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Friday, May 21, 2010

+ T R I N I T Y + 2010 +

Lexegete | Year C | St. Luke

The Holy Trinity
First Sunday after Pentecost
May 30, 2010
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Psalm 8 (2)
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

Prayer of the Day
Almighty Creator and ever-living God: we worship your glory, eternal Three-in-One, and we praise your power, majestic One-in-Three. Keep us steadfast in this faith, defend us in all adversity, and bring us at last into your presence, where you live in endless joy and love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


God of heaven and earth, before the foundation of the universe and the beginning of time you are the triune God: Author of creation, eternal Word of salvation, life-giving Spirit of wisdom. Guide us to all truth by your Spirit, that we may proclaim all that Christ has revealed and rejoice in the glory he shares with us. Glory and praise to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia. Holy, holy, holy is the | Lord of hosts;
God's glory fills | the whole earth. Alleluia. (Isa. 6:3)

1a. CONTEXT: John 16:12-15

The Gospel for this Sunday consists of a portion of

the great Johannine Last Discourse of Jesus to his

disciples before his death. The Discourse itself runs

from 13:31 to 17:26. Both the Last Supper and the

Discourse are sections in what Father Raymond Brown terms

John's Book of Glory which comprises chapters 13 through

21. The other sections of the Book of Glory are the

Passion Narrative (chapters 18 and 19) and portions

entitled The Risen Jesus (chapter 20) and Epilogue

(chapter 21).

Fr. Brown gives our text the title, "The Paraclete as

Guide of the Disciples." In the perplexing manner of the

Johannine discourse, our text echoes some of the things

that Jesus has said earlier in 13:31-14:31. Brown

believes that the duplication is the result of an

editorial combination of several Last Discourses that were

circulated in different Johannine communities. If this is

so, we may deal with our text discreetly in relative

independence to that which precedes and follows. At the

same time, we would do well to heed Brown's concluding

remark in his introduction to the Discourse: "None of

this [the manner of composition and apparent incoherence]

should prevent the reader from recognizing that the Last

Discourse is one of the greatest compositions in religious

literature. The one who speaks here speaks as no man has

spoken." (p. 582)

1b. TEXT: John 16:12-15


12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV) © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


12Ἔτι πολλὰ ἔχω ὑμῖν λέγειν, ἀλλ' οὐ δύνασθε βαστάζειν ἄρτι: 13ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ἐκεῖνος, τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας, ὁδηγήσει ὑμᾶς ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ πάσῃ: οὐ γὰρ λαλήσει ἀφ' ἑαυτοῦ, ἀλλ' ὅσα ἀκούσει λαλήσει, καὶ τὰ ἐρχόμενα ἀναγγελεῖ ὑμῖν. 14ἐκεῖνος ἐμὲ δοξάσει, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ ἐμοῦ λήμψεται καὶ ἀναγγελεῖ ὑμῖν. 15πάντα ὅσα ἔχει ὁ πατὴρ ἐμά ἐστιν: διὰ τοῦτο εἶπον ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ ἐμοῦ λαμβάνει καὶ ἀναγγελεῖ ὑμῖν.

Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition © 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;

The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition © 1975, United Bible Societies, London

2. ANALYSIS: John 16: 12-15

In the first section of the Gospel of John, Jesus has

been speaking for the most part either to hostile

audiences or to individuals and groups that have

difficulty comprehending his message. In the Book of

Glory (chapters 13-21) he turns to speak to his own, this

is, his beloved friends, the disciples whom he had chosen

and who would be his witnesses after his departure.

That Jesus would depart was a subject that filled the

disciples' hearts with fear. Jesus addresses the fear by

assuring his followers that what looms as an unbearable

loss will paradoxically turn out to be the generator of

rich promise. The essence of the promise is the coming of

the Spirit, the Paraclete, who will more than compensate

for the removal of Jesus from the company of the


In taking to themselves Jesus' recorded words,

readers of the Gospel and those who hear the Gospel

preached from it receive the same comfort as did the

disciples. The Last Discourse is composed not only as a

word to the Twelve but to Christians throughout the

following ages.

