This is the second in a series of daily posts during this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25, 2011) offering brief reflections on the biblical basis for the quest for Christian unity. These reflections are drawn from the pages of Ecumenism Means You, Too: Ordinary Christians and the Quest for Christian Unity (Cascade Books, 2010).
In John 17, Jesus asks something else for his followers just before the first prayer for unity in verse 11. He prays, “Holy Father, protect them.” “Protect them”—why? “So that they may be one, as we are one.” “Protect them”—from what or from whom? In verse 15 Jesus prays, “I ask you to protect them from the evil one.” “The evil one” is the one elsewhere in the New Testament called the “devil,” diabolos in Greek, which literally means “one who divides.” The work of the diabolical one is to bring division, to divide people from God and to divide people from one another. The evil one seeks especially to bring division to those who ought to have the unity shared by God the Father and God the Son. Thus Jesus prays, “I ask you to protect them from the evil one.”
-- from chapter 1, “Here to Play Jesus: Why Ecumenism Isn’t Dead”
Interested in Ecumenism Means You, Too? Order the book directly from Cascade Books or via Amazon.