LET US DEPART IN PEACE
(Friday, June 2)
“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” (Jn 17:15-19)
Our Lord prays to the Father not that we be taken “out of the world,” but that we be kept from the evil one, “sanctified” (meaning “dedicated”) by the truth. So, we do not avoid the world or hide from it within our church-walls; we are sent into it, even while we are not “of” it, do not belong to it. We are “sanctified” or dedicated to God and nobody else, in Holy Baptism, and continue to be sanctified “by the truth” throughout our lives, if or when we choose to be nourished by His truth and nobody else’s.
It is particularly encouraging and important in our “post-truth world,” to remember that we are sent into it with His purpose and meaning, rather than abandoned in it with nothing or nobody to make sense of our place in it. We are reminded of this at every Divine Liturgy, when the priest says to all of us, before the final blessing: “Let us depart in peace!” We are thus sent out, beyond the church-walls, not empty-handed but with and in “the peace from above” that we receive in communion with Christ and His truth, to share it in our immediate surroundings and relationships. Today let me “depart in peace” from my morning Gospel-reading, sanctified once again by the One to Whom I choose to belong, together with all of you, my beloved readers. “Let us depart in peace!” into this Friday, and into this upcoming weekend of Pentecost. (I am flying back from London to Vienna today, so please say a prayer for me.)