READ JOHN 17:20-23

Today, the United Methodist Conference welcomes ecumenical leaders from other Christian churches around the world. Bishop Ivan Abrahams, General Secretary of the World Methodist Council (a body of 80 Methodist, Wesleyan, and related Uniting and United Churches with more than 80 million members in 133 countries around the world) will proclaim the word. In addition, world leaders from other Christian communions including the Eastern Orthodox churches, Baptist churches, Pentecostal churches and the Roman Catholic Church will be present—all together in worship and prayer. All together in Christ. All together in response to Jesus’ prayer for oneness.

Unity is a gift from God. Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and prayer makes us one in Christ. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in and through Jesus Christ. There is one God, one faith, one hope, one baptism. We believe in Jesus and honor his word, which calls us into unity and oneness. We are one body with many members—an important understanding. Jesus said that our unity, our oneness, our genuine love and respect for one another would enable the world to believe that he was sent by God.

This year, as I represented The United Methodist Church at the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, and the Parliament of World Religions, I experienced a sense of joy and hope that lifted my spirit and increased my resolve to live in accord with Jesus’ prayer. Will you join me in praying, “That they may all be one. . . . so that the world may believe that you sent me.”

Loving Lord Jesus, we join our prayer with yours—that we may be one—so the world may believe that God sent you to seek and save us all. Amen.

—Mary Ann Swenson

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson was elected to the episcopacy by the Western Jurisdictional Conference in 1992 and assigned to the Denver Area. In 2000, she moved to the California-Pacific Annual Conference and served 12 years before retiring. She also served as President of the Board of Directors of the General Board of Discipleship (Discipleship Ministries) from 1996-2000. 

Special Note: The image with the meditation was designed by Rev. Todd Pick and will be used in today’s worship service at General Conference.

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