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    • May29Sun

      Pray! Be one!

      A sermon for Confirmation Sunday (May 29, 2022) May 29, 2022 by Sebastian Meadows-Helmer
      Filed Under:
      Pr. Sebastian

      As I read our Gospel text relating Jesus’ prayer on the eve 

      of his trial and death,

      I picture Jesus on his knees, 

      or perhaps better with arms wide outstretched looking up to heaven, 

      maybe like the painting we have of Jesus ascending 

      on our upper chancel back wall. 

      If it were like in a movie, 

      there might be a spotlight and Jesus might be in soft focus, 

      with slow string music in the background to announce 

      something really special is about to happen.

      On the eve of his crucifixion, 

      Jesus gathers his friends for a final meal, 

      to remind them to love one another, 

      and then he prays a long extended prayer.

      He prays for the world, that all may be drawn into the life of the triune God.

      He prays that all may come to know that God the Father sent him.

      He prays that all may come to be with him, to see his glory,

      And he prays for the unity of all believers, 

      that divisions would cease.

      But most of all he prays for his followers, 

      for protection and support:

      He prays:

      “I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, 

      protect them in your name, that they may be one as we are one.”

      It’s kind of interesting, in a way, 

      because often we think about the importance of praying to Jesus, 

      asking Jesus for stuff, but here Jesus is actually praying for us!

      Jesus cares so much about us, 

      that he took time on the eve of his death to think about us, 

      to pray for us, and to make arrangements for us once he was no longer there.

      One issue Jesus seems to be most concerned about is the unity of his followers, that his followers seem to all have different agendas, 

      and disagree on matters and fight over trivial things. 

      Jesus points to the unity of himself and God the Father 

      as the model for how we should be unified.

      In theory as Christians, our life should revolve around Christ, 

      and everything else should be secondary, 

      but the living out of that is obviously difficult. 

      At St. Matthews we could be pleased that we do have 4 congregations under one roof here at 54 Benton, 

      and that is pointing the way to how the unity of Christians should be. 

      Maybe we’ll be able to worship together sometime next year 

      and bring that unity a little more into reality.

      With Jesus risen, ascended, glorified, 

      What’s our role as Christians in the world? 

      We are called Christians, or little Christs,

      And so we need to pray that each day, 

      we may be able to live as Christ would.

      We are all on a journey of becoming better believers.

      And we struggle with the question of how to live out what we learn and experience on Sunday mornings, 

      -how we can be witnesses to Christ in word and deed

      -how we can draw closer to Christian community, to God, 

      and improve our relationships.

      -all the while we live in a deeply imperfect world, 

      and are confronted with the brutality of life and evil, 

      as witnessed in the news from Texas and Ukraine

      Perhaps the best way is to start with prayer ourselves.

      We need to pray for abundant new life in Christ, 

      not just for newer Christians like our confirmands, 

      but also for those of us who have lived a life of faith for many decades.

      We need to pray that we may come to know God better, 

      and to believe in God’s promises.

      We need to pray that we grasp more deeply how Christians need to love: passionately, and self-givingly, just as Jesus showed us how to: 

      in his washing of his disciples’ feet, of his healing and caring touch, of insiders and outsiders,

      and in his love which extended to death and beyond.

      We need to pray that we can help make God and God’s love known, 

      in our personal relationships and also through our church.

      I think if prayer like this is central to our lives, 

      then we are on the right track towards living out our baptismal life, 

      and living into the reality that Jesus prayed for us on his last night on earth.

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