They All May Be One

This is an adapted form of the sermon I preached this morning, the Seventh Sunday of Easter. The gospel text was John 17:1-11

So…when Jesus had said all he wanted to say,
He looked up to heaven and started to pray,
“Father, this is my hour, the end of my story,
So glorify me that I might show your glory.
I’m marked with a stamp that says, ‘return to sender,’
So fill me with light, with your awesome splendor.

You’ve given me all people: some kind, some infernal.
You gave them to me that I might give life eternal.
And what is this life, this eternal life I give?
It’s knowing you, knowing me, knowing that we both live.
Eternal life isn’t something for later.
It’s living life now, trusting in the creator.

Father, you know I’ve obeyed you, I’ve done what you ask;
I’ve given you glory by performing your tasks.
So now glorify me, your light shines from my heart,
The light that has shined in me since before this world’s start.”

When Jesus had said all he needed to say,
He looked up to heaven and continued to pray,
“Father, I’ve told them about you, and proclaimed who you are.
They know that they’re yours, and they know you’re not far.
They’ve heard what I’ve said, and it’s changed what they do.
They know in their hearts that I’ve come from you.
They believe that you sent me; they know who I AM;
They know I’m their shepherd; they know I’m your lamb.

“So I’m praying for them, for the people you’ve given;
For these disciples and friends that you gave me from heaven.
All your people are mine, and mine are all yours,
And inside each one of them my spirit soars.

“But I have to go now; I’m returning to you,
And they will remain, and I pray they’ll be true.

Father, protect them, guard them, and guide them;
Plant my name deeply, fully inside them.
For I am returning; my mission is done.
But I pray that like us, they all may be one.”

When Christ was among them, he loved them and cared.
He taught them to heal, to preach, and to share.
He showed them who God was, and taught them to pray.
Teaching truth, giving life, and showing the way.
But now Christ is leaving; his hour is at hand.
And his disciples fear that without him, they can’t stand.
And so Jesus prays, prays that they might be one;
Prays that they be united, like the Father and Son.

For Jesus was human, his Father infinity;
Yet with the Spirit they’re one…we call that the Trinity.
How this works is a mystery, a truth full of wonder
Like the sun and its light, like lightning and thunder
Jesus prayed that his friends would be One in like kind,
That they’d be of one heart, and be of one mind.
Although he was leaving, he left them not in the lurch.
If they couldn’t have him, he’d give them a church.

When he prayed for his friends, it’s the church he created,
For the church is Christ’s body, as St. Paul often stated.
Through the church we’re connected to all times and places;
Communion’s been shared by billions of faces.
But we don’t all agree; we don’t all get along…
Could it be that Christ’s prayer and his promise were wrong?
Could it be that Christ prayed only for the eleven,
Those eleven disciples who now live in heaven?

For look at the church now, this church he created:
Instead of acting as one, we are still separated.
There are so many sorts of Christians today;
Some follow the pope, and some find their own way.
Are we all fellow travelers in search of the truth, or
Are just a few of us right, we followers of Luther?
And even in this place it gets quite complex
When we talk about politics, or money, or sex.
So how can this be, if Christ prayed for community?
If Christ prayed for us then, why don’t we see unity?

Christ started to pray one night with his friends;
John recorded this prayer, but the prayer did not end.
For he’s still praying now, among us, within us.
And you’ll see, if you look, all around us are glimpses.
Glimpses that oneness is still on the way,
Glimpses that we might grow closer each day.
We glimpse a forgiveness, a friendship, a healing.
We see signs that love is much more than a feeling.
Together we serve the hungry, the hurting
We see that unity means never deserting

We’re not finished yet, but our hearts are ablaze
For Christ’s prayers are answered, and Jesus still prays.
He still prays for us, he is praying forever,
And when we fall apart, God will keep us together.

When Jesus had said all he came here to say,
He looked up to heaven, and continues to pray,
“Father, protect them, guard them, and guide them;
Plant my name deeply, fully inside them.
For I am returning; my mission is done.
But I pray that like us, they all may be one.”

Amen.

Author: michael j scholtes

I am a time-worn preacher with no intent of malice.

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