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The Rev. Peter Panagore The Rev. Peter Panagore
The Rev. Peter Baldwin Panagore is pastor of the First Radio Parish Church of America and host of the TV program "Daily Devotions" broadcast in Maine.

Member of:

United Church of Christ

Representative of:

First Radio Parish Church of America


Lover

John 17:20-26

7th Sunday of Easter/ Ascension Sunday - Year C

May 12, 2013

Let's listen in to Jesus speaking in St. John's book.

Jesus says, "My prayer."

He is praying as he speaks and prayer is the first thing in this passage. Jesus prays. We should pray. Imitate him.

Jesus says, "My prayer is not for them alone."

His prayer is not just his merry band of devotees. It's for us, too.

Jesus says, "I pray also for those who will believe in me."

That's you. That's me. Here in the future. Prayers have power. They last into the future. How have his prayers lasted? Through the power of Love and the skill of story telling by his apostles, and in all the books and letters written about Jesus over the next three hundred years. Jesus Christ became a media sensation for centuries--in books and in letters. He was a celebrity. Stories of his life were told aloud. His story became the most famous story ever told in the Western world. His story became our story of life everlasting. Prayer is powerful, but so is story telling.

Jesus continues, "that all of them may be one."

What does this mean to be one? One what? One community? One church? One faith? One in dogma? One in doctrine? When? When were Christians ever one in unity in anything? Christians started fighting amongst ourselves from the get go. Unity? Name the Unity for me if you can.

Jesus says, "Father, just as you are in me and I am in you."

Let's stop here a moment. Jesus is in God and God is in Jesus, J.C. and God are One. One in the Other and the Other in the One. They are United. They are in Unity. They are One. If our Christian Unity, our Oneness is anywhere, if our Unity and Oneness is anything, our Unity and Oneness must be Jesus who is in God. Is it a matter of doctrine, of declaration, of dogma? No. Jesus speaks of a mystical Unity with God. A mystery. That they all may be one, He says, but we are divided in ten thousand ways...transubstantiation, substantiation, adult baptism, child baptism, sacraments, preaching, creed, perceived heresies and more. It doesn't matter how we are divided. We are divided and He wants us to be one. Jesus was for Unity. He prayed for our Unity. For yours and mine and for His apostles. How can we be one? We can be one in God mystically through prayer, through Jesus, in Unity. Yes, I point to Origen, to Meister Eckhart, to John of the Cross, to Theresa of Avila, to Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen, all of who wrote about Unity.

Jesus says, "May they also be in us."

Jesus does not want us to believe. He wants us to be in him. Please God, Jesus prays, please God, let the Oneness that We share be shared with and among My disciples, who You gave to me. That is His prayer for us, for you and for me. Unity is not about dogma or doctrine or correct belief or my church. It is about Grace, Glory, Love and Prayer. Unity is about my soul and your soul being United in Love with God, being Loved by God and my Loving God in return with the Love God gives me. God is Love. It can be the same for every believer. The Unity is mystical, mystery, beyond reason and inarticuable, but it is experiential and has been written about for centuries. Unity is real. It is as real as God. The Unity is Love. It is that simple. God is Love. God Loves Jesus. Jesus Loves God with the same Love.

Jesus continues, "so that the world may believe that you have sent me, I have given them the Glory."

Glory, Glory, Glory hallelujah! What is Glory? Is it the shine, the halo seen a thousand times in icons throughout the East? Is it seen as the Shine in the eyes of the Lovers of God? If it is, then hallelujah! Let the Glory of Unity indwell in me and indwell in you.

Jesus says, "The LOVE YOU GAVE ME."

It is a gift. Love is a gift. God gives Love. God gives the Oneness, the Unity as Love, in Love, and through Love. The Love that God gave Jesus, He gives to us, to you and to me as a gift. If only we seek Heaven first. The Love that God gave Jesus He gives to us. Seek it.

Jesus says, "that they may be one as we are one."

That we may be One, you and me, in the way that Jesus is One with God.

Jesus says, "I in them and you in me."

Jesus' Love in you, and Jesus' Love in me, because God's Love is in Him. Jesus creates a circuit of Love to my small soul and to yours and enlightens me and you with Love. God Loves each of us in that way, in that same way, and it is an overwhelming Love that cannot be contained, or explained, only experienced. It is not my Love. It is not your Love. It is God's Love in Union with us because Jesus Loves us and He gives that Glory to us, if only we choose to open our inner door [I stand at the door and knock.] and let the Love in.

Jesus says, "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have Loved them even as you have Loved me."

Jesus came to show us that God Loves us. Love is the proof enough inside your soul. Do you Love God? Do you Love Jesus Christ? Then you are a Lover of God. It is possible to be a Lover of God because God is the Lover of all, with a Love that has no end, and no beginning and is a Love so grand, so glorious, so huge that nothing and no one escapes from God's Love or hides from God's Love, because God Loves all things into being. If you are a Lover of God, then the Love you have for God comes from the Love God has for you. God Loves us into being. God is the Lover. God is Love.

Jesus says, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am."

Jesus wants his people to shine with Him, to shine like Him, to share that same Love with Him. You and me.

Jesus says, "and to see my Glory."

He wanted his apostles to see the Glory that shown like an aura, like a halo all around him, and in him because His Love was Real, because His Glory is Real.

Jesus says, "the Glory you have given me because you Loved me before the creation of the world."

Jesus was Loved before He was born in body. Jesus was Loved into being by Love before all creation existed--this world, this earth, this Milky Way galaxy, or any of the 23 septillion stars and septillions of planets inside our galaxy, or any of the 23 septillion other galaxies each with their own 23 septillion stars, all birthed into being 6.5 billion light years ago. Before all of that, and for at least as long as that--before the creation of this known universe--before time itself began--Christ was birthed into being as Love, and then as a human. He was born in Bethlehem.

Jesus says, "Righteous Father, though the world does not know you..."

This creation, and we humans as creation, do not know God, cannot know God, cannot see God, or touch God--as the Bible says.

Jesus says, "I know You, and they (the disciples) know that You have sent me.  I have made You known to them."

I did my job, says Jesus. I told them about You, and will continue to make You known and I'll keep at my job, says Jesus, in order that the Love...

--and here it is, my brothers and my sisters--Here it is, listen in again,

Jesus says, "in order that the Love you have for me may be in them."

I repeat, "that the Love you have for me may be in them."

His Love in you. His Love in me. IS God's Love in you and IS God's Love in me? That selfsame Love that is in Jesus and is Christ can be in you and can be in me and is in you and is in me. Nobody can have that Love like Jesus had it, but we can share in it. Isn't Love the essence of Jesus' teaching? Love and Unity? Isn't Love what it is all about? Has it only ever, only ever, been about Love? About a personal Love? A personal Unity in God through Jesus in Love? Could it be that Christianity is about Unity in Love? Is it possible that Love can live inside me in Unity? Who, I ask, who would not want that? Who?

Jesus finishes saying, "that I myself may be in them."

His Love Light living in you. His Love Light Living in me. Jesus the Lover Lightens my small soul and lifts me to Unity in Love, and through Love to the Lover. Little me, little you, Loved by the Lover who Loves us into being and Loves us always. Love is the answer because God is Love. God is Love. God is Love. That is the answer. That is the answer. And what is the question? And what is the question? I leave that to you. Amen.

 

 


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