Sunday, 17 October 2010

Unity in God and in each other

"May they be one as we are one"

These 8 simple sounding words, of Jesus' prayer found in John 17, lead us into the depth and mystery of the Christian faith. They express that God's life is a communal life. Jesus indicates that he is in the Father and vice-versa. A relationship of indwelling that also incorporates the Holy Spirit. So in the prayer we get a glimpse of the one God who exist in an eternal communal relationship.

These bonds within the life of God are the bonds which prays believers will have - existing in one another. This complex relationship of existence is then further extended in the prayer when Jesus prayers that they (the believers) may be in us. Not only are our lives related to one another in an intimacy which reflects God's life but our lives are linked into God's own life.

These concepts are all a bit difficult and theoretical but have big implications for Christian people in our unity with God and one another.

As people living witnessing to God's love and existing in God and one another Jesus prayer is that through this oneness the world will believe.

Of course for most of us our experience of our Christan relationships does not coalesce with this prayer. There are many disruptions to our relationships with other Christians both personally and communally - our experience is that we are not one as God is one.

This has led many people to reject God and the message of grace carried within the church. So what can we do?

In a sense we can only do what we have always done. Turn to God week by week - coming to confess that we are sinners who are out of kilter with God and with each other and so acknowledging the brokenness of our lives. And as we come to pray that as we are sent into the world week by week we might find signs of that oneness to celebrate and name as hopeful signs to God's love and life within us.

Our unity in God's life and in one another's lives comes to us as a gift , yet it is a unity that we are called to live out and witness to. Living together is hard work, we are diverse people and sometimes difficult people, yet to be Christ's body in the world means constantly struggling with disruption between our experience of life and this gift of unity we have received in Jesus prayer:

"May they be one as we are one"

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