REMEMBER, IMAGINE, John Lennon’s 1971 idea of peace and harmony? Lennon’s lyrics are inviting but only a faint echo from eternity of something more. Jesus, too, has a dream of harmony. It’s that one day His disciples would live as one: “My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one…and the world will believe you sent me” John 17:21 (NLT). Instead of pairing off by mini distinctions and styles, by the kind of “Christian shoes” we wear, Jesus prays we would live more effectively for His purpose. John and Yoko sang for world peace. Jesus prays we live as one so the world will believe He is for real! Jesus prays we kick off our separatist shoes so the world sees we are really His feet.
LOOK AT WHAT JESUS SAYS: “The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one. . . John 17:22.” He says He has given us (disciples) “glory” so that we (disciples) may be one in the way He and the Father are one. They have the same purpose, they work together in mission and message to the world. That is the model for the church, working together in mission and message. Instead, we have argued, separated, majored on minors, and acted on our own.
JESUS GOES ON TO PRAY, “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me.” (v23) Jesus believes our unity is a revelation to the world of His nature and mission. Yet this isn’t what we’ve shown the world for the most part. I suggest we are making a huge omission by not seriously considering Jesus’ vision and heartbeat for His church and world evangelism. Imagine His church, multiple congregations kicking off pride, not competing but living with a sense of unity.
IMAGINE what it would look like if the church in its many congregations around the world began to share Jesus’ heartbeat. Imagine if we prayed the prayer of Jesus and dreamed His dream? Jesus’ prayer suggests the only way to fulfill His commission is to go together as His Church, not ours, as one church, not many. We have put enormous effort toward fulfilling the Great Commission but, I believe have made a great omission.