|Theme:||In unity we show God's love to the world. Easter 7-C|
|Object:||A jigsaw puzzle.|
|Scripture:||I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:22-23 (NIV)|
Do you enjoy working jigsaw puzzles? Jigsaw puzzles can be a lot of fun. (Open the box to reveal the pieces of the puzzle.) Wow! Look at all the pieces of this puzzle. The pieces of this puzzle are in many different sizes, shapes, colors. If you look at one piece of this puzzle, you don't get very much of the picture, do you? No, the pieces are not very important by themselves, but when they are all joined together and become one, they show the total picture.
This jigsaw puzzle can teach us an important lesson about the church. The church is made up of many individual members. Like the pieces of this puzzle, the members of a church come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Jesus himself prayed that the church would be one so that the world would see God's love in us. You and I are part of the picture. Jesus wants us to love one another, help one another, and serve one another. When we do that, we become one, just as Jesus prayed we would be, and when we are one, the world can see God's love in us.
Unfortunately, just as it is sometimes difficult to put all of the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together, the individual members of the church sometimes have a hard time being one with each other. We may hear people in the church saying things like "I don't like the songs we sing" or "The preacher preaches too long." When we say things like that and concentrate on our own likes and dislikes, we are no longer being one. We are like the individual pieces of the puzzle. The world cannot see God's love in us. They don't get the whole picture.
If you ever find yourself thinking about yourself, rather than being united with others in the church, remember that Jesus prayed that we would be one. When we are one, bound together by Christ's love, the world will see God's love through us.
Dear Father, help us to be one so that the world may see your love in us. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.
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