Spirit & Life

I Pray That They May All Be One

John 17: 8-9a, 13, 20-23
Jesus prayed…
I gave them the message that you gave me, and they received it; they know that it is true that I came from you, and they believe that you sent me. I pray for them.
And now I am coming to you, and I say these things in the world so that they might have my joy in their hearts in all its fullness. Dedicate them to yourself by means of the truth; your word is truth. I sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world. And for their sake I dedicate myself to you, in order that they, too, may be truly dedicated to you.
I pray not only for them, but also for those who believe in me because of their message. I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me. 
This heartfelt prayer of Jesus reflects deep humility and love for us all.  He weaves together his incarnational life, God’s love and truth, our faith, and our response to Jesus’ teachings, through living out God’s love in the world, where we might have joy in our hearts in all its fullness.  We are welcomed and belong as faith-filled individuals and Churches. Our faith seeks unity, though it does not equate to sameness, nor complete agreement of expression and mission, as we have seen over the centuries. Our Churches differ in ways of being, and expression. The Pentecost experience shows God connecting many voices and cultures, woven together in the one Spirit. Jesus’ prayer speaks of modelling unity through love, where we are receptive to the whole body of Christ, intentionally listening to each other, and work towards our common calling to be a living prayer in the world, to bring God’s truth and justice, and act as peace makers. This stands aside from the worldly self-centredness, greed, malice, abuse of power, judgement and unkindness. When we draw in unity to Jesus’ call, we witness God’s cloth, woven in the warming love of the Spirit, bringing comfort and care, with enough breadth and width, that all may be embraced with acts of love, justice, humility and grace.

Unifying Jesus,
You bring before us God’s truth so that we might receive it.
You pray for us, yet, we do not always pray with you.
You pray for our hearts to be full of joy, because you came in love and spoke this truth to us.
You dedicate yourself to us and our dedication is inconsistent and lacking.
You lived in the world and send us to be your people in the world.
You pray we may share the message of God’s truth
and we hold it close rather than sharing it afar.
We know your unifying generosity and hope,
and we walk into the shadows of disunity and focus inwardly as Churches.

Unifying Jesus,
lifts our eyes towards your revealing light
so that we are receptive to all God’s people.
Open our ears to hear to your teachings
so that we receive and own them deep in our souls.
Melt away our anxiety, anger and self-centredness that freezes us into inaction
so that God’s warming Spirit is revealed in the face of one another.
Draw us forward to unity so that we may all be one.       

© Rev Anne Hewitt 12/05/2021
this reflection & prayer may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.

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