7th Sunday Easter 2020—The Jesus Prayer

May they be one as you and I are one:

First my friends, I would really like to set the context of our Gospel today so that we can understand in interact with this text in a fuller way.

This text is John 17:1-11a…

The entire prayer actually composes the entire 17th Chapter of John so that it is John 17: 1-26. This is the prayer, as recorded by the Gospel writer of John, that Jesus prayed immediately before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion began. This is the prayer that Jesus prayed when he knew that within three days he would be put to death. It is an intimate expression of his love of God, his love of the people with whom he has walked this journey, and his love for the entire world.

GOSPEL: John 17:1-11a

I really would like if each of us could take the time this week to read the Jesus Prayer in its entirety. It is a profoundly powerful prayer. One thing that hit me last Sunday when I read this Gospel for Dish with the Bish… I thought… I wonder how many of us have ever taken the opportunity to write out our most intimate prayer? I know I have not!

If we knew that in three days we would die, I wonder what our prayer would read?

I find great comfort in the intimacy that Jesus shares with the disciples and subsequently to and with us. “Protect those whom you have given me with your Name, the Name you gave me, that they may be one, even as you and I are one.”

The entire prayer of Jesus all leads to unity… may they be one… I wonder what that would look like, if we truly lived this prayer of Jesus as a Church community? I don’t mean just Spirit of Hope… I mean every community that calls themselves a Church… or Diocese… or Archdiocese. Just imagine if there were not divisions even within the context of Christianity… I often think our divisions are not only a tragedy, I feel it is a travesty to the Gospel that we are not one! One in mind and heart, not one in power and control. Would that not be a tribute to this Gospel? It certainly should give us pause!

“May they be one”… I wonder what happened to us as professed followers of Jesus the Christ?
I also wonder what being “one” would look like? Does that mean without conflict or disagreement? –I don’t think so—because living the Christian life means struggling to live past our sin.

And I do believe that being one, does mean that we commit to struggling with each other… that we commit to an honest, respectful dialogue with one another.

Being one I believe— allows us to fail, and to lift each other up once again, just like Simon helped up Jesus.

Being one I believe— allows us to care for and about each other, even when we are bruised, bloodied, and broken by life.

Being one I believe— encourages us to see one another as a brother or sister, a son or daughter of an amazing God, a God who stands just beyond the grasp of our fullest understanding, yet who allows us to see and to know that we are loved.

During these days, it would be interesting to take some time and write our prayer. I wonder what it will say?

I do know this, it will tell us a lot about what we believe about this God we profess. It will tell us how we understand our God as well. It will tell us about what we truly treasure, and it will tell us, by what we do not pray for, that which is truly not meaningful for us in our lives.

If you knew in three days you would be born into eternal life, what would you pray?

I am going to challenge all of us to try to do it.

It could be interesting! I leave you with these words to ponder, the final words of Jesus’ prayer:

“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I may be in them.” Jn 17:26