I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 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.” vss. 20-21John 17:20-23
John reports that Jesus spent his last evening with his disciples praying for unity, not only in their little group, but among all who would one day come to believe. We are certainly aware of his concern, and today many continue to offer prayers for unity–we even sing about it regularly in our worship services. But it’s been devilishly difficult to achieve. Instead of coming together in mission to make a difference for good, we’ve spent enormous energy in separating into cliques, sects, and denominations of every kind. Every year hundreds of congregations decide they can’t live in love with one another and various factions head off in different directions. And the Church of Christ has suffered enormous damage! According to Jesus in John, it’s our unity that will convince the world that the gospel is true. Conversely, our disunity is causing the Christian Church to lose enormous credibility in the eyes of the world. Believers are leaving church by the millions–and unless things change they’re not going to be back. They’re sick of the posturing and tired of our inability to live according to the simple teachings of Jesus.
Thought for the Day: What’s the biggest roadblock to Christian unity?