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John 17:1-19, Jesus Prays for His Disciples

Monday, March 26

Prayer for Protection

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

God protects

As Jesus nears his death, he prays for his disciples -- his friends. He asks God to protect them, continue to teach them, and to glorify and sanctify them in God's truth. (In other words, to set them apart as holy because they live in God's truth.) Even though Jesus' work is nearly done, God's work never will be. God still has a job to do -- protect and lift up those people who still have jobs to do on God's behalf. (In other words, everyone.)

Someone once asked me, "Who protects you?" I answered, "No one protects me." "What about God? Doesn't God protect you?" "No, not even God," I replied. She told me I should discuss it with a therapist.

You have to understand, when my first child was 16 months old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. His entire life would be filled with daily blood tests, insulin shots, and regular trips to the doctor. It was devastating. I felt like I had failed as a parent. If I couldn't protect my child from such a fate, then how could I ever be a worthy parent? If God couldn't protect a child, then what could or would God do? That has profoundly shaped who I am today.

I have since come to the realization that God doesn't protect all people from all things. But, how could God? If God did step in to protect all people from all things, this would be a fundamentally different world. It would be the paradise we are promised but have not yet obtained. But that doesn't mean God is absent. We cannot be saved from all things. But God does protect us in that God does not abandon us when the shiitake hits the fan. God wraps us in light and love when those things happen. God can fill us with God's presence and peace. And in that, we are made holy. We are made whole.

So no, I still don't think God "protects" us from all harm. But I do think God can protect us from absolute abandonment, from utter despair, and from complete isolation. And my therapist agrees.

Narrative Lectionary Text: John 17:1-19

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

”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. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for 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. 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."