Thursday, December 17, 2009

John 17 Goodness

The words of Jesus are so hard. The cost is high, and, when I was talking about that with my roommate this morning, her simple question was, "but is it worth it?"

I had to admit that sometimes I just don't know.

I'm thinking about unity this morning. Unity in a body of believers, unity among a small community of Jesus loving friends. It's a topic I've given a lot of thought to over the last few challenging years, and it is one that is once again rearing it's head.

I'll come out and say it. I'm not sure sometimes that I long for unity anymore. I mean, I long for it in the "it should have been" kind of way. But not in any kind of way that still wants to invest time and energy, and pay the cost of seeing it formed or restored.

The words of Jesus haunt me. John 17, his great prayer for unity. "I pray that they will all be one...may they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me, and that you love them as much as you love me."

In the summer of 2008, in the midst of an extremely challenging day, a moment where I was deeply broken, and weeping, a poem formed on the page that was in front of me. One of the lines from my own writing, from that poem has stayed with me ever since. "...No John 17 goodness left in me..."

I'm feeling like that this morning. I don't really want unity, I want to walk forward, to be free, to move on from the things that have weighed so heavy. No John 17 goodness left in me.

And yet...

I feel the hard deep pull of obedience (to loosely quote Walter Bruggemann).

The strength of Jesus' words.

Because if he prayed this, than he truly desired it.

And if he desired it, then I need to align my heart with his.

And that is harder still.

In fact, I think, the more I follow, the harder it is at times to align my heart to that call for obedience, to align my heart to his.

Because the longer I follow, the more I realize that this will cost me everything. That it will hurt more than anything I've ever known. (Though even as I write that, my heart reminds me that in following Jesus there have also been the moments of deepest joy that I have ever known.)

I'll drink this cup too, if he asks, this dying again to my own desires, to self. And I drink it knowing there is a cost. And sometimes, sometimes I hate that cost (though I suppose that too is sin to be confessed and surrendered...)

Jesus, let my heart align with yours. Guide my steps this day. There's no John 17 goodness left in me, would you fill my heart with yours?