Monday, April 8, 2013

Keep Them

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 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." John 17:1-11

Yesterday I participated in the Blessing of the Fleet here in Sitka. The many clergy of the town participated at the request of our Lutheran pastor. It was a lovely day and although cold in the shade, the sun was shining brightly. There were readings and music along with prayers. Then the names of the departed were read and folks placed flowers in baskets as the names were read. The list was a long one. At the end we took the wreaths and the flowers down to the harbor master who took them out to sea. We live in a part of the world where our common livelihood is always life threatening, whether commercial or subsistence fishing. We pout them all in God's hands, both those who are gone and those who are actively fishing. Keep them safe, we prayed.

Jesus had finished his teaching about preparing for the change ans is now ready for that time. As before, I doubt that the disciples expected anything quite so soon. They were looking at the long distance and Jesus was talking about the very near by. We can really never know when our time is at hand, but we can know that we are held in the arms of a loving God, put there as the disciples were for tender care in hard times. When we face hard times we can take strength from that knowledge.

Today I ask God to keep us safe here and to help us be one. May your model of tender loving care be our guide and may we all ray for your love to surround us and hold us close. May we draw near to you and one another, not only in dangerous times or on high seas, but in the brilliant sunshine. May our love for one another reflect God's love in our lives and may we share that we a world so in need of shelter from the storms od life.

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