Scripture: John 17:9-19
Key verses: (16-18) They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
Reflection: Prepositions have tremendous power. As disciples of Jesus we do not belong TO the world but we have been sent INTO the world. Today’s passage is a segment of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples at his last supper with them before his arrest. Jesus’ prayer reveals his hopes for his disciples, then and now.
We are called to be in the world, just as Jesus was in the world. Faithfulness is not a bomb shelter where we hide from what is going on outside. We go into the world to share the good news by caring for the least among us, by offering hope to those in despair, and by loving the outcasts.
We are IN the world but we do not belong to it. Put another way, we are called by Jesus not to be OF the world. Our values will be values of the kingdom of God and sometimes those will conflict with the world around us. We will bless the ones the world dismisses. We will lift up the ones the world pushes down. We will offer forgiveness to those who have wronged us. We will love our enemies.
We are in the world but not of the world. As we journey through the season of Lent, what does that look like for you? Lent is a season of penitence, as we reflect on our own sins and seek God’s transforming grace. It’s intended to be a quieter and somber season of forty days. Did you know that the Sundays don’t “count” toward the forty days? The Sundays are IN Lent but not OF Lent. Every Sunday is a mini-celebration of Easter resurrection. Join us for worship this Sunday, the first Sunday in Lent, as we seek together to follow Jesus faithfully, in and not of the world.
Prayer: O God, sometimes following Jesus is hard to do and it feels like I’m swimming upstream. Strengthen me to persevere. Give me wisdom to discern your will. And forgive me when I fail and find myself floating along with the currents of the world. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].