In our first reading today from Acts, Paul puts himself squarely in the middle of a dispute between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Paul, a Pharisee by birth and training, spoke of the resurrection of the dead. This was not something the Sadducees bought into. So a big old fight breaks out and Paul has to be removed so that he is not torn to pieces. Then once again, we see the Lord speaking to Paul.
The Gospel reading today from John 17 is often called “The Lord’s Prayer.” No, it is not the “Our Father.” This is the prayer that Jesus prayed to his Father that all believers may be one. Not just the ones sitting with Him, but all believers for all time. “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one.” That prayer was for you. And for me. And for every Christian throughout time.
Even though Jesus prayed for unity, there has always been division within the body of believers. It seems to be all the more today. There are those whose stock and trade seems to be creating division among believers. And perhaps some of them are even well-intentioned. But even though there may always be doctrinal differences, differences in practice, etc., I believe that this oneness for which Jesus prayed can be explained in one four-letter word. L-O-V-E. We don’t always have to agree with one another. But we do always have to love one another. In the immortal words of The Captain and Tennille, “Love will keep us together.” (You can thank me for the ear worm some other time.)
Father, as Jesus prayed, so we pray…that we may all be one. Help us today to be united in love. Amen.