I was in Italy, part of a clergy group of 5 women studying a critical question that took us to see sacred places and historic images.
We were on a tight schedule and had to navigate the narrow streets and sidewalks quickly. This often forced us to move in single file and weave between other people.
In our very 1st city of Milan, we discovered the need to quickly assess whether there were still 5 of us or we had left someone behind.
We decided to sound off by counting in Italian.
Una, Dua, Trie, Quatro, Cinque… CINQUE! The last person in our CHAIN would say loudly so the person in front would know it was ok to keep moving. Anytime someone questioned, “Are we still together, are we CINQUE?” they would begin the count.
On one day of exploration, we were dodging cars parked up on sidewalks as we walked in single file to our destination. We rounded a corner and - - there - was - the - Duomo - that incredible cathedral rose up before us and stopped us in our tracks. We stood there, heads up, eyes roaming across the architecture and seeking out each little gargoyle and statute imbedded on the façade.
It was truly amazing. I had slipped into a doorway to get out of the flow of pedestrian traffic so I could take it all in. Suddenly I realized there were no colleagues next to me. I lowered my gaze and found the other “quatro” were nowhere in sight.
Our chain was broken and I was alone.
Just as the first tinge of panic began I remembered our Plan of sounding off and I relaxed. They would soon count, Una, Dua, Trie, Quatro and realize there was no CINQUE. Sure enough in no time, they retraced their steps and came back for me.
We were too closely linked in this adventure for anyone to go it alone.– it took all “cinque”.
At the time of the writing of the gospel of John at the end of the 1st century, the followers of the Jesus’ Way, needed to be linked. They needed reminding of their connection to Jesus. Sunday's passage in John 17 is a great reminder of our connection to Jesus and our connection to all the 'saints' who have gone before us. Perhaps your congregation will be hearing the passage like ours. I hope you enjoy it for we all are ONE in Christ.