What do Elvis and Thich Nhat Hanh have in common? A belief in oneness. Of God with humanity…of humanity with humanity. That we all have one father. Or as it declares in Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
Elvis said it this way:
Everybody comes from the same source. If you hate another human being, you're hating part of yourself.
And Thich Nhat Hanh….
We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.
Great truths that roll off the tongues of rock idols and Buddhist monks are backed up by the great Truths in scripture…declared by none other than Jesus….
Their Future Glory (John 17)
20 "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 "Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
When I looked up the meaning of some of these words in the Strong’s…a couple of interesting things stand out. The word translated “glory” is “doxa” in the Greek. Among its meanings…
a most glorious condition, most exalted state
Jesus declares that the same glory…the Father gave him, he gave his disciples…and he also gave us. He’s not praying just for his disciples in these verses but for all those who will believe. That we may be one. In Jeremiah (32:39) God declares he will give them (and by implication…us) one heart and one way. Everybody….
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28 )
uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. (Col 3:11)
all one in Christ…
Christ is all and in all
I also looked up the meaning of the word translated barbarian. One of the meanings…
one who speaks a foreign or strange language which is not understood by another
That does not necessarily mean the language of a nation or people....although that is one of the definitions listed. The Greeks considered anyone who did not speak or understand Greek barbarians aka foreigners. And it wasn’t a derogatory term in New Testament days. It wasn’t until after the Persian War that the word barbarian started to have negative connotations.
So one who speaks a strange language not understood by another could easily describe the language of a different religious groups whose terminology or views are “strange” to us. The strange language could easily be the "lingo" associated with new age....new thought....Buddhist....Hindu etc. etc, or… to the Buddhist or Hindu, the strange language could be “christianese.”
And what about the Scythian? Well, the Strongs describes that particular member of the “one” as
….an inhabitant of Scythia or modern day Russia--by the more civilized nations of antiquity the Scythians were regarded as the wildest of barbarians
So that doesn’t even leave out those folks we are at odds with. It doesn’t even leave out the “wildest of barbarians.” I don’t particularly like that aspect of “oneness.” I really prefer to share my space with those I like…those who do me no harm…those who are kind and considerate…but that’s not what it says. (and for the record, I am so not there yet)
Which brings me to one of the other meanings of “Doxa”…the English word “Glory.”
judgment, view, opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone
but adds this clarification…
in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory
So could an aspect of the “glory” Jesus talks about…the glory God gave him that he in turn gave them….and us…also involve an accurate assessment of who He was and who they were and who we are? Could that be what he meant when he said…all those who will believe?
I’ve heard it said in Universalist circles that “everybody is saved, they just don’t know it yet.” But perhaps the truest declaration is not just that everyone is is saved but that everyone is…ONE…we just don’t know it yet. Nobody is excluded. Even the barbarian is part of the “in crowd.” Even the Scythian, the wildest of all barbarians is included….all one in Christ Jesus.
This post is getting long, but I want to point out one other aspect of Jesus’ words.
that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
Perfected in unity. Perfection implies completion. It is in unity that we are perfected…completed….rendered full (Strongs again) A lot to think about. A lot to understand. A lot for the carnal nature to be disgruntled about….but laid out clearly in Scripture and in the strange language of the sacred writings of so many religious traditions.