Sermon for Wed 27 May
From John 17:
9 I pray for [the disciples]. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 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[b] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[c] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13 ‘I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Paul, before he departs to his final destination, warns the leaders to be wary of the evil one, and of evil in general, that would draw their attention and faith away from God.
Jesus, in his prayer for the disciples, prays the same thing, in a way warning us that the Christian life will not be easy. Granted, there are times when all seems to fall into place with ease, these are times when we are following God’s lead and plan well and his will causes things to fall into place.
What is it that comes across as evil? Where we are right now, with Covid-19, it is all the dissenting voices, stay home, go out, wear masks, masks not needed, remove lockdown, tighten lockdown restrictions. These arguments lead us to lose focus, it turns our eyes away from Christ, and leads us to thinking more about self than the other and our Lord.
Another reason for attack, or persecution, the biggest challenge to Christians, is the fact that we are to be in the world, not of the world. Jesus says that we are to be sanctified as he is sanctified, i.e. we are set apart from the world. Our being set apart means that we hear what is happening, but don’t necessarily take part in what is happening. We see what the world does, but don’t do as the world does, unless it is something that will glorify God.
Remember then, we are God’s, Jesus chose us, and has set us apart, for his glory. Our being set apart is sen in the love we share, in the hope we have and in the life we enjoy, life, here, now,in the moment, and to the fullest.
May the peace and hope we have be evident in the world.
God bless and keep you.