Living in Unity (11-11-22)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 133:1-3
How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron's beard, down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
Bible Reading: John 17:18, 20-23
As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
My prayer is not for them alone.
I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
that all of them may be one, Father, just as you 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.
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one,
I in them and you in me, so that they may be brought to complete unity.
Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
It is often said about children in the church, that they are not the church of tomorrow, they are the church of today. Without children in the church of today there will not be a church of tomorrow.
As Jesus prayed for his disciples he knew that the future of this embryonic church that they would soon be planting would depend not just on the twelve apostles, but on those who would believe through their life and ministry. Younger people who would become part of the church today and so form the church of tomorrow, and the church of the generations that would follow them.
Aware of this, Jesus, in his prayer at the last supper, not only prays for his disciples, he also prays ‘for those who will believe in me through their message’ even though he didn’t know them himself.
A thriving church is an intergenerational church. Let us give thanks for those who have gone before us in the Christian faith, for those who have taught us, encouraged us and inspired us on our Christian journey. And let us pray for those who will come after us. They may be the young people in our churches or our families today, or they may be young people that we don’t yet know. But God knows. Let us pray for them in faith, that God would build his church into the future.
As many organisations, including governments, have discovered, unity is important for success. Unity too was one of the key things that Jesus prayed for his church. He prayed ‘that they may be one’ and ‘that they may be brought to complete unity.’ The reason for his unity was ‘That the world may believe’, that the world might know that God loves them.
In many ways this is an as-yet-unanswered prayer and must at times grieve the heart of Jesus. Let us then pray with Jesus for the unity of the church and let us look for ways in which we can be part of the answer to his and to our prayers, that the world might indeed believe.
Father God, forgive our disunity. Keep us faithful to the truths of your Gospel and united in our mission to this world.
Make me a channel of your peace