The Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The prayer above is the collect for this coming Sunday. The prayer is for the unity of the Christians to be demonstrable to "all peoples". What is the unity that we ask for in our prayers, long for in our hearts and strive for in our efforts? Around what are we meant to be gathered together?

Of course, the easy answer would be to say, "Well, Chris, it is not a what that we are meant to be gathered around but a who… and that who is Jesus.

If that is your response, I would agree, and then follow with another question: when we gather around Jesus what is it that we are gathering around? Perhaps changing the audience makes my point more clearly-in the days of Jesus, when people gathered around him, what were they doing?

It seems clear to me that when they gathered around Jesus they were gathering around his teaching… this is what was meant to unite them. And so we read in Luke 9 of the Father uttering from heaven, "This is my Son, listen to him", and we have Jesus instructing his disciples after the resurrection to go into all the world baptizing and teaching. So what are these teachings that are meant to gather us together in unity by the Holy Spirit?

This Sunday, I would like for us to consider the text in Luke's gospel as one example of the kind of teaching that Jesus' disciples can find unity in. See you on Sunday!




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