Yesterday, the doors of Redeemer Church of Arlington were opened to the public. After more than six months of meeting, planning, and praying together as the core church-planting team of Redeemer, we were eager to welcome guests. Pastor Eric Simmons spoke from John 17, looking at the prayer Jesus spoke before He was betrayed.
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 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. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent 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 17:20-26, NIV)
When Jesus prayed for those of us who would come to faith through the message of His disciples, He prayed that we would be brought to complete unity. Why? So that the watching world would know the Father sent Jesus and love us even as He loves His Son. The unity of the church is the witness that glorifies God and reveals His love.
That's a mighty prayer. It's one we ought to be praying for our own churches and the other churches we know. And if you think of it, please pray it for a new church in Arlington, VA, too.[Details for visitors: We meet Sundays from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the Holiday Inn Ballston, 4610 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA.]