Seventh Sunday of Easter – May 24, 2020
In these days between Ascension and Pentecost, we gather with the disciples in the upper room, waiting for the Spirit to transform the church around the world. In today’s gospel Jesus prays for his followers and for their mission in his name. Amid religious, social, and economic divisions, we seek the unity that Jesus had with his Father. Made one in baptism, we go forth to live our faith in the world, eager for the unity that God intends for the whole human family.
Readings and Psalm
Acts 1:6-14 - Jesus’ companions at prayer after his departure
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35 - Sing to God, who rides upon the clouds. (Ps. 68:4)
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11 - God will sustain and restore those who suffer
John 17:1-11 - Christ’s prayer for his disciples
Prayer of the Day
O God of glory, your Son Jesus Christ suffered for us and ascended to your right hand. Unite us with Christ and each other in suffering and in joy, that all the world may be drawn into your bountiful presence, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
GOSPEL MESSAGE - Jesus’ Prayer
Decades beyond her early childhood, from time to time she repeats the bedtime prayer she has never forgotten: “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Guard me, Jesus, through the night, and wake me with the morning light.” What then follows is the threading of names, precious like pearls, on a string. “God bless . . . ,” she begins, then lists mom, dad, grandmas, grandpas, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, all by name. Then teachers she liked, friends nearby and hungry children afar, the sick neighbor, the old man in the library, the blind lady at the post office, the lifeguard at the beach. Sometimes there is an “Amen,” but often sleep comes first.
Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, shares a farewell meal with them, and teaches for the last time about his way of love. He promises again the presence of the Spirit and the coming of God’s peace. Then, at the end of the day, he prays that God will be with his followers—and he prays for each of us. Jesus prays for his disciples, that they might know the love of God just as much as they know the real person of Jesus.
Jesus’ prayer is also a prayer for unity. Jesus prays that we may be one just as he and God are one. Jesus prays, “All mine are yours, and yours are mine” (John 17:10). Following Jesus’ example, we also may pray for the unity of all people with God, and the reconciling of peoples and all creation. We pray that what the world rejects God will receive. We pray that what the world divides God will make one. We pray that what the world threatens God will protect.
May we be comforted by Jesus’ prayer for us, and may we be so emboldened to pray ourselves for the blessing, presence, and unity found in our risen Lord and Savior.
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