Move In Day
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Each fall is the perennial move-in day on or near college campuses. Legions of parents descend with carloads that include tiny refrigerators, Ikea furniture, electronics, area rugs, and posters. They unload the one they have birthed, raised, nursed, instructed, and reproved for eighteen or so, to prepare him or her for independence. Then, just like that, the parents are gone, perhaps wiping away tears. Perhaps their final words were ones they hoped would stick. “Study well.” “Make good choices.” “Watch your time.” “Don’t stay up too late.” But in every parental heart is a simple prayer: “O God, be with them.” In the final portion of Jesus’ great prayer for the disciples (John 17:6-19), he entreats the Father to love and protect the disciples as a parent who knows their time for direct supervision is coming to an end. In this preparation we hear his pleading like a loving parent who wants the best for the ones he has sheltered, taught, loved, reproved, and sent. Jesus begs for God to hold them in the truth that is to do as they have been taught, to follow the model established for them. Jesus asked for the disciples to be protected and surrounded so that they may not be lost. He prays for the disciples to have their joy completed, and to live what they have seen and understood from their rabbi. May we, like the disciples, live in the truth of the gospel, love as we have been loved, have our joy complete, and, above all, know that God is with us.
Gospel: John 17:6-19
In this reading the church hears Jesus’ words on the night before his death—his prayer for his disciples and for all who would believe in him through their words.
[Jesus prayed:] 6“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.”