Make Us One


Sunday, June 1

By Art Smith, Council of Twelve Apostles

And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

—John 17:11 NRSV

The old van with 100,000 miles plus had been breaking down recently, even on short trips. The list of licensed drivers able to help was down to one name. Three days before the Southern Cone of South America Mission Center Conference in Monte Caseros, Argentina, Seventy Gustavo Vergara (the only remaining driver) and I, then mission center president, started the day on the phone.

It seemed unwise to use the van. The Andes Mountains, 2,200 kilometers, and a solid 26 hours of driving stood between Santiago, Chile, and the destination. Brother Gustavo went to the bus station to find the price and itinerary available for Plan B. Budget limits and the shift to Plan B would mean reducing the number of delegates from eight to two!

Then, however, we discovered eight people had arrived safely in the early hours of the morning, just in time for the conference. What had happened? How did they decide to risk the van trip? Everyone was looking forward to this conference as a time of reconciliation. Members saw it as a fresh start between two countries that had known conflict in one mission center. A wonderful spirit of unity blessed the conference. For that one weekend there was an answer to Jesus’ prayer for unity in the church.

Prayer for Peace Weave us together, God, in unity and love. Help us build bridges where once there were deep chasms. Help us open closed doors between people. Help us pass peace to our neighbors in faraway places.

Spiritual Practice: Welcoming Unity in Diversity Meditate on Unity in Diversity. Create a large circle with your arms. See and feel the diverse people God invites inside the sanctuary of Christ’s peace represented by this circle.

Who is easiest to welcome? Whom do you struggle to include? Confess the dividing walls between you and people too different or “dangerous” to invite into your spiritual home. Ask God to forgive and heal barriers that keep us from loving one another.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will create unity where there once was division.

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