May 16, 1999

John 17:1-11

After Jesus had finished speaking to his disciples, he looked up toward heaven and prayed:

Father, the time has come for you to bring glory to your Son, in order that he may bring glory to you. And you gave him power over all people, so that he would give eternal life to everyone you give him. Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ the one you sent. I have brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you gave me to do. Now, Father, give me back the glory that I had with you before the world was created.

You have given me some followers from this world, and I have shown them what you are like. They were yours, but you gave them to me, and they have obeyed you. They know that you gave me everything I have. I told my followers what you told me, and they accepted it. They know that I came from you, and they believe that you are the one who sent me. I am praying for them, but not for those who belong to this world. My followers belong to you, and I am praying for them. All that I have is yours, and all that you have is mine, and they will bring glory to me.

Holy Father, I am no longer in the world. I am coming to you, but my followers are still in the world. So keep them safe by the power of the name that you have given me. Then they will be one with each other, just as you and I are one. [CEV]


1. "In the beginning," says John there was unity. In Chapter 1 it speaks of the Word, Jesus, "He was already in the world and through him the world was made, the very world that did not know him." (Christian Community Bible) Here we hear Jesus speak of the yearning for glory of unity and the reality of separation and brokenness. This tension continues in the body of Christ to this day.

2. If you have been given the gift to know eternal life, to be joined to GOD as Jesus has been, you know you are kept safe by the baptismal and transfigural name given to Jesus - "Beloved!" It is in knowing that you are beloved that you begin and continue the eternal journey to wholeness. We learn of our belovedness as we listen in on the conversation between God and Jesus, "All that I have is yours, and all that you have is mine -- in this is glory eternal." We are invited to be a part of this glory and subsequent journey into even more glory. Glory is not static, but active. An image of this activity blossoms forth next week when we celebrate the fire of Pentecost.

3. At St. Luke's this is Confirmation Sunday. We are proud of the seven youth and the four adults who will profess their faith and join the church this day. They and all of us need to hear the prayer that Jesus is praying for us. It is out of this center of safety that we find the imagination and strength to know and follow Jesus' healing way of 1) loving God, 2) loving neighbors, 3) loving self, 4) loving one another, and 5) loving enemies. As we deepen our knowledge of these gifts and act from the courage of enacting them, so we bring glory to God through the ecumenical task of binding back together that which has been so long separated.

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