scene with his disciples. Catholics call this prayer the Lord’s Prayer as it is the Lord who is
praying. What we call the Lord’s Prayer, they call the “Our Father.” Whatever it is
called, there is a lot in it and would take several sermons to unpack the whole thing. For
today’s purposes, I want to focus on who Jesus is praying for.
After he gives thanks to God and for the relationship he has with God, he speaks to God
honestly and wholeheartedly, telling God “It is time, I have done what you asked, I have
stayed the course...” and then Jesus asks God to honor that by protecting the believers.
Jesus asks for the hearts of his disciples, those who were with him, to be guarded by God.
He then prays, and this is where you come in, for “those who will believe.”
Jesus includes us in his prayer. His prayer is that we would be one heart and mind, like
God and Jesus are of one heart and one mind. He prays that we would be evidence to
others of God’s love and grace, so that the world might believe God is real and active in
their midst. I don’t know about you, but to truly take in the fact that Jesus, the son of God,
the one who brought Lazarus back from the dead, walked on water, and commanded the
wind and sea, fed 5,000+ people with 5 loaves of bread and two fish, prayed for me, kind of
blows my mind.
Why do we work so hard, pay better attention, and seek deeper understanding during the
40 days of lent, only to walk right back into our old practices after we shout “he is risen”?
Why do are we so eager for the day after Easter when it is what takes place the morning of
Easter that changes everything?
Easter is not over. Easter should make us want to be a better people. It should inspire us
to draw close to God and recognize how we keep God at bay. It should motivate us to seek
the risen Jesus and recognize God’s presence when things are good, rather than always
questioning, doubting or even blaming God when things are tough. Easter should bring us
out of our emotional and mental tombs of darkness and into a place of gratitude, service,
More beautiful words cannot be found than those of Jesus praying for his followers.
Praying that their hearts be guarded and then his joy be made complete in our coming to
know him. Wait, what? His joy made complete in us? Yes. We complete the joy of Jesus
Christ, the risen son of God, the miracle worker, healer, preacher and teacher, when we
follow his example and live in relationship with him and one another. That is the Easter
truth Jesus prayed before the Easter moment happened.
Christians will never organize their churches all in the same way. They will never worship
God all in the same way. They will never even all believe precisely the same things. But
Christian unity transcends all these differences and joins them together in love” (Barclay
218). That is what Jesus prayed for before the finale of his life on earth - that his followers
then and now would seek a unity they did not fully understand but was being lived out in
front of them.
The problem is, this unity at the present time and all through history, is injured, stalled, or
prevented because people love their own ideals, creeds, rituals, and expectations more than
they love one another. If we really loved each other and really loved Christ, no church
would exclude anyone who was another follower, believer, and disciple. If we really loved
each other and really loved Christ, no believer would stumble over the things we put in
place to stumble over because they wouldn’t be there - well maybe they would be there, but
they wouldn’t trip us up like we allow them to today.
How do we hold on to Easter hope? What does it look like to live as Easter people? Is it
learning to forgive when we are hurt? Apologizing when we would rather not? Raising our
children with love, kindness and direction in a world that seems to teach the opposite?
Loving our enemies, both personal and national? Having courage to face impossible odds
and uncertainty? Keeping the faith when so much in our world seems to be falling apart?
These acts take courage, grit and perseverance. It takes holding on to the hope that God is
in control and not the loudest political voice, latest voting poll, or breaking news story. It
takes the power and presence of Easter. And it takes us, Easter people, being willing to
love with the love of Jesus, not the love of self.
I recently spoke at a women’s retreat and at the table I was sitting, a woman shared how
much she enjoys retreats because it brings her back up, lifts her spirits and energizes her
faith. She went on to say how hard it is to go home after because it’s like we are up here
and everyone else is down here - down here is where the Easter message is needed and as
Easter people we are called to bring that energy, passion, truth, and life to them. To make
the ordinary extraordinary! That is what Easter people do. That is completing Christ’ joy,
fulfilling and living out his prayer.
Easter people, keep the sense of anticipation, mystery, excitement, promise, and hope found
on Easter morning alive.
Pastor Jenothy Irvine