We are a beleaguered people. A pandemic has frayed our social fabric; political discourse devolves into pejoratives that further polarize; natural disasters batter communities; the world over, citizens take to the streets over failures of leadership and social injustice; negotiated truces seem a meager match for historic hostilities. When one looks upon these formidable reminders of our fragility, failure, and fragmentation, the temptation looms all the stronger to retreat behind the insulating walls of our own little kingdoms.
Unity as otherworldly
If the concept of unity seems otherworldly, good—it should. In John 17 Jesus presents a dazzling kaleidoscope of glory, love, and union that resides in the divine. And let us not forget: this intimate prayer of Son to Father occurs on the cusp of the cross, the occasion of their excruciating alienation. But this mystery is great: the triune God would put his unity to work for the life of the world. In the loving exchange between Father and Son, the Son by his death gives to the Father those the Father has given him. (John 17:6, 9–10, 21–23, 26)
Unity based in the Trinity
Friends, our unity was never meant to be generated by our friendly dispositions or haunting fear of loneliness; no, our unity already is because of a three-in-one God who in love chose to be for us. As Jesus prayed, he knew he was about to create that unity in his own body on the cross. Our unity is not a static reality but as dynamic as our triune God—unity gaining momentum as we focus our lives together on Jesus.
Unity for the world
Like God’s unity, our unity is meant to be for the world – to demonstrate that God will enfold those he loves in his own life. (John 17:21–23) Steep yourself in the staggering truth of John 17 until your heart sings. Beseech the one who has united us and now intercedes for us. In that unity go, together, sent and sanctified for the life of the beleaguered world. (John 17:16–19)
Written by Ellie Wiener
Artwork by Meredith Free, Unity’s Source