FAITH AND LIFE GATHERING REPORT
By Jessica Miller
Less than a week after our Mosaic Annual Assembly, credentialed leaders came together in November for the final Faith and Life gatherings of 2022. At these meetings, we spent time reflecting on Jesus’ prayer for his followers in John 17 and praying for our Conference and one another. It seemed appropriate, after the first in-person assembly of Mosaic Conference and a time of difficult conversations and discernment, to spend time praying and dwelling on what it was that Jesus prayed for his disciples and for all who would follow him.
As we read through John 17 together, we were struck by the tone of deep care and compassion that Jesus expresses for his followers. Jesus’ deep love for them overflows as he prays passionately for their spiritual and physical well-being, the way we might pray for a dear friend or family member. He knows that following his death and resurrection, the disciples will face many challenges and difficulties. He knows that they will be threatened physically by corrupt empires and spiritually by forces of hatred and division (v. 14), and he wants them to be able not just to survive, but to thrive despite all they will face.
Jesus must have known that his followers would face these same challenges for generations to come, because he prays for all who would eventually follow him (v. 20), including us. We marveled at the fact that the deep love and care Jesus expressed for the disciples in his last days extends to us as well. We too are friends of Jesus, and he prayed passionately for our well-being and the well-being of our Conference.
With a prayer for unity of purpose (vss.11 & 21), Jesus prays that we would have the joy of Jesus made complete in us (v. 13) and that we would know just how much God loves us (v.23). Jesus prays:
“… that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them and I in them.” – John 17:22b, 23, 26 (NLT)
According to Jesus, it is the love of God in us that unifies us and shows the world who he is.
As we closed our time of reflection, we shared what we believe this text is inviting us to in Mosaic Conference and prayed for our future together. Jesus’ prayer for unity through God’s love invites us to commit to building relationships amid our diversity.
We prayed that in the midst of the glorious, messy, and hard work of being church together,
- we would be able to find the joy that Christ has for us.
- we would bear witness to the truth of God’s love by how well we love each other.
- we would trust that all of us are friends of Jesus so that we might love one another.
- our love for one another would bring glory to God, so that the world might know that we are followers of Jesus.
As we enter a new year and a new phase of life together in our Conference, may it be so. May we in Mosaic, empowered by the Holy Spirit, become together, a true embodiment of Jesus’ joy and God’s love.
Jessica Miller is the Associate Pastor of Perkasie (PA) Mennonite Church. She and her husband, Patrick, enjoy traveling, reading, yoga, cooking, and anything related to Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.