Friday, March 25, 2016

The Prayer of Jesus in John 17

17 After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.
I woke this morning called to ponder these words. 

I wonder what work shall I complete in this world? We are not long here. What are my aims, goals, and hopes? Will my actions lead to that which is everlasting? Are my actions marked by love? Not always, not lately. Weary am I of this inflamed world and her heartache, her divisions, and her despair. Yet, I seek to renew a covenant with Him, a relationship marked by Love which shall last.
“I have revealed you[a] to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.

We have always been His.  Do we believe it? Do I live in that place? We have been one with God since the beginning. Nothing can change that. Yet, a gift is received by one who opens it. A gift left unopened does not alter the heart intent of the Giver. Do I open His gift daily?
“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name;[b] now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.

Do I live knowing there is protection and power in His name? Always. We may not see or recognize the power or the protection, but it's there. There is power, love, grace, and truth, in that Name. 

 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me.[c] I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.

13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.

Do I have joy which comes from the things He's shared with me? If I admit it, as of late, "no". The world rips apart at her seams, so feels my soul. But my spirit, your spirit, we are alive. Living. Well. If we walk in truth. Freedom. Love. Grace. 

Let us not forget. We don't belong to this world - we belong to Him. We are called to bring healing to this world while we are here, but it is not our final home. Our physical bodies are but seeds waiting to be blown upon the wind and planted in a far more beautiful and lasting garden.
20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

On this Good Friday, is the church, even if only in my small corner of the world, the only place I can change, one? Are we one against injustice? Are we one in protecting the widow and orphan? Are we one in loving and advocating for the downtrodden and children? Are we one with Him in His love?
22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”

May it be so. 

As He went to the cross for you and I, may we be one in Him. Because if we are in Him, truly living as He lived, we are one with each other and with Jesus Christ.

And if we are in Jesus when the world cracks, it will not be the outpouring of pain, but the splitting open of the tomb. And if we are in Jesus when the world cracks, it will not be more broken hearts, nor refugees crying for shelter, nor bombs exploding, but the outpouring of Life giving Grace which heals us.

Easter, my friends, is for our pain and brokenness. It is for every moment we cannot condone, and every hurt we cannot explain. One day, the belly of the world will laugh, not groan. While we argue and ache now, one day we will rise with the Light.

Thus, we live with assurance: The day of His death was conquered by a life giving dawn.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Backpacking with the Saints, Wilderness Hiking As Spiritual Practice

He who would travel happily, must travel light. 
 ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

Silence is both the agony and solace of frontier people. 

A desert solitaire must resist much and obey little. 

We are in the wilderness to make love to it, to appreciate it. 

The journey is the destination.

In our trying to do it all, are we changed by any of it?

If we lose something, we have been set free from care. 
~ Abba Euprepius

It is okay to simply be a witness - not to be the star in the universe.

Knowledge is the servant of wonder.

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.
~ James Joyce

Criticism eats into the soul like acid. 

Criticism invariably shuts us down.

We may still love what we cannot comprehend. 

   This is the mystery and power of those beings who serve something other than their own provisional personalities: we cannot escape them. 

   It is essential to remind one's self that it is always the soul that dies first, never the body. 

On the Stack

*Where not otherwise attributed, all quotes/thoughts are by Belden C. Lane