You in Me and Me in You
and They in Us

John 17:20-26

I remember my parents used to have "piano parties" where a number of their friends would gather round the piano and sing for 3 or more hours. They sang what we would call today, the oldies from the 1940's and earlier. They had 2 or 3 persons who could play the piano and they took turns while everyone sang their hearts and lungs out.

I remember one of the oldies they sang was "Tea for Two." It went something like, "Tea for two, and two for tea, and me for you and you for me..." When I read the lines in today's Gospel, there was something about the rhythm to the words that suddenly that song came crashing into my mind. And that's where the title of my sermon comes from today...."You in Me and Me in You and They in Us."

It's funny how certain things make a memory rush back into your mind that you hadn't thought of in years...didn't really know you even remembered it at all. But it actually helped me in preparing this sermon to remember that "Tea for Two" song, because it made me focus on just a particular part of it. Some times John in his Gospel, like St. Paul, becomes a bit convoluted, complicated and twisted together at times.

This phrase that I used for the title is in the middle of a complicated statement about who Jesus says he is and who Jesus says we are in relation to him and to the Father.

The intent of the passage is to make clear that we are all one-all of us because we are in Jesus and he is in the Father and so we are all one. We don't often think of ourselves as being one with Jesus and the Father. And we certainly don't think of ourselves as being one with one another. We mostly see our differences. Some times we are surprised that someone else has a similar thought or idea that we have. We didn't imagine that they thought that way.

If we knew that what we did against someone else, in word or action, was the same as doing it to ourselves, I think it would curtail some of what we say or do that isn't the most positive.

Yet, since Jesus tells us we are one-you, me, all of us together-one in the Spirit, one in Christ, (remember-Jesus said he was in the Father, the Father was in him and WE are in them) then what we do FOR someone or AGAINST someone is like doing it to ourselves. Some folks wonder why some negative stuff happens to them. Sometimes it's the result of what we have done to someone else and it just comes back to us because we are one. The bad AND the good work that way. We are one.

I read somewhere, in some writer's theological meanderings and supposings, that no one gets to heaven until we ALL get there. Wow, wouldn't THAT be a kick in the pants! All those self-righteous folks who think they're going to heaven but so and so isn't-wouldn't THEY be surprised! Remember I told you that 'loving one another' as Jesus asks us to do, means caring about and praying about a person's eternal soul, well, just think of how hard folks would pray for others and how hard folks would work to spread the Gospel of love and peace if they thought they weren't going to get to heaven until EVERYONE got there!

I don't think many folks take seriously Jesus' words spoken here in the Gospel of John. Some times John can be a bit difficult to understand because he's such a mystical writer. Often our hearts and souls and spirits understand John before our minds do.

But Jesus wants us to know that we are bound to him forever, and because of that, we are bound to one another. We'd like to break loose some times when we are in conflict with some one. We'd rather not be bound to them. But, there's no getting away. We are one in Christ.

We can refuse to believe that we are bound to each other, or we can ignore that we are bound to each other, or we can pretend that we aren't bound to each other, but we're only fooling ourselves, as though ignoring or pretending we don't know we're bound to each other makes it real. When we think like that we only end up hurting ourselves.

For many folks, though, I think it's a hard concept to understand, and it isn't that they refuse to believe it, but it's just that they don't understand it. But here's the kicker-whether we believe it or not, it's true. So, the best thing is, if you can't understand it, to just believe it. Jesus said it, so we know it has to be true. So, if we speak or act negatively toward someone, being one in Christ, being bound together in Christ, we are only being negative to ourselves.

Wouldn't it be something if every time we had a negative thought about some one, we'd immediately feel a pinch or a punch or something and we'd say 'oooo' or 'ouch' or something like that. People would look at us and know immediately that we were having a negative thought about someone! We might be able to choke back our words or actions, but our thoughts-yikes! Then again, we are still fooling ourselves because God knows what we are thinking. We think we're hiding our negative thoughts, but we aren't. In the beginning of this Gospel of John he says that the Light, Jesus has come to shine into the darkest corners and bring that darkness to light.

Man, we can't get away with anything! The older we get we begin to understand this. We understand that the good we do to others will come back to us, just like anything negative we do to others will come back to us. Youth, however, think that they can get away with anything. They haven't caught on yet that it's all going to come back to them-whatever they say or do, good or bad. It's going to come back to them. We are bound together, folks, whether we believe it or not, makes no difference. Whether we believe the truth or not, it doesn't change the truth, and it doesn't change the consequences of going against the truth.

We're bound together in Christ. We are one in Christ. Just as the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father, we are in them and they are in us-consequently, we are all one, bound together, like it or not.

In closing I want to share the words of a song that dates back to 1966. If you know it, sing it with me-just the first verse. The song is "They Will Know We are Christians by Our Love."

"We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, we are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, and we pray that all unity may one day be restored, and they'll know we are Christians by our Love by our Love, and they'll know we are Christians by our Love." Once more now that you've heard the words and tune.


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