The special import of our text for this day, however,

is the way it leads us into the fundamental dogma of the

Church on the Trinity of God. Observing the context in

which the text appears, a word of Jesus to his own, will

help to avoid making the Trinity an arcane exercise in

theological speculation. The text's implicit Trinitarian

theology is an invitation into the life and being of the

God whom the Spirit has made known in Jesus Christ.

v. 12: The idea that there are different levels of

maturity in the Christian life occurs many times in the

NT. See, for example, Ephesians 4:14 and Hebrews 5:13,

14. Spiritual immaturity, characterized by a lack of

understanding and steadiness in faith, is to give way to a

deeper grasp of God's revelation and a more consistent

Christian life.

After the Resurrection, the disciples would understand

the ministry of Jesus more profoundly.

v. 13: The inability of the disciples to understand

the reason for Jesus' death requires the gift Jesus

promises, that is, the Spirit. The Spirit will clarify

what was contained in Jesus' proclamation. Thus, the

Spirit will convert what Jesus revealed into the

disciples' own.

v. 14: In the process the Spirit will glorify Jesus,

for then the disciples will see Jesus for what he was as

one who was sent from the Father. But in so doing the

Spirit will glorify the Father whose saving intention

Jesus fulfills. The point is amplified in verse 15.

Our text is striking for the frequency with which the

idea of speaking occurs. "I have yet many more things to

'say' to you" (v. 12). [The Spirit] "will not 'speak' on

his own authority, but whatever 'he hears' he will 'speak'

and 'declare' to you..." (v. 13). [The Spirit] "will take

what is mine and 'declare' it to you" (v. 14). "Therefore

I 'said' that he will take what is mine and 'declare' it

to you" (v. 15).

The God of the Bible is the God who speaks [Deus

loquens]. In contrast to many familiar notions on the way

humans communicate with the divine (mysticism), the God of

the Bible takes the initiative, reveals himself, and

continues to reveal himself by means of the Word.

The means of communication is no accident. God is

discourse, says Robert Jenson, in conscious reference to

the dogma of the Trinity. God's self-disclosure in the

Son (the Word!) through the Holy Spirit bespeaks his

innermost nature. Our text testifies to the conversation

God carries on with us and within himself. The dogma of

the Trinity gathers up the insights Christians derived

from their encounter as believers in the one God with

Christ. Trinitarian faith is faith in [Deus loquens], the

God who speaks.

3. STRATEGY: John 16: 12-15

The situation in the life of the disciples on the

occasion of our text was the imminent departure of their

Lord and the consequent loss of his voice and presence.

Sadness filled their hearts. The situation in which many

of our hearers today live is one in which the voice of God

is also thought to be silent. It may not be spoken about,

but the experience of the absence or silence of God is at

the edge of consciousness.

The text tells us that however firmly it might be

declared that God's voice has been stilled, God speaks.

God has uttered his Word in Christ (John 1, Hebrews 1) and

communicates that to us through the Spirit. This is his

promise. The God who IS Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

speaks in order to share himself with us.

The sermon might be a comfort and a challenge. It is

a comfort to be assured that he who loves us in Christ is

not silent. The question for us is how we listen. The

question is whether we are listening. The question is

what we are listening for.

The preacher might want to try a second tack and

develop the wonder of speech. "Speak to me," we say to

establish communication, even with inanimate objects like

dice. "Do you hear what I am saying?" we ask in order to

make sure we are getting through.

Speech is the wonderful, mysterious means given to us

to share our inner life with one another. The God of the

Bible is the God who speaks. That is shown us in our

text. God speaks to us in Christ through the Spirit. His

word of judgment and grace comes to us in order to allow

us to share in his life.

Love is not muzzled or silent. "In the Name of

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit" not

only establishes the ground on which we gather but holds

before us the promise of what is to happen: God will

speak to us again in his Word by the Spirit.

4. REFERENCES: John 16: 12-15


- XXI. The Anchor Bible, vol. 29A, Garden City, NY:

Doubleday and Co., 1970.

Jenson, Robert E. "The Being of God," in CHRISTIAN

DOGMATICS. Vol. 1, Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson, eds.,

Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984, pp. 163-181.

Exegete: Richard E. Koenig, D.D., is a Pastor (RT) in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, living in Covenant Village, Cromwell, CT. Richard is a frequent contributor to The Christian Century and many other church-related publications. He was the founding Editor of LCA Partners magazine and enabled it to become Partners in the ELCA.

