What do you suppose was Jesus' last prayer before facing his crucifixion? Was it that his death wouldn't be so painful or that his disciples would be holy in his absence? No, according to the Gospel of John, his prayer was that his followers would simply be united after he left-that they-that we-would be one.
I look around at the church today and I'm not so sure we have done a good job being united. Often there seems to be more that divides us than unites us. It begs the question, in the famous words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"
This Sunday in worship I will be preaching on this famous prayer, the longest one recorded in the gospels. Here Jesus in essence turns his mission over to the disciples and, by extension, to all believers who would follow. We will wrestle with what such unity looks like for our fractured church today.
This prayer also concludes a sort of commissioning or graduation, which is apropos as this Sunday is High School Senior Recognition Sunday as we honor our soon-to-be graduates at our 11 o'clock service and special banquet to follow. It will indeed be a great day to be in church!
I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. -John 17:20,21
Prayer for Today
O God, in these difficult times, help us, the church, to be one. Amen.