Posted by on May 16, 2021 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Unity

Unity

On this 7th Sunday of Easter, we are considering the words of John 17:6-19. In this section, Jesus is specifically praying for His disciples and His followers when He will be arrested and crucified. He’s also looking ahead to when he will ascend to His Father and leaving the followers to do the work he has commissioned them to do.

Jesus tells His Father that he has revealed God to this group of people. He has taught them the scripture, specifically the words that deal with being chosen and not being a part of the world. Rather, they are separated in ways from the world, but are being taught to not reject the world as this is where they will be doing God’s work.

Jesus is praying for the protection of the disciples as He is aware that they are not popular in the world. He knows they will be hated. He knows that after His death and ascension, the unity of the disciples will be under attack.

Jesus views the followers as a gift to Him from God…and that they are taken out of the world. He states that he knows the disciples are from God and they belong to both God and Jesus. He prays that the disciples will stay in God’s name, study God’s word and proclaim God’s word to all the communities they will be part of.

Jesus states that he knows that He has been given God’s name….he is the I AM. He also states that he knows that Judas’ actions fulfilled three Old Testament prophecies. With that statement, he asks God to protect his disciples (followers) from the evil one. He asks God to sanctify his followers that they may be set apart for God’s use, which is mission to the world.

It is interesting that he asks that God help the disciples replace lies with the truth, knowing that God’s word is truth and is the source of truth. He knows that being a follower of God encourages the followers to be part of the world, not isolated from the world.

There is a very strong statement that really spoke to me…Jesus acknowledges that His disciples are sent into the world, just as Jesus was. In other words, nothing is asked of Christians that Christ has not first experienced and modeled.

This entire section in John speaks to us in a very powerful way. Jesus is praying, not only for his disciples at that time, but also for those of us who have accepted God, accepted Jesus as our Savior, have been baptized and promised to follow Him.

Jesus knows that we are not going to be very popular as we carry out the commissioning, we have been given to be apostles to the world in our words and our actions. He promises us that we can experience unity when we pray, read God’s word and are kept under the protection of God. This is being sanctified to be His disciples.

What does “unity” mean in our day and age? It’s difficult to consider this word, isn’t it? I’m not sure we really experience much in the way of unity right now. But, that is what is being asked of us as followers of Jesus and his apostles.

Jesus is praying that all of us would be as Jesus and the Father are…”as one”. Jesus wants us to be close to each other…much as Jesus and God are. We are different in many ways, but also parts of the whole to accomplish the work on earth, that is community. Yes, we are individuals, but our individuality combined with working in unity with each other helps us all accomplish the goals we have been given.

Why do we judge each other? Why do we always attempt to find fault with someone else when they don’t agree with our opinions? Why do we refuse to listen to each other’s ideas. Why do we think everyone has to have the same opinions and ideas as we have? Why can’t we talk to each other in a calm manner and discover what could possibly increase our knowledge and our experiences?

In this portion from John, we see that Jesus wants us to act together in unity as a community. He is praying for us. He wants us to remember that He supports our work here on earth. We are to pray for each other. We are to study His word and pray for His people. We are to remember that we are all part of God’s family. We are to give each other support in the work as well as help heal those who are hurting.

We look to Jesus, who ascended to His Father, but then are asked to look to each other and live in unity as a community. We support each other knowing that Jesus is praying for us for our protection and strength. How we live and love in this world shows Christ to the world who does not yet know Him.

The following poem was presented to us in a note written by the man who was our instructor in the Spring Course of Study. It was written by Teresa of Avila:
“Christ has no body now but yours.
No hand, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, yours are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours?

Never forget that we belong to Christ. We are a member of God’s family. We are protected by God. We are a community that is challenged to be in unity with God’s world.

Dear Lord….show us how we can work toward unity and community in our world. Speak to each of us and continue to strengthen us to do you work in your world.



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