Unity

Adam Stout

READ : John 17:20-26

. . . that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you. (v. 21)

Owen was an orphaned baby hippo. When an earthquake in the Indian Ocean killed Owen’s
mother, he was taken to a nature park for safekeeping. Owen was placed in Mzee’s pen as a
temporary home. But Mzee wasn’t another hippo. Mzee was a 130-year-old tortoise. Owen
began to follow Mzee around. And Mzee, rather than shrug off this young, foreign mammal,
befriended him. What a pair: a mammal and reptile, hanging out together and acting like
family!

It would have been just as unlikely to see Jews and Gentiles living as family. Jews and
Gentiles were like water and oil; they didn’t mix. No one had heard of Jews and Gentiles
coming to worship God together or having fellowship in the church. It simply wasn’t done.
But when God brought Jews and Gentiles together in loving relationship, people took
notice.

And people take notice today. When God’s people are segregated by race, age, social
standing, or economic status, they look like the rest of the world. But when they cross
lines and come together in unity, they fulfill Jesus’ prayer in John 17 that God would
make us one. What can draw these “hippos” and “tortoises” together? Christians know that
it is not our own power but the power of the Holy Spirit. Are we allowing the Spirit to
forge new, diverse relationships in our lives?

PRAYER

Lord, give us eyes to see the segregated places in our lives that you long to unite.