|Bishop Jeremiah J. Park|
John 17:20-26; Colossians 1:15-20
God’s people, unity is a big deal in the eyes of God. Please hear Jesus’ prayer in John 17 carefully:
“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:23)
The unity or disunity of Jesus’ followers seen by the world makes a difference in making Jesus Christ and the love of God known to the world. As far as who Jesus Christ is and the love of God are concerned, the unity or disunity of those proclaiming they believe may make it or break it in the eyes of the world. The unity of Jesus’ people lets the world know that, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
Our disunity puts the gospel in jeopardy! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake! Unity is about Jesus Christ. Humility and love will do it.
As I journey through the denominational struggle over human sexuality and its impact on the agenda of unity, one of the questions that I wrestle with is this one: Why do so faithful, committed, devoted, honest, honorable, and authentic disciples of Jesus Christ differ from one another so radically? They love Jesus. What am I missing? Are we disciples of a different Jesus? Did we receive a different baptism and were we confirmed to a different faith? Do we worship and serve a different God? If not, what makes us so compelled and willing to go a different way from one another?
There was a missionary in a foreign land, and one day a boy came to him and gave him a gift. “This is for you,” the boy said to him. It was a beautiful, gorgeous shell. The missionary was delighted to receive it, but was really surprised, because the ocean was far away. “This is so beautiful! I love it. Thanks so much.” And he asked, “Where did you get it?” “From the beach,” the boy said. “Beach? It’s so far away. It must have been a long walk,” the missionary said. The boy said, “The walk is a part of the gift.”
Our walk includes wrestling with questions and doubts, and struggling with confusion and uncertainties. That’s OK. Our walk is a part of the gift.
I don’t know what is waiting for us and our beloved church. But I know who’s holding the future; the One who came from the highest place to prove God’s love for us on the cross, the lowest place. There’s nothing whatsoever that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. This Jesus walks with us. So God’s people, take heart. This Jesus will never ever let us go.