Published on June 24th, 2019 | by squad-admin0
Jesus prayer for us. John 17:11-19. June 5, 2019
Nga mihi mahana e hoa ma, rangimarie ki a koutou katoa! Warm greetings friends, peace be with you all. Today our gospel text is from John 17:11-19, part of a prayer Jesus prayed for us.
This is a beautiful prayer where Jesus is pleading with his Father to care for us as he is about to die and leave the world as we know it, and will not be physically present to shepherd us directly anymore. In this prayer we can see and hear the deep love that Jesus, God, has for us. We can also see the incredible trust that Jesus has in his Father to care for us in his absence.
A similar analogy could be the picture of parents going away for a few days and needing to leave their young children in the care of the grand parents. In this case the Mum will probably provide a detailed note about bed times, diet requirements, maybe medications required so that the children are cared for well. This is not because she doesn’t trust the grand parents, but actually because she does trust them to care, down to the minor details.
In his prayer Jesus let’s it be known that he is concerned that we could loose our ‘oneness’ and become led astray by the ‘evil one’. There are references to the ‘world’ and how it hates us but that we must live within it. Obviously we do live in a real world, we have a genealogy, parents, houses and maybe jobs that engage us in the ebb and flow of community around us. Jesus is not concerned about the effect the created world will have on us, but more the spirit of the ‘world’, meaning that ethic or spirit that is hostile to the desires that God has for creation.
In our current world there is a real fight going on for control of the ‘truth’. The ‘fake news’ label is bandied about by all corners of the political spectrum – today Jesus claims and affirms that the word of God is ‘truth’ and that he has set us apart, has set his followers apart, under the shelter of his name so that we can be set apart for the truth. To claim to be the owners of the truth is a dangerous place to be, we are wide open for critique and attack by those who see our claims as ‘fake’ or annoying.
It is at this point that the spirit of the ‘world’ comes into play. Are we seeking to be on the side of ‘truth’ (whatever that is) for the power it will give to be in that place – or are we seeking to align ourselves with the truth that is evident in the created world around us. If Jesus and God are truly the truth then they will not be at odds with factual facts. Of course even fact can be massaged by the way it is presented to say different things. So here is the rub – as followers of this Jesus who ate with outsiders, laid his life down sacrificially and was maligned by those with power how do we see truth. Is it something to be held high as a rally call that divides us into those for and those against – or does it drive us deep down inside us and among us to look for ways to build and maintain the essential ‘oneness’ that we all share.
There is a great Maori proverb, shortened to “he wake eke noa” (we are all in this boat together) which is really a call to bring us together. To wrestle together to discover the truth that we all need to know, the truth that will build community or whanaungatanga. It is this battling and striving to be the exclusive owner of truth, the one in charge that actually divides us and is the work of the ‘evil one’. This divisive work is evil, it allows power to thrive and do its nasty work among us. No wonder Jesus is pleading with his Father to keep us as one, like they are one.
In our prayer from Jesus today he is crying out for God to care for us and keep us unified. This does not mean all should be exactly the same – unity and uniformity are two quite different ideas. The Father is not the Son, who is not the Holy Spirit who is not the Father – but together they are one and inviting us all to join in with them to create a diverse unity that speaks the truth that all of the creation longs to hear. See Paul’s words in the book of Romans about that one – our loving unity and care will be good news for the creation…..
As we continue to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who has called us out for this walk, may we be quick to take our time to look for the true truth and not fall into the trap of easy divisive activities driven by power. The evil one is always close,ready to undermine and divide. As we negotiate life together on this boat called ‘earth’ may we find respectful and gracious ways to uncover and grapple with the truth in every sphere of life. Right from the minor personal actions to the big issues of the day that affect all of us.
May we be found honouring the way and name of Jesus in all that we do.
Buckshot – Wellington chapter, New Zealand