5. MUSIC SUGGESTIONS: John 16:12-15

Some hymns recommended for the Festival of the Holy
Trinity and/or this pericope include the following:

Gathering - Holy, Holy, Holy (ELW 473)
The Day - Father Most Holy (ELW 415)
Meal - Come with Us, O Blessed Jesus (ELW 501)
Sending - Come, Thou Almighty King (ELW 408)

Some other hymns suggested for After Pentecost include:











Lexegete © 2010

Tischrede Software

Dartmouth, MA 02747-1925


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

+ P E N T E C O S T + 2 0 1 0 +

Lexegete ™ | Year C | St. Luke

Day of Pentecost | May 23, 2010

Acts 2:1-21 or Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b (30)
Romans 8:14-17 or Acts 2:1-21
John 14:8-17 [25-27]

Prayer of the Day

God our creator, the resurrection of your Son offers life to all the peoples of the earth. By your Holy Spirit, kindle in us the fire of your love, empowering our lives for service and our tongues for praise, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts | of your faithful,
and kindle in us the fire | of your love. Alleluia.

1a. CONTEXT: John 14:8-17 (25-27)

This ‘new’ Gospel for the Day of Pentecost closely parallels the text used in several lectionaries for the commemoration of St. Philip and St. James, Apostles, as follows:

Lutheran (ELW) May 1 - John 14: 8-14

Episcopal (BCP) May 1 - John 14: 6-13a

Roman Catholic (Ordo) May 3 - John 14: 6-14

It is interesting, by the way, that the Roman Catholic date for this Saint Day derives from social concern: St. Philip (not the Philip in Acts 8:4) and St. James ("the less," and not the brother of Jesus or James) were originally commemorated on May 1st, but this was replaced by the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, designed post-1917 as an answer to Soviet May Day fests. The conjunction of the two apostles derives from their common interment in Rome in the 6th Century. The longer Roman Catholic reading includes the phrase "you will know my Father," which makes for a more logical entry into the dialogue between Jesus and Philip. Both the LBW and BCP pericopes omit verses 6-7, as does the Pentecost reading in the Common Lectionary.

Texts from John 14 (chiefly vs. 1-6) are frequently read at funeral services, but there is nothing in this passage that necessarily implies anything having to do with comfort for the bereaved, nor is it solely meant as a stirring theological defense of monotheism, which in any event Jesus would not have seen as debatable. Rather, the focus is on Philip's request for a glimpse of God the Father, and Jesus's refusal to oblige him. This is in keeping with the expression of misunderstanding (misverstaendnis) of the disciples, a typical motif in John's Gospel. Like Thomas, who asked "how can we know the Way?" in vs. 5, Philip seems unable to grasp or discern the Father in the Son. Put another way, there is a distinction here between what the followers of Jesus want and what Jesus deems needful for them.

For this reason, the Inclusive Language Lectionary reading in vs. 8 ("show us God"), if a little bit daring in passing over the issue of Father, has the ring of truth in reflecting this hunger for theophany in the people of God. (No wonder the Common Lectionary offers as a variant for the First Lesson of Genesis 11:1-9, the Tower of Babel. )Jesus, of course, is disappointed and even irritated with this "show me" attitude and so a central theme here has to do with what is needful,necessary, or sufficient for discerning divinity. Philip and Thomas and many of the proponents of "New Age spirituality" hanker for an unmediated apprehension of God. But what they desire is not necessarily what it needful.

Yoking the John 14:8-17 text with verses 25-27, which emphasizes the helpful and intercessory role of the Paraclete, this pericope is an appropriate and excellent gospel message for celebrating the Coming of the Spirit at Pentecost.


1b. TEXT: John 14:8-17, 25-27

Jn. 14:8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."

Jn. 14:9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'?

Jn. 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Jn. 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

Jn. 14:12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

Jn. 14:13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Jn. 14:14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

Jn. 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Jn. 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.

Jn. 14:17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

[ Jn. 14:25 "I have said these things to you while I am still with you.

