‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 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. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. ‘Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.’ - John 17: 20-26
"....they may be one, as we are one"
It is hard for me to imagine Christians being one in the way that Jesus and the Father are one. The disputes and divides seem too great. The level of intimacy between the Father and Jesus seems unobtainable. I don't even feel that level of intimacy between the different parts of myself, let alone with people whose theological views seem antithetical to mine.
Maybe that is the key. In my mind being One means uniformity. Even Jesus had to say 'Not my will but yours be done'. How do I manage though when the person who I am called to be one with expresses their faith in a way so different to me that the outflow of their faith could be inhibit mine and vice versa.....
(side note, I struggled to even write 'vice versa' on the end of that sentence because part of me feels that my faith expression cannot inhibit them even though I'm convinced that theirs can inhibit me. Hello one sided identification).
If all this seems vague and abstract...well it is. I can agonize about this in the abstract, and by keeping it there it becomes just a thought exercise and doesn't have to impact daily life. I can't live in the abstract however. When I think about friends of mine who are very different to me, I feel more hope than despair. If we can be friends with our very different perspectives, maybe there is hope for us all.
It pains me to admit this, but I cannot always be right. I can however always strive to be loving.
Maybe that is why the passage ends with,
"...the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."
This Jesus, I think he knows what he's talking about :)