by Rev. Louise Johnson, LEAD Director of Leadership Development

As of Wednesday morning, when I write this, the only thing that is clear in this election process is that we are divided as a nation. Deeply divided.

This information isn’t new – it has been bleeding out in our relationships in painful ways: one person “defriends” another or refuses to talk to another or takes up arguing at every turn. I get it.

My stomach turns every time I read something that flies in the face of my own tightly held beliefs. I ache for so many in pain and the answers seem so clear to me. A pandemic on top of this division exacerbates the anxiety in the air. We all feel it.

The question for me is: What is our calling as the church?

In John 17, Jesus prays for unity. His words have a dizzying effect, making it difficult to track just which pronouns connect to which antecedents. (It is an English teacher’s nightmare.)

Nerdy theologians sometimes refer to this as “perichoresis.” Essentially, the persons of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit) are three distinct persons, yet so connected to one another as to constitute one God.

Think of a dance – Father, Son, and Spirit dance in love in such a way that you cannot tell where one begins and the other ends. God is both three separate persons who are different and God is one, unified.

In John 17, Jesus asks the Father to include us in that dance, to bring us into the life-giving, loving, dynamic relationship of the Trinity.

In Christ, we are drawn into the dance – honored and cherished for our differences and made one with God and one another.

Unity is a gift given to us as the children of God. We do not all think alike. We do not all have the same calling. We are not homogeneous.

What if we approached one another across the great divides in our nation, understanding that unity (like faith) is a gift already given?

What if we lived as if God had connected us to one another in mystical, miraculous ways that we could not yet understand fully, but that we could trust?

What if we walked across the divide in faith, looking for a new dance partner?

As the election results unfold, I am praying for the courage to ask someone new to dance and to have the eyes to see the mystical, miraculous, not-yet-fully-revealed unity God has given us.

Why?

Jesus says it best: “…so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me (John 17:23b).”