The recent scare of a gas shortage hit the Outer Banks hard this week. People sat in their cars in long lines, waiting their turn to fill up. By the end of first day of this mess, many of the gas stations were completely empty. Gas stations with multiple entrances had the challenge of cars coming from different directions and then having to maneuver to the side where their gas cap was located, usually in very small spaces due to the congestion. I saw a picture of an SUV in a nearby town that was being loaded with multiple gas containers after the fellow had already filled his tank. Suffice it to say that this behavior is not acting in the best interest of the community. Hoarding a resource that is perceived to be in short supply does not contribute to the “oneness” of a community. Someone said that gasoline is the 2021 version of 2020’s toilet paper hoarding. Shame on us when we take what we don’t need and deprive others of the resources they need to survive.
We were created to live in community and be interdependent on one another. Shared vision, shared experience, and shared resources are part of the design by which we are made. Yet rarely do we function like this.
Have you ever wondered what Jesus’ last prayer for his people was? Ironically, he prayed that we would be “one.”
John 17 (New Revised Standard Version)
6 ”I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.
11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.
Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
The oneness of the triune God is a natural reference for Jesus as he prays for the oneness of his followers. “So that they may be one” is the last petition that Christ makes on our behalf. How do you think we are doing with that? Our multiple denominations, schisms, splits, and divides surely must grieve him. I don’t think denominationalism will have a place in heaven. Can’t we all just get along?
12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled.
This scripture calls us today to lay down our need to assert our individual thoughts, needs, and perspectives and work toward a common goal of preaching Christ-crucified…and nothing more. When we do that, we show people that following Jesus is a group effort, and together, we can change the world.