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United By the Spirit (5 of 5)
Tony R. Nester
Today our passage is from John 17:20-26. Here we find
Jesus in prayer. We'll be looking at the conclusion of
the prayer, which takes up all of Chapter 17.
Bible scholars sometimes call this chapter the real
Lord's Prayer. They call it that because this is the
prayer that Jesus prays for himself, whereas what we
call "The Lord's Prayer" is really "The Disciples'
Prayer" - the prayer he taught them to pray for
Listen for the Word of God.
(See John 17:20-26)
It's easy to see what Jesus was praying about. He
prayed that his followers would be unified. In verse
21 Jesus prays for his followers - his disciples then
and all who later would come to believe in him, that
they may all be one.
The fact that Jesus prayed for us to be unified is
what makes our disunity so sad and tragic. There is no
end of stories of how Christians have divided
themselves from one another; discriminated against one
another, and refused to eat together at the table
Jesus himself sets for us - Holy Communion.
I recently read about Resurrection Prayer Worship
Center in Brandywine, Maryland. It's a United
Methodist Church that split apart when the it's
pastor, The Rev. C. Anthony Muse, decided he no longer
liked serving under the authority of his Annual
His church had grown to about 5,000 members and he
took most of them with him to begin an independent
church. They now worship in a former grocery store.
Since the space is so limited they have four worship
services beginning at 7:15 a.m. and ending at 6:00
About 300 members remain in the original church and
face a six million dollar debt on the large church
facility that the former 5000-member church under
Pastor Muse's leadership had constructed. There are
court cases under way to determine who has the right
to various church assets - the original congregation
or t ...
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