Jesus prayed, “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 17:9-19
I have a mother's heart. For twenty seven months it shared everything with my children and the shared my life blood, the food I ate and every tear I shed. They are a part of me and my whole being changed forever with their lives. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of them, pray for them, aching for their safety and their happiness. Every breath I take recalls them to me. I can still feel their presence with me, their newborn breath on my skin, their laughter and their tears. My children's lives have been threatened and they have been in danger. I am grateful everyday for their safety. When the news of 911 broke, although I was in a church meeting and we lived far from all of the destruction, I had to get in my car and drive home, to make sure they were all okay. This mother's heart is breaking for the innocent student and teachers who died in their school. It is unbearable.
Jesus, in John's gospel is overheard praying for his disciples. We glimpse, in this moment, the heart of a parent, a mother, a father, begging for the care and protection of the children. His love for them is complete and familial. His love for us is the same as well. God desires our safety and our thriving and invites us to live for the safety and thriving of others. We are invited to have the heart of parents, who would do anything for those in our care. May we, in these days of destructive self-interest, put down our weapons, our words and our politics, and act for the love of the innocent around us.
Today, I ask God to move me beyond worry and prayer to action. May we remove the walls and barriers that divide us, and see that all of our community is in our care. We have been given to one another. May we love with a mother's and father's heart.