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.....They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.
Right here is the rub that so many people who are Christian find themselves chafed by. For Jesus calls us to be different from the norms and culture that surrounds us, and this has never been an easy thing to accomplish as we are still of this world and in this world. We are not to separate ourselves from the world based on this passage. We are called to act differently in the world because of the gift Jesus gives us. By acting differently in the world, we will be "hated", looked upon differently, scorned, ignored, persecuted: from these things Jesus is asking God to protect us, to sanctify us.
It appears we are called to live a life that is not a "comfortable" life by society's standards. We need to make our own standards, our own markers of what is "comfortable" and what is right. This makes me unsettled, but perhaps Jesus is calling us to live in an unsettled state to ensure that we see things as he would and not as society would have us see them.
Copyright 2009, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.