Week 3 Day 4: Depending on God
“Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”
Depending on God
In everything Jesus does, whether he’s breaking bread with friends or whether he’s healing or he’s teaching and preaching, in everything he does he often stops and gives thanks and acknowledges his Father.
-Br. Jim Woodrum
This week we’ve been exploring the theme of intimacy with the Father. When praying with this theme, I couldn’t help but to think of a family photograph I recently found on a trip home, one that my mom took. And, in the picture, my dad is standing before the bathroom mirror with shaving cream on his face and a razor, and is shaving his face. And standing right next to him is me on a stool with shaving cream all over my face and a plastic razor, mimicking everything he’s doing and obviously delighted at the fact that I’m shaving my face with dad.
The photograph is endearing, but it also points to this intimate moment between father and son, a moment of love and tenderness, which we almost feel like we shouldn’t be looking at, because it points to this very intimate life, this inner life that most people don’t see outside the home. I often think that Jesus’ relationship with his Father was just like this. And, we often see throughout the gospels that in everything Jesus does, whether he’s breaking bread with friends or whether he’s healing or he’s teaching and preaching, in everything he does he often stops and gives thanks and acknowledges his Father, through whom he is extending his very ministry and mission.
He even alludes to this in John 5:19 when he says, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does the Son does likewise.” So, what does this mean for us? Well, I would say that Jesus desires relationship, an intimate relationship with us, just as he enjoys a relationship with his Father. And that this relationship he wants from us is one that extends from his Father as a continuance of that love.
And so, we have to take some moments in our prayer life to develop this relationship with Jesus, to spend some time alone, perhaps in the morning with a cup of coffee; to sit with Jesus in silence and perhaps out of that then to express your hopes and your fears, your joys, the ways in which you suffer or worry, and to share that with Jesus, so that we can be assured that he knows what’s on our heart and he can assure us of his presence with us in all that we undertake and that his love will actually guide us and show us what we need to do in the moment, if we’ll just take that moment and develop that relationship with Jesus in intimacy.
We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus
Wow! What a beautiful way to wake up! Reading this beautiful devotional. It really touches my heart for God each day.
Thanking God for just waking me up alive and well and able to be grateful to Jesus for being right here with me through His Word and these wonderful prayers. Bless you all.
Yesterday on the bus a homeless woman sat in front of me who was having a very hard time. She was having a conversation with herself and was very angry with someone all the while coughing a great deal and carrying belongings that smelled badly. I wanted to comfort her but her hostility was so great that I hesitated to speak up so I sat thru the bus ride praying for her instead. She was part of everyone of us on the bus that we try to avoid. The angry, crazy, sick and unwashed part of us all. I cried out to God silently for her and at one point it caused me so much grief to watch that I turned my eyes away to see other younger women feeling the pain also. Not mocking no disdain just empathy in their hearts. This I praised God for. She remained on my heart and in my prayers as I went on a nightly prayer line. I woke up still praying for her. I am sharing this with you this am because working with Mother Teresa impressed me with the amazing gift that the suffering and sick are for us. God gave each one of us on the bus the ability to feel compassion and the desire to care for the hurting. When life goes on and no one bothers, heaven feels the pain.
That was an intimate moment on the bus with the hurting in the world. As I approached the bank, there was a homeless man washing his hair on the sidewalk with a bottle of water. God opened my eyes once again to see the hurting and to feel compassion. I organized events for the homeless for years and at this time I am carrying for my mom and cannot do more than pray and show love and kindness for them. But they are God’s reminder of Jesus live to us.
Intimacy with God brings us into greater intimacy with others. Thanks for your reminder of that!
Yes, my prayer is to find time with Jesus every day; to take a moment and search my heart to pray for the needs of others and myself; To look to him for wisdom and courage through my decision making and action; to commit to my love of him; and to be thankful that he is always with me. Amen.
D E P E N D
God D esires an intimate relationship with me (us)
E each and every thought as a prayerful
P resence between us
E ach hope, desire, worry, suffering, joy
N eeds to be shared constantly
To D eepen our relationship with God, the son and the Holy Ghost.
I too, long for an intimate relationship with the Father.
O Lord Jesus,
I confess with some shame that until now I believed that everything that I have achieved in my life was a result of my own will-power and work. When I was younger, I truly believed, in my own arrogance, that I needed no-ones’ help or assistance to be successful in anything that I pursued. As the years went by, I slowly began to understand that this was not the case, that whether I liked it or not, whether I was prepared to acknowledge the role of others in my achievements – that in fact, I was supported and guided by people, even strangers, in the world. Today, I have come to another perceptive revelation – which is that you yourself – acting and working in a most mysterious way through others provided untold benefits, assistance and support for so many, including me. And so, dear Lord, I ask for your forgiveness here and now, for my ignorance – and that in the future, that you will continue to nurture us all with your Divine presence wisdom… just as you are in intimate communion with the Father, then so be with us.
