Today we celebrate Maunday Thursday when Jesus gave the new “Commandment”, that we love one another “as He loved us”. He washes the feet of the disciples and institutes the Lord’s Supper and prays for those disciples and for us too. From John 17 – Jesus prayed,
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctifiedin truth.
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
We mentioned yesterday the theological and cultural shock that comes from seeing people who really believe that we are all a part of the body of Christ and that partnerships are therefore indispensable theologically. If we are Christ’s then we are one wherever we may be. We have had comments on the blog that a lot of people will give and work with local agencies but refuse to go beyond the boundaries of their town or parish. We have talked about the ‘death knell’ words that we often hear – “don’t we have a mission here?” The body of Christ is world wide, Jesus made it so. He prays for the disciples standing with him in the upper room. He prays for those who WILL believe in Him because of their word, and He prays for the whole world. Pretty amazing stuff.
If the Body of Christ reality created by Jesus makes partnerships indispensible theologically what does it say about us if we refuse to enter them. One of the shocks that people visiting majority world churches talk about is the easy way people view what is yours as theirs. Some are offended by that and see it as the “dependancy syndrome” being created by those who want to give and help rather than preach and proclaim. The problem with that is if the body of Christ is real what is mine is theirs, and what is theirs is mine. The prayer above certainly talks about “what is mine is yours and what is yours is mine”. It’s hard for Americans to think that way. Jesus did.
We are rapidly approaching the Minnesota North Convention and these are some of the discussion points that need to be made when we think about the partnerships that we wish to create and also answer those that don’t want us to.