Today's Lectionary Text
Read slowly and prayerfully. What words or phrases stand out for you?
After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
The Famous South Indian evangelist D.T. Niles once preached, “Evangelism is one hungry man telling another where to find the bread.” As much as our differences divide us, Christians have something very powerful that unites us, which we tend to forget.
The notion of perfect unity in the body of Christ at its origins is an idealistic myth. After all, why did Paul write all those epistles, other than to encourage the young Christians to get along?!
Today there is not denying that we are separated by doctrine, politics, race and gender, age, social status, and sexual orientation. Fueled by suspicion and competition as we are, our differences drive us to prejudice and isolation. Our differences splinter in the light of Christ into the denominational prism.
As he prepares his disciples for his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus reminds them in the gospel of John that he and God are one, just as Jesus has been one with them. He prays that God would protect their unity in Christ that they might be one with God.
When the differences between us are stripped away, when pride, heritage and status are put aside, aren’t we all lost and wounded children yearning to be found? Isn’t our desperate longing to make sense of this life and home in it something we all share?
All-too-often it takes failure or tragedy for us sophisticated, self-sufficient North Americans to get to that point—to really feel our hunger to love and be loved by something greater than ourselves. The Church that offers such bread will thrive in the future; it always has. The church that invests in its differences will eventually wither away.
Gracious God, bind us together Lord, bind us together with hearts that cannot be broken…In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
- Mark Bollwinkel
Prayer for Reflection
Almighty God, we pray for the unity of the Church and our credibility in the world so that we might start more Holy Spirit fires without extinguishing each other’s fire. Amen.
“Excerpted from the book “Catch Fire in 50 Days: Joining the Movement of God’s Mission in the World” by Blake Busick and Christie Latona.”
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