May 28, 2017 at 8:52 am #844
It is not until you get to ultimate moments that things take on a new and profound perspective. Jesus has already given us the Lord’s Prayer which we pray faithfully each week; some of us, maybe each day. This prayer
calls us to deeper communion with the Lord, our Father, and to a life of contentment and mercy with one another. When Jesus prays here, in looking up to heaven, he is in word and action letting the disciples know that he will soon be leaving them and that leaving will involve a terrible tearing apart of their union together. Even so, running through these prayers Jesus prays “Your Will be done, on earth, as in heaven. “ A theme that unites both these prayers.
This same prayer of God’s will being dome is expressed in the other Gospels in the passion of the cup that Jesus will not let pass. This is truly
Jesus’ last will. It is to become his testament, the New Covenant.
Raymond Brown calls this prayer that ends Jesus farewell speech “one of the most majestic moments” in the Fourth Gospel, knowing full well
what this parting will mean, the challenge to the integrity of the disciples.
Will they split, abandon each other ?… For this, and so much more, Jesus
prays. He does not only pray, he bequeaths.
On behalf of the disciples Jesus asks for union with the Father and
with one another, for a radical indwelling of God in us, and for our
glorification. That “they may be one as we are one” (v.11). Because of this, Bruno Barnhardt calls the prayer “the consecration of the new temple.” That is, we are the new temple – you and I together – the ragged, distractible, well-meaning but hopelessly flawed people of the body of Christ.”
I spoke last week about the risk of liminal time that can thrust us into
either a space of trusting recommitment or abandoning despair. This is the hard work of the soul which may mean the difference between abandoning God and/or each other at the most telling and crucial of moments. Jesus’ prayer for his disciples is also his prayer for us and all who face this temptation and fear, that we may enter this unitive life.
Grace and peace, James.
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