“In His Name”
This morning we hear a few words of the prayer Jesus offers for his disciples. He has just finished teaching his disciples a few last lessons after washing their feet in the upper room, where they had their last meal together. After these lessons, Jesus offers a prayer for them, the first half of it we read this morning, before Jesus heads to the Garden of Gethsemane where Judas will lead the soldiers to arrest him.
This prayer is full of wonderful promises and hope as Jesus awaits his arrest. “The hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you” he prays. He knows the significance of what is to come in his death and in his resurrection.
He continues, “Since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do.”
Jesus has come to give eternal life to everyone who comes to him. Everyone who comes to know Jesus Christ receives this incredible gift by getting to know the one true God, and in his work, Jesus has made this known through his own life.
What we read this morning ends on a very powerful statement. Jesus prays, “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.”
Jesus prays for his followers who remain here on earth. Jesus is gone, but we are still here and he prays for our protection in God’s holy name.
“Protect them in your name… so that they may be one, as we are one.”
The power of God’s name can protect us and bring us together.
We are a blessed people. I was talking with a gentleman yesterday at our basement to attic sale, and we agreed we live in a pretty special place. Yes we have our challenges on many of our streets as people live with addictions all around us, but we have been spared floods and fires, tornadoes and earthquakes, and we live in peace, there is no war raging around us. We have little to worry about in terms of our own safety.
Yet many people are getting worried. You have no idea how many conversations I continue to have with people who care and worry about the future of the church. It happens on our streets. It happens at presbytery meetings. It happened a lot at Maritime Conference last weekend. It happens online. It’s everywhere.
People are scared about the future of the church. What programs should we run? What type of music should we play? What sort of prayers should we use?
How about this?
The role of the church, as seen in the first Christian church, is this. We are to preach the Gospel and create disciples. That is all the first church did. Read the book of Acts, it’s all right there in the first couple of chapters. Preach the Gospel, nurture new disciples.
Jesus has prayed for our protection and our unity in God’s name. Imagine the power, the changes in people’s lives that would emerge if we were to stand boldly together and say, “We are a Christian people living the life God has called us to live.”
And if we could invite others to stand with us, to grow and learn with us, to live as Christ lived by sharing the love of God with the people of God, imagine the impact God would have on the streets and roads of Cape Breton.
We live in a place of privilege. We live in the love, protection, and unity of Jesus Christ.