“THAT WE MAY ALL BE ONE”
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. - John 17:20-23 ESV (Emphasis added)
Most of us are familiar with “The High Priestly Prayer” found in John 17 when Jesus prayed for his disciples on the night he was betrayed, just before heading to the cross. Many of us have heard numerous sermons preached on that passage of Scripture and I imagine, each time, it evokes warm and fuzzy feelings in our hearts. I vividly remember the first time the Holy Spirit revealed to me that Jesus had prayed for me and I wrote the words “that’s me” in my Bible, long before I felt comfortable to actually write in the Holy Book! (Side note: as children, we were forbidden from writing in any books, let alone the Bible!)
In his letter to the Ephesian church about their (and our) divine calling, the apostle Paul pleaded with them (and us) to walk holy and to guard “the sweet harmony of the Holy Spirit” as we are one. But what does it mean to be one? To be one body, one spirit, one Lord, one hope, one faith, one baptism and one Father, as the passage states. That’s seven one’s – like one for every day of the week! (Ref: Eph 4:3-6)
It means that we operate in unity, the kind of unity that Jesus prayed in John 17 so that the world may believe. Unity in the body is vital for our witness to the world and critical in our current climate of social justice. Yet it can be overwhelming to the ordinary person who may not know where to begin, what to do or say, making it easy to tune out and pretend that things are fine, especially when it doesn’t seem to affect you personally. But I believe that’s the essence of Paul’s message, that if we are one, we are all affected when one member is affected.
As we continue to figure out the how’s and what’s, may I encourage you to keep learning about the issues, to learn how to lament with those who are grieving and to commit yourself to growing in this area. Bishop Cliff has announced the establishment of a task force to address these issues from a national perspective and I am greatly encouraged to see this initiative. Perhaps your first act could be prayer for this group.
Of all the times that we could have existed, God sovereignly chose this time for each one of us to be on earth. And since God does nothing by coincidence, I am spending time in prayer, asking Him what He expects of me during this time when the world is hurting, when there is a global appetite for racial reconciliation.
How might He be asking us to steward our influence, time, talent, and resources to make a difference in His world right now? How will things change if each of us did our little part?
I discovered this new collaboration with Phil Wickham and Bethel Music speaking so powerfully of this time and about our "God of Revival".
By: Yolande A. Knight