Pondering for Sunday, May 21, 2023

Eucharistic Readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter: Year A

Acts 1:6-14Psalm 68:1-10 and 33-361 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11John 17:1-11

“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.” (John 17:11 NRSV)

Perhaps the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), is not the best translation of this prayer between our Lord Jesus and his inmost self, God Almighty.  I always compare other translations as I prepare the words I intend to share with you.  The New International Version, (NIV) reads, “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”

The difference between these two readings is, in the NRSV, Jesus indicates he has already left the world.  In the NIV, Jesus talks about a very near future departure. I am always skeptical about an ancient language that has been translated many, many times. What I glean from this passage, in any language, is that our Lord Jesus is standing in both dimensions, both heaven and earth at the time of His prayer.

Jesus further says that we are in Him and He is in us, and together, we are in the Creator. Wow!

As believers we should act and behave as we understand, and truly believe, that we are in our Lord and our Lord is in us. Right now we have one foot on earth and the other in life eternal in paradise. It is our Christian responsibility to assist in God’s will being done here on earth as it is in Heaven.

Our Lord Jesus modeled God’s desire of how we are to live together on earth.  We are to care for one another, regardless of our differences.  We are to do all we can to heal one another. We are to do all we can to see to it that no one goes hungry.  These are the examples our Lord Jesus left us. In short, we are to love one another as Jesus loves us. And, he loved us to death.

The naysayers are plentiful. Many will not be willing to follow our example of living the life of love.  It is not our job to soften their hearts.  That belongs to the Holy Spirit of God, who will also bring divine judgment on all who have been shown but refuse to heed.

This Christian life we are trying to live is not easy, at first.  But as we practice being compassionate it gets easier and easier.  Being compassionate does not mean inviting people to hurt us, or take advantage of us.  But it does mean not returning evil for evil. Jesus would not do this and neither should we. We are dual citizens right now of both earth and heaven.  But the day is coming when we will remain in this world no longer. Halleluiah.

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine, Russia, Sudan, South Sudan, Israel and our schools.

As we listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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