I’m writing the morning after the President’s State of the Union speech. Last Sunday I preached from John 17, focusing on Jesus’ prayer for Himself, for His disciples, and for us – His Church. At Orenco Church we’re in a preaching series, “Together,” focusing on the Body of Christ. The sermon asked us to make a choice, not for our political party which of late is divisive – no matter which side you’re on, but instead to choose for unity, to be one, as Jesus prayed for us in John 17:
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 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. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
There’s that word – unity. One – together, not apart or separate. Why? So that the world will know that God sent Jesus, that God loves us, that God loves us through His Son.
Webster’s dictionary defines unity as: the quality or state of not being multiple, a condition of harmony, a continuity without deviation or change, the quality or state of being made one.
Unity. Together, without discord. One of my great loves is music. Sadly, I didn’t practice my piano as much as I should have – and though I enjoy playing it now, I know I would have more pleasure playing had I practiced. At the time my heart was elsewhere – especially baseball. So I played and played – rather than practice for my piano lessons. I still love baseball, but I’d rather be better at playing the piano.
I didn’t practice as I should have. For there to be unity in the church, the Body of Christ must focus on being one. Jesus prayed for us to be one, just hours before He endured the cross on our behalf, His death and resurrection God’s gift of forgiveness and redemption for us. Jesus prayed “… so that they may be brought to complete unity.” Complete unity – not partial, not mostly – complete. One. Of one accord.
The result? That the world will know God. That the world will realize how much God loves us. How does that happen? When the Church acts as one. When the church loves as one. When the church worships as one. When the church goes out and serves as one.
Remember that Jesus prayed for us – he prayed for we who are alive today! He prayed that we would be one, the Body of Christ, moving in concert with Him and with each other.
“Lord, may your Holy Spirit be one with us. Empower us to be one with each other. Remind us how much you love us, remind us how much you love the world. Remind us to love you with everything we have and are, and to others in the same way you love us. Remind us to be one. Today. Always. We pray this for Jesus’ sake and in His name. Amen.”