Saturday, 19 May 2012

Between Ascension & Pentecost!

 The Father & the Son   1 John 5: 9-13, John 17: 6-19)

About 15 years ago my brother gave me a Christmas present: “juggling for the complete Klutz”. You know how it is with brothers – mine knows me very well & he knows that I have not been blessed with manual dexterity & good hand-eye co-ordination. But he also knew how fascinated I was by juggling.

So here was the chance to learn the principles & see if even a klutz like me could learn to juggle.

First, one juggling ball – learning to throw easily from hand to hand, trying to keep your hands as still as possible – learning to relax & have confidence in your ability (never did master that part).

Then, two – trying to keep them at the same height, trying to move easily, smoothly…
And then three – but that’s for Trinity Sunday.. but I’ll tell you the principle – you throw one and as that begins to fall you throw the other and empty your hand ready to catch the first ball, then each time you have to catch you need to throw first.

Sadly, I understand the theory but I still can’t do it.

So why share this undeveloped skill with you?
Well, I think that the disciples’ understanding of God, and perhaps ours too, develops rather like juggling.

First they come to know Jesus.
They follow him, they live with him for three years, they see all he does and hear all he says. They realise that he is a good man, an amazing teacher… they realise more – he is a man of God, he forgives sin in God’s name, he lives close to God in prayer, he even calls God ‘Father’.
Then Jesus begins teaching them about the true relationship he has with God the Father. He is the Son of God, he is more than just a Godly man, he is God made human, he is God in the flesh.

In the passages which we heard from the first letter of John and from John’s gospel, the relationship between Father and Son is explored.

Jesus prays for his followers. He prays to the Father, making clear the relationship between Father and Son, and asking for blessing for the disciples.
‘Now they know that all you gave me has come from you; for I have taught them what I learned from you, and they have received it: they know with certainty that I came from you… All that is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine’.

By living so close to Jesus they have come close to God the Son and through the Son have come close to the Father.

John’s letter puts it even more strongly: by knowing life with Jesus, through seeing eternal life and love in him, Jesus’ followers have seen the very life of God and have become part of God’s kingdom:
“This is the witness: God has given us eternal life, and this life is found in his Son. He who possesses the Son possesses life”.

In Jesus, God has come into the world, reaching out to humankind and inviting those who will follow Jesus to know and enjoy eternal life.
As Jesus himself puts it “If you have seen me you have seen the Father”.
The Father and the Son are One God.         (juggling with 2 balls).
This of course has profound importance for how the disciples understand who Jesus is.

It also helps them now that they have seen Jesus ascend to the Father. Jesus is no longer physically present with them but they can still receive the protection of God the Father.

And in the power of Jesus, who is God  - one with the Father – they are sent out to continue to do the work of Jesus.

So as we take this bread and wine we remember the self-giving of Jesus Christ. We celebrate his being One with the Father and we join with the Son and the Father in promising our lives for the building of the kingdom.

 But of course the juggling is not complete – we know that God is not only Father & Son in relationship, but the Godhead also has contains the Holy Spirit, to make up the three of the Trinity.

So In all this we anticipate the coming of the Holy Spirit, who will descend now that Jesus has ascended, to enable us to move in the power of God and to complete the circle of eternal movement that is God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit.        


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