We Share Christ

How Shall We Love

Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B

We need the opportunity to submit ourselves as individuals and as a community to the work of living in peace with one another, working together toward the flourishing of all people.

There are so many threads in this tapestry that the picture might be a bit obscured. And to spend the time picking them all apart is beyond the realm of these notes, which are supposed to spark your imagination, preacher. They are designed to get your creative juices flowing so that you can tell your story in your context with the message that God has placed on your heart. So, there are many jumping-off places here. Let’s think for a moment.

We could talk about that “sanctify” ending. Jesus calls on the Spirit of protection so that we can be made fit for God’s purposes. Jesus hands us over to God and asks God to let us live and work in this world, but as signs of God’s presence, pointing beyond the world in which we work. We could talk about what this protection means and what it doesn’t mean.

Or we could talk about unity, one of my favorite themes. Jesus prays that we (that’s you and me and everyone else) would be one as “we are one.” We are to be as close as Jesus and God; we are called to function as parts of the Trinity, aspects of the same thing, different, but one in essence and in hope. That is what community really means. It doesn’t mean individuality is lost; differences make the whole what it is. But it does mean that we acknowledge our need for the other, acknowledge that we are somehow incomplete without the other. How can we fight among ourselves? How can we hate and cast stones at one another when we are part of the same whole? We are hating and casting stones at ourselves. The church is many things, but in this prayer, it is clear that the church is called to be one, to be united.

Or we could talk about that in-the-world and out-of-the-world language in the prayer. Yes, on one level, it is Jesus’ farewell address; he is on his way out of the world. But then we also believe that Jesus is in the world, still today. Just like we live in this world, but we don’t belong to the world. Our eyes are on eternity; our true home is in the kingdom. which might have embassies here in this world, which might break through, which might peek around the edges, but it isn’t here. At least not yet.

Or we could talk about the hundred other things that I haven’t figured out yet. Maybe you saw something, or wondered something. or figured something out from this prayer that you didn’t know before, or that confirmed something inside of you. Or maybe we could simply talk about what it is like to know that Jesus is praying for us, what a blessing that is, even when we don’t always know what is in that prayer. Even when we don’t know how to respond to that prayer, or even what we should be looking for. Just knowing about the prayer means something. We’re coming up on Aldersgate Day, May 24, the day we remember John Wesley and his heart strangely warmed experience, as he finally understood that Jesus' love and salvation were gifts for him too.

But instead of all of that, the words that jumped out at me were those in verse ten: “All mine are yours and yours are mine and I have been glorified in them.” I know that really says more about who Jesus is than it does about us. But it also speaks deeply of relationship and community. Peterson (The Message) translates the last part of the verse like this: “And my life is on display in them.” How we live and love in this world is the presentation of Christ to those who don’t know him yet. How we share and give does not just reflect on us, but it reflects on Jesus. This means how we treat one another, how we honor one another, and how we celebrate one another and the commitments we have made are part of our faith. And Christ is glorified by the way we live in community.

Our argument in this series and especially this week is that our calling is to live a life of love, and our fundamental belief is that sharing Christ is the loving thing to do. However, the methodology for sharing is as important as the sharing itself. Loving is an act of respect; it is a way of honoring others, the objects of our love—especially those whom society has neglected, overlooked, or ignored. That’s what “see all the people” means—that we will share Christ, by sharing that love, with those who no longer believe that they are worth loving. We share by inviting and including; we lead with hospitality and not with judgment. We meet real needs with a spirit of welcome. We lead with gratitude not reluctant service, but a pouring out of abundance and equity. Throughout it all, sometimes with words but mostly through acts of love, we share Christ. Because we believe that there is nothing more loving than including others in the circle of Christ-followers.

In This Series...

Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes


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In This Series...

Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes