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.
Last night, I was chatting with a group of my sisters in Christ. We were talking about praying and seeking God’s will for our lives. While the subject matter was powerful, what was even more powerful was the level of sisterhood and unity that took place during our conversation. Every sister had a chance to share her story and everyone took the time to help each sister with her specific situation.
Because of the safety I felt in that room, even I, the poster child for introversion dared to share something. While it took this introvert longer to get her thoughts together and get them out in a coherent way, the women in that room were patient. One sister in particular, noticed my body language and challenged me to keep talking until I was understood.
What I experienced last night brought to mind John 17, when Jesus prays for the Apostles and for his future disciples – us. The unity among these dynamic women of God was the unity Christ spoke of when he said, “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” (17:22-23a).
Without even knowing it, and with God’s grace, mercy and love, we women were able to experience Jesus’ model of community. While none of us can take credit for what happened, as I reflect, I can see some key components that allowed God’s will for community to happen.
First, we allowed the Holy Spirit to lead the way. While we had an agenda to follow, we didn’t prevent the Holy Spirit from taking over as needed.
Second, we shared our heart. No one just sat like a fly on the wall and watched the other women share. Each of us shared our struggles and our victories for the greater good.
Third, we gave each other grace and mercy. No one judged the other and no one took lightly what was being shared. We all were invested in each other’s success.
Fourth and finally, we allowed God’s love to reign supreme. Although we did some hard work, which caused us to remove the masks black women tend to wear, there was not one instance that God’s love didn’t flow through that room.
Allowing God to love us helped us to love one another. This is what Jesus was talking about when he said in verse 23, “Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” When we allow God to love us, we can’t help but love each other and the world can’t help but see that love and respond to it.
Today, as you reflect, think of the ways you can allow space for Jesus’ model of community to take root in your life, whether for a moment, a season, or a lifetime.