Jn. 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

Jn. 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. ]


8λέγει αὐτῷ Φίλιππος, Κύριε, δεῖξον ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ἀρκεῖ ἡμῖν. 9λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Τοσούτῳ χρόνῳ μεθ' ὑμῶν εἰμι καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωκάς με, Φίλιππε; ὁ ἑωρακὼς ἐμὲ ἑώρακεν τὸν πατέρα: πῶς σὺ λέγεις, Δεῖξον ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα; 10οὐ πιστεύεις ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί ἐστιν; τὰ ῥήματα ἃ ἐγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν ἀπ' ἐμαυτοῦ οὐ λαλῶ: ὁ δὲ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένων ποιεῖ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ. 11πιστεύετέ μοι ὅτι ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ πατρὶ καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοί: εἰ δὲ μή, διὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτὰ πιστεύετε. 12ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ τὰ ἔργα ἃ ἐγὼ ποιῶ κἀκεῖνος ποιήσει, καὶ μείζονα τούτων ποιήσει, ὅτι ἐγὼ πρὸς τὸν πατέρα πορεύομαι: 13καὶ ὅ τι ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου τοῦτο ποιήσω, ἵνα δοξασθῇ ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ υἱῷ: 14ἐάν τι αἰτήσητέ με ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου ἐγὼ ποιήσω. 15Ἐὰν ἀγαπᾶτέ με, τὰς ἐντολὰς τὰς ἐμὰς τηρήσετε: 16κἀγὼ ἐρωτήσω τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἄλλον παράκλητον δώσει ὑμῖν ἵνα μεθ' ὑμῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ᾖ, 17τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας, ὃ ὁ κόσμος οὐ δύναται λαβεῖν, ὅτι οὐ θεωρεῖ αὐτὸ οὐδὲ γινώσκει: ὑμεῖς γινώσκετε αὐτό, ὅτι παρ' ὑμῖν μένει καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν ἔσται.

25Ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν παρ' ὑμῖν μένων: 26ὁ δὲ παράκλητος, τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ὃ πέμψει ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου, ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμῖν [ἐγώ]. 27Εἰρήνην ἀφίημι ὑμῖν, εἰρήνην τὴν ἐμὴν δίδωμι ὑμῖν: οὐ καθὼς ὁ κόσμος δίδωσιν ἐγὼ δίδωμι ὑμῖν. μὴ ταρασσέσθω ὑμῶν ἡ καρδία μηδὲ δειλιάτω.

Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition © 1979, Deutsche
Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart

The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition © 1975,
United Bible Societies, London

2. ANALYSIS: John 14:8-17, 25-27

Jn. 14:8 - arkei - to be adequate, sufficient, enough - this word appears twice in John and 8 times in the New Testament.

14:9 - tousoutos chronos - for a long time; so long, so great, so much -
this implies that Jesus is irritated or at least tired and disappointed with his followers' slowness of heart and mind.

14:12 - kakeinos - by crasis for kai ekeinos - meaning even that one - or that even works like Jesus did will be done by his followers.

14:16, 14:26 - parakletos - helper, advocate, intercessor - perhaps it is well to leave the term untranslated and do some teaching about the concept of the Spirit-Paraclete; "helper," while surely a good and popular translation, seems a bit understated, something like calling the Messiah one's "friend"; the key concept here seems to be the intercessory and mediating role of the Spirit, which derives in part from legal imagery (cf., "vindicator" in Job 19:25). Four of the five New Testament uses of this word appear in the Fourth Gospel.

14:26 - hupomimneisko - call to mind, remind - AILL: "bring to your remembrance" strikes me as a little bit too liturgical-sounding....TEV's
"make you remember" is a little too stark. Perhaps the best translation would be that the Spirit will "remind you of me and all I have told you." This seems a fair reading in keeping with the "Quicunque Vult" or Athanasian Creed tone of this passage, in that "What the Father is, the Son is, and so is the Holy Spirit."

14:27 - deiliao - to be fearful or cowardly - the only use of this word in the New Testament - AILL: "afraid."

3. STRATEGY: John 8-17, 25-27

Whether one is hearing this gospel as a message for Pentecost or as part of a commemoration of Philip and James, certain themes suggest themselves as pre-eminent. A basic idea is the desire on the part of Philip and perhaps all of us to "see God" or in some sense to apprehend and experience God at first hand. This is what Jesus finds so disappointing and even irritating about his followers, and sets in motion a continual struggle within Christendom regarding appearance, epiphany and transcendence of God. This is not only a question of iconoclasm and the aesthetic experience of the divine. It is also, seen through Jesus' eyes a conflict between our dependence upon God and our desire (which we take to be a need) to know God.

