I Am Come into My Father’s Name

“I Am Come into My Father’s Name”

-John 5:43

When I served in Warner Robins, a retired colonel was in the church. Really, there were a bunch of them! But I am thinking if one who had earned an unusual degree of respect. I once heard him say, “You can get a lot done when you work for a two-star general.” Who you represent is important.

Ambassadors receive respect earned by the country they represent. A friend of mine worked for a congressman and a senator. The authority he represented allowed him to perform many helpful deeds.

When I became pastor in Hawkinsville in 1985, it was not due to anything I had done. Rather, the congregation trusted that the United Methodist Church had approved me and decided that I could do the job. Without that trust, I would have been lost.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus gives his credentials often – sometimes in his “I AM” sayings inscribed in the stained glass of the Hawkinsville sanctuary. In John 5:2-18 Jesus heals a man crippled 38 years. While we might expect that would inspire confidence in those who saw it, they chose to complain that the healing was done on the Sabbath. Much of this chapter recounts Jesus’ description of this authority – perhaps most clearly in John 5:43, “I am come in my Father’s name.”

I recently watched funeral services for Queen Elizabeth II with curiosity and reverence. I was fascinated with one of the final rituals. The crown, the scepter, and the orb were removed from her casket. Eventually they will be given to her successor, but not yet. They were reverently placed on the altar, given back to God. Later they will be given to King Charles III in hope of God’s blessings upon his reign. The Queen, in what was described as her “simple and profound faith,” believed she served as a servant of God.

We are not given crowns and scepters and orbs. We can, however, believe that God has called us to follow the One who came in the Father’s name. We are offered abundant life through him, and to offer it in turn in God’s name to others in word and deed.

          Submitted by the Reverend Dr. Marcus Tripp