Specific Text - John 17:20-26
We often associate the "Lord's Prayer" with the instructions on how to pray that Jesus gives His disciples as recorded in Matthew and Luke: "Our Father, who is in Heaven...", yet the prayer our Lord offers here in John 17 might better fit that description. Jesus begins this prayer requesting that He will bring His Father glory, He then prays that the disciples will be protected by "the power of your name" (there's a whole devotional there, but we'll save that for another day), and then He prays for you and me, His church, that we "would be one."
It is admittedly difficult to look around the church landscape in 2019 and conclude that the church is anything close to being 'one.' To begin with there's the Eastern church (called the 'Orthodox' church) and the Western church, which is itself split into two groups: The Roman Catholics and Protestants. Within the Protestant branch, where we find ourselves, there are literally thousands of distinctions and denominations. Even here in a small city like Sunnyside, we find dozens of churches, most of which remain detached from the others. It doesn't seem like we are anything close to being 'one.'
But we are. Notice that Jesus called us to be one, not the same. Consider a football team. Each team has 11 (or in the case of SCHS, 8) members on the field, all with different roles, responsibilities, and attributes. The center and the wide receiver have very little in common with each other; one is big & lumbering, while the other is quick and agile. But yet all of these positions come together to form one team, with one purpose.
So it is in the Church. On one hand, it is unfortunate and the result of sin that the Church has splintered into so many groups, yet on the other, it gives the Church so much more of a broad voice. Each individual instance of the Church has limitations and weaknesses that are covered by the strengths of other parts of the Church. We have a ton of strengths as Reformed Christians, and we must seek to share these strengths with other churches who can in turn help us fill in many of our own gaps. We can do this because the true Church is united by one thing: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We form one body - one team.
Know that you have been made part of one of the oldest, most unified bodies that has ever existed: the Church. Always make your primary concern maintaining the purity of the church. Be well rooted in Reformed theology, and be willing to share this wonderful treasure with those in other parts of the Church just as you are willing to learn from the strengths God has blessed them with.
Prayer For The Day - Dear Father in Heaven, what a privilege to know that Jesus prayed for me while He was on Earth, and to know He sits at your right hand at this moment interceding for me. Thank you for making me part of your Church. Forgive us of the many problems we have, and keep us unified in the faith in your Son which you have given us. All this I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.