Glory Given: Hope for Unity in Divisive Times


I was reflecting on John chapter 17, the high priestly prayer of Jesus, and how to relate it to these extraordinarily polarized times we find our country in. The prayer is such a beautiful summary expression of Christ’s accomplished mission, and the loving purpose of it all…

The prayer centers on intimate relationship and desired unity. Triune Godhead – enjoyed limitless glory and love amongst themselves, Father, Son and Spirit. Despite immeasurable cost, pain, loss, & rejection – they continued to pursue their passion to extend their intimate familial community. Jesus made the way for people to be eternally and preciously close, included as children and joint heirs of God. And that incomparable mission was also about wanting God’s children to be one with one another.

"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… 
I have made you known to them, 
and will continue to make you known 
in order that the love you have for me
may be in them and that 
I myself may be in them."
(John 17:21-23, and 26, NIV)

My mind goes once again to the ever-growing reality of how rare, challenging, and refreshing it is to encounter true independent thinkers – those not solely guarding for or against any one group-minded faction within the Church these days. There is a daunting degree of non-unity and non-glorious kinds of sharing happening across stark divides. Also, there are many people of faith who have become disillusioned (including myself), roaming around in-between the more overly defined group thinking camps, struggling to sense any place of belonging at all. There are a lot of forces feeding/scheming for the intensification of the divisiveness too – in ways that are on not easy for most to discern and sift through (especially when hunkered down in group-mindedness). It seems many are driven to reinforce defensive positions, fixate even more exclusively upon voices from their own groups. Offensively too, it appears that personalized character attacks of others happen with increased frequency, confidence, and a sense of justified ‘rightness’. Self-appointed experts are on the rise, battling others with words and mind-numbing certainty from behind their Facebook or Twitter walls. Skeptical ears are shut to most that lies beyond our own barricades, but have little to no doubt of all that is inside them…

This hardly seems the way of 1st Corinthians prescribed love, or of the unity and glory Christ left heaven’s glory on mission to share. His way is what should inspire and drive us, our eyes are better fixed His way – towards the glory given, that we may be one, loved most intimately. It helped me to recall some heroes/heroines who I believe were driven and captivated by God’s glory. Ones who had to stand alone in some striking ways, but then also offered breakthroughs for others - like SoJourner Truth or Galileo.

In these times, so much fighting for vain glory, or to be ‘in the right’ against the wrong is alienating and hurting others spiritually and otherwise. It is overshadowing the “you in me and I in them” 1st Corinthians love Christ spoke of us sharing with one another. And such glory is not attained through any ‘rightness,’ power, group adherence, or works. It is His righteousness – His glory given. Even when we need to stand more alone, living in the awareness of His glory – we can help show a way towards more unity.

Glory Given
Go into Glory
He has Given
Our Glory unearned

Much may look like it
But beauty deceives

Some speak wise phrases
Hiding lies
With familiar sounds

Lots of ‘facts’ around
Knowledge known,
Leaving love…alone

Reciting Scriptures
Forsaken One’s arms

Look, say, read, write, act
It all out
Cheer and be clapped for
Falsehood owns the stage
Performance to show

We go, see, and hear
Feel secured
By the Camouflage 

Costumes shared, yet there’s
Weighty rules
Heavy burdens, work

Detailed exhibits
How to be worthy

Holy shapes are shown
Ways to mold
Our form and fit in

Flashy signs on screen
All IS God’s substance

Overly dressed truths
Look so pure
Convincing the crowds

Distractions hide lies
With effects
Masses miss the voids

Heavenly Light Come!
Cast away such chaff

Might Your staff raise up?
Strike the set?
Rip down the curtains?

Disperse fraudulence
Make clear
True Way’s outstretched hands

Lord – promise fulfilled,
Hope that holds
Us beyond lifetimes-

Illumine the scene
With Your Presence
Word, Manifested

Proven Savior, Star
Holy Host
Resurrected One

Turn off fog machines
Steal our show
Bring crowds back home to

You! - take center stage
Calling us
Into Your spotlight

You give and Invite
Most freely
Your Passions for all

Highest signpost One -
Nailed, buried,
Who served, rose and saved

You - made us worthy
Perfect Love
Perfectly played out

As Father loved You
You love us
Jesus, our Glory



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