Saturday after Ash Wednesday

by Ned Fitch

Cross for Lent 2012Ezekiel 39: 21-29
Psalm 42 & Psalm 43
Philippians 4:10-20
John 17: 20-26

The Latin phrase e pluribus unum, or “Out of many – one,” has appeared on every coin minted by the U.S. Treasury since the late 1800s. E pluribus unum is a perfect description of the message Jesus gives in today’s Gospel lesson. Jesus prays not only for the unity of his disciples, but for those who will believe His message through His disciples. Jesus is “praying forward” for future generations of Christians, that in their (and our) belief, we may all be one body through Christ.

Jesus’ call for unity is an important lesson for us to hear today. Do we view ourselves as one with our Christian brothers and sisters not only at Ascension, but throughout the world? Are we able to work through differences of thought and opinion, dissatisfaction and disappointment to truly hear Jesus’ message that all Christians must live in unity and oneness? Do we “pray forward” thinking not only of ourselves and the immediate needs and wants, but for future generations or other churches and Christian communities throughout the world?

As we approach a new chapter at Ascension, we must look forward and pray for our unity, as one body, to guide us through our upcoming changes. And we must remember that we are not only praying for the immediate needs of our church, but for future generations of parishioners who will continue to worship Jesus, in unity as one body of Christians, just as Jesus, on his last day of earthly life prayed for future generations of believers.

Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth your right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.