|Episcopal Church in Minnesota|
Environmental Stewardship Commission
Year C, Seventh Sunday of Easter, Gospel
Jesus prayed for his disciples, and then he said. "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. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
"Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."
Reflection on John 17:20-26
by John G. Gibbs, PhD
Having prayed for himself (17:1-5) and for his disciples (17:6-19), Jesus' "high priestly prayer" now intercedes for the Church universal (17:20-26). Whether "the world" (referring to all humanity) will believe in God depends on whether the Church's inner unity will communicate the unity within God (Father and Son).
In 1940 during Hitler's bombardment of his native land England, the Anglican theologian William Temple wrote: "If we are in the Father and the Son, we certainly shall be one, and our unity will increase our effective influence on the world. It is the manifestation of God's love toward us in our mutual love which shall at last convert the world" (Readings in St. John's Gospel, pp. 327, 329; London: Macmillan, 1952 [first pub. 1940]).
Before the "foundation of the world," referring to the cosmic totality,
the Father's love for the Son was present. Love came first, then
creation. The prayer concludes with the startling petition that the
primordial love of the divine Father for the Son "may be in them," that
is, in the Church. Here the same love that created all that is also
creates the Church. What could be clearer than this bond between
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