knowing Jesus, and knowing who we are

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, since thou has given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all who thou has given him. And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus who thou has sent.” (John 17:1-3)

Glorified how? What came next was betrayal, arrest, suffering, crucifixion and death. There would be no resurrection, ascension or Pentecost without the cross. But we see in confidence that what Jesus began he completed, and He is the Author of our Salvation, and the Captain and Perfecter of faith.

Wise teachers remind us that Jesus is the reason humanity exists—not the other way around—and that we only find out who we ourselves are after first discovering who Jesus is, and how he glorified (and continues to glorify) the Father. His suffering and death is tied to ours, and his joy and new life becomes ours, as we too learn to glorify the Father by the power of the Spirit.

We are taught that this Son of Mary, this Jesus of Bethlehem, Calvary, Resurrection and Heaven will finally come again to end death and suffering—end all tears—and in being made free all people will finally know who they truly are, and know him and the Father who sent him.

Such things and the above scripture are the subject of a poem by theologian John Emory McKenna and his wife Nancy in The Burning Green (Wipf and Stock, 1996, pp 41-42).

One Tear Is Enough

One tear is enough.
A whole century of thought
Might worm a way to say
This is enough, my love,
The whole passion of an age
Roll into tears
All its dry years.
But we are cactus, my love,
Watered in a desert,
The nightly bloom in a sandy hour
When the quiet moon whispers
The secret among the stars,
A flower for morning dew,
When the great fashions of clocks,
Indifferent to our need,
Timed away on a roar
Far from the wasteland
Filling our season.
We should call ourselves rosebuds,
Snowflakes or molten things,
Were it not for his cross.
Without it,
No one would call us Man.
The hour has come.
One tear is enough.