Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold. “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
Dear God, at first glance, it appears that not even all of Jesus’s prayers were answered. When he was praying that you would protect the disciples, was he hoping none of them would be killed? Did he understand that it would be at least 2,000 years before he would return? Did he know that someone in the year 2021 would be included in his prayer for future believers. And was the prayer he prayed for our unity futile? Lots of questions, and I confess that I do not have the answers.
By thinking about unity for a moment, what is my role in unity? How do I allow disunity between me and others (family, friends, community)? How do I encourage disunity between other people? On the other hand, what are ways I can be part of unity? How can I encourage it between myself and others, or between other people? I think it starts with humility. So many quarrels are over who is right and who is wrong. I heard someone say this week that the narrower his theology gets and focuses on the important essentials the greater his love for people grows. On the other hand, the broader his theology gets (topics like infant baptism, wine at communion, etc.) the narrower his love for others is. Along those lines, the more I think I have things figured out the more foolish and narrow-minded I am. On the other hand, the more I focus simply on your love and how others can be at peace through their access to you that Jesus’s death and resurrection affords them , the more I will love them and help others to be comfortable turning loose of their own broad philosophies/theologies and embrace you as well.
Father, help me to love you in a real way. Help me to be an example of unity. Let it start with my wife and children, and their significant others. I pray for all of them, that there would be healing, peace, and a sense of your glory. Your glory, oh Lord, is my strength. Not my own mind. Not my own beliefs, but you alone, Lord.
In Jesus’s name I pray,