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More or Less Church

Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Focus: That We May Be One

John 14: 15 - 21 (Easter 7)

Some call this Sunday: “Waiting Sunday.” That’s because, sandwiched as it is between The Ascension and Pentecost, it might easily be overlooked and dismissed as a time-filling intermission. But that would be a sad loss. We would miss one of the truly great gospels. We would lose the opportunity to hear Christ’s final report to the Father. We would not hear Jesus explain how all the pieces of the divine plan fit together. So let’s pause and give Christ’s brief but powerful monologue the reverent attention it deserves. It’s worth the “Waiting.”

On the very rare chance that you missed the message in the other twenty chapters of his gospel, John is again making the case for Christ’s divinity. Jesus calls on the Father, again revealing himself as the manifestation of God’s love made flesh for our redemption. He’s obviously much more than God’s goodwill ambassador or the prince of the prophets. Jesus speaks to the Father reverently. But he also speaks as God, the Son of God. John’s gospel began by establishing the fact that: In the beginning was the Word. Lest we miss or forget the point, Jesus repeats that he was with the Father before the world began and not as an honored guest. He was, is and always will be one with the Father.

While Jesus makes his report, his Passion and Resurrection still lie before him. But he is confident and prescient enough, to foresee his mission fulfilled: Jesus has made God more accessible to his people. He has established love of God and neighbor as the paradigm of the new covenant. For our redemption, he is ready to take our every sin with him to the cross. In giving Christ his mission and his power, the Father has glorified Jesus. In his humble obedience and love, Jesus has glorified the Father. In the gift of eternal life, God has glorified his people. And we in turn worship God with a whole new fervor and enlightenment. All the loose ends are tied up. God’s plan is a closed-loop of love… Father-to- Son-to-people… all flowing reciprocally with the ease of alternating current. And as St. Augustine explained, that current is the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.

Buried deep in the cosmic sweep of this gospel is another message that should not be overlooked. Jesus asks the Father: That they be made one, as you and I are one. I thought about Christ’s prayer recently while watching the evening news. An obviously traumatized Nigerian boy was recounting how his father was murdered by terrorists. This back-country subsistence farmer was confronted by gunmen. They made one demand: Renounce Jesus. Fighting back his fear, the man explained that he could never do that because if he renounced Jesus, then Jesus could not commend him to the Father. His declaration of faith was answered by fatal gunfire.

Watching the boy’s moving, matter of fact presentation I was overcome by a spectrum of emotions… horror, sorrow, pity and finally inspiration and humble exaltation. There I was, TV-remote in hand, sitting comfortably in my American suburban security. This boy and his martyred father were a world away. We had neither nationality, nor race, language, culture nor circumstances in common. And yet I felt profoundly that their loss was my loss. I prayed that their declaration would be my declaration. And in the glory that these humble people gave to God, in the witness that they gave to me, I rejoiced that Christ’s prayer for unity was being answered. We are one… closer than sisters and brothers… one in the Body of Christ. Today I pray that by the grace of God the faith and the courage of our Nigerian brothers and sisters will be ours: That we may be one. Alleluia. He is risen.


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