Submitted by Jan on Wed, 27/04/2016 – 10:42
7th Sunday of Easter, Ascension Sunday
Year C (2015-2016)
Bible Book: John
Verse: 20 – 23
Selected Verses: John 17:20-23, Rev 22:17
Have you ever been to a supermarket that had posters, pamphlets and signs about a great sale of a specific product that you need? With great excitement you enter the store. What you need is available! Greater news even, it is on sale! When you get to the isle of your good news the shelves are empty, with a little note “Out of stock.” Empty promises. Disappointed hopes. Unsatisfied needs. I sometimes wonder if that is what the world experience when they experience the distance between Christ followers; or the rejection of certain Christian communities.
In today’s passage from Revelation (22:17) we hear the invitation of the Spirit through the Church echoing through all of creation “Come! Whoever is thirsty, let her/him come; and whoever wishes, let her/him take the free gift of the water of life.” When I look at the world I see the longing thirst in so many ways. I also hear so many other inviting voices shouting on the market square “Come! For real happiness, come! For extreme wealth, come! For life without pain, come! For true power, come!” And sadly I see crowds of longing masses buying into the empty wishing well ponds.
In our text ,Jesus prays for those who will believe in Him, the Church of all ages. I believe He prays for us because He knew that we would continue to struggle to follow Him as the bearers of His Fountain of Good News. In His prayer He echoes His hope for the church in the world:
> I pray for them [:20b]
– So that the believers may be one [:21a]
o As Jesus and the Father are one, interconnected with each other [:21b]
• SO THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE [:21c]
> I have given them the glory You have given me [:22a]
– So that the believers may be one [:22b]
o As Jesus and the Father are one, interconnected with each other [:23a]
– May the believers be brought in complete unity [:23b]
• SO THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE IN JESUS AND HIS LOVE [:23c]
From this longing prayer of Jesus it seems that the unity of believers is our voice to this world. The unity of believers echoes the love of God as never ending fountain for those who are thirsty. Without the unity the sign reads “Out of stock!” We are so concerned about what our message should be that we forgot that WE – the way we live our unity – are the message to a world divided by stigmas of race, class, culture, position, titles, spiritualities, status, practices… If I understand the prayer of Jesus the first thing we need to secure is not our message, but our unity – so that the world may believe. Our unity reflects the glory of God [:22a] and the love of God [:23c]. Our unity says God’s glory and love is real. Our rejection of each other says that this voice of glory and love is just a another make believe wishing well pond. To reject other believers, or even potential believers, is a sign that we do not know the glory or love of God. May we grow in our understanding of God’s love; so that we may be one; so that the world may believe in the overshadowing love of God.
To think about: How can we show our unity with our sisters and brothers who live with, or are affected by HIV and AIDS? Remember that it is an interconnected unity as the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father.
Written by: Pieter Roeloffse is a Pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in Prince Alfred’s Hamlet
Author: Roelofse P (Rev)