September 28, 2021

One is the Number

Psalm 133:1-3

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one. . . .”

—  John 17:20-21

Psalm 133 expresses a beautiful but often disappointed hope. It says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” If only. Truth is, many of us struggle even to hold our families together! Old Testament Israel was the same way. They were twelve tribes who made up one family. But they fell apart and never came back together. The hope of the psalm crumbled.

When Jesus gathers the church, he prays that we will be one people, one family. Someday his prayer will be fulfilled, when the people of God become “a great multitude that no one could count, from ­every nation, tribe, people and language” (Revelation 7:9). But for now the church is broken. The prayer is unfulfilled. Yet there are signs of hope, flashes of beauty.

I am the pastor of an unusual church in West Michigan. Our members live in two different worlds. Many are convicted felons. They live behind the walls and fences of several state prisons. But many other members live on the outside, in the “ordinary” world. Every week we gather together as one church. We pray, we study, we worship, we visit, we share stories—because we belong to Jesus together, and we love each other.

Jesus brings our church to­gether. He may bring your family together too. Ask him.

Jesus, we’re sorry for all the brokenness in the church and in our families. Please heal us. Please make us whole. For the glory of God, Amen.

About the author — Bob Arbogast

Bob Arbogast is the pastor of Celebration Fellowship church in Ionia, Michigan. In his spare time, he plays guitar in a West Michigan blues band. He and his wife Jan have been married forty years and have three adult daughters. Bob has been praying the psalms since 2002.

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