14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.—John 17.14-15
My grandma Dow sewed many quilts. The quilts that she made had one very distinct trait. They are heavy! She made those quilts for her family who lived in an old drafty farmhouse that didn’t have much insulation and could get very cold in a Wisconsin winter. The boys all lived in the attic which was often especially cold but like a lot of families, they slept several in a bed which helped with space and warmth. My dad was one of the younger boys and he remembers those quilts this way, “When I was little, I got out of bed when my brothers did because I couldn’t lift the quilt off on my own. It was too heavy.” Talk about the original weighted blanket.
You might wonder what Sunday’s Gospel has in common with a quilt. Jesus, in the end of what is known as the “farewell discourse,” is weaving together God, himself and the disciples. He’s laying out what these first followers would need when he is no longer with them. This is the culmination of the vine and branches and Jesus naming them as “friends.” The disciples will need to abide all the more in the love that they have been given from God through Jesus.
Like the stitches in grandma’s quilts, they will need to be stitched together in an unbreakable bond for what lies ahead. I have one of grandma’s quilts. I even slept under it for a while even though it was too short for me. But doing so helped me feel connected to the love and care with which those quilts were made. As the farewell discourse comes to a close, Jesus wants us to know that we are connected to him and ultimately to God. It is in this connection that we find joy and it is in this connection where we can live fully and “bear fruit.”
What are the things that keep you connected to your family history and/or to the faith that you have in Christ Jesus?