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Glorify

May 20, 2023 Pastor: Rev. Peter Mills

ONE HOLYEASTER 7/A (05/21/2023) Ps. 68:1-10 (ant. v. 32); Acts 1:12-26; 1 Peter 4:12-19, 5:6-11; John 17:1-11

GLORIFY

“Father the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee … And this is eternal life, that [those thou hast given me] know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent … I am glorified in them … Holy Father keep them in thy Name, which thou hast given me that they may be one, even as we are one” (vv. 1, 3, 10, 11).

You have heard the Church described with run-on adjectives, “one holy catholic and apostolic”. When reflecting on the axiom, do so without employing mental commas; these unitive truths reflect facets for which Jesus prays in being kept in his divine Name, binding Father and crucified Son of Man.

Just to be clear, later in his prayer Jesus will petition on your behalf, but not today. This Seventh Sunday of Easter our Gospel Reading has two objects: Jesus’ glorification by the Father and the apostolic Twelve.

Following the Lord’s coronation ascension, Peter calls the baptized Apostles into session for the Church’s first order of business; he scripturally interpreted Judas’ abandonment of his office, calling the Eleven to name a replacement so that new Israel be recognized as God’s acceptable successor of the OT church for the coming new creation.

Lent’s Holy Week ends “Spy Wednesday” before Holy Thursday. Easter season commences as a three-day Service; when Jesus instituted his Supper, instructed the Eleven (by which time Judas Iscariot had departed) in the intimate unity of the Bread and Cup.

That Easter Supper did not end but continued with today’s High Priestly Prayer, then paused to be informed by the atoning Passion of Gethsemane and Good Friday, to await Easter’s Resurrection and Ascension vigil. This is the Church’s Easter Triduum, orienting us for seven Sundays into the jubilee of Pentecost’s release for peace with God.

By her Triduum the Church discerns the High Priestly Prayer (post Supper) as a consecratory prayer (Jn. 17:19) of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, even as your Pastor (before the Supper) consecrates Host and Cup by prayer and divine words.

When we reflect back on the Triduum, Jesus’ union with the Father and his Apostles comes into view; our unity with God’s High Priest in eternity is as St. John reports, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day …” (Rev. 1:10a).

Today, Jesus prays, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you …” (Jn. 17:1). “Enlightened by heart-eyes” (Eph. 1:18) we perceive Christ’s unity with the Father a reciprocal glory. Union with Christ in apostolic faith and practice is established at Holy Supper glorifying Father and Son (Jn. 17:10b; cf. 20:27b); which is to say, in Eucharist, we join our High Priest before the Father, fulfilling his command to “love one another” as Jesus sacrificially loved us (Jn. 13:34; 15:12, 17).

The “glory” of which Jesus asked the Father, began at Cana’s wedding and his subsequent signs to culminate on the cross in his exultation and ascension to the Father. It is as if Jesus, having established his Supper for the forgiveness of sin, consents to a “glory” of Isaac’s binding, trusting his father’s heart and will.

But what does Jesus mean, when he prays, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (v. 5)? Here we must consider Lazarus before the rich man’s gate (Luke 16:19 ff.).

The account is not a parable; rather, a picture of Jesus in the world experiencing naught, but sin and rejection. On death angels escorted Lazarus (“one whom God helps”) to “en arche”, “the Beginning place”, for rest upon “Abraham’s bosom”, all cyphers for God’s presence.

To complete the picture of Jesus’ glory from his Apostles, we return to Holy Thursday where at table “the disciple whom Jesus loved” lay his head upon our Lord’s breast (Jn. 13:23).

Still Jesus’ foot-washing mid-Supper reminds that sin always “crouches at the [Church’s] tent flap” (Gen. 4:5). Of this, St. Peter preached Judas’ breaking the apostolic unity, abandoning it for “a place of his own” (Acts 1:16-19, 25). The office of Apostle represents the NT church in her completeness for faithful witness, gospel and eucharistic deliver.

Last Ascension Thursday’s celebration was a churchly event by which the exulted man Jesus is present to his church in word and Sacrament; so too the Father’s “dwelling Place” of our worship in his Son’s flesh, to whom we too ascend. (Jn. 20:17).

From time to time, we sin; but the Church is faithful to provide her word and Sacrament antidote, keeping us in the way of glory’s Name; Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution’s foot-cleansing, Holy Eucharist, and fidelity to all that Jesus revealed of the only true God and his Son for our knowledge (Jn. 17:3) in a fallen world.

A warning, our eucharistic witness with Jesus’ apostolic band expects persecution and suffering, which St. Peter would have us embrace; “the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Pet. 5:9) glorifying the Lord in the bond of priestly unity. Amen.

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