“I’m praying not only for them but also for those who will believe in me Because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind ... ” John 17:20 MSG There is a story that has made the circles around the internet over the past few years. It is a story of an anthropologist who was working with some kids in Africa. One day he put a basket of fruit near the base of a tree. He told the kids that the first one to find the fruit could have all of it for his own. When he told them they could run, the kids all joined hands and ran together. Once they found the fruit they sat down together to enjoy it. The anthropologist asked them why they ran together with their hands joined instead of going on their own and potentially getting all the fruit to themselves. They kids answered: “Ubuntu, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?” What a great picture of unity and selflessness. The whole is more important than its parts or oneself. That’s what unity is all about. Do you remember, or have you read about, Coach John Wooden and his championship winning basketball teams in the 1960s and 1970s? Over the span of 1964 to 1975 John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins won 10 NCAA National Championships. He was quite the college coach and he coached some pretty amazing teams. When he was asked about what made his players great he answered, “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.” The unity of the team and how every player worked as a part of the whole team was more important than individual stardom. John Wooden coached players to put the success of the team first, to trust each other, and to put their faith in the team. Obviously, it worked. The focus on unity and team was very successful. More importantly than either of the two examples above, Jesus thought that unity was critical when it came to His followers. Jesus prayed to God, the Father, that those who were following him would be of one heart and mind. Jesus wanted His followers to put the whole above the parts. When Jesus prayed this prayer He said that he was not just praying for those who were there that day. Jesus was also praying for all those who would come to believe because of their testimony. This means that Jesus was praying that the whole church would be of one heart and mind. To be even more clear – the goal Jesus set for the church was to become one heart and mind just like Jesus and God the Father. This should be our goal. So how are we doing? Are we united? Can we say that everyone at St. Andrew’s is of one mind and heart? Can we truly say that each one of us is a unifier? If the answer to any of these is no, then we have some work to do. Of course, the answer is no to all of them from time to time. We need to remember the goal that Jesus set for us, the church. We need to work toward that goal every day. We need to do everything in our power to bring unity to the church – in Jesus’ name. This Sunday we will talk more about being a unifier for the church. The message will help us think about how we can work together toward one heart and mind for Christ. I look forward to sharing this message with you Sunday. God is at work at St. Andrew’s and I can’t wait to see you in church!