Jesus prayed, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you 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. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. – John 17:20-23
It was early and I was drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee. I was reading Jesus’ prayer that is recorded in the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John. Jesus prayed that His church would be one…one with the Father, one with the Son and one with each other. He prayed that we would be one so that the world would see our love for God and for each other and be drawn to Him. Jesus didn’t just pray for unity. He died for it.
The Bible says that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). The Word became flesh to show us what God looks like with fingers, toes and a heart that beats 72 times per minute. The Word became flesh to experience what tears feel like when they burn our eyes and run down our cheeks. The Word became flesh to experience pain and temptation like we do and to show us how to overcome them. The Word became flesh to pick up His lost and dying children from the filth, to wrap His loving arms around them. The Word became flesh to satisfy the Law and to absorb the punishment that humanity deserves seeking glory for itself instead of for Him. The Word became flesh to show us that true love is an action…not just a feeling.
Unity…if our hearts long for unity why does our flesh battle against it? If Jesus offers us the same glory that He received from His Father what are we doing with it? If the church is supposed to be a model of unity in a world filled with pain, suffering and division how are we doing? If faith was meant to be lived-out in community why are so many people still struggling alone? These are just a few of the questions that came to mind as I pondered Jesus’ prayer for His church.
Some people feel the closest to Jesus when they journal and write their thoughts and prayers out. It is a beautiful thing when people are willing to become vulnerable and share these inner thoughts and prayers with others. Manna and Coffee began as personal blog. Then I read Jesus prayer for unity, and everything changed. As Jesus’ prayer for unity washed over me, I realized that it would be better to partner with other writers to “become one” with the Father, Son and each other. I realized that Manna and Coffee could become a place where ordinary weaklings could come together to share our hearts to bring God glory. It could become a place to let others know that they are not alone in their struggles. It could be a place where the “less than good enough” writers could unite and share our stories. Stories about how God changes lives and helps us get through this journey called life. Stories expressed through devotional writings, poetry, music, art and photography.
We all have a story. Please prayerfully consider sharing your story with the Manna and Coffee community today! – Len Winneroski