“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.” ~John 17:22
We’ve been given a profound intimacy with the Father and Son that changes all of human life. It’s a unity that encompasses the Father with the Son, all disciples with them both, and all disciples, in turn, with one another. This is the gift of Jesus’ prayer. It’s not what we have to do or maintain; it’s what God through Christ has already given us and continues to maintain through the power of his Holy Spirit. It’s just a matter of whether we recognize it or not.
This Sunday, we are set to gather in gratitude to give thanksgiving to our God for the gracious gift of this unity. We will acknowledge the fellowship we share with the other Christian congregations in downtown Amarillo on this day of worship and praise and thanksgiving. Together.
Our guest preacher here at Central on Sunday is Howard Griffin, my good friend and the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church. As has become our custom on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we will share a special time of communion around several tables in the worship center piled high with a wide assortment of breads, representing the divinely-ordained diversity in Christ’s Body, his Church. Then at 6:00 Sunday evening, all four churches are meeting at First Baptist for the first ever “4 Amarillo” Thanksgiving service.
As God’s children, unity is our nature. This is who we are: One with Christ and one with his followers everywhere. What that means is that there is very little, if anything, outside of denying Jesus as Lord in word or deed that can separate us. If that’s the case — and it is! — then our diversity and our differences are not just tolerated, they’re embraced and appreciated. Even celebrated. Thanksgiving seems like a perfect time for just such a celebration.