Sunday 29th May

Gospel Reading – John 17: 20 – 26

Jesus said “I pray that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us….” and so Jesus’ words go on in a similar vein, ending with the words “I have made your name known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them”

When I hear these words, I think of Russian Dolls! Why, you might ask?

Well, because when Jesus talks about himself or God the Father, they are all one within the other, living in each other, as one – and living inside each one of us!

It sounds as though, inside each of us live God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit (who Jesus has talked about earlier as part of the ‘package’) who all come and fill our lives from right inside us – when we know them.

So, when I think about God as Father, Son and Spirit inside us filling our empty places, I picture a Russian Doll, one doll, inside another, inside another, so that the biggest doll, the one we see is filled completely – right to the very core.

And Jesus says that we can also be filled to the very core with God in every way, shape and form – Father, Son and Spirit, if we love God and keep his commands.

These seem to be Jesus words about love.  When we love someone it’s as if they are part of us; inside us even, and part of us is missing when the one we love is away or gone forever. So it is with the bonds of love between God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit co-existing and also poured into us, such that the love God has for Jesus may be in us, be one with us and us one with God – residing within us, right to our very core!

Jesus’ words are part of a prayer that, according to the Gospel writer John, Jesus prayed for all believers at that time, and also all those yet to come – even to 2,000 years’ time and beyond.

If you read John’s Gospel from Chapter 13:31 to 17:26, you will discover what Jesus thought were the most important words to say to his Disciples, in the last conversation he would have with them, before he was arrested and then crucified.

Jesus left his Disciples with words of love, encouragement and the hope of a future that includes the indwelling of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for them and us. Because of these words and others like them, we can understand Christian hope as God’s love for us stretched out for us into the future.

Before his arrest Jesus looked both to the past, to all that he had said and done to make the Father who sent him known to the disciples, and also to the future and all who will love him, keep his word and receive, in his name, the Spirit whom the Father will send.

So, when you read Jesus’ prayer (in full!) you know what Jesus wants to say to you. Jesus’ words are his prayer for each of us – Jesus was praying for us.

Why not sit with a cup of tea, or coffee and read Jesus’ prayer for you imagining the fullness of love, hope and peace and the encouragement that Jesus intended for us, all that is intended to live in us right to the very core of us.

Revd. Janine Atkinson