In -Sight: A John 17 Heart

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.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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3 Responses to In -Sight: A John 17 Heart

  1. Cindy Schutz says:

    My personal ‘church history’ is one of varied denominational connections…I’m very rich b/c of that and have friends from many traditions. I’m also thankful that UMVIM welcomes other denominations and mission work, disaster work often crosses denominational lines. Sometimes even local missions do that…oh that we would do it more:)

  2. walter Edwards says:

    I think I may have to give up Baptist “water” jokes…

  3. Autumnseer says:

    So well said. There is so much to be gained by so many expressions of faith. So much joy in each tradition. Thanks for putting it so well and I do enjoy your blogs very much.

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