That they may be One

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by Rich Nelson

“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.” (from John 17:1-11)

One night the gift appeared to me as I drove through the downtown streets of my small, rural Texas community. It was a couple of weeks after Christmas, but the city had not yet taken down the Christmas lights that hung over Main Street. As I drove under a strand of red and green bulbs, I looked up and saw how brightly they stood out against the dark night sky. The simple beauty caught my attention, both the beauty of the colored lights but also the beauty of the black sky behind them. It struck me how the beauty of the one accentuated the beauty of the other. The light needed the dark to outline it and give is shape and form. And likewise the dark needed the light to announce its presence. As the wind blew the strand of lights gently back and forth, it was as if the beauty of the two most basic of elements of the cosmos, light and dark, were dancing together.

God creates in such a way that seemingly opposite things actually have the same origin, with creation giving birth to successive new forms of creation. Light is created from darkness. Land is created from sea. Humans are created from dirt. And in this way God takes what is and creates something more from it, even if the “more” appears to be the opposite.

This simple thought has the power to transform our lives and our world. Rather than dividing everything and everyone into opposites, what if we appreciated them as compliments to one another? Sacred and secular, conservative and liberal, fact and fiction, friend and enemy, they are all of God. This is the mystery and gift of the cosmos. Jesus offers it in prayer to God as a gift to us all, “that they may be one.” Jesus is no longer in the world. But we are. And he offers that now as the hope of the world. May we live into the same love for the unity of all.

Share a picture on social media of two seemingly opposite things that actually compliment each other with the hashtag #thattheymaybeone

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