Changed for Good
Updated: Oct 31, 2019
The musical Wicked tells the story of the Land of Oz before Dorothy fell out of the sky. In the story, the Good Witch of the North, Glinda, is actually roommates and friends with the “Wicked” Witch of the West, named Elphaba. There is a point in the story when the two friends are parting waysand bidding one another farewell, acknowledging their friendship and thanking one another for who they are. The “wicked” witch sings,
It well may be
that we will never meet again
in this lifetime,
so let me say before we part:
so much of me
is made of what I learned from you;
you’ll be with me,
like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end,
I know you have rewritten mine
by being my friend.
The two friends are going their separate ways, and they know that their relationship has had an impact on their lives that they cannot deny: “Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better,” they sing together, “but, because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
Throughout this Easter season, we have been hearing much from John’s gospel wherein Jesus is sharing His parting words with His closest friends. He wants them to understand His teachings, yes, but He also wants to know that His words and actions have made a real difference in their lives. These guys are His best friends – even with all their foibles and sins – and He loves them very much. Therefore, today we find Jesus praying for them – and for us. “Holy Father, I pray not only for them ,but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you.”
The unity that Jesus is praying for is His legacy – or it’s what He wants to be His legacy. Christ came that we may be reconciled to God – and that is more than just having our sins forgiven and going about our lives. Instead, this reconciliation means that we are united with God – and with one another – as a result of our faith in Jesus and our deliberate choice to follow Him. Following is more than just “liking” Jesus or clicking on the church’s social medial pages. Rather, it is the decision to love like Jesus, and to understand that we all have a divinely-created connection to every other person – no matter how small or insignificant, no matter how influential, no matter how good or bad. We are created to be one, as Jesus and the Father are one.
So, we find Jesus praying today that we understand this important reality. He wants to know that, because we’ve known Him, we have been changed for good. Think about this: Jesus, the Son of God, who was with God from before time began, who lived, died, and rose again, who is now present to God in heaven – this same Jesus sees you as God’s gift to Him. You are a gift! This is what Jesus wants us to know in allowing us to hear this prayer of His.
And we show that we know it when we look at others and see in them the gift to Jesus that they are – not just that, but the gift to us that they are. Every person created by God is His gift to Jesus and His gift to the world. Do we treat others like that? Do we see the divine gift in the homeless on the corner? Do we see it in the refugee at the border? Do we see it in every child in the womb? Do we see it in ourselves?
“Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun; like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the woods;” who can say if we’ve been changed? Jesus seems to think so. He looks at each one of us today, seeing the gift that you are, and He prays that, because we’ve known Him, we have been changed for good.