Thomas Merton wrote about Jesus’ prayer in John 17, where he prayed that we all might be one, as he and the Father were one.
Merton’s conclusion was that while the Church found it difficult to live into the reality of that oneness, he could do it in his heart, making it a place where Jesus’ prayer has been answered.
Merton’s meditation (Journal–April 28, 1957) speaks a powerful word to us. By God’s grace we can become answers to Christ’s prayer, even as we continue to pray for the whole Body of Christ to become what Jesus prayed for us to be.
We can unite the East and West, Roman and Orthodox, Reformed and Wesleyan, Baptists and Lutherans, traditional and contemporary.
We can do this by refusing to pit one expression against another. We can do it by reading the fathers and mothers found in each and all traditions. We can do it by worshipping in denominations other than our own and having friends in a variety of churches and faith traditions. We can do it by refusing to speak evil against any brother or sister in Christ.
We do not have to wait until the Church is “one.” We can have a John 17 heart right now.