Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Holy Week Reflection for March 28, 2013

”I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20-26)

This morning I received an email from a major department store alerting me to THE COMFORT I DESERVE. It was an ad for pillows and comforters for a bed. They looked very nice. I just didn’t know that I deserved them. I also didn’t know what I had done to deserve such comfort. But the department store people seemed to be convinced that I was a deserving person. They must be very kind.

In Jesus’ prayer in John 17, there isn’t anything about deserving. His prayer is about giving—giving the love of God the Father to the people around him, giving himself to God and to others, giving the oneness that he shares with God to those who will receive it.

He prays not only for those in the room with him, but also for us. He speaks of those “who will believe.” If there is any comfort to be had, I find it knowing that Jesus prayed for all who would come along later, including Paul, Augustine, Teresa, Calvin, Wesley, King, and us.

But is that a comfort we deserve?

No, it is a comfort that results from the generous love of God. And if Jesus’ words are to take root in our hearts, then we are not able to think of deserving—that is, de-serving. We can only think of serving, and doing so in the way of Jesus.

This is such a different prayer than the so-called Lord’s Prayer, the one that Jesus said was to be prayed “this way.” Maybe we are given such a simple prayer for ourselves because, as in John 17, Jesus prays the prayers we cannot find the words to prayer.

It’s a lot more than we deserve.

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