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May 12, 2013 Sermon

 

May 12, 2013  Mother’s Day

 

          Have you ever had the experience of being prayed for?  The passage we will read from John’s Gospel is what some scholars call the “high priestly prayer”.  This makes it sound rather formal and aloof.  What follows is a deeply personal, intimate prayer as Jesus lays out his concerns for Christians in all ages.  His most earnest wish is for believers to immerse their lives in love and unity knowing that our broken world will always be in need of these gifts.  Listen to this prayer that Jesus makes to God for you…your well-being…your future.

                  

John 17: 20-26

20I’m praying not only for them but also for those who will believe in me

Because of them and their witness about me.

21The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us.

Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.

22The same glory you gave me, I gave them,

So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—23I in them and you in me.

Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence

That you’ve sent me and loved them in the same way you’ve loved me.

24Father, I want those you gave me to be with me, right where I am,

So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me, having loved me long before there ever was a world.

25Righteous Father, the world has never known you,

But I have known you, and these disciples know that you sent me on this mission.

26I have made your very being known to them—who you are and what you do—

And continue to make it known, so that your love for me might be in them

Exactly as I am in them.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.

THANKS BE TO GOD!

 

Sermon – “The precious legacy of faith”

Jesus prayed – not just for those 12 disciples but for every Christian who would follow them even us here today.

          He knew you couldn’t make people believe it’s not something you coerce someone to   do – you can’t intimidate a person to faith.

          Faith, if it is to have the legs to go on from generation to generation, is only going to survive through two things, says Jesus: love and unity.

   “Loving” even when you don’t “like.”

   “Unity” even when you “disagree.”

For Jesus, this was the only way the gulf between people could be narrowed.

   Love and unity is the best way to prove to the hostile world the existence of God.

   Love and unity is the best way to make this world of ours a better place.

          This is one very hefty prayer!

          AND it’s a tough message to talk about on a Sunday when we get all mushy talking about Mom’s.

 

I found a prayer written by a comedian and actress, Tina Fey, to her daughter.

          I want to share a carefully edited church friendly portion of this highly practical, honest, in-your-face plea to God:

          (prayer for my daughter)

                   First Lord: no tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

                   When Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with beer.

                   Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, standing on the subway platform, driving on country roads while arguing and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

                   And should she choose to be a mother one day, be my eyes Lord, that Imay see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 am, all-at-once exhausted, bored and in love with the little creature whose poop is leakingup its back.

                   “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a mental note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped itwith Your God eyes.

                             Even the irreverent Tina Fey trusts God to help her bring her daughter through childhood safely.

                             Like Jesus, she acknowledges in colourful language, what a scary place it is.

 

          I read this passage, this prayer of Jesus and it made me feel just a touch guilty or ashamed.

   There are a lot of people with whom I am not united.

   I have allowed petty squabbles and hurt feelings get in the way of my relationships.

   I have prized being “right” more than “getting along.”

   I hear the voices of my parents echoing in my mind entreating me to stay close with my siblings – to put our love and family ahead of all other things.

 

This ancient prayer of Jesus is a passionate plea for us to discover the best in life – the best in the people we encounter along the way.

          We are to utilize plenty of love – it’s the most powerful weapon to battle hatred, violence and indifference.

          Love reduces the number of strangers in your world and increases the number of friends you have.

          Unity means you are less alone and isolated and instead surrounded by a far more meaningful support network.

 

Jesus prays for us just as earnestly as our mothers and fathers have prayed for us – as much as we have prayed and pleaded with God to protect our children and grandchildren from the harm that seems to be everywhere.

 

This Mother’s Day, take your lead from the prayer of Jesus:

   be respectful

   be fair

   be caring

   be inclusive

   show affection

   express joy

(from West Virginia University Extension Service “The Art of Getting Along”)

 

The Christian faith has embodied these values from its genesis.

   to believe is to practice love and seek unity with all of creation

   it’s what Jesus prayed for so long ago

   it is the legacy that fosters goodness and mercy in a world that can be vulnerable to evil

 

Love and unity is what makes family the foundation of our culture.

          Wise moms and dads know this – practice it – shape our lives with it…  and bequeath this to us to pass on to the next generation.

 

May our lives be a fitting and blessed response to Jesus’ prayer.

 

Categories: Sermons