The warmth of the bread and the sweetness of the wine still
linger as Jesus’ friends receive his tender gazes while he
kneels and wipes their feet. But already the seed of betrayal
has been planted in Judas’s heart; the authorities conspire, and
the executioners sharpen nails. Jesus describes the suffering to
come, and suddenly a chill fills the room.
As the darkness encroaches, Jesus delivers a detailed, loving
farewell that spans three chapters (14–16) in John’s Gospel.
He tells them not to fear and offers them peace, promises them
the Holy Spirit as an Advocate in his absence, and commands
them to “do the works that I do” (John 14:12).
Then Jesus turns his eyes to heaven and offers a final, fervent
prayer, including these words: “I glorified you on earth by
finishing the work that you gave me to do.” He has welcomed,
listened to, taught, healed, fed, and forgiven people. Jesus has
brought those on the margins to the center. His work is done.
Now Jesus takes leave of those he loves. But he lets them—
and us—know where to find him: “Truly I tell you, just as you
did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,
you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40). Whenever a hungry person is
fed, a stranger welcomed, or a prisoner visited, Jesus himself
has been so served. He’s still with us in the soup kitchens, at the
borders, in the jail cells, inviting us to finish the work he began.
For many years, every Saturday morning at the Sojourners
Neighborhood Center in inner-city Washington, DC, volunteers
gave out food. Always before opening the line, we joined hands,
as a beloved, longtime neighbor offered a prayer. May her
prayer be ours today, wherever we encounter Jesus.
We know, Lord, that you’re coming through this line today, so help us to treat you right. Amen.
The entire Easter season focuses on the new governance that breaks the grip of all that is old, tired, deathly, and enslaving. The psalm shows the church using the ancient language of enthronement. Now it is Jesus through whom the drama of God’s power is brought to fruition. In Acts, the community accepts the new governance as a bold witness in the world, sustained by a disciplined life of prayer. The epistle reading addresses people who are in the midst of suffering, hurt, and need. They are enjoined to powerful hope for the time of God’s eventual and full triumph. The Gospel portrays the church under the power of God’s resolve, being given a wholly new identity and vocation in the world.
• Read Acts 1:6-14. Having received the power of the Holy Spirit, how is your life unfolding?
• Read Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35. When have you sensed God’s absence? How did you attempt to fill that void?
• Read 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11.When has God restored you?
• Read John 17:1-11. Where do you see Jesus as you go about your daily life?
Respond by posting a prayer.
Whitney Simpson offers a wide-open doorway into embodied practice and awakens us to the long-held wisdom of our tradition that our bodies are sacred places where God meets us and dwells. Fully Human, Fully Divine is a true Christmas gift!”
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