“All One In Christ” (Part 3) – “May They Also Be In Us” by Andrea King
Andrea King is an independent consultant working with senior leaders in public services to improve safeguarding/protection arrangements and mental health services for children and young people. Andrea also studies at Regents Park College (Oxford) reading Theology as an ‘independent’ ministerial student and a member of the LGBTI+ community.
In the times when the impact of hate and exclusion pulls you to your knees, in the times when the loss of hope runs deep and very simply it hurts to breathe, I pray that you know that you are not alone. As we each wrestle with division, look up and remember these words.
I don’t know about you, but John’s gospel has always moved me deeply. Jesus’ long farewell to those He loved spans several chapters. It matters. John gives it the time it deserves.
These are precious words that describe intimate relationship between Father and Son, it’s a profound and deep love, an interpenetration (perichoresis) of Father, with Son, with Spirit. It’s a beautiful image of separate, yet interweaving, relationship – it is a precious intimacy.
How remarkable then, that Jesus goes onto say ‘may they also be in us’.
Can I suggest that just for a moment close your eyes? Draw close to the God that you know and love. Imagine Jesus praying that prayer with you in mind. Stating that you are intimately bound by the love of Father, Son and Spirit; your heart and soul forged in holy union with the Almighty.
This gift is immeasurable. It is unique. It encompasses every part of us – our height and depth, both the good and the bad. We are each intimately known and loved by God. Nothing can ever separate us from that love. Nothing.
But neither does that love allow us to separate from each other.
This love, mutual respect and inter-dependent co-existence, is designed to facilitate unity. It is designed to bring together, to break down the walls, the fears, the insecurities and misjudgements, the unease that separates human beings one from the other. It is designed to bind us together, firmly, in Divine inter-relatedness.
What a joy and what a challenge. Very simply, there is nowhere to hide, in this gentle absorption within the Divine.
Maybe, just maybe, the challenges and divisions that we live within, whilst real and at times all-consuming, in the light of His countenance, fade away to become background noise. In that light we have the space to be more fully what we were originally intended to be. The ‘I’ is less important, the ‘we’ in divine community is preoccupying. We are fully ourselves in Him.
And so, when you find yourself on your knees, look up. Know that you are held, that you are loved, and that you are inter-woven in His Spirit. In this period of Lent, hard as it maybe, I ask you to try and see the ‘other’ past the hurts and the pain, the judgements and the asides, and find the echo of Divine love.
Maybe, just maybe, if we can look past our differences, to the things that truly unite us, to the ultimate love that binds us, we will more fully resemble the community we were intended to be.
God bless you and keep you. Rest in Him, I pray.
We draw close, and find rest, in You. Help us to open our minds and hearts to the enormity of your precious relationship. In our frailty, help us Lord we pray, to see what unites us and to find Your reflection in those around us. Help us to resemble the community of Your people more fully, we pray in Jesus’ name,