Archive for March 27th, 2007

“I In Them, and You In Me…”

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 17:1-26 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Kay Olry):

This section of John offers us the most intimate look anywhere in scripture of Jesus relationship with His Father, and of His relationship with His disciples. It is just after Judas left the Passover Supper to betray Him, and right before He spends His last hours in prayer (and agony) in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus is fully aware that He is in His final hours. He is preparing Himself, and His disciples, for what is to come. He has finished the work that the Father gave Him to do, and prays for their protection and care. He has protected them and kept them safe, and He hands them over to the care of the Father.

A few years ago there was a popular song that asked the question: “What if God was one of us?” The truth is that He was one of us, and His coming changed the world.

Imagine for a minute how different the world would be if Jesus hadn’t of come. Picture a world where Christ’s love and sacrifice never made an impact. Picture the hopelessness of that world: love isn’t a guiding principle anymore; it is a world of self will run riot, with nothing to temper our basest instincts. Yes, there are many people who live like that now anyway; but imagine if that’s all there were — without the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of people who are trying to make the world a better place. The darkness of that world would far, far outshadow the evil that we currently see around us.

The way Christ chose to begin His church was with a group of 12 people that started out as strangers, and eventually became family to each other. For over three years they did everything together; ate, drank, traveled, preached, ministered, walked, talked, laughed, cried, struggled, and loved each other through every day and night, through the good times and the bad. Christ modeled for us, from the very beginning, how it is that we are to be The Church — both to each other, and to the world.

For the last few decades there has been a huge change going on in the church (I use this term not to refer to buildings or religions, but to the followers of Christ). You may not have noticed, but this isn’t your parents church anymore. Not just Jesus MCC, but thousands of churches all over the world are doing things differently. The term that people are using to try to describe these changes is the emerging church. It stemmed from a longing for a more authentic spirituality, and a deep desire to find the Christ of the gospels. The way this change has, in part, manifested itself is in the development of small groups; bible studies, prayer groups, small dinners in homes — and here at Jesus MCC in Oasis Groups, Discipleship Classes, and others. The church is coming full circle.

Small groups (done “right”) are meant to be just like it was with Christ and the disciples. They are to be a place to build each other up, to give comfort to ourselves and others in a world that often is going so fast that it’s hard to catch our breath. Small groups are one of the few ways that we can intentionally build community with the people around us.

I encourage you to ask yourself how you can more intentionally become more involved in The Church — the Body of Christ. Not the building. Not religion. The Body — the people of Christ. Come with your heart open, and make a decision to be as “real” as you can be comfortable with. Laugh, cry, share, and love each other, and God. Teach each other. Be there with and for each other! This was a large part of what Christ wanted for the church. I think it’s a large part of what he wants for you. Love God with all your heart and soul, and love one another!

Thought for the day: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.”

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: all of the small groups at Jesus MCC. God, help us to become the church to each other, and the church to and in the world.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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