O Blessed Christ, I desire to express my gratitude both to you and all the people that have played an active and influential role in my life… My family; parents and grandparents, my sister, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, my wife and children, all the teachers in school, college and university that struggled to instruct a dimwitted fool like myself, all the spiritual leaders and supportive congregation at church, to those whom I was connected to through the various, diverse jobs I have gone through – managers, colleagues and friends. All these people form an amazing network of living, interactive souls the strive to benefit one another in both practical and profound ways – who I am today, what I am – is a miraculous testament to them, and I can only express praise and gratitude to you, Lord Christ for all the grace that you have bestowed upon us all.
Lord, I can see that I have had many unhealthy dependencies throughout life. There have been many addictions, habits and foolish distractions that have drawn me away from contemplation of You and our Father in heaven. I have learned from that too, that my own obsessions and faults cause me to rely on things which are not good or beneficial to my continued wellbeing, or being in a positive relationship with you. Lord, I depend on you.
I pray for all those in the world who have succumbed to drug and alcohol addiction, and whose lives have been destroyed by their habit – Lord may you touch them with your healing hand and restore their lives to fullness and health. I pray for members of the medical system, for doctors, nurses, and all allied staff who have sacrificed their time and energy to helping the sick and helpless in society. – Amen
Pax – DAvid
This is so beautiful. Thank you. My brother who is 60 years old is an opioid addict. It has been a painful life for him and those who love him…..he recently left his treatment facility as he began using while there. At the same time my mother was dealing with cancer of the lining of her lung which metastasized to her liver. Although my brother is not in a sober house at this time, my mother is doing miraculously well! She is on no meds; has clear lungs, and is in no pain. All of us have been given the gift of more time with her. We are developing an intimacy that I had not known….and I have always thought she was perfect! She is positive, cheery, and skinny! I have become more vulnerable around her than in previous times. Perhaps because we love with abandonment, and have no fear. It has also occurred to me that as a people we are kind and gentle to pregnant ladies, and those dying. It seems that in both instances a birthday is about to occur . A birthday on earth and a birthday in God’s eternal kingdom. Peace!
P.S. I so love this week’s meditation on intimacy and vulnerability . Thank you!
Br. Jim, how very lucky and blessed you are to have had loving, meaningful and intimate childhood experiences with your father. Many of us haven’t. Our fathers were either absent, cold and uncaring or perhaps even abusive. We have a harder struggle to see God’s loving relationship to his Son from our experiences. Hard but not impossible. I pray fot the faith I must have to experience the relationship of the love of the Father and Son in my journey in this life.
James, a book by William Young entitled The Shack, unraveled the web of confusion I had regarding a mentally-ill-earthly-father and The Father; God Almighty. Understandings resulting from the reading finally freed me to forgive my dad for not being the person I, we, in the family, needed him to be. I believe my relationship with God the Father became more trusting as well. The strength of relationship between the members of the Trinity and their oneness was also clarified for me. The book became a movie, which I chose not to see. The book had served God’s purpose in my life and I didn’t wish a film maker to alter any of it.
Br. Jim, thank you for this sermon. In rereading the Gospel according to John, I have been so conscious of the intimacy between the Father and the Son.
I am saddened by the movement which seems to be growing declaring a genderless theology. Some are certain that God is a female. Why? Why? Why? Perhaps because women have been put down in so many ways. But Jesus did not do that. He spoke to women; he adored the affection of women, such as Mary and Martha and many others. I cannot understand the point of so-called genderless scripture. I pray with great awareness and satisfaction, “Our Father who art in heaven…” Jesus is, without question, “the Son of God.” Mary, the one who bore Jesus, is, without question, a woman.
I see the clouds of this idea of a “genderless God” growing and finding more adherents in the church day by day. I am glad I will not live long enough to see it envelop so many many Christians. How very confusing!
I am a Christian first, then an Anglican, the Canadian version of the American Episcopalian. And because I’m a Christian (little Christ) I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’s teachings. Jesus is flesh and blood but God and the Holy Spirit are spiritual and without form. There is no ambiguity as to Jesus’ gender so He should never be referred to as anything else but masculine. As for God, I will allows follow Jesus’ lead. Jesus refers to God as, Father, Abba Father, and Our Father. There are many more to reference, but here are some of the most powerful and of eternal importance. And these are just from John alone: John 16:28, John 5:19 (today’s passage), John 10:30, John 6:44, John 14:28, John 8:49, John 10:15, and John 15:10, just to name a few. If I am a Christian, I think like a Christian, and if I think like a Christian, then I think like Christ.
Praise the Lord, brothers and sisters. The best way to describe the relationship between Jesus and the Father is to say, like Father, like Son. We to can say and have that same type of relationship, if we just believe we are worthy.
This idea of transcending gender is not new. Note that St Francis was known to refer to Christ at times as ” Our Mother.” It has also been observed (Fr Richard Rohr, OFM) that Christ in Jesus manifested as a man’s body with a feminine soul, or words to that effect. Jesus was a man, but God transcnds dualistic gender… It’s all good, and men and women are equal partners and shares in divine life.
I am translating John 5:19 into inclusive language and claiming this for myself in my relationship with my adult daughter.
