"Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

John 17:6-19

May 11, 2018, Words By: Kris Rocke, Image By: Hands with Story Hapal (CC BY-ND 2.0)

To be one “as we are one.” Yes, this really is the heart of it! To become one. Union. Intimacy. The Gospel of Jesus opens us up to the possibility of becoming one in a way that seems utterly impossible – to enjoy unity without being in rivalry with anyone or anything. It is unity with and for everything – over and against nothing, not even death. This is the kind of unity that God enjoys and makes available to us. Impossible, but this is the promise of Jesus. This is Shalom.

This may sound heady and abstract, but let’s remember these words were uttered to good friends when facing imminent death. Jesus’ prayer was anything but an abstraction. It was his dying wish. People facing death don’t utter abstractions. They speak their heart’s desire.

I am writing this in my father’s bedroom . He is dying. He will likely be dead by the time you read this. (Update: Dad died Friday the 23rd at 3 p.m., just he and I together… holy intimacy… it is the closest thing to giving birth that I will know.) Two months ago, we moved my parents into our home. We wanted to share this holy time with them and they with us. It has been a hard but huge gift. We will be sharing holy communion in about half an hour from now. Yes, communion… co-union. This is my Dad’s heart’s desire. As Dad’s body wastes away, his heart is being renewed and ours with his.

Union… Mom came into our bedroom this morning and woke us up. It’s not easy for her to be with Dad. So she knocked on our bedroom door, wrapped in her blanket, and asked if she could come in. She got in bed with us. Yep, kinda weird for people like us. We held her. She too wants union, even as her grief overwhelms her.

Holy moments indeed, and not entirely sad or without humor. No time to reflect. Presence is what’s being asked for, but allow me this…

Intimacy, which is God’s desire, seems to flourish in the presence of naked vulnerability and deep trust – two gifts being given now. Not sure if this is exactly the heart of the Gospel, but I suspect it’s close.

“Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”


About The Author

Kris Rocke

Tacoma, WA | U.S.