Sunday, May 12, 2013

1+1+1 = 1

an excerpt from a sermon on John 17

"...may they all be one." John 17:11

Being one means being many together – try to figure that math out.

I carry with me a common human experience that has stuck with me because I think it paints a rich picture of this unity Jesus is praying about – at least a fuller picture than the church is often able to paint. When I began seminary I made my way to downtown St. Paul, MN to get a new drivers license. It is a nusience of an errand and I found myself taking a number and filling in to the expansive waiting room in the St. Paul courthouse. I looked up and found myself sitting across from an older man in a business suit scrolling through his palm pilot, sitting next to a teenager girl trying to keep her infant quiet, swear words were flying, people were knocking knees and shuffling around trying not to make eye contact. All these people from all walks of life were literally linked together by the impossibly hard plastic chairs and holding our little paper numbers in our hands. I looked around and thought of the church – the gathering was beautiful, crazy, messy, all different colors and languages, all scarred and flawed right out there in the open. I felt more a part of that group than I did at the little Scandinavian seminary I had just begun.

What is this one-ness? Common human experiences that force us outside ourselves, that draw us in by the Holy Spirit and push us around until we're knocking knees and actually looking at one another. Its not comfortable, its not easy – but it is what Jesus prayed for for the sake of our lives, for the sake of the love of God.

The DMV isn't the only uniting force in the world. Human beings often find themselves united by crisis or death, pulled together by a common concern or fight for justice. Human beings are sometimes found walking in solidarity with another by serving, volunteering, working toward a better life for all people. There are countless uniting webs just waiting for us to step in.

Who is waiting for you?

Jesus continues to pray for the disciples then and for us now. And that prayer is the power that is weaving us together as a community. 
 There prayer will not be finished if continue to sit divided. 
 The prayer is not finished if we do not know each other's names or stories.
 The prayer is not finished if the spirit of welcome stops at the border around our little village.

We need each other in order to know and experience God.

When we come to the table we do not arrive alone, but we stand shoulder to shoulder -- one in Christ.

We are one in the inflicting and washing of each other’s wounds.

We are one in the singing of praise to our God who so loved the world that Jesus was sent to be among us, so that God may be among us and we remain in God and God remains in us. Thanks be to Christ, who prays for us still. Amen.

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