Jesus said “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (NKJV)
That they be One
In the Gospel of Saint John Chapter 17 our Lord Jesus Christ prays to the Father for His disciples, and all those who would believe in Him through their ministry, that “they may be one” as He is One with the Father.
This extraordinary prayer of unity is one that can inspire every effort we as individuals, families, communities, Churches and even Nations, make to create unity in our interactions and relationships, and indeed within ourselves. God has designed humanity to be dependent on relationships and on the knowledge of who we are as His Image and Likeness. “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…’” (Genesis 1:26). Without a true understanding of our identity in Him, we cannot see one another clearly as the image and likeness of God, and that is often where disunity is born.
In Chapter 17, we find our Lord being very clear that His intention is not to take us out of the world, but that we be sanctified, protected, and united to Him at all times. “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:15-17). We often ensure that various avenues of our lives remain harmonious, whether in terms of our health, finances, social interaction and more, but it is always important to realise that as children of God we are spiritual beings that must remain connected to the source of Life, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We are as Job in Chapter 10:8 describes us to be, an “intricate unity” and “fashioned” by the hand of God, and so it is through that unity with our Creator, His Word, that we begin to achieve unity within ourselves, that lays the foundation for true unity with one another.
Heavenly Father, as we remember Your desire that we may be one in You, we pray that we may be one with one another. We pray that this unity may not only touch the world but influence others to live in harmony and glorify You in times of joy while seeking You in times of hardship. We ask You this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London and Pope Tawadros II’s Legate to the United Kingdom