Don R. Elly, M. Div.
“That they may all be one” is the phrase that stands out in Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-26 where Jesus is at the Passover table in the Gospel of John praying for the disciples who not only are following him now, but also those in the future.
Why is being one important? In a time when everything seems to be flying apart and unity is nowhere in sight, what might Jesus have to say to us that can help us recognize oneness when it happens? First, the oneness Jesus is praying for does not start with us and is not dependent upon us. It truly is a gift of God. Listen: “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.” It is important to recall that oneness is a gift of God through Jesus and as we continue pray in Jesus’ name, Jesus is present with us and so too is God.
Barbara Lundblad, well known preacher, in a comment on this passage made an observation that every parent can identify with when she writes, “Jesus is praying like a mother who has adopted these children. They belong to God, but God gave them to Jesus to care for, to teach and to nurture.” Jesus, like every parent, faces the limits of control. Having invited, taught and modeled for them what it is to abide in God, Jesus cannot do it for them.
Second, Jesus’ prayer is not just for the moment, but for the future. Because there are no solitary Christians we are challenged to fulfill Jesus’ prayer by loving one another and realize that our very prayer is a demonstration of the bond Jesus is praying will occur.
Take a moment and thank God that in Jesus we are not only given the hope of oneness, but in him we have that experience whenever we pray in his name. In one sense we can hope for oneness and be grateful that when one or two are gathered in his name, Jesus is with us. “Come, Lord Jesus” is not just a hope, but truly a reality we experience when we ask Jesus to be with us and in us.
May 8,2016; Cycle C; 7th Sunday of Easter (Mother’s Day)
Acts 16:16-34; Psalm 97; Revelation 22:12-14; * John 17: 20-26