Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Prayer of Protection

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.’John 17:1-26

My husband called me "Electrolux Girl" today as we were moving some more items to storage. I was notorious as a child for separating the hose and wand from my mother's Electrolux vacuum and riding it down the long and steep central stair case. I guess you could say I was a bit of a dare devil, willing to try almost anything, always making messes and getting banged up. I am sure I tested my parents a great deal as a child. And my own daughters provided me with many growth opportunities of my own. As parents, we really learn to pray when our children are young, bright and active - we beg God for their safety, despite what we know about them. Our love impels us to beg God for our loved ones' protection, despite their predilections and thick headed need for adventure.

And so Jesus, as the end of his physical presence on earth is ending, prays from the heart as any parent would. He prays for the safety of his disciples and all who will follow -you and me included - despite our stubbornness and the many ways we fling ourselves into danger. Jesus takes the burden of our humanity, our testing and experimenting, our shallowness and curiosity, and asks God to care for each and every one of us. Not in spite of it all, but because we are loved more than we can ever know completely.

Today, I ask God to help us all remember how greatly and completely we are loved by God. How we are cared for despite our defiance and recklessness-despite it all -God is acting for our safety and care, and constantly concerned about our growth, healing and well-being. May we all take the love we have been given and share it with a world that needs to know someone cares for them more than they can even imagine.

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