As Advent stories go, this is pretty great, via Currents at NET in Brooklyn:
Hundreds of young Christians gathered at Immaculate Conception Church in the East Village, Manhattan to build the faith. “The atmosphere was amazing, joyful, and celebratory. It was just a great night to gather together in friendship, prayer, and faith,” said Megan Rodriguez, who attended the event.
A new group called the John 17 Movement put the whole thing together. The name “John 17” refers to the chapter of the Gospel when Christ prayed for His believers to unite. Joseph Tosini started the movement three years ago. “The John 17 Movement exists to inspire, develop, and display love an unity among all of His followers,” said Tosini.
A top Christian leader in attendance, Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop James Massa, praised renewed dialogue. “We need something more relational, a way for leaders from the different Christian communities to come together, share their faith, share their best practices and ministry,” said Bishop Massa.
One of the highlights: men and women locking arms to share the personal intentions they hold inside their hearts. “It’s really powerful being able to voice some of your deepest emotions with people you may not even know, but there’s this bond because of our shared faith,” said Claire Boss. “It was a very, very eye-opening experience,” said Gerry Rodriguez.
Read on or check out the video above.
About John 17, from the organization’s website:
John 17 Movement is:
1. A call to the 21st century church to embrace and respond to the profound message of unity from The Jesus Prayer found in John 17.2. An opportunity to plumb the depths of The Jesus Prayer to understand God’s heart and mind.
3. An expression of the heart of Jesus Christ: to bring us into the unity that exists in the Holy Trinity, providing the opportunity to experience a bit of Heaven now.
4. A call to the church to express the most effective apologetic for the claims of Jesus, by being One in front of a watching world.
5. An uncontrollable force from Heaven, a movement that the Holy Spirit is initiating and will sustain.
6. An opportunity to repair the brokenness of the body of Christ in the context of prayer, Scripture, and fellowship among all the streams of Christianity, including Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants who align with historic Christian orthodoxy as expressed through the Apostle’s Creed.
7. Undergirded by the entire body of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, which carries a pervasive theme of relational unity.
8. A growing movement demonstrating God’s benevolence at this critical moment in church history.
John 17 Movement is not:
1. A statement of church doctrine. John 17 participants will leave it to the Holy Spirit and other forums to address hermeneutical matters of doctrinal interpretation.
2. A defined strategy for church planting. The more we try to define it prematurely, the further away we will get from what the Lord intends to birth. Participants are only beginning to scratch the surface as to what the Holy Spirit’s intention is when we pray John 17.
3. A platform for individual leaders or ministries to promote their brand or their agenda.
As we are guided by the Word of God with focus on The Jesus Prayer in John 17, the Holy Spirit will be faithful to bring forth the fruit He intends. He who has begun a good work will bring it to completion.
The organization’s introductory video: