JULY 30, 2020 THURSDAY
‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, 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
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Read carefully Jesus’ prayer. Say your name where he prays “these.” You believe in Jesus. We hear his teachings of old. We go with him in suffering and death on Good Friday. We are at the empty tomb. We are heirs of the faith of those who believe him in him through the ages – the love God revealed for all in creation. Our deepest longing is realized when we are one with him. Our mission and purpose in this world – for all to be one in Christ. That is hard to fulfill right now.
I want to believe they we, as followers of Christ are one in him. I don’t always see, hear or read that we are. Unity begins in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Divisions, separation, fear, mistrust, anger, injustice are signs we live apart from the life of the Trinity.
Unity is first is God’s gift and work in us. As Jesus abides in the Father, and we abide in him, we are united with the Father, and through the Spirit, with all peoples and all creation of the Godhead. The divine life flows into you – uniting us with friends, marriage partners, family members, neighbors – those who are “like us,” and those who aren’t – all peoples, not because we like them. Begin we realizing we are like them. It is God’s gift – and the sign we accept and receive it is unity – not because we are deserving. We need God’s grace, too.
Jesus prays for unity – those who believe in him, will be united in him and thus with one another. Trying to create it on our own will be impossibly hard. We become disillusioned. No human will fit our idea of perfection. We focus on other’s imperfection and fail to see and own our biases, imperfections, and sin. We easily can become bitter, cynical, angry toward others, even violent.
Note these emotions you may miss seeing in yourself. We tend to project them onto others. Ask Jesus to draw you first into his love, and the Father’s — to see you as you are seen and known in Christ. It’s a decision and choice you make – not once, but over and over. In so doing, it becomes a way of life – God’s life in you. You learn we belong to each other — all others. “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,” as that old song goes. Others will know — we are Christ’s — by our love – humility, compassion, kindness – love. Let that little song play in your heart and head today — And pray for that day, our unity may be restored — by your love and mine, by Christ’s love in us.Blessings, and may the power of Divine love fill us today and always, Fr. Steve