“…that all of them may be one, Father… that the world may believe.” ~John 17:21
Jesus concludes his beautiful prayer on that last night with his followers by asking our God to unite all future believers, to unite his Church of future disciples, with the same unity that’s shared between the Father and Son. This harmony for which our Lord prays is explicitly explained as a critical component in evangelism. To Jesus and to the Kingdom of God, Christian unity is a big deal.
“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me.” ~John 17:23
This unity, however, is not something for which we must work. Christian unity is not a thing we create or foster or manufacture. We don’t plan for and structure for Christian unity. We can’t do anything to cause it. It’s a gracious gift from God. Christian unity is already the eternal reality. It’s just a matter of whether we recognize it or not. It’s a matter of whether we choose to live into it or not.
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.” ~John 17:22
Today, we celebrate our unity with all Christians everywhere, particularly our commonality with our brothers and sisters at First Baptist, First Presbyterian, and Polk Street Methodist. Today, we practice that unity by cooperating with these churches as one big Christian family to offer supplies for our downtown area elementary schools. Today, we experience our unity with all believers throughout the ages at the meal around our Lord’s table. Then tonight we gather at Southwest Church of Christ to praise our God together in the spirit of unity we share within our own faith tradition.
May our God be glorified as together we live into and through his abundant gifts of unity, grace, and peace.