T-H-I-S Much

by Maria Kane

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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.”  John 17:20-26

Reflect

When my godson Cal was much younger he and I used to play a game of sorts at bedtime. With my hands a few inches apart, I’d say to him: “How much do you think Ea loves you? Do I love you this much?”

Smiling, Cal would shake his head and say, “Nooo.”

I’d then stick my hands a bit further apart and ask, “this much?”

“Noooo. More!” he’d say.

We would keep going until my arms were stretched so far apart that my back began to arch.

“This much?”

“Yes,” he’d laugh.

“Yep. I love you so much I can’t even stretch my arms wide enough.” I’d reply.

There was nothing terribly unique about this nighttime routine, but it was ours, and it was special.

In the midst life’s busyness, I fear it’s easy to forget that our existence is rooted in God’s adoration and longing for us. Today’s reading, however, reminds us of the breadth of Jesus’ love. I will be the first to admit, though, that what Jesus does in this moment is not terribly original or complex. In fact it’s so simple we might overlook it as the generous act of love that it is.

Y’all, Jesus prays for us.

Although it is the night before his execution, and his betrayer is at hand, Jesus does not pray for his own rescue or comfort. He prays for his friends and all who would follow. He prays for you and me. All the teaching, all the healing, all the traveling—they all point to this overarching truth: Jesus wants us to experience perfect union with God’s glory and one another. Jesus believes this is our destiny, and he prays that it will be so.

We often talk about the importance of believing in God, but did you ever stop to consider that while we are trying to shore up our faith and belief, Jesus has been believing in us since the dawn of time? He trusts that with God’s Spirit we can carry on his work. What if you claimed that truth today? No matter what you are going through, no matter what looms ahead, Jesus is with you in the meantime. He has prayed for you because he believes in you and who you are becoming.

How much does our Lord love you?

He loves you THIS much.

Response

Share a time you experienced or encountered the love of God in a new way. If you are struggling to feel love right now, offer your weary soul to God in prayer and trust that you don’t need to say a word. Just be. Know that the Spirit is with you.