May 12, 2002

John 17:1-11

Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:
"Father, it's time.
Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.

"I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I'm not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I'm no longer going to be visible in the world;
They'll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.

<The Message>


1. It is time, again, for us to "give real and eternal life" to all in our charge. If we are followers of Jesus we take up the same vision and energy and responsibility of Jesus. Rather than trying to get the words right, to find a way to make faith into a creed, we are called to find a way to pass life on to those who are missing it and caught in one or another stasis that keep them from investigating life.

2. While character can be described spelled out in a novel or a poem, it can never fully be captured. We get so caught up in thinking that GOD's character is fully knowable and articulable that we keep missing the life. It is as though we know that the display of Jesus' life is not the only way to go (after all we are expected to even greater things than Jesus) but we still get trapped thinking that we are simply to replicate, again and again and again, the Jesus story without taking it further, displaying it in new circumstances and with new details and stories.

How do you deal with the characteristics of GOD? Do they stimulate you or confine you? Do you think GOD is pleased with the way in which GOD has been characterized? Do our characterizations of GOD detract from GOD's affirmation to be a Living GOD and freeze GOD into a snapshot from days gone by?

3. What would it mean for you and the church and the world to appreciate splendor as a significant category of life. Would we better walk in beauty if we recognized splendor all around us and beneath us and above us and within us?

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