That All May Be One
Jesus prays for his followers
This sermon uses a Russian Matryoshka doll, but there are many other possibilities. You could use boxes or cans of different sizes which could be nested. If you don't have any around the house, you can find them at a hobby store. These items should be decorated to make them more interesting to the children. If you don't want to use any of these ideas, you could use a box of crayons and show that all of the crayons go into the same box regardless of size or color.
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 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 17:20-23 (NIV)
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This beautiful painted doll is called a Matryoshka. It came from Russia and it is made of wood which was painted by hand. These beautiful dolls have been popular in Russia for hundreds of years. They have become a symbol of the very finest Russian art and craftsmanship and are collected by people all over the world.
When you look at the Matryoshka, how many dolls do you see? That's right, when you look at the Matryoshka, all you see is one doll. Now, look what happens when I open the doll. There is another doll inside. Isn't that amazing? Now, you can probably guess what will happen if I open the second doll. You guessed it! There is another doll inside! Most Matryoshkas have three to thirty dolls, one inside the other, but it is still only one Matryoshka!
I think that this Matryoshka doll can help us to understand a prayer that Jesus prayed for his followers. On the night he was betrayed, Jesus prayed "for all of those who would put their trust in him." In his prayer, Jesus said, "Father, I pray that they all may be one as you and I are one. Just as you are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us." Jesus wanted all of his followers to be one.
Just as the different dolls are nested one inside the other to make a Matryoshka, we who trust in Jesus must become one in Jesus to make up his Church. We may be different in the way we look and we may speak different languages. We may have different customs and traditions, but if we have put our trust in Jesus, he wants us to be one in him, just as he is one with the Father. We must put aside our differences and be united in him so that the world may know his love.
Dear Jesus, may we be united in our love for one another -- just as we are united in our love for you. Amen.