Jesus said, ‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, 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. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
‘Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.’
Jesus said: I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.
What does the word ‘vision’ mean to you? For many it is a word that makes the blood run cold. Almost every organisation you can imagine declares itself as having a ‘vision’. Vision statements abound. Everywhere we look we are offered snappy catchphrases that are meant to encapsulate in a few words the purpose of businesses, schools, utility companies, finance houses … even churches. Whilst such statements of ‘vision’ may be useful for focusing the minds of some, for others they are just cynical ways of saying we want to be the best and most profitable organisation we can be, no matter what the cost to others.
The opening of today’s reading may not be as catchy as some vision statements, but it is certainly more powerful than most. These are Jesus’ own words as he continues his prayer for his disciples and for those who will follow them in sharing the Good News he brought from heaven to earth.
So, in that light I ask again: what does the word ‘vision’ mean to you? As well as bringing to mind fatuous vision ‘statements’, for some it conjures up thoughts of the imaginary and the unreal. Jesus’ prayer is certainly not about the unreal, just as it is not about cut-throat business practices. The vision Jesus shares in these words is about a mutuality of belief and purpose.
Jesus prays that all who believe in him should be united into one common fellowship of faith. Personal understandings and interpretations may lead us down different denominational paths, but we are still called to be one as we profess the faith of Jesus Christ in the world, as we share his vision with all.
Jesus’ vision statement is clear, it is summed up in his call for us to worship God and to share his love with all. Let us pray that we might remain true to that vision for his followers, for then we shall see his prayer answered as we, united in faith and love, bring others to him through our words and actions.