The last prayer Jesus offered before going to his cross was for his followers. His prayer was that his followers would be one. He prayed in John 17:21 - 23:
I ask on behalf of those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I in you, may they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. .. I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
What does it mean to “be one”? Certainly we value our individual identities, our unique gifts, talents and the skills we have gained. Diverse backgrounds and experiences helped make us who we are. We have developed at least partially as products of our families of origin and of the many relationships which have touched us.
Yet Jesus’ prayer is still that we “be one”. He refers to being one because he is “in us” and we are “in him”. I believe the “one” he refers to is love. We are one in his love and his love makes us one with each other. When we are one with someone, it means we share a common goal and perspective motivated by love. Love connects us with words and deeds and leads beyond them.
Isn’t it a happy surprise to discover a connection with someone that you did not know existed before? We are meant to discover that we are not as different as we might think under the surface. So if love is our common bond, then we are to intend love with those we know and those who we have not known before. It is amazing what we discover when we come from our “oneness” in love and not our separateness.
God, you bind us together, unified in love. Give us the grace and the courage to shift the direction of our intentions from being overly protective and separate to embrace the oneness which is given us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.