Given the above, two themes which could be treated separately or blended together have to do with the "show me" attitude toward the Father which is so evident in the Church today and the need to own up to the ineffability of God and to realize that sometimes "enough is enough." Yet many today are chasing false messiahs and pursuing outlandish "spiritualities" [The Law of Attraction, The Secret, et cetera ad infinitem ] in the name of a quest for God. The danger as always is that our "spirituality" merely becomes a prospective attempt to build Babel anew, rather than a retrospective "remembrance" of Christ. And isn't this why we need the Spirit, a "helper" go-between who can intercede for us where we are inadequate to the encounter with God? Of course, all too often we have seen the "Spirit" become a code word for a brand of spiritual arrogance and superiority which does not bring others into the circle of understanding but only walls them out (a reversal of the Pentecost story).

If the text is followed as part of a Pentecost celebration, then surely it needs to include an evangelical thrust, noting that the Spirit comes to bring Christ into the hearts of all kinds of people who live in faraway places with strange-sounding names--which is precisely where every single human being lives, whether we know it or not!

Finally, a tangential theme to explore in this passage is the nature of fear and the fear of God. The word for fear in verse 27 (deiliato) is a very precise and special Johannine usage and far different from the way we ordinarily use this word. This is a fear that implies a kind of grief and a fear of letting go or in some way surrendering our own selfishness and pride. Perhaps this,too, is why we need a Paraclete and comforter in our weakness and the spiritual confusion of our times.

4. REFERENCES: John 14:8-17, 25-27

Haenchen, Ernst. JOHN 2. Hermeneia Commentary on the Gopspel of John, Chapters 7-21. transl. Robert W. Funk. Phila.: Fortress, 1984.

Pfatteicher. PROCLAMATION: Lesser Festivals 1. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975.

5. HYMN SUGGESTIONS: John 14:8-17, 25-27

Some hymns suggested by the Day of Pentecost and /or by this Pericope include the following :


If this turns out to be a commemoration of Philip & James:

would be appropriate as well.

Exegete: Rev. Carol M. Worthing, D.Min. (ELCA, RT)

6. Against Syncretism (Redux)

I have never thought that a syncretic (or syncretistic) faith could be viable, not even in a world which styles itself as "postmodern." The reason for this seems obvious to me: no theology-- like no philosophy--can operate in the kosmos without having a distinctly different voice for itself. Every infant contains within herself the making of a unique message or voice in the world, so why should every faith not have this same dimension of uniqueness? It could also be argued (and often has) that ancient traditions cannot, by their very nature, be merged or connected with later ones. I am not absolutely certain about the latter, since I have seen the Church--both evangelical and catholic—gladly merge ancient and modern in worship and music, though often reluctant to do so over issues of Faith and Order. Suffice it to say that “the old becomes new,” by and by (Rev. 21:5).

That said, I do not mean that we ought to isolate ourselves from the world or its ever flowing stream of differing faiths. Indeed, I believe that we need one another so much that our own distinct faith cannot be heard a world where dialogical conversation falls silent. In light of the exegetical remarks above by Dr. Worthing, it nevertheless appears to me that we can live in this new Age without having to move into the New Age and similar movements, insofar as these manifest Syncretism. In other words, as one of my theology professors was fond of saying, differences DO make a difference. Three good recent examples of the kind of fruitful “exploring” we might consider are the following:

a) ODE magazine, which began in the Netherlands, is one of the most au courant sources I know for discussion of emerging ideas in world culture. One issue included a free CD of the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, whom I first discovered while still in college in 1965. He has since written numerous books on meditation and Buddhist philosophy and has many helpful insights about living in this world of war and violence.

b) Matthew Fox, a former priest who was silenced by the Pope many years ago, has finally seen (through a glass darkly, one suspects) of the Protestant Principle (semper reformanda) in his engaging little paperback, A NEW REFOPRMATION ( Rochester, VT: 2006). Following the tradition of his earlier books on Prayer and Work in the world, this one addresses the application of a “Creation Spirituality” in the Nova Ecclesia emerging today. To his credit, Fox appends his own 95 Theses for today and the result is calculated to rouse depleted or drowsy Christians once and for all.

c) “And On Earth, Peace” – The new Interfaith Mass by the group Chasnticleer—
see my review at < >

There is much here that would appeal to Lutheran, Episcopalian and Roman Catholic hearts and minds and voices—along with at least some that will provoke debate or disagreement. But isn’t that the whole point!? Semper Reformanda!

