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That We May Be One

May 24, 2020
A Mallard taking a bath in the pond at Coffee on the Rocks

On one of our recent walks we walked (as we always do) by the pond at Coffee on the Rocks. I have been keeping my eye and heart open for whatever gift God has in store for me. Watching this Mallard “take a bath” made me smile and I was pleased with this photo I received during this encounter. This is just another example of being still and connecting with our wild neighbors here in the Rockies. During this Pandemic, I have enjoyed the time with all of our wild neighbors like this duck. He reminds me that we are all in this together and that God wants us to draw together as a community of faith during these challenging times.

In today’s Gospel reading we encounter a part of Jesus’ High Priestly prayer which he offers on behalf of the disciples prior to being betrayed, arrested, convicted, and executed. Jesus must have been considering what would happen to this very human group of Ragamuffins (to use Brennan Manning’s words) who were about to find themselves at the mercy of the wolves. I can only imagine how heavy his heart must have been as he looked at his disciples, knowing that the already rough road was about to get a whole lot rougher for Jesus and then for the disciples.

As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen and experienced many Christ-followers coming together in unity despite their theological differences. Sadly I have also seen many christians condemn others for thinking differently from them or having the nerve to trust science as well as God. I want to focus right now on the variety of Christ-followers who are laying aside differences in doctrine, dogma, and history to work and pray together in these days.

In Romans 12, Paul talks about the Body of Christ. A body is not uniform but rather is made up of many parts. These many parts have different functions but these different parts work together for the common good of the body. Paul was using this physical analogy to describe the church. We are different… but aren’t we also called to be united as Christ-followers? We can celebrate our unity in our diversity as the body of Christ. Our diversity doesn’t drive us apart, it brings us together as one body.

During times like these one of two things usually happen. There is either a unity or coming together of people for the common good which we are seeing happen all over the world or there is division which we are also seeing. One of the discussions that seems to pop up a lot is that the church is closed. We need the church open and we need to worship inside the building. My reply is always that the building may be closed but the church is alive and well and open.

Jesus in John 17:11b said the following: Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. That they may be one as we are one, can be one in the Spirit and one in the Lord as the old camp song says. We can be one even in our diversity.

Thomas Merton talked about such unity as he taught the new novices who were entering the Cistercian Order at Our Lady of Gethsemani. Listen closely to his words… embrace them… let them soak in…

To be alone by being a part of the universe—fitting in completely into an environment of woods and silence and peace. Everything you do becomes a unity and a prayer. Unity within and without. Unity with all living things—without effort or contention. (A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk’s True Life, The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 3: 1952-1960”, p.47)

Perhaps we need to take a lesson from Merton and consider how we can be united as individuals and as God’s creation. The wild animals we have encountered lately seem to be saying that to me. Live in unity… and in that time we will begin to understand what the psalmist said in Psalm 46:10. Be still, and know that I am God. May we enter into that space and truly learn and grow together, bringing hope and healing to this broken world.

6 Comments
  1. hlcgkids permalink

    One of your best, it reminds me of the mighty men of God that were apart of my life, Mr Mcloud, Zeke, Henry and Jerry.

  2. Reblogged this on Anniegoose's Blog and commented:
    This is beautiful – a Must Read. Blessings to All.

  3. Thank you for your wise words.

  4. What a beautiful, timely and inspiring post this is! Thank you, Michael, for gently pointing us toward the most important things. You observe the living creatures and they have words of wisdom to offer you and us. Bless you, Brother! 🙂 ❤

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