United through the presence of Christ (Ephesians 4:5, 6).
Ezekiel 37:15-28, My dwelling place shall be with them.
Psalm 67, Let the peoples praise you, O God.
Ephesians 4:1-6, One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
John 14:23-27, We will come to them and make our home with them.
The scriptures stress that God’s will is for the unity of God’s people. Through Ezekiel the prophet, God affirms that Judah and Israel – two divided, often estranged kingdoms – will again be one. God’s cleansing presence will strengthen and bless them in a covenant of peace. The natural response to God’s gift of unity is our gratitude and praise. The psalmist calls upon all the nations to unite in praise of God, whose saving power may be seen in all nations and throughout the whole earth. Jesus taught his first followers that he, with the Father, would be present with them, “making a home” with each one who loved him. And he promised that this presence would not end with his death, that he would continue to be present with each one of his followers – and with us, today – through the Holy Spirit. But the promise of Jesus’ presence is not limited to individual believers. As the evangelist Matthew affirms, wherever even two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name they form a community, a community in which Jesus has promised to be present, strengthening and accompanying them on their way. This common belonging is shown powerfully in our common recognition of baptism. In baptism Christ calls each one of us, bringing us into his body, the church. Because we each belong to Christ, we all belong to one another. That common belonging – to Christ, and to one another – makes us one, despite all our differences of history, culture, and theological conviction: “for where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt 18:20).
Lord Jesus, we thank you for your presence among us, strengthening and encouraging us on our way. Make us aware of your presence in us and enable us to respond to your promptings in all that we do. Grant us the wisdom and humility to recognize your presence in our brothers and sisters. Make us truly one, O Lord. Amen.
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