“Jesus said to them, Very truly, I tell you,
the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”
the Daughter can do nothing on her own but only what the Daughter sees the Mother doing; for whatever the Mother does, the Daughter does likewise.
the Child can do nothing on its own but only what the Child sees the Parent doing; for whatever the Parent does, the Child does likewise.
I am thinking about the relationship between parent and child and how dependent the child is on the parent that the child can do nothing on their own and what the child sees the parent doing the child does likewise.
I am focussing on my adult daughter who wants my support in improving her health and wellbeing. Today I am supporting her by swimming with her and selecting and eating nutritional food at Eternal Abundance and supporting her in donating to a charity of her choice to a local Food Bank.
Relationships & Connections or All My Relations. I am also mindful of indigenous spirituality that has a more cosmic view of relationships. In sacred ceremony with the indigineous I have heard them invoke Father Sky, Mother Earth, Grandfather Sun, Grandmother Moon, Brothers & Sisters Stars.
This is reflected in Chief Seattle’s Prayer “The Web of Life”. “Teach your children what we have taught our children – that the Earth is our Mother. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons and daughters of the Earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. This we know. The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood that unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons and daughters of the Earth. We did not weave the web of life; We are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the Web, We do to ourselves.”
This is also reflected in St Francis Laudes Creaturarum (Praise of the Creatures)
Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor,
and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.
As Jesus only does what His Father does, so should we only do as Jesus does in order to give glory to God. As a matter of fact, Jesus tells us that we are able to do greater things than He when He states “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father”. John 14:12 (NIV) That low rumbling you hear off in the distance, that’s the sound of my mind being blown. I believe the reason we’re able to “do even greater things” is because Jesus is now reunited with the Father in Heaven which gives us their combined strength coupled with the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. It’s a mountain moving, Red Sea parting, and life altering power that the Trinity is just waiting for us to tap into. Let’s claim this power today!
In the evening or in the morning are lovely times to practice our conversation/prayers with Jesus (quiet, uncluttered stillness). His boundless and unconditional love and promise of eternal life ought to be enough security for this intimacy. As humans we fend off vulnerability while at the same time knowing how this act of “giving” can transform relationships – not only in our faith but elsewhere.
We should follow his example and acknowledge God in all that we do.
This invitation is so basic – to spend time with Jesus in order to foster intimacy – and yet it feels brand new to me. I have never really thought about Jesus’ intimacy with His Father and aside from our chronic male-centric references the focus is on affection, admiration, wanting to “be like.” Jesus is so easy to love, as a mother loves a child, but so hard to emulate – again, like a mother often can wish to be like her daughter or son. These reflections help me to keep the essence of my affection up front, regardless gender and age “divides.” I am so grateful.
John 17 further confirms this relationship between God and Christ. I often call it ‘the other Lords Prayer.’ Christ is so compassionate and longs for an intimate relationship with us. He prays to the Father on behalf of us. I hope we long in kind to have a similar relationship with Christ!
My father and I were distant for many years he is a fundamentalist preacher and I was the wayward son. We have made ammends but his believes still color or relationship. I guess maybe this disturbs me and keeps me from becoming truly intimate with Christ. I was blessed by the responses.
I think our very being: spiritual and physical are starved for intimacy with Jesus. This is why the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with longing that words cannot express. My Godmother told me that the Holy Spirit is a girl. I do not disagree.
What a moving writing this morning. As Jesus spent time following his Father, we need to spend time in prayer with Jesus to live as much like Him as possible.
Thank you for this series.
Thank you for the insight , ” that in everything Jesus does —-he often stops and gives thanks and acknowledges his Father.” That is very tender. and revealing of Jesus’ nature. I hope to often follow His example. Joan M
Scripture was written at a time of complete subservience of women to men which continues today more strongly in some places than others. To me, listening to my father and my mother was so important to giving me a moral code and the tools to live my life. That code and tools have rescued me so many times when I was following my self will.
I don’t consider God as just the Father….he is the embodiment of good parenthood. He often speaks to me and guides me through my parents in prayer.
Stopping to reflect with God; breathing to calm my soul; communioning with Nature…….all so important to to my physical and spiritual well being.
I have a photo of me at age two standing with my mom at the mailbox. Undoubtedly my dad took the picture, but it is my mom and me having this moment of love and tenderness that formed the basis of our intimate relationship that lasted until her death at age 101. This trust that my mom (and dad) offered me continues to open me up to an intimate relationship with Jesus.
My mom once told me that she tried to start each day being grateful for her family and friends, her health, her life, and her faith. I try to do the same. Thank you, Mom.
Keith, the time is there; for me the challenge is to take it. Anita, Yes, it is possible, I would only add to Brother Jim’s wise words that,when we take the moment to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus and thereby with God, we should do so with thanksgiving.
In the midst of our schedule, give us the time to spend with God.
Intimacy with Jesus – the thought fills my heart with longing. Can it be real? Is such intimacy possible? May it be so
Yes, I too would love it to be so. I lost my two Soul Mates, my husband & mother so I hope to build this intimacy with Jesus.