I 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. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And 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. While 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. But 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. I 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. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. ~ John 17:9-19
In today’s Gospel Jesus prays for all of his followers. Here we have Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane praying for those who will betray and abandon him. Jesus, praying, for those that he knows full well will suffer if they follow in the way that he has taught them. “They do not belong to this world.” I believe that Jesus is making a statement about a group of followers who he believes will faithfully embrace the way of nonviolent love. Here is Jesus expressing his concern for those who will follow in The Way. Jesus knows that those who follow will in many ways, if they are faithful to The Way, will be what Stanley Hauerwas twenty-five years ago called Resident Aliens. For following the Way of Jesus is radical and it is revolutionary.
“The cross is not a sign of the church’s quiet, suffering submission to the powers-that-be, but rather the church’s revolutionary participation in the victory of Christ over those powers. The cross is not a symbol for general human suffering and oppression. Rather, the cross is a sign of what happens when one takes God’s account of reality more seriously than Caesar’s. The cross stands as God’s (and our) eternal no to the powers of death, as well as God’s eternal yes to humanity, God’s remarkable determination not to leave us to our own devices.”
― Stanley Hauerwas,
Questions to consider:
What does being in this world but not of this world mean for you?
Being a Resident Alien implies that we will indeed be different. Different than what? Different how?
‘Taking God’s account of reality more seriously than Caesar’s,’ we can take heart in God’s eternal yes to our humanity and humanness. Hauerwas declares that God is determined not to leave us to our own devices. I have at times felt left to my own devices…. what about you? In the meantime, I have often been keenly aware that I am not alone. And you….
When have you ever felt like a revolutionary?