Davebuehler |



Tischrede Software

Dartmouth, Massachusetts


Monday, May 10, 2010

+ E A S T E R + S E V E N + 2010 +

Lexegete™ | Year C | St. Luke

Seventh Sunday of Easter | May 16, 2010

Acts 16:16-34
Psalm 97 (12)
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
John 17:20-26

Prayer of the Day
O God, form the minds of your faithful people into your one will. Make us love what you command and desire what you promise, that, amid all the changes of this world, our hearts may be fixed where true joy is found, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia. I will not leave you orphaned, | says the Lord.
I am com- | ing to you. Alleluia. (John 14:18)

1a. CONTEXT: John 17:20-26

THE LAST DISCOURSE: Division Three (Unit 3)

These verses follow Unit One (vv. 1-5, Jesus' prayer

for himself), Unit Two (vv. 6-19, Jesus' prayer for his

disciples), and form Unit Three of the High Priestly

Prayer in Chapter 17. Unit Three consists of Jesus'

prayer for the Church universal - that it might be indwelt

by God and the Son, expressing their unity in love, and

thus fulfilling the mission of leading the world to

believe. As the Discourse draws to its close, the meaning

of the paschal mystery proclaimed at the beginning of the

meal - the return of God in complete love, of all who

belong to God - is made evident.

Twice before, Jesus has spoken of the life of union now

opening for his disciples. If the viewpoint is that of

the Last Supper, then the believers are a present reality.

In Unit Three, Jesus turns his attention directly to the

future, foreseeing success in the mission of the disciples.

The prayer for the disciples in Unit Two also had in

mind future Christians, since the disciples are living

symbols of what believers should be; but now the future orientation is more direct.

Not only does Jesus foresee a community on earth

confessing his name (vv. 21-23); he also yearns for the

eschatological deliverance of that community, so that its

members will be with him, where he is (vv. 24-26).

1b. TEXT: John 17: 20-26


20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.

26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”


20Ο περ τούτων δ ρωτ μόνον, λλ κα περ τν πιστευόντων δι το λόγου ατν ες μέ, 21να πάντες ν σιν, καθς σύ, πάτερ, ν μο κγ ν σοί, να κα ατο ν μν σιν, να κόσμος πιστεύ τι σύ με πέστειλας. 22κγ τν δόξαν ν δέδωκάς μοι δέδωκα ατος, να σιν ν καθς μες ν, 23γ ν ατος κα σ ν μοί, να σιν τετελειωμένοι ες ν, να γινώσκ κόσμος τι σύ με πέστειλας κα γάπησας ατος καθς μ γάπησας. 24Πάτερ, δέδωκάς μοι, θέλω να που εμ γ κκενοι σιν μετ' μο, να θεωρσιν τν δόξαν τν μν ν δέδωκάς μοι, τι γάπησάς με πρ καταβολς κόσμου. 25πάτερ δίκαιε, κα κόσμος σε οκ γνω, γ δέ σε γνων, κα οτοι γνωσαν τι σύ με πέστειλας, 26κα γνώρισα ατος τ νομά σου κα γνωρίσω, να γάπη ν γάπησάς με ν ατος κγ ν ατος.

2. ANALYSIS: John 17: 20-26

THE LAST DISCOURSE: Division Three (Unit Three)

[ou peri touton de eroto monon, alla kai peri ton

pisteuonton dia tou logou auton sis eme ] In the Greek

word order the first of these two phrases follows the

second (v. 20); thus, it would be possible to translate

as: "Believe through their word about me." The idea is

not too far from that of Rom. 10: 14 and Heb. 2: 3-4.

There is a remarkable grammatical parallelism between vv.

20-21 and vv. 22-23. In particular, note the following:

21a [hina] that they may all be one; 21b [kathos ]

just as You in me, etc;

21c [hina] that they also may, etc.; 21d [hina]

Thus the world may, etc.;

22b [hina] that they may be one; 22c [kathos]

just as we are one, etc.;

23b [hina] that they may be brought; 23c [hina] Thus

the world may come.

