Looking up to heaven, Jesus prayed, "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." John 17:6-19
As we w ere getting ready to leave town on Friday, we passed the duck pond and saw the swans. Usually, this time of year if there are cygnets, they keep themselves and their babies well hidden. It was early in the morning and there were few people about. Watching them was beautiful and fascinating, as they swam and fed. The adults are careful with their young , never letting one swim too far away and swimming with one adult in front and one behind. Graceful and beautiful, the swans are some of the glorious creatures on the pond, and yet their whole beings were focused on the care of their young.
We find Jesus at prayer, his whole being focused on the care of his followers. He wants that their "joy might be complete" despite the fact that he knows how challenging their lives ahead will be. Jesus know how hard the challenges ahead will be for us also, and wants not only our full protection but that our joy might be complete. Consider this, the savior of the world took out time to pray for us, asking for us to be strong, protected and sanctified. Like a loving parent, his single care was for the followers fullness of life - our joy and our care. God's love is not focused on the beauty of creation, but on the most vulnerable, the needy, the humble.
Today, I am so grateful for the love and watch care given me throughout my life. As a child, I did not see how much my parents did for me, and as an adult I knew how much I needed God since I could not protect and care for our children alone. May we all give thanks for the tender loving care we have for God who care intimately for all the people of the world.