Do you have your Last Will and Testament written yet? What do you wish to say to those left behind? What do you want them to remember?
According to Jack Shea, the Gospel of John we heard proclaimed this morning is part of the last will and testament of Jesus and draws the emotional power from the shadow of Jesus' imminent death. We hear Jesus preparing to depart his community and leave behind his legacy. We hear many times in today's language, "When all is said and done; more is SAID than DONE." This was not the case with Jesus. He not only "SAID" but "DID". The Gospel states Jesus as saying to his Father, "I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work you gave me to do." Jesus had said and done all he was sent to do. It was time now for him to be glorified and to return to his Father. The incarnate life of the Son was part of the eternal plan. This part of the plan was coming to an end; another part of the plan is unfolding.
In speaking about his own community, in his prayer Jesus says, "I have made your name known to those you gave me. They know that everything you gave me is from you for the words you gave to me I have given to them; they have believed that you sent me. I have been glorified in them." Jesus was ready to depart and turn over his mission to those remaining. For the last 2,000 years that mission has been passed on along through the generations to us today in this community at this time in history. The statement of Jesus on the cross, "It is finished." certainly has finality to it.
On this final Sunday of the Easter Season we become those disciples Jesus is praying over and instructing as he prepares to depart. A crucial hand-off is taking place. The question is: Can we take the ball and run with it? Are we ready to be the Body of Christ in the world, filled with the Holy Spirit and do what Jesus would do? There have always been doubts and worries over what is the right thing to do. We often times second guess ourselves. The real work we each need to do is very personal.
At times I marvel at the situations God has put me in. Recently I was in the ICU at the hospital and experienced something I have never experienced before in the 20 years I have been helping out. A man was very critical. He was on the ventilator, and multiple medicines were being given. His wife and daughter were there. We prayed for him. As I was standing behind his wife I could actually "feel" his soul leave his body---the energy of his actual dieing was almost palpable. His wife and daughter were waiting for other family to arrive before disconnecting the ventilator. I went out to the nurse's station and told the young doctor that the patient had just died. I asked him to go in to examine the patient and pronounce him dead so the family would know the situation.
Jesus knew when his work on earth was completed---"I glorified you on earth by completing the work you gave me to do." Jesus passes along to us the mission to complete his work. This man, whose death I witnessed, had completed his work.
Life is not about length of days and accumulating many accomplishments. The mission of life is to release divine love into the world. Every person is a child of God who mutually indwells with the Father (Parent God) and reveals God's name. The adventures of life are invitations to actualize this spiritual identity. Whenever we realize the spirit of God living within and understand our mission from God, God is glorified. That can be at any time and moment. It can be within the family dynamics or with co-workers. That can be visiting the sick and elderly or caring for a new-born child. That can be sitting in traffic going nowhere or it can be in the country riding your cycle and experiencing the presence of God in nature and all around you.
Each person is a mission of love meant to stir love in others. When this happens, God is glorified, the work is accomplished, and life is complete.
Each one of us "has work to do". Everyday our life and it's "work" unfolds before us. At certain times in our life we pause and reflect. Is my work done and is it time to return to my God? Certain illnesses cause us to take the time for this reflection and personal introspection.
May our prayer this morning be that we will know when our life's work is completed. Once our life's work is completed we like Jesus can realize that "it is finished" and we too can and will return to our loving God from whence we came.