Each of these blocks of four consists of three [hina]

clauses, with a [kathos] clause separating the first and second.

The first and second [hina] clause in each involves the

oneness of the believers, while the third involves the

effect on the world. The second [hina] clause does not

merely repeat the first, but further develops the idea of

unity. The [kathos] clause in each block holds up for the

believers the model of the unity of Jesus and God.

[Kathos] has both a comparative and a causative force

here: divine-human unit (Word-made-flesh), is both the

model and the source of the unity of believers. The model

of unity is, for the Johannine writer, the mutual

indwelling of God and the Son.

The Johannine statements about unity imply both a

horizontal and a vertical dimension. The unity involves

the relation of the believers to God and to the Son

(vertical), and the relation of the believers among

themselves (horizontal).

The latter dimension is found in all the statements

stressing love of one another that we have found in the

Last Discourse (13: 34-35, 15: 12, 17); see also the theme

of community with one another in 1 John 1: 7. Thus, unity

for the Johannine writer is not reducible to a mystical

relationship with God. Nor is it simply human community

or the harmonious interaction of Christians.

We should note that introducing God, as well as the

Son into the unity, goes beyond the unity imaged in the

Pauline Body of Christ. The relationship between God and

the Son involves more than moral union; the two are

related because God gives life to the Son. After the same

manner, Christians are one with one another and with God

and the Son, because they have received of this life.

In Johannine thought, Jesus, during his lifetime, was

the tabernacle of God embodying divine glory; and now in a

covenantal setting, he promises to give to his followers

the glory that God gave to him. Jesus, who will be

acclaimed by his followers as Lord and God, in the last

words that he speaks to them during his mortal life, prays

that after death he "may be in them."

3. STRATEGY: John 17: 20-26

THE LAST DISCOURSE: Division Three (Unit Three)

In preaching from this text, again, our challenge is in

the realm of anamnesis. Our union in Christ is a reality

here and now. It is not a promise for the future only,

but a promise fulfilled.

And yet, the fulfilled promise has an ongoing future.

All of us receive the gift of Christ Life into ongoing

personal lives. This is true of each and is equally true

of the ongoing interpersonal life of the whole community,

gathered into Oneness in Christ over space and time. We

cannot miss the call to mission and ecumenism, either.

We are confronted with incarnational, sacramental

theology, from beginning to end, in the Last Discourse.

It is union open without limit, embracing all given the

Son by God. The divine-human unity of incarnation is

unique - it alone can encompass all, beginning in Christ

and ceaselessly extending to draw in all. How did the

first disciples come to believe? They themselves

encountered, came to know and love Jesus; and then through

the Spirit, they came to recognize that he is the total

embodiment of all God is.

Finally, to be with Christ where he is, is to be with

him as he lives here with us. It is here that we see his

glory and recognize that it is "love," the self-gift of

God to persons. The more we see and recognize persons in

our lives as those to whom God is given and giving, the

more we behold Christ in glory. Christ loves all

completely, to the end. Lord and Master of all, he serves

all who are called into the Great Supper and Feast of the Lord.

4. REFERENCES: John 17: 20-26


XIII-XXI. Gardenn n City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1970, pp. 769, 773-74, 776, 781.


Herbert G. May and Bruce M. Metzger, eds., New

York: Oxford University Press, 1973, pp. 1311-1312.


Wurttembergische Bibelanstalt, Stuttgart/West Germany: United States Biblem Societies, 1975, p. 296.

Whitson, Robley Edward. THE CENTER SCRIPTURES. Bristol,

Indiana: The United Institute, Wyndham Hall Press, 1987,

pp. 75-76, 81.

Exegete: The Rev. Dr. Carol M. Worthing, D. Min.(ELCA, Ret’d) earned a M.Div. degree in 1982 from the Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Paul. Carol earned a P.h.D in theological studies from the Graduate Theological Foundation in 2002, and in the same year was honored as the John Macquarrie Fellow for the superior quality of her dissertation. She was chosen by the Cathedral Council to serve as preacher at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. in November of 2002. Carol Worthing has returned to Edina, Minn. where she currently resides.



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