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Faith For Increased Unity

Feb 1 2024

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The beginning of every year is a natural built-in opportunity to reflect on the lives we are living.  Fasts of all sorts are happening, as Christians all over the world are asking God for clarity for the year ahead.  My dream as we do this, is that we include asking God to direct us as a global community on how to increase our efforts towards ethnic and racial unity.  In quoting our Senior Global Pastor Lucinda in one of her recent messages, “I have faith for this.”

In John 17:21-23 we find one of the few recorded prayers by Jesus.  It is a very radical prayer.  It was countercultural then and it still is.   Interestingly, Jesus prays for all of us, for unity.  It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, your walk of life, age, race, ethnicity, culture, your profession and your ministry calling.  The prayer is for every single Christ follower living and who would live.  That alone is powerful.

I encourage you in the next few weeks to read Jesus’s prayer for our unity a few times.  Meditate on it.  Look at it in different translations of Scriptures.   Read books that break it down.  Let’s look at part of the prayer in the Message translation:

“The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—

Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,

So they might be one heart and mind with us.

So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—

I in them and you in me.”

It is important to note that God does not pray for uniformity.  Uniformity is something completely opposite from unity.  Uniformity has everyone acting the same, it is sameness.  Which if God wanted His creation to be the same this would have been part of His divine design.  Instead, Jesus is praying that in our diversity we would become one in heart and mind.  God wants us to be authentically who He created us to be as ethnically and racially diverse humans.  He wants us to love and worship Him in His divine design for us as image bearers of Him.  He doesn’t want us to water that down, because if we do, we essentially are watering down His divine design.

The reality is that the work of unity is an ongoing intentional journey.  Here are a few considerations for you to reflect on to individually assess your own efforts and journey:

  1. Consider whether ethnic and racial unity is a priority within your church community.


  1. Consider whether you have made God in your own image, to look like the race and ethnicity you are.


  1. Consider whether you are letting worry about the topic be a barrier. So much so that it’s an obstacle to you doing the work.  Worried you will get it wrong.  Worried of what you might have to give up.  Worried you might feel uncomfortable.  Worried about what others might think.  Worried about the amount of work needed to bring us to ethnic and racial healing and unity.


Recently I was talking with my friend Dave Ware, who has been a worship pastor for many years within our church.  It was beautiful to listen to him share his heart for God, worship, and for unity.  I especially remember him sharing about the writing of the song “This I Believe, The Creed.”  He remembers being struck by the ethnic and racial diversity in the room, there being many people present.  He also remembers the felt unity present as they wrote the lyrics of a very powerful song that I think we all are familiar with.  It is a beautiful picture to me and is illustrated in another song “Good Grace” by Hillsong United:

“People come together
Strange as neighbors, our blood is one
Children of generations
Of every nation, of kingdom come

Don’t let your heart be troubled
Hold your head up high, don’t fear no evil
Fix your eyes on this one truth
God is madly in love with you”

What if we took this heart posture for the work of ethnic and racial unity.  What if this became part of our prayer?  What if we came together with one heart and mind to do the hard and complex work of ethnic and racial unity.


Written by:

Hillsong Global Ethnic and Race Diversity and Inclusion Manager  

Maria Hansen-Quine, LASW, MSW


We acknowledge all First Peoples of the beautiful lands on which we live and celebrate their enduring knowledge and connections to Country. We honor the wisdom of and pay respect to Elders past and present.