Jesus addresses his departure from this world and his ascension to the Father in our gospel lesson for this Sunday. In this passage from John’s gospel, Jesus prays for his disciples, preparing them for the time when he will no longer be with them in this world. He prays that they “may be one,” as he and the Father are one. He prays that they may be “protected … from the evil one,” kept loyal to following in his way. He prays that they may be “sanctified” in the truth of God’s word—set apart, dedicated, made holy—in order to be sent out into the world.
As disciples of Jesus in our own day, Jesus prays these things for us, too. Like those first disciples, our unity and our loyalty to Christ’s teaching and our sanctification in God’s word all are for the purpose of our being sent out into the world. The spiritual transformation of each one of us leads to the transformation of the world.
That transformation advances with the baptism of each new member of the household of God. This Sunday we will celebrate the baptism of Louise Slaton, daughter of Abby and Chad Slaton. As we promise to support her in her life in Christ, we will also reaffirm our own baptismal covenant. In renewing our promises, each of us has the opportunity to realize that we continue every day in following Jesus, being changed and growing more fully into his likeness. And each of us is sent daily into the world as a witness to his love.