Australian walks round the world for Christian unity - 14 January 2008

 A Catholic youth worker from Australia is currently walking around the world on a pilgrimage of prayer for Christian unity. In the last 12 months. Sam Clear, 28, from Melbourne, has already walked from Brazil to Canada. In that time, he has been racially abused, stalked by a puma and held up at gunpoint, slept in rat infested rooms and underneath trucks and experienced the best and worst of the world-wide Christian community. All of these experiences have given him a unique view of the need for Christian unity, which is expressed in the following extracts from his journey. For full details on this journey, go to

Friday, March 30, 2007 Venezuela
I had the ultimate Andes Mountains experience as I set out from Barquisimeto to San Pablo. The usual 4.30am start saw me trekking the surrounding hills by 8am. I met a fellow who'd just stepped off a bus & was interested in what I was doing. He was a Christian - I invited him to pray for unity but due to my poor Spanish he thought I meant right there and then. He began praying for unity on the side of the highway, arms raised, cars flying past us. I guess you can't get much more of a witness than that!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 Venezuela
Still praying hard and walking to who knows where and smiling 'most' of the way. Have had some run-ins with Pentecostals who've accused me of not being Christian because I am Catholic and that I shouldn't be walking for unity as it already exists between Christians (it's just that I'm not one of them apparently). I've found this humbling, particularly as this is the exact reason I'm walking but there was no point in arguing so on I walk and on I pray.

Sunday, May 20, 2007 Costa Rica
Some food for thought; I've spoken to a few people along the way who have used a closing remark along the lines of, "Well, I guess in the end we're all just brothers and sisters in the Lord and that's all that counts." This closing line hasn't sat well with me since I first heard it but I only realised why the other day ­ it is indifference, not unity. We aren't called to ´tolerate´ each other but to love one another into complete unity. It's actually a very easy trap to fall into & calls for prudence in not allowing the search for unity to fall short & merely become passive indifference.

Sunday, May 27, 2007 Nicaragua
The more I walk & pray the more I learn about the disunity of Christians & the travesty this is. I keep being reminded though that the fundamental foundation for unity is prayer & a desire to be united. A fellow I chatted with back in Costa Rica commented that we'd all be united if other churches just read their bibles. He then began to point out the errors of many churches & left it at that. Yes, correcting errors in theology etc is an elementary part of unification but one of the big problems I've noticed while walking is that many people are happy to cut down other churches but will then refuse to listen in turn. It's always someone else's fault... Let's start with self.

Sunday, November 11, 2007 USA
As the sun set en-route to Greybull I saw the most fantastic sight - the southern migration of Arctic Geese. There had to have been well over 1000 of the little guys, in flying V's of around 50 each, sprawling across a brilliant sunset. It was awesome. What was unexpected though was that as I watched one particular flying 'V' I saw 2 geese break off from the formation & head back into the north. I was thinking to myself, "Wrong way guys! You've just come from there," but I soon stood in awe as I watched them fly back to a goose that had fallen behind. The 2 geese circled around & pulled up alongside the straggler & together they fromed their own little 3-geese flying 'V' & powered on back to the main group. It was brilliant. Nice one guys, unity in action.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 USA
I've been very blessed with the company of so many hospitable Texans. On the down side, 2 nights ago I stayed in a small hotel & channel-surfed the cable TV through all the various Christian stations. I was amazed at the array of teachings & preaching of the different stations & it unfortunately drove home even further the division amongst Christians. Over 30mins, this is just a sample of what I heard; "The Baptist Church is run by a board & that is not in the bible!" Interdenominational Preacher. "Hell does not exist & the Bible is not the exact word of God." Pentecostal Preacher. "Hell is very real & the Bible, the word of God, describes it vividly!" Pentecostal Preacher. "The Holy Spirit whispered to me, 'I can get you money anywhere in the world'." & "The Lord wants to bless you with financial security, so if you send a $1000 deposit right now to the address on your screen you too can allow the Lord to bless you." Preacher Wisdom Centre Church . "We need to make atonement for our sins! Send a minimum of $60 to the address below & begin to make your atonement with God." Unknown Preacher. "The Catholic Church seeks to control your life." Pentecostal Preacher. "The Pentecostal Church is so legalistic." Evangelical Preacher. And so on, and so on... It was incredibly sad to watch the 'Public Face' of Christianity to the outside world. The truth is not relative & we sure aren't making much of Christ's prayer in John 17

Sunday, February 11, 2007 Brazil
After walking a few thousand kilometres through very dangerous places I have torn a muscle whilst getting into my hammock.
I might take this opportunity to talk briefly about Unity of Christians in light of injuries. Firstly, I'll quickly list my injuries thus far over 28 years.
I've broken 15 bones, I've dislocated my shoulder several times, I've had two shoulder reconstructions, two ankle reconstructions, 7 stitches in my finger, 3 in my eyebrow, skinned my foot in a bike wheel, I've had Pneumonia twice, was asthmatic as a child, have been bitten by a snake and once upon a time tore a muscle whilst hopping into my hammock.

The point is this; all of those injuries have hurt and most of them would have stopped me from walking around the world, if not at least made it very uncomfortable. Yet despite all these injuries, I am still able to walk around the world. Each injury was treated and allowed to heal. It required humility to slow down and allow healing to take place and it often hurt even more in attending to it (putting a dislocated shoulder back in is the classic case). So too with Christians, it requires humility and patience to allow injuries to heal and more often than not it's the initial 'attending to' that hurts the most, but the consequences of not attending to hurts or injuries is far worse. Imagine if the doctor had discarded the part of my body that was injured because it no longer functioned as it should. I'd have one leg, no arms, a pretty warped looking torso and a very gummy smile. The Church is the Body of Christ and the Body of Christ is broken. Please pray for unity and may we always approach unity with humility and reverence!

To read more about Sam Clear's journey, see: .

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