“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them.” (John 17:6-9a)
During this time of COVID chaos we have been deluged by the media, the government, and various companies with slogans that encourage Americans to stand together in unity. The idea is that only as we stand together can we defeat the virus. While we should be aware of how our behavior affects others and should tend to the needs of those who are most vulnerable and those who are hurting, the unity that many propke proclaimis an elusive dream. Due to conflicting opinions, political ideologies, religions and lifestyles, Americans are not united. True unity exists only among those who have faith in Jesus.
On the night Jesus before Jesus was crucified, He prayed for unity for us after He had finished His teaching to His disciples, and His exhortation that they remain faithful. He then presented His final words as a prayer which is often called His High Priestly prayer. In this prayer Jesus acted as intercessor with the Father. He asked for strength for Himself that He glorify the Father by carrying out the onerous task of redeeming mankind by dying on the cross. He asked for courage and faith for the disciples that none of them would fall away though they would be sorely tested. He prayed also for all who would believe in Him because of the message of the disciples, which includes us. He prayed that we might share the unity He has with the Father. And His prayer is answered by the Holy Spirit working in and through the Church. Thus the true unity which many seek but cannot find is found not in national identity, but only in those who are one in Christ. Because we are one with Him, we are one with each other. Therefore, rather than fall under the spell of media persuasion, we should walk in the unity we already possess by faith in Christ. Then we will truly share the love of Jesus with everyone for His glory.