All One

By Davidwnoble (w:en:File:Baconbutty.jpg) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
We had a debate about bacon cobs last week at our church – all very light-hearted, but is having butter on a bacon cob, or not, the “normal” way?  In fact is calling them cobs, not barms, butties or any other colloquial name for small rounds of bread normal?  We’ve lived in placed where each of those was the local custom – you have to learn fast!It can be very easy to get hung up with what is “normal” – it usually means someone exactly like me.But what did Jesus have to say?

You have given me some followers from this world, and I have shown them what you are like. They were yours, but you gave them to me, and they have obeyed you. They know that you gave me everything I have. I told my followers what you told me, and they accepted it. They know that I came from you, and they believe that you are the one who sent me. I am praying for them, but not for those who belong to this world.My followers belong to you, and I am praying for them. 10 All that I have is yours, and all that you have is mine, and they will bring glory to me.

11 Holy Father, I am no longer in the world. I am coming to you, but my followers are still in the world. So keep them safe by the power of the name that you have given me. Then they will be one with each other, just as you and I are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost, except the one who had to be lost. This happened so that what the Scriptures say would come true.

13 I am on my way to you. But I say these things while I am still in the world, so that my followers will have the same complete joy that I do. 14 I have told them your message. But the people of this world hate them, because they don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t.

15 Father, I don’t ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They don’t belong to this world, and neither do I. 17 Your word is the truth. So let this truth make them completely yours. 18 I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me. 19 I have given myself completely for their sake, so that they may belong completely to the truth.

In any friendship group you are likely to have a range of characters.  Imagine if everyone in the group was spontaneous, or comedians.  It might be great fun, but would things ever happen.  Or if everyone in the group was an organiser there would never be any spontaneity.  What any group needs to function well is a range of personalities – it adds to the whole that is the one group.

Jesus prayed that his followers may be one. Being one does not mean being identical.  The relationship between Jesus, his Father and the Spirit is the model or example of being one.  The are not all the same, but different sides of the one relationship.  They all bring something to the party that is the whole.

Jesus want his people to follow God, not each other. Being one as God the Father and Jesus are – along with the Holy Spirit, means existing together – perichoresis if you want a big word!, allowing each other to fully play their part, not demanding everyone does the same thing in the same way.  That is the picture Jesus gives us for living together as one.

If you think of a jigsaw, it is one jigsaw, but all the pieces are shaped differently – if they weren’t the jigsaw wouldn’t hold together and it would be difficult to see the picture.

And if we turn again to the picture of the fruit of the vine that God calls us to be, not two apples from the same tree will look the same – but they are both truly apples, and can be recognised as such.

So being one doesn’t mean being identical, but it does mean coming together with one purpose.  Jesus isn’t looking for us to be clones of each other, but for the church together to give a full picture of him.  Jesus has shown us what God is like, and now wants us to get on with living like him – together.

Lord, I want to look like you,

to reflect your ways,

to live the way Jesus taught us.

Jesus wants us to be one,

together to reflect you,

but we will each do that in a different way.

Lord in your church,

may I live and let live,

allow people to be followers of you,

and not try to make them carbon copies of me.

May we live and work together

to show the glorious whole that is you and your life.

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