In But Not Of

Sermon Summary for Sunday, May 28th, 2017 | Respectfully Submitted by Kelley Dial


"And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you."  In this week's Gospel reading from John (17:1-11) we continue with Jesus' Farewell Discourse.  Here Jesus turns from addressing his disciples and begins to talk to God, in their presence, in prayer.  What follows is both an intercession on behalf of Jesus' followers and a revelation to them.  Jesus prays not only for his followers then; he prays for us.    

Jesus' plea to God is often referred to as the "Priestly Prayer".  While familiar words, most have not committed them to memory as they have the "Serenity Prayer" composed by Reinhold Niebuhr.  "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference".  Why is that?  Are the nonbiblical words that present the option of simple acceptance easier to process than Jesus' words that urge us to actively seek unity with each other and Him so we may reap the benefits of that unity, both now and forever?

Jesus reminds us we are "in" the world but need not be "of" the world.  We see examples of this daily in our parish life.  Holy Mowers, Altar Guild, Flower Guild, Choir,  Food Pantry, and many other ministries filled with people performing services to further the Kingdom of God on earth, not for personal glory,  We see similar behavior in the larger community from countless individuals who take steps to make this world more like the next, to show beauty and love to those often bereft of either.

Prayer helps bring us to discern how to best represent God on earth.  Prayer changes things, even if we don't see the results immediately.  The Holy Spirit blows where it will.  Prayer helps us discern how to harness that spirit and manifest it in our daily activities.

Jesus' prayer is offered at a time of transition for him.  We are at the point of many transitions:  Spring to Summer, Easter to Pentecost and the season after, and, most personally, transitioning to the summer of Mary's sabbatical.  May we look at this time as a time of adventure, for Mother Mary and the rest of us.  God has adventures planned for us, may we move past our anxiety over change and joyfully join in.

"Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”