Your life glorifies the Lord – Br. Michael Hardgrove

John 17: 1-11

Jesus prays to the Father, “All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.” On our behalf he asks of God, “Let them be one as we are one.” Believing what Jesus tells us: that we are His people, and he has been glorified in us, that we are one, as He and the Creator are one, means believing in our holiness. This isn’t vain self-aggrandizement; this is affirming the Christian belief that we are children of God, and therefore we are very holy.  Affirming the unity of all Christ’s followers, furthermore, is affirming the absolute equality of all humankind, because Jesus gave his life for us, a “sacrifice poured out for all the world,” so that we may have eternal life in God. To say “We belong to Jesus Christ, and in Him we are one with all people, sacred beyond our recognition”, is to me, one of the humblest things that we can say. In Christian theology, humility is not meaningless self-effacement: humility is self-effacing only as far as we admit that we are not the origin of our life, and that all gifts are from God. Humility means that everything good that we have done or achieved is only by virtue of the God of infinite love who created us. Our inherent goodness, our holiness, our sacredness, is because of the goodness, holiness, sacredness of our Creator. Jesus is continually pointing us to this truth. Jesus is continually instructing us to live upon this truth, to hold firm to our faith, that teaches us that God loves us, and in God and through God all things are possible.

It may seem like a small thing here, to deeply know and accept our own sacredness, but our faith teaches us that a proper understanding of who we are as humans in relation to our Creator is essential to our understanding of how we are to live and how we are to enact change in the world. To transform people’s hearts, we must allow Christ first to transform our own hearts. Jesus came to set us on a dramatically different course. One in which our sacrifices and our sufferings, born out of love, will change everything, will transform everything. Every effort to lift one another up after our inevitable falls, every act of mercy and justice is part of the building up of God’s kingdom, even if we can’t see it at the time. It is all amplified a thousand times in heaven. Just because the end that we deeply long for can seem hopeless, does not mean that it is. There is always hope, because of Jesus, who unifies us all, and reminds us, YES, we are sacred.

What if we did in fact live from this truth, the truth that affirms our inherent sanctity as children of God? What if our thoughts and actions reflected our deepest held convictions about the love of God through Jesus Christ, and what the crucifixion and resurrection accomplished for all of us? I always think it’s important to ask ourselves what sacrifices we can offer for others, in imitation of Jesus,  but our eyes must be fixed on the ultimate sacrifice of God in Jesus Christ, and what that says about the nature of the God that we believe in, a God that would incarnate as a human being, and fully offer Himself for the redemption of the whole earth.

Believing in salvation through Jesus means believing that own sufferings are glorified through the Cross. The Scottish theologian William Barclay writes, “by going to the Cross Jesus showed that there was nothing that the love of God was not prepared to do and suffer for men, that there was literally no limit to it.” Our struggles and our sacrifices are not distant to God. God is with us in all our of sufferings, experiencing them with us, out of unending mercy. Our suffering has been glorified by our savior.

 “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.” Eternal life begins with knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom God has sent. Because of Jesus we can say: Yes, we ARE SACRED. We ARE HOLY. And we are one forever in Christ.

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