Different, yet One

Life Notes—May 13, 2010 

“The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one.  I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  John 17:22-23 

This is an excerpt from the prayer Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, shortly before Judas betrays him to the temple guards.  He discusses how the love that has flowed to him from the Father, he has sought faithfully to pass along to us.  As Jesus and the Father are one, so we are to become one.  One with each other, one with Jesus, one with God.  Although there is much in the Bible I have difficulty accepting literally, this is one part I believe, literally.  Bear with me… 

As a wide-eyed kid I enjoyed studying the natural sciences—biology, physics, chemistry.  Those sciences taught that, without a doubt, we are one.  At least in substance.  The same minerals, chemicals and other substances that make up my body, make up your body as well.  Not only that, through the natural recycling process of decomposition the substances making up our bodies today are the very same substances that made up the bodies of those who lived and died in every generation before us.  Not only that, the substances that make up our bodies are the same as the substances making up all forms of existence on the earth.  Not only that, when you contemplate life at the molecular level, the ‘substances’ giving form to my body are not “mine” at all, but are constantly interchanging with like atoms and molecules giving form to other life around me.  That I have a body that appears separate from the rest of my surroundings is, at least at its foundational level, an illusion.  We recognize the forms that house our souls as distinct; yet, the natural sciences teach there is nothing distinct about them.  They are most certainly one with their surroundings. 

If we are literally one in substance, why would we believe we are any different in spirit?  Our earthly being is created in God’s image.  Jesus makes no secret of his oneness with God.  That is what got him killed, for the church leaders knew that claiming to be one with God was the same as claiming to BE God.  That was blasphemy.  Yet, that blasphemy is exactly what Jesus invites us to commit—become one with him, who is one with God.  While God and Jesus are separate, distinct entities, they have an eternal and unbreakable connection.  It is into that holy fellowship of ‘One-ness” we are invited. 

Tom’s sermon title this week is “United in Diversity,” based on the scripture John 17:20-26.  Life worship begins at 10:45 in Brady hall.  Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Contemporary worship at the west campus begins at 9:30. 

Come home to worship this Sunday.  Join us in our journey to Oneness with Christ.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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