Blog # 435 Unity of the Church
The week of January 18 to 25 has for many years been designated by several Churches in the
United States and throughout the world as a period each year in which special prayers are offered for the intention of the unity of Christian believers. I invite you to set aside some time each day of these days, beginning today, to pray for the unity of believers in Jesus that He himself prayed for the
night before He died.
He is with the Apostles in the final hours He would spend with them before His agony in the garden, and His loving and obedient death on the Cross ( Jn.17: 20ff.) We hear Jesus praying: " I pray...for those who will come to believe in me. May they all be one. Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in You, so that the world may believe it was You who sent me. I have given them the glory You gave to me, that they may be one as we are one that the world will realize it was You who sent me and that I have loved them as much as You have loved me."
I cannot understand how anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus could take these words of His lightly. Yet we tolerate divisions of the Church almost as if they were in agreement with His prayer and desire. Part of the problem seems to be that none of us wants to be wrong or deficient in our faith, and in order to give ourselves the security we need to live in the conviction that we are right it turns out that others who differ from us must logically be wrong. Then we try to discover the errors of others generally with little or no personal contact with the people we are judging. On the other hand, none of us is completely right until all of us are one. Isn't that what Jesus prayed for the night before He died? If we really want to count to ten we count to ten; no exceptions.
Suppose you were a teacher, and you had eighteen students in your class. Suppose you taught them all to spell cat C-A-T. In learning it, all eighteen students would agree with you. Then, when they related to one another, if they really learned what you taught, it would necessarily follow they would also agree with one another. If not, something would be wrong.
This is similar to the way it is with the churches. Jesus is the teacher of all. We wish to learn and believe, to follow and live what He taught. We want to agree with Jesus, to be one with Him. The fact we are not united indicates that something is wrong. It is this problem I am inviting you to pray about this week. "That all be one...that the world may believe is was You who sent me and that You loved them as you loved me.'