|“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21
Max Lucado invites us to imagine the scene at the cross. “Soldiers huddled in a circle, dice-throwing—casting lots for the possessions of Christ. Common soldiers witnessing the world’s most uncommon event. Just another criminal. The cross is forgotten.”
It makes me think of us. Liberals, conservatives, traditionalists, evangelicals, progressives….you know, us religious folk who claim the cross as the source of our faith and hope. Maybe like the soldiers who play, and gamble, we split into huddles and major on trivialities. We separate by doctrine, methods, and names. “So close to the cross but so far from the Christ,“ Max laments.
“May they all be one,” Jesus prayed. One. Not one in groups of two thousand. One church. One faith. One Lord. No hierarchies. No traditions. Just Christ.
Paul says it’s the Holy Spirit that unifies the church. He writes in 1 Cor. 12:13-14, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
Today we are united, but sadly it is the unity that comes through our common grief over another senseless slaughter of our children. Sadder still is how the cry to identify the cause of this violent, evil act only produces further divisions in our society.
So, what was Jesus thinking in His final prayer asking God to make us “one?” Can we bring our pain, our anger, our indignation, our indifference, and even our ‘righteous’ opinions and lay them at the foot of the cross this Sunday? Are we willing to allow The Holy Spirit to do His unification work through us and heal our broken spirits? Tomorrow we will pray for broken families and for the day when Jesus’ prayer is answered.
Come and see,