[H]ave given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. … – John 17:22-26 (NIV)

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Because many of us do not sufficiently understand our religious roots, references to terms and phrases that were basic expressions of faith and practice can be unintentionally startling – even upsetting – to modern people. More than once I have been confronted at the rise of meeting by someone angered at one of these terms or concepts that come from the core of our Quaker tradition!

On the other hand, I have also seen times when a verse of Scripture has averted an argument in a Meeting for Business, melded discord into harmony, restored focus to deliberations, or served as a touchstone in our shared worship. In Wilburite meetings, nearly all vocal ministry has a Bible text; not uncommonly, a message may be almost entirely Scripture.

Against that background, how are we to perceive the radical and revolutionary message in the text at hand? Jesus is proclaiming a oneness of his followers, not just with himself but equally so with God the Father. Look closely: Christ is in us!

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For it was the End of the Apostles Ministry, that they might present every Man perfect in Christ Jesus, labouring fervently in Prayer for them, that they might stand perfect and compleat in all the Will of God. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

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