify themselves belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.
Hence, one visible united, harmonious, consistent, non-inner-conflicting global and universal church is still unrealized in this part of heaven. Therefore we cannot deny such diversities within the body of Christ. We can see this as a tragedy but we should not stop learning to accept this 'Difference' as a gift.
On the other hand, pluralizing the Christian faith is never an option. No matter how variegated the body is within, we cannot declare that each individual or group has no similarity or shared traditions and truth-claims, particularly the central truth of God's good news through Jesus Christ. Such liberty is not given to us.
In view of this tension, crisis, tragic or however one denounces it, we desperately need to recognize our grotesque ambition to shape Christ's body into our own body. Such realization hold us from declaring that we have seen and so delude ourselves with the thought that we own the fullness of this sacrament. Again, such liberty is not given to us.
In simpler terms, we are in a 'Desperation'. Knowing that each part of the body belongs to the same body, and each body cannot claim to own the entire body, then it is best to learn what's more to see from the other parts. Out of the deep difference, we need to desperate for a communion of learning from each other; appreciating each others not less than ourselves. This is a also a gift. This is ecumenism. This is the body of Christ. And this is us.
Faith, is most fully itself and most fully life-giving when it stops you ignoring things, when it opens your eyes and uncovers for you a world larger than you thought–and of course therefore a bit more alarming than you ever thought.
(Rowan Williams, 'What Difference Does it Make?' - The Gospel in Contemporary Culture)
Sherman Kuek's recent reflection of Prostestants' gleaning from the spiritual wealth of the Roman Catholics, and the fact that Cardinal Walter Kasper admonishing Catholics to read Martin Luther are evidents of each body parts acknowledging, accepting, and learning from one another. While Kuek was commending his own tradition's spiritual wealth, Cardinal Kasper was acknowledging Luther as "full of the power of faith... from whom even Catholics can learn". The Cardinal even proclaims that Luther's hymns are "full of spiritual power".
Although Kuek tried to emphasize the seemingly non-corporative and loneliness of some esoteric individual Protestants who cultivate some similar practices as the Catholics, the actual fact is that the Protestant part of the body of Christ is not as non-corporative, lonely, or esoteric as he observed.
My Presbyterian church's liturgy has the congregation to stand, sit, and recite accordingly. Genuflect is up to individuals' perspective. Probably Scottish tradition does not see this particular practice as more reverential than, say, standing.
Take the Russian Orthodox Church at Bukit Timah. They stand throughout their 2-hour mass as their expression of reverence and worship, while the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Singapore, have their congregation sit, kneel, and stand as their expressions. And we do have members in the Presbyterian church that I'm attending that genuflect. I'm one. Once in a while I even make the 'half-kneel' at the side of the pew before taking my seat. And I don't see or sense anyone treating us like some "fishes out of water" or attracted disdain attention. Again, it's probably a matter of our effort to open our eyes to uncover to us the larger world.