“that they may all be one” John 17:21
One. Jesus prayed for this. For his disciples. For those who would come to believe because of his disciples witness. For you. For me. For us. That we may all be one. Unity. To be “part of” instead of “apart” was Jesus’ prayer for his disciples- for them and for those who would come to believe because of them=us.
The last words Jesus spoke to his disciples prior to his arrest, trial, and crucifixion included the lengthy prayer that takes up all of John 17 Here you can read that chapter in its’ entirety. As you read this “high priestly prayer” remember Jesus is praying for you.
So what does this mean? Prayers are needed. Jesus at the beginning of John 17 prays for himself. He’s going to need prayer. He is going to make his way across the Kidron Valley to give himself up in the garden. He knows what lies ahead. Jesus then prays for his disciples. He knows what awaits them. They will see their beloved Jesus hand himself over to the authorities. And Jesus prays for you and for me. He knows we will need it. Jesus prays that we may all be one. Jesus prays for us.
There is incredible power in prayer. There is power in unity. Unity is not the same as uniformity. There is power also in diversity which does not in and of itself create dissension. We get to learn to love one another in all of our complexities and particularities as we let in this amazing love of Christ and share it.
Jesus prays for himself, his disciples and us. There are as many ways to pray as there are people who pray. In his prayer Jesus models for us prayer. Here is a post from several years ago about prayer http://www.davidlose.net/2013/02/what-is-prayer/ In the many comments that follow this post there are lots of great refections on prayer. I invite you to consider your own reflections upon prayer as well.
Our gospel reading for this coming weekend ends with this verse;
“ 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.” John 17:26.
It is all about the love. United to love. United to share the love Jesus has for us. The love God has for Jesus he lives out and it takes him to the cross. This is the type of love Jesus invites us to live out. We let this love fill us up. Receiving this love is fuel for the journey and call us to action. Love without action is merely a mushy sentiment. Jesus’ love calls us to action.
Love is action often takes us to very dark and challenging places. And we need never go alone. The Spirit is with us. This is promised. In our prayers we can ask for God’s protection and also ask God to show us the next step to put love into action- inspired by God. Love of the neighbor is not a theory, it's a daily practice. Love in action.
That we may be one- united in love and called forth to live out that love together. Where is this love of God calling you to love your neighbor as yourself? Unsure? Ask in prayer that your next move will be revealed to you and then open up- your heart, your eyes, your ears, your life to live out this love that we may all be one.