We have just been on a little break as a family and therefore it may have seemed that the blog posts have dried up. But, fear not they shall return with rapid pace! You can find out some of our French adventure here at our friend’s blog :- http://www.uneviederemerciements.com/a-blundell-blessing
I am coming back to our liturgy adventure and was considering missing this passage as there didn’t seem much to construct a prayer out of.
But, my aim is to pray through the Gospel of John, so pray through the Gospel of John I will.
Here is the next passage;
(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
As I read this passage through and pondered it, there were some deep thoughtful points to bring out of it that I believe are fundamental to following Jesus. If following Jesus is to be real than it must be that! Real!
I was reminded of Genesis 28:16 which comes at the end of Jacob’s vision of the stairway from heaven which says this;
“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD isin this place, and I did not know it.”
It seems from just these snippets of scripture that it then quite possible to miss Jesus. So, therefore we can miss him in the places we live, work, rest and play.
Now, the surest sign that you are awake is that you are aware of your surroundings. The surest sign that you are asleep is that you are not!
Profound hey! 😉
The Bible teaches that God is omnipresent (is everywhere, inhabiting everything) at all times. We cannot go anywhere where God is not (cf. Psalm 139). So, the question is: are we awake to the surrounding of God right now?
We look back at the past and we look to the future, but we do so from the now.
God is the God of Yesterday, Forever and Today (cf. Hebrews 13:8). The most important part of reality is that God is here in the now.
This to me then is paramount to our following Jesus and what salvation is all about. You may well have committed your life to Christ many years ago, but the only movement you have is this one.
It may help to think of it like this; just short of 7 years ago, I looked into wife’s beautiful eyes and promised my life to her. My promise didn’t give us a perfect, loving relationship. No, rather the life I promised to my wife is the life I live out every day, moment by moment.
The quality of our marriage is not based on the promise I made then, it’s based by how I live out the promise now. The same is true with us and our relationship with Christ. The important question is not, did I once surrender my life to Christ but am I surrendered to Christ now? The only life we have is the one we have now to surrender to Christ.
You may have said a prayer many years ago that started the process, which is great. But, this doesn’t give us a relationship with Christ, anymore than my promise to my wife makes a marriage.
Back in Jesus’ time, John is stating that the Messiah that they have been waiting for is not himself but that he will follow John and in fact is already there walking among them. Jesus was already there.
One of the key points that I am working through with my wife and our community at the moment is living in this understanding of now.
Trying to live out that God is here now, we do not have to go anywhere to find him, and we do not have to say things in a certain way or wear certain things to get his attention. He is interested in us, in our now moments and how we will react to him now. The past is just that – the past, how we reacted to God is gone, all we have is this moment, now.
Surely God is in this place. He is in the place where you are reading this. He stands with you.
You may like to take a moment now and acknowledge that God is with you in this moment.
I want to stay awake to Jesus’ presence with me – otherwise what is the point?
I want to live life knowing Jesus and getting to know him.
I want to know the one who stands amongst us when we gather (Matthew 18:20) and is also always with me (Matthew 28:20).
Now, is the only time we have.
So, with all that in mind here is the liturgy for this part of John,
Let me know your thoughts,
Grace and peace,
In the name of the Father, Son and Spirit, I come.
Thank you for your presence with me in this moment,
Spirit, help me to stay aware of you in the everyday activities
May I take the time to stop,
To think and to give thanks.
Surely God is in this place
Surely God is interested in my now
Surely God is here waiting for me,
Thank you for your grace,
Thank you for your patience,
Jesus, be real to me this moment,
I surrender to you now,