From: Olivia McGuire
”Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him." Jesus' words here are so difficult for me to enter into, to comprehend. In this moment when he knows what is to come, and has every reason to be absolutely terrified, he prays this bold prayer in faith. In my own heart I so quickly and constantly vacillate between desiring this courageous faith more than anything, and wanting absolutely nothing to do with it — for exactly this reason. I know that it would get me killed. Maybe not literally (though that's certainly true of many of our brothers and sisters abroad), but in so many other ways. Even as I believe that the fruit of faith is eternal life — complete joy, complete freedom — I am faced with my own selfish fears of what life would look like if I surrendered even more out of faith. As someone in full-time vocational ministry, I find myself wrestling quite often with what I have given, and what I am holding back. Have I surrendered myself totally in courage and faith to the work that God wants to do through me? The honest answer is no, of course not. There's a part of me that knows that I have barely scratched the surface of what a life of obedient faith looks like, and there is so much more I could do to pour out. I'm pretty close in age to Jesus when he died, and I certainly cannot say to my Father that I have "accomplished the work you gave me to do."
It's an important practice of Lent to take a brutally honest look, in the presence of God, at how we're falling short. But the other aspect of Jesus' words in this passage that I notice is how inseparable he knows himself to be from the Father. He is not trying to do anything, least of all go to the cross, without the Father's presence and power. He fully relies on the Father to get him there, and that's why he's able to do it. It's not because he's a superhero or a human endowed with magic powers. It's not because he's incredibly strong willed and courageous on his own strength. It's because somehow he is a human fully aligned and united with God — so fully united that he is in fact the image of God invisible.
May we know with Jesus today that all that the Father asks of us, He provides for us (to borrow from our beloved Sandra McCracken) — and may we take courage, and hold fast to hope in a world that so desperately needs it.
I work in college ministry and live in intentional community with three fabulous women in Dorchester. If you're interested in either or both of those things, and you also like coffee, we should probably hang out asap.