Friday, February 24, 2012

Praying for Protection

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. John 17:9-19

There are swans on Lake Lily, which some times swim out in the open water, and often stay closer to their nests, out of sight, away from interference. The swans are very protective of their nests in spring and so we see them more often in the fall and winter. They are magnificent creatures, elegant and startling while, gliding effortlessly across the pond. It is a joy to see them, a joy to watch them, and we all know that their environment is fragile and can be dangerous. They need our cooperative protection, although they are standoffish, we want to be careful not to disturb or injure their young, while keeping the lake clean. It's a careful balance, as we all live together.

Jesus continues his prayer for us. He is praying for his followers in his present day and now, understanding that we can't always know what we need, and cannot always understand they way of God. On this journey of Lent, as we seek the heart of God, we can be strengthened knowing Jesus prayed for us and intercedes for us. It is not a journey taken alone, but with a whole host of the faithful past and present. Our faith binds us to a community that holds us close and prays for our strength and courage as we journey on.

Today, as I begin recuperating and rebuilding strength, I ask God for patience as I journey on, and a sense of humor to take me through the rough spots. May we hear the prayer of Jesus for us all - "I pray for them" - trusting that we are held in prayer across the time and the miles. God is with us as we walk these days of healing and transformation.

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