In the World, May 15.2012

JOHN 17: 9-11 
 I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours.
All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.
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.
In the midst of his prayer for the disciples Jesus describes them in this way:
They are given by God.
They belong to God.
They are in the world.

Jesus’ words must have been reassuring to the disciples. That they are given, belong and are protected by God. But what does it mean for the disciples to be in the world? That must have been unsettling to hear, “I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world.” Was Jesus leaving them behind? What should they do? What will happen to them next?

What does it mean for us? To be in the world? Our answer might depend on how we see and experience the world? Do we see and experience the pain and suffering in the world? Do we notice the beauty of the world we live in? Do we think of the world as our own small piece of the city, the United States of America? When we hear world do we think bigger? The whole planet? Our galaxy? The whole universe?

Before we answer that question it might be good to consider Jesus’ next words, “protect them… so that they may be one, as we are one.” Jesus invites the disciples, and us into deep and abiding wholeness. To see ourselves as one. When we consider the world in all it’s beauty and brokenness do we understand ourselves as intricate part of the whole? That we belong to God and to one another?

We are in the world.
We are given by God.
We belong to God.
We are protected by God.
We are in the world to love one another.

Go out into the world in peace,