Psalm 122, Isaiah 14:1–2, John 17:20–26, Acts 1:12–14
Psalm 122 is a prayer for the flourishing of a community. Love for Jerusalem is symbolic of loving God’s bride, as Jerusalem is often tied to being the bride of God. Loving God’s bride is to be a sign of God’s people.
Part of Isaiah’s vision is that love of Jerusalem is a shared love of both the Israelite and gentile. And what about the slaves? Note how they (those would be slaves) are those who escort Israel home. Yet, it is more appropriate to think of them as servants, as in the Hebrew they labor for the Israelites. From our perspective, one might even bring in Jesus’ words about serving one another.
Which brings us to Jesus’ words in John regarding being one. As we look at Scripture, being one is regardless of origin (neither Jew nor Gentile). The “oneness” is what matters. All are servants (and disciples) in the presence of the Master (Jesus). Being one is hard work. Being one starts with love. Being one involves prayer, for, let’s be honest, we need prayer to love and submit to one another.
After Jesus’ ascension, the disciples regularly gathered. They prayed together and were of one accord. The Greek ὁμοθυμαδόν—homothumadon [hom·oth·oo·mad·on]—is a compound word meaning rushing together. Some linguists put it as praying for the same thing, and others take it as if people were “singing/playing” different notes in the same song. Either way, it resolves into people praying toward the same goal, but not necessarily the same way or at the same time.
1) Why should prayer be toward the same goal? What should the goal(s) be?
2) In the midst of our political, cultural, national, denominational differences, how can the church be “one”? What can you do to “aim” to “oneness”?
3) There is “the other” and there is “one”. How can we be the bridge between these two perspectives?