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I have two boys who love to play with legos. If I put them in a room with a bin of legos I may not see them all afternoon, well at least until they get hungry or until their youngest sister destroys something. One of the things that I enjoy the most about their playing with legos (other than the silence in the house) is watching their creativity on display. They find ways to connect the lego pieces to produce all manner of ships, houses, planes, etc. and in doing so come up with combinations that I’m not sure the Lego manufacturers could ever have dreamed of. What’s specifically interesting to me is that while they create all kinds of new things, the pieces are bound to how certain pieces connect to each other. 

Ultimately, only pieces that were made to fit with each other can fit together, yet in their fitting together the pieces produce something unique and wonderful. Moreover, these pieces fit together because a specific creator had in mind that they would one day be formed together to produce something together that they never could apart from each other.

I find a similar connection between Jesus’ establishment of the new covenant, unity, and prayer. For me, this connection can clearly be seen when one specifically looks at the two things Jesus did surrounding the establishment of His new covenant (Eucharist or communion: the sign of the new covenant ); the washing of dirty feet (service to one another) and the prayer for unity. 

Scripture consistently positions unity at the center of this new covenant found in Jesus. Ephesians 2 tells us  Jesus’ perfect sacrifice as that which provided peace with God and peace with each other. Paul extends this truth to this incredible statement, “There is no longer Jew or Greek (your ethnicity), Slave or Free (economic status) or male or female (gender). In Christ we are all one.” Meaning that our primary identifiers are now found in Christ first and foremost and that the disunity between each other is healed in the gospel and person of Jesus. Could this be why Jesus specifically prays in John 17 for these two same items: unity with God our Father and unity among each other. Additionally, consider this incredible fact, Jesus defines His use of the term unity to be equal to the same degree that the Holy Trinity is unified. We the body of Christ on the earth would reflect the Trinity in Heaven.

What I find most intriguing is that the reality of a unified church as Jesus describes will only be found because there’s a church that is actively joining in with Jesus’ own prayer for it. Unity won’t be realized because we’ve preached on it, conversed about it, or sang together, though all of those are a part of the process. Ultimately, unity of the Body of Christ regardless of ethnicity, social class, or gender will solely be found because Christ’s church is taking Her authority in prayer and declaring it to be so. 

So pivotal is prayer to this process that I believe unity is only and can only be forged in prayer. After 20 years of serving a multi-ethnic church I’ve come to the conclusion that unity is both the result and function of prayer. The multi-ethnic church is unified not just because of prayer, but it’s unified in the midst of prayer. Let us not miss the difference. The former is the product of prayer, the latter is the process of prayer. Let me put it another way, we cannot become one unless we are praying together. 

Finally, it is out of this place of prayer together that we then serve each other. It’s out of the place of prayer where my heart touches your heart that I am moved into service with you, to you, and for you. The work of our hands to eradicate the injustices that we face in our present communities are first to be preceded by prayer. Prayer in unity and for unity will always produce acts of justice. Furthermore, it is a diverse and unified prayer meeting that will appropriately fuel the passion for justice: specifically, justice issues that we may not fully understand, but are moved because a part of our own body is suffering. This is when we do more than just weep with those who weep, but actively look to help relieve the need of those who are weeping. 

Sandwiched between Jesus’ establishment of Eucharist and going to the cross are these two incredible events, service to those whom He loved and service by way of prayer. Jesus’ model of washing feet was a command to find those in our lives “whom have dirty feet” whom we have prayed for, and wash and alleviate their issues with dirty feet. 

Thus I find myself landing on this truth: if the Church’s sanctuaries are not filled with prayers for unity, Her relational spaces are not overflowing with diversity, and She isn’t active in serving the disenfranchised of Her communities, then I wonder if She even understands who She is or what Jesus came to do in the first place. 

#OneNewMan #WashFeet #Pray #Ephesians2 #John13

– Joel Solomon

“The Lord is offering an invitation for His Bride to come and sit. This is a moment where He is inviting His Bride to come away from the noise and the litany of words present.”