John 17:1-11 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
”I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.
And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
As all of us on the web are, I too am an inveterate Googler. No question needs ever be unanswered! However this time I didn’t ask Google, I asked the other Behemoth of the Cyber-jungle, Amazon. I wanted to know how many books and movies have “The One” in their title. The answer surprised me. Not because I wasn’t expecting thousands of results. No I was surprised that it wasn’t just books and movies titled “The One”. There are songs called “The One” and there is even a Dolce & Gabana perfume with that name. All available with ONE click shopping from Amazon.com.
Why are we so enwrapped by this notion of the one? Is it because we know at some primal level that our origins are from The One? Creationists and Evolutionists, Mystics and Physicists all concur on probably only this ONE thing. In the beginning there was one. Call it God, all it the Singularity, we know in the very strands of our spiralling DNA, that there is a centre, a still point, a One.
It also seems to be the curse and quest of human consciousness to forever be on pilgrimage to return to “The One”. Some may look into the very limits of Hubble clarified space, others may race around like the electrons in the Large Hadron Collider. In churches, caves, or cemeteries, or in a puff of Dolce & Cabana perfume, we are looking for the One. The One inspires our lyrics, our longing, and according to Carl Jung is the optimum balance point of opposites where our passion flows most creatively.
Small wonder then that this One-ness, Unity and Union, is the deepest prayer of Jesus for his disciples and by inference, his Church.
It was after all, the core experience of Jesus of Nazareth. He knew that He and Abba parent were One. His whole divine – human life, his reclusive – public life, his teaching – listening life; was predicated on there being a unity-union between himself and the very Source of Life. His words and actions were motivated and empowered by returning all those he met to The One. The gospels record the miracles that resulted from that re-UNION. Fathers and Prodigal sons, Tax Collectors and Zealots, Rich Zacchaeus and poor Mary and Martha, Dead Lazarus and Lustful Peter, all found their place at the centre of this singular person. Jesus, who broke bread and had his body broken and was able even in that shattering of his sacred centred life, to unify humanity with God.
If we think of the words that describe human suffering, we notice that they are words describing states moving from that One-ness. Disassociation, Depression, Division, Divorce, Ex-Communication, Alienation, Rejection, Apartheid. Divisive, splitting words, describing what is worst about human suffering; the Edenic Alienation from the Garden of Unity. Our exile from The One.
Conversely, when we speak of the good, the true and the beautiful aspects of the human condition and mission, we reach for words like, CommUNITY, CommUNION, Compassion, Integration, Reconciliation, Reunion, Wholeness. Wondrous and healing words. Words that describe the entire life of Jesus, living as he did out of his singularity with God. The return to The One.
Small wonder it was Jesus’ deepest desire and prayer for us, his divided and conflicted followers, “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. “
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