The final hours were racing by.
Jesus knew the end was near, and that he would be leaving behind a small group of simple folk to carry his legacy forward. As he folded his hands that night and knelt in prayer, his thoughts turned to the welfare of those he was leaving to the wolves. He knew that their only hope was to stay united behind all that he had taught them. And so Jesus prayed, “…that they may be one, as we are one”. As close as a Father is to a Son, Jesus wanted the disciples to be with each other. Jesus understood the power of One. The one thing that would hold it all together was to be united in love for God and for each other.
We don’t always understand the Power of One in the same way as Jesus. Too often we mistake unity for sameness. Too often we try to capture and control the Power of One, by reducing the plea to love into a set of practices or methods to be replicated and put to the test. If we don’t dress the right way, speak the right language, play the right music or recite the correct creed, we fall short of someone’s definition of unity.
The disciples were not members of the same family. They did not all have the same occupation. They had their differences with each other to which Scripture attests. After Christ departed them, they all did different things and were sent as missionaries to spread the gospel over three continents. The early church spread throughout the Near East, into North Africa, to Greece and Rome, and as far to the east in Asia as India. History shows that the expressions of faith were very different from place to place, even in those early years, but there was one common element that held it all together, and that was love – that God loves us and that means that we can love each other through our differences and harness the Power of One.
Much of the differences that exist in the church have to do with personal and group identity much more than they have to do with the important work of the Kingdom of God. Their so called doctrinal purity has more to do with ethnic and cultural traditions and the turns of history, then about how we live our lives under Christ. Jesus was not concerned that we all do it the same way, but that we all do it because we love him.
And that is the true Power of One!
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About this website
Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church (GA) in New York City has been chosen as one of eight internship congregations to participate this year in a church-wide initiative designed to increase our understanding of Holy Scripture and most importantly, to cultivate our engagement with it. In partnership with The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Vicar John Heidgerd will be working to develop innovative ways to deepen our faith formation and sense of discipleship for the sake of ourselves and our communities.