Toward the end of the Gospel of John, as Jesus is moving toward his crucifixion, he prays for his disciples. As a part of this beautiful prayer, Jesus entreats,
[20]"I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, [21]that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also 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 them, so that they may be one, as we are one, [23]I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. [24]Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

[25]"Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. [26]I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:20-26)

Somewhere along the way, some time after the cross and the empty tomb, this unity for which Jesus himself prayed was lost. In the mean time, we have convinced ourselves that unity means that we have to completely agree with one another about everything. We have decided that being one means that we must be completely like minded. We have allowed ourselves to believe that harmony can only come if we act, walk, talk, and look exactly like one another. And perhaps worse still, we have persuaded ourselves that we must demonize any idea that is other than that which we hold to be true as well as deomonize any person who may hold those "contrary" beliefs. 

So, we fight.
We complain.
We point fingers.
We castigate.
We divide even further.
And the Good News is lost!

Church...it is time.  It is time that we rediscover our ability to live in unity in the midst of our disagreements.  It is critical that we find a way to celebrate the wonderful good news of the gospel of grace and honor our differences by caring enough to listen to one another. It is imperative that we commit ourselves to living gospel together, in spite of our deep divergent convictions, for an already splintered world hungry for something different.

It is time Church! It is time!

So I write these words to make a statement.

I recommit myself to listening. I recommit myself to doing the hard work of not being so protective of my beliefs that I become nothing more than a "resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." I recommit myself to working toward unity.

I need you to hold me accountable to this. It will not be easy. However, I know that if we cannot work toward the kind of unity for which Jesus prayed our witness about Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may hang in the balance.

It is my prayer that we may truly become one.


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