Going Deeper 5-31-19

The Gospel reading for Easter 7...
John 17:20-26   "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.  The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me.  I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

This closing section of Jesus' long discourse in John's gospel has traditionally been called His "High Priestly Prayer."  Working with the definition of a priest being "someone who goes to God on behalf of others and to others on behalf of God," Jesus is praying to our Father on our behalf.  He is not only praying for His followers then and there, but also here and now.  Jesus is praying for you and for me.

And Jesus is praying for us... that we "may be one" even as Jesus and His Father are one.  This points to a type of mystical unity, a oneness displayed in the mystery of the Trinity... Father, Son, Holy Spirit-- three persons, one being.  This is also seen in the biblical understanding of marriage, where two become one.  God wants His children to experience a profound unity.

And yet His Church appears to be profoundly broken.  In some sad ways, it is.  But as we proclaim each time we stand as one to proclaim as one our common faith in the words of the Creeds, we state that we continue to believe in the "one catholic" Church.  In this case, "catholic" is understood as "universal."  In spite of our divisions there continues to be an invisible Church, a family of God that transcends our human divisions and keeps us united in Christ.

One huge problem God's children have had over the generations is rooted in the thinking that unity means uniformity.  We see this on many levels-- political, familial, and denominational-- the idea that if we disagree with someone we must separate from them and enter into a state of perpetual conflict.  When we come from a base of humility, understanding and admitting that it is not possible for any one individual or grouping of individuals to fully or adequately comprehend our infinite God, we are able to learn to agree to disagree and to stay in dialogue and in union as we seek the truth together.

Let us join Jesus in praying for that oneness among His children!

With You in Him,
Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."