How oneness is made
I believe with every fiber of my being that God’s dream for us is to see us become one. It was Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17. “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their (the disciples’) message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (v. 20-23NIV) Oneness is meant to be an identifying characteristic of ours that testifies to the very nature of God. We are so much like this culture of comparisons, competitions and commodities that I often despair that it can happen at all. We are too often sniffing around each other like dogs to determine what kind of Christian is the other, asking, do you fit into my paradigm? Are you too liberal, too conservative, too emergent, not emergent enough, too old, too young, too female, too opposed to my agenda?
But we get little tastes, small sips of cool water in moments when all of the fragmentations created by our egos seem to slip away for a while. One such sweet moment happened at a party at our house a couple of nights ago. The session (the church board of elders in our lingo) gathered to thank elders who were finishing their rotation on the board and to welcome incoming ones. There’s something about a bunch of folks who have worked so hard to do their best throughout the heartbreaking situation of the fragmenting of a church family. They have been through death and resurrection. They have been slandered, cursed, hated, accused, lied and gossiped about, disagreed with (ok that part was me), and emotionally drained. They have had sleepless nights, tear-filled nights, anxiety attacks and serious doubts driving them to their knees. And just like the rest of us, of course, (if we’re honest) they really don’t know what they’re doing. But they are seeking Jesus with every breath in their being.
Arising from all of that comes a sweet aroma of humility and brokenness, and a deep honoring of the other that goes far deeper than any issues. And from that place, we are beginning to see the kind of oneness that speaks of God emerge. These pictures may mean little to most of you but to me, they are very beautiful.