Robert Griffith | 27 January 2023
Robert Griffith
27 January 2023

 

In a world where everything is bleak and gloomy …

When there never seems to be enough …

In the midst of messages telling us that we fall short …

In a time when we are more focused on whether we may acquire automatic weapons than how we can help the underprivileged …

And even in a Church that is battling, quarrelling, and suffering from ‘friendly fire’ …

God is working among all of this. All of creation is being drawn towards redemption by a stream of hope that runs beneath the surface. A most life-filled truth runs in history amid sensationalist jabs, assaults, and news of conflict; we cannot disregard this truth lest our souls suffer.

A powerful prayer Jesus uttered soon before His crucifixion neatly sums up the purpose of creation:

John 17:19-21   “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Let’s carefully consider this. Jesus begged for His followers to be as unified as He and the Father are. The Trinity’s loving unity should be reflected in the Church’s loving unity. As stated in “As you are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us,” the loving unity of the Church is to partake in the loving unity of the Trinity. We imitate God’s loving oneness as we share in God’s loving oneness.

The world sees and understands that Jesus Christ is a messenger sent from the Father when we imitate this loving oneness. Because they experience the love of the triune God in us, the world is aware of the existence of the triune God.

This prayer articulated God’s aspiration for the entire created order as well as for the Church. The reality is that they are called to be one in the Father and Son, and Jesus hoped that His church would be sanctified in the truth” (v.19) so that the world might believe in Him and join the Church.

The Church must participate in and demonstrate God’s perfect, eternal love in order to be set apart (sanctified), not by having a unique level of religious piety. “Jesus summons men, not to a new religion, but to life,” Bonhoeffer remarked. Only by sharing in God’s life do disciples differ from others, allowing them to welcome everyone else to do the same.

God wants people to emulate Him on a personal level and overflow with love for Him, for themselves and for their neighbours once they have experienced His unfathomable love and eternal life. As God gives His life to us, we demonstrate the fullness of His life by affirming the infinite worth we ourselves have as a result of what God has done for us in Christ (self-love); and we affirm the infinite worth others have as a result of what Christ has done for them